Before Christmas last year, I went to the Ashby Artisan Market for a few last-minute festive gifts. The market is a collection of small stalls set out in the car park of the local library, selling food, handmade crafts, nick-nacks – you know the sort of thing.
And while I was wandering about in a daze, as the small, artisanal coffee I’d bought hadn’t yet filtered to my brain, I spotted a stallholder waving at me.
I meandered over to discover it was Amanda Gates, formerly the proprietor of a very quaint old sweet shop in town before she sold it a few years ago.
And here she was, selling sweet again, from a stall.
Amanda is very passionate about packaging and presentation, so as you’d expect, all the merchandise was displayed beautifully. But what was missing was any branding, save something hideous from Vistaprint, which was, apparently, a last-minute panic buy.
So, we got chatting, I bought some chocolates, and I suggested she come and see me about having a professional logo designed to complement the quality of her packaging.
And on the first of January, she did.
We talked through a brief. Amanda wanted a simple logo with a vintage feel. We talked about the kind of brands she thought her new business – Ashby Treats – would have an affinity with. We talked about colours and applications.
And at the end, she said, “I want people to open up one of my packages and feel like it’s from the 1950s”.
The Logo Design Process
These days it’s easy to get a “logo” designed, with sites offering crowdsourced logos from all manner of “designers”, where only the winning designer gets paid.
If you’re a designer entering these contests, how much time will you spend on research, and how much client contact will there be?
The answer to both those questions is none.
And that’s why logos designed this way are so cheap and their quality so bad. There are many other reasons (such as copyright infringement and the use of templates) why you’d give these sites the swerve if you want a logo created for your business.
Look instead for someone you can speak to who has a portfolio of work and a track record.
The first stage of my logo design process is an in-depth fact-finding session with my client. The second stage is research—lots of it.
My research for this logo involved a deep dive into mid-twentieth century confectionery packaging, screen printing and vintage typefaces. Pinterest is an excellent tool for collating research, and I usually set up a private board for each of my logo design projects.
As part of the research phase, I also look at competitor logos. However, for this project, as I had a clear steer on the direction required, this was less important than it often is for other clients.
And then it’s time to start designing.
All designers have their own methods. Some will start with pencil sketches, and others reach straight for their computer. Some designers prefer to begin with icons or illustrations—others, like myself, usually select typefaces as a jumping-off point.
I began by shortlisting some fonts that gave me the correct “feel” for this project. I then start combining and tweaking the typefaces to see how they work together.
Once I’ve selected some potential winners, I move on to colour palettes. Again, each designer will have their own way of creating swatches. For this project, I was influenced by sweet packaging from the 1950s to the 60s, which affected my colour choices.
I always give my clients a selection of designs to choose from – usually three, sometimes fewer depending on the budget. Along with those designs, I write a rationale for each one that explains my thinking and present some of the research.
I’ll then show how each logo will look as part of a broader brand. These visuals will vary dependent on the project. For Ashby Treats, I mocked up some box packaging, social media pages and gift bags.
After the logo presentation, I invite the client to go away and have a think before giving their feedback. Sometimes there are amendments needed to a chosen route. In this project, there were no amendments required.
Ashby Treats Logo
I designed the logo to resemble a stylised stamp – in fact, it works well as a physical stamp, which Amanda now applies to all her kraft boxes and bags. The design also uses a palette of candy colours and typefaces chosen to hark back to mid-twentieth century packaging and signwriting.
Some stages from the logo development phase
Packaging and brand mockups help the client to visualise how they can expand the logo into various branding applications.
I can’t believe how you got me so quickly. I love it, and, in all honesty, I was hooked as soon as I saw it. Great work!