trailway co logo

Bringing Focus To Your Logo Design Process

Have you ever been stuck when creating a logo or design? 

On my most recent brand project there was a point where we were going to lose a lot of precious time. The business partners I was working with both had a good understanding of their business but had very strong opinions and were on different pages from each other on how to execute the logo.

Logo development should be 100% information led rather than asking ourselves “Does this look good?” But after you’ve gathered all the data, know the target audience and are clear on the objectives sometimes it can still leave you in a place that seems broad and unfocused. In times like these I’ve found the best questions to ask to get everyone on the same page again and moving forward are:


1. What design style would best fit the mark?

2. Are there any elements which need to be represented?


Design Styles:

There is no way to truly define so much of design, since it can always bend rules or have points which overlap with one another but as designers it’s good practice to study different styles, what makes them different and what messages they typically communicate. 

I was able to put together three design styles on the website which I believed fit the brand and my clients tastes very well. All three styles fit to a certain degree the emotions we were going for: Human, Made with Hands, Connected. So the styles I chose to showcase were ‘Handlettering’, Geometric, and Victorian Tattoo Parlor (I made up that last category name but I’ll explain what I mean below.

1) Handlettering

Lettering Logos are great for communicating craftsmanship and organic natures. They work well for company name awareness since the name is so often the logo, this can be very beneficial to a business who uses a foreign name or made up name. Typically lettering is gender neutral or favors feminism, which wasn’t necessarily the target audience but it was in the realm of acceptable. Often the additional elements used in the rest of the brand carry a hand illustrated nature.

2) Modern Geometric

Modern Geometric is great for storytelling. Their bold shapes and color palette play well with photography. They typically include a lot of movement which go well when telling your brand story since it includes a sense of activity. This also makes brand consistency easier since base shapes can adapt to most all of your communication. It isn’t as warm as the other styles but generally connects well with indie crowds. Although great for telling a brand story, these can sometimes struggle to be memorable and different from the pack since they are typically just variations of the same basic shapes (i.e. line, square, circle, triangle).

3) Victorian Tattoo Parlor

This style communicates hand craftsmanship and individuality through its use of details and halftone patterns. You see this style in old-school tattoos. The logomarks are intricate yet aren’t polished which connects with smaller groups, indie types and ‘hipsters’. It does well with telling a brand story through its use of details. These brands can toe the line of looking unrefined and haphazard, which can often oppose the meticulous and polished side of a brand.

The clients liked having a modern geometric side to the brand. This was a great choice but lacked the handmade and warm tones which they wanted. So after we nailed down the style of the brand we moved onto the elements of the logo.



Elements of a logo are the actual contents of the logo. Does it contain an animal, leaf, rays of light, pattern, etc?

In this particular brand discussion the clients wanted a specific type of bean in a hexagon with an “S” represented. It was a pretty specific request but after knowing what style they wanted it was a whole lot easier as a designer to focus my time and energies in a mark that would fit the brand and the client’s tastes perfectly.

After having the style & elements nailed down, our project moved forward smoothly. I spent a few days fine tuning the mark, incorporated other elements into the bean to better communicate their brand story and was able to move onto fonts and color palettes.

If you are designing a logo by yourself or working with others and finding there are too many cooks in the kitchen perhaps working through these two questions can bring focus and get the project moving forward again.

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