5 Simple Steps to Designing An Effective Logo

Hey, design pals! Got something good for you today. I know there are plenty of resources out there to designing a great logo, like this one or this one or this one, but I thought I'd walk you through my patented 5-step process for designing any logo. No, I'm not lying! It's just 5 easy steps. No matter what kind of business or entity you're trying to build a logo for, this is the one stop shop you need to design a killer logo and eliminate the competition. 

So what will we be designing today, you ask? Let's pretend a high profile client has come to you and is starting a new airline. Exciting! The client has handed us a big wad of cash and it's time to get started with their new logo design.


The first step in creating a great logo is to sit down and "concept." This is the heart of the creative process. Everyone has their favorite method for concepting, but believe me (at least this once): word clouds are where it's at. You can cloud your thoughts on paper or right in your graphic design software. For the purpose of this exercise, I've made my word cloud in Adobe Illustrator, which you can download online. 

The first thing you want to do in your word cloud is forget the brand name. Brand names are not an important part of logo design. This is rule #1 of logo design. For the sake of this exercise, we won't even give our fictitious airline a name. 

Time to do the word cloud. I usually just sit down and write whatever words I associate in my head with the business or entity. Try to give some words more weight than others with a bigger sized font. Don't worry too much about color and typefaces at this stage in the game — nothing's final except death and taxes!

Dang, nice word cloud, everyone! Let's move on to Step #2: Iconization. 


"What the hell is 'iconization,' dude?" "Chillax, y'all. It's a term I made up for visualizing some of our favorite word cloud words as icons!" "Oh, that makes sense! But how do we pick which words to turn into icons?" "That's the easy part — you just pick them at random!" "That sounds pretty dubious." "No, it's not! If you've made your word cloud correctly, any of the words on your word cloud can represent the brand." "Ah, that makes more sense. But I still don't believe you." "That's fair."

Iconization is complete. We've only got three steps left in the logo process and I can already see some great logos coming out of our exercise today. 


To move the logo-creating process along, we'll create three unique Conceptual Unions. This means taking the words and icons from Step #2 and kinda mashing them up however you see fit. It's not graceful, but no one ever said logos should be graceful. 

Wow. Now those are some Conceptual Unions, people! If I'm being honest (which I rarely am), We could stop now and have three logos for our new company. But let's take it a couple steps further...


Nobody (not even me, a liar and a cheat) wants to look at ugly logos, so let's pick one of our three options above and clean it up a bit. I'll go with #2 because #1 and #3 are conceptual hot garbage.

All #2 really needs is a some spacing here and there to help the logo breathe a little. Additionally, you can play around with color during step #4. Our fictitious client didn't include color in the original scope, so for now we'll leave things in black and white.

And there you have it! Our logo is complete.


Welp. Can't believe we've made it this far, folks. Can't even believe most of the words that come out of my mouth these days. Anyway, time to deliver our new logo to the client in the form of collateral they can use in their new airline. I took the time to craft these small cocktail napkins with our new logo, but you can do literally whatever you want. I don't care anymore.