Creating Your Logo, the Arts & Crafts Way
After some enjoyable downtime over the summer, I’m back building my small business with renewed energy. So, I decided to start with tackling some of the areas that I’ve had resistance with in the past – primarily setting up my first website and drafting and designing the initial content I need to get it up and running. For me, this includes my logo, about page, welcome page, lead magnet, and setting up my email list database.
Yes, that’s right. Basically, my task ahead is setting up my online presence from soup to nuts; so, I decided to tackle it one step at a time. I started with creating my logo.
Selecting my business name was a relatively easy exercise for me as I discussed in Tales of a Solopreneur: To Trademark or Not to Trademark. But from the start, I’ve had no idea what I wanted to do with my logo. Selecting the design that was going to represent my business (and me) was daunting. From color scheme to fonts and graphics, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted. My mind went blank every time I tried to focus on it. I thought about hiring a graphics designer to help, but that didn’t make sense to me since I wasn’t sure what to ask them to create. Instead, I kicked the can down the road for a long while… and then for a little longer until I finally decided to crush the can and get started.
This Tales of a Solopreneur installment discusses the process I followed to generate multiple logo designs for me to test run for my business.
Brainstorming a Logo
Once I accepted my logo wasn’t going to appear to me in an epiphany like my business name had, I decided I would start with the following action steps to help me brainstorm my logo. Then I would loop back at the end to assess where I was and what to do next.
Creating Inspiration Using Templates
I created my own inspiration by flipping through stock templates on Canva to see which ones I was loving and if there were any trends I could identify. Canva is an online graphic design tool that can be used to create many types of media content, including logos. The Canva website is very easy to navigate, and I was selecting sample logo templates within minutes of signing up. I signed up for a 30-days free trial to test it out, but I was so impressed with Canva’s capabilities that I plan to purchase a membership at the end of my trial.
These are the steps I followed on Canva to develop a cheat sheet of design elements I wanted to incorporate into my initial logo designs:
- Scan and Star Stock Templates – I spent about an hour searching various keywords related to my business name and starred the templates that jumped out at me. I ended up with several hundred possibilities, which was probably way more than I needed in the end; but it did help me easily identify trends when I scanned my starred folder as described below.
- Pick Colors – First, I looked for the color schemes that I loved the best. Did I want a dark or light background? Which color schemes were popping, and did I want it to pop or something that was more subtle?
- Focus on Text – Then, I looked at the typeface. Which fonts were my favorites? Did I prefer words in all caps, all lower-case, or a combo? Did I want the words to be the same color or different ones?
- Select Pictures – Finally, I went back through and focused on the graphics and word placement. Which type of word placement and sizing did I prefer – horizontal or vertical, large or compact, one or multiple lines of text? Did I like graphics that were integral in the name or those that were there simply to accentuate the words?
Although this might sound like too many steps, I found that focusing on one element at a time while scrolling through the templates made the process go quickly; and I narrowed down my design elements wish list to one page of notes within 45 minutes.
Designing Personalized Test Logos
Next, I was ready to start designing. Canva’s creation tool was very easy to use. I spent about ten minutes exploring how it worked; and then I was ready to get down to business and create my logo designs, which felt more like Arts & Crafts play:
- Create Five Initial Designs – I used my one-page cheat sheet from my template research above to create five logo designs in an hour. I mixed background and typeset colors, graphics, and fonts throughout the various designs.
- Print and Preview the Designs – I printed off my five designs and tacked them onto a bulletin board. One thing to note is the printouts didn’t print true-to-color as compared to what I was seeing on my computer screen, but the printouts were close enough to help me compare the elements between the designs. I have the bulletin board propped against a wall near my desk, so I can glance at it often; and I’m figuring out what I think is working and what tweaks I might want to make.
Refining an Ideal Client Avatar
I was excited to finally have logo designs to work with. Plus, rolling up my sleeves and creating my initial designs reminded me that I needed to consider what my ideal client (or customer) would think about my designs as well. I’ve brainstormed and researched my ideal client several times before, including my most recent brainstorming session discussed in Tales of a Solopreneur, but I hadn’t looked at it recently.
After a couple of months away from building my business, I thought it was important to reconnect with WHO I was building it for. So, I thought this was a good time to revisit my client avatar, especially since I knew clarity on this would help me home in on the visuals for my logo, as well as the design and content for my website, which I would soon be working on.
I discovered my ideal client description wasn’t as specific as I remembered – or would like, so I challenged myself to get more specific on a minimum of 3 characteristics for this round. I was surprised to find that drilling down after some time away was easier than it had been for me to initially develop the characteristics. It also made me realize that I’ve developed my business ideas so much in recent months that the individuals I’m focused on are a much smaller subset than where I was earlier in the year.
Regardless of whether you’re starting out or you’ve been building your business for a while,
I recommend revisiting and refining your ideal customer often. I plan to revisit my client avatar at least monthly while I’m building out my business to see where I need to make tweaks, and then I will switch to quarterly reviews after I launch the business.
After all my silent protesting and procrastinating, I completed phase 1 of my logo design in just over 3 hours and had a blast playing with the color schemes and graphics. I need a little more time to sit and stare at the logos before moving to phase 2, which will include narrowing down the initial five designs and creating some additional designs if I think something is still missing, which I expect will be the case. Then I will share those designs with some friends who are ideal clients to generate some feedback. After that, I will determine if I need to test a few more designs and whether I might benefit from hiring a graphics designer to create the final design.
In the meantime, while I ponder my bulletin board, I’ve started drafting my about page. Writing about myself is not something I enjoy doing, but I’ve discovered some great resources to get my brain percolating. More to come on this in a future installment.
I hope sharing my art project exercise with you has spurred you to either start designing your own logo if you’ve been putting it off, or to dust off your ideal customer avatar to see if anything has changed that might impact your brand.
Tell us in the comments: How did you design your logo, or what’s holding you back?
Richelle Lyn is a compensation & benefits attorney and HR executive, who now spends her days focused on the writing life. Her favorite fiction reads involve leading ladies who push boundaries and conquer their fears while preferably digging for secrets, learning magic, and/or saving the World. She’s also a fan of non-fiction reads focused on personal growth and transformation. She loves her tea hot, and her coffee iced. She calls South Florida home, but her favorite place to be is on a trip. You can check her out on Instagram.