How to Design a Business Logo

How to Design a Business Logo


Every business needs a great logo to help define their brand, be a memorable yet simple image and also convey a story depicting the essence of what they do. 

To do this we need to split the project into steps to achieve the best outcome from our time.  These steps are Initial Brief, Inspiration, Initial Concepts, Concept Development and Final Design Presentation.   The steps will be talked about in more detail below. 

The logo design example being discussed is for a great cycling store client known as Gravelo Workshop based in North Carolina, USA.  


Initial Brief

This is where you want to spend some time getting to know the person or business and what they envisage for their branding.  This stage can involve lots of questions regarding business market positioning (where the business sits in their market i.e. high end or more general public reach), their tone (normally defined as professional or more personal) and their perception (this refers to if they are more relaxed and approachable compared to a large corporate type business).  These factors are all noted and design direction can begin. 

Getting an idea of the main competitors in their market and also branding from companies linked closely to their sector is also a task that needs to be considered.  We need to be cautious not to unintentionally design anything that resembles something that causes brand confusion.   

The initial brief is mostly carried out via a telephone conversation as you can cover lots more ground with a direct conversation initially.  We then follow things up with emails and cloud based folder sharing.  Sharing images via DropBox as an example allows us to keep all the reference images, design files and sign off files in one place with input from both designer and client.  

Gravelo Workshop had a few key areas of interest to focus on.  The regional reference was very important along with the connection with exploring / bike camping but with a professional yet approachable feel.   


Client brief call



After discussing the brief the next stage is what we call the inspiration stage.  This is the starting blocks of where a logo design and also branding will come from.  If the business has no clear colour palette defined at the previous stage then we will get a good idea of colour palettes that work from the inspiration stage.  

Some designers refer to this stage also as the mood board or design board which is a term used for collecting images, colours and shapes that paint a picture of the brand being designed for.  

With Gravelo Workshop we have some great images and shapes that can work great in logo form.  Trying to stay away from the typical bicycle or bike wheel image was important as the majority of bike stores in the area has those and we believe that most businesses don't need to be too obvious when creating their logos.   Stand out images are the mountain scene (regional connection) and the bike packing images such as tents and exploration icons.   


Bike Packing



Initial Concepts

Moving onto the design stages where ideas begin to be discussed and more visible forms are generated that resemble potential logos.   We make sure the client is very clear about the direction and aim to keep things as transparent as possible with the process.   As the client is paying for the service it is time to use our skillset to direct them with the design and always confirm why the approach is taken.  Clarification reduces confusion.  Some clients can help define the design approach too but we need to clarify this early on.  

For Gravelo Workshop we had two clear runners within the initial concept phase which both were strong representations of the what we wanted to achieve.   The GPS symbol and simplified tent shape just resonated very well with the client. 

These get narrowed down into one to take through to concept development stage.   The G within the GPS logo with the hidden mountain range scene was a clear favourite with us both.  

As with most projects there can be some objections but we focus on removing these from the equation normally through clarification or design example referencing.  The client had original ideas about retro automobile themes based on their interests but after some quick mock-ups in that style we both decided the best approach was our current path.   It allows closure at this stage as if it crops up towards the end of the project it can lead to twice the work.  We clearly make laws about not backtracking at this stage.  If the client is still uncertain then we do not leave the initial concept stage until those decision doubts are removed.  Logo Design Concept 1Logo Design Concept 1Logo Design Concept 2Logo Design Concept 2

Concept Development

Initial concepts move into concept development stage where they become refined and tweaked to be close to production ready.  Colours and fonts are developed and refined during this stage too.  Final colours are then presented during the final stage which follows.   

The designs are presented in different formats and scenarios to show the true flexibility of the design.  Long gone are the days where a business logo just needs to look good on a painted storefront sign.  We have social media, digital marketing, merchandise, product labelling etc to also consider.  

Flexibility of the design is mandatory and we design the logos to meets this requirement.  Think of a logo scaled down as a tiny favicon (the small logo you see beside the website name on a web browser tab) and scaled all the way up to a huge billboard advertisement you see at 100kph on the freeway.   The logo must be flexible enough for this to work and be effective. 

For Gravelo Workshop we have designed such logo that does this.   

Logo Design DevelopmentLogo Design T-Shirt Mock-up

Final Design Presentation


The final sign off stage is where everything is confirmed and signed off.  All colours and fonts are chosen and finalised at this stage too.  We aim for 100% client satisfaction at this stage.  As all the stages were clarified throughout the process there should be no objections at this final stage.  All the artwork is triple checked and supplied in all the relevant sizes and formats required for a business.  A vector file is also supplied to the client which is used by other design industries such as printers, sign makers etc to allow them to easily create marketing products for the client.  

Gravelo Workshop has a great identity logo for their brand which will be used to help define their community driven, friendly cycling store.  A great brand identity gives them the best possible start to their amazing business journey. 

Breaking down the final design you will see many elements.  The strong G in the logo helps link to the same G used in the word below it.  The G also has that upward fist (not overly intentional) which evokes unity with the cyclist community.  The main overall shape is based on a GPS symbol which is a pivotal part of the exploration vibe we wanted to achieve. The tapered mountain range at the bottom on the GPS symbol is the regional reference we really loved too.   The lowercase wording for the brand name below helps keep things a bit more friendly than capitalising.  Overall it looks effective, easy to recognise, adaptable and most importantly the client loves it.     

Final Design Black and WhiteFinal Design ColourFinal Design Alternative ColoursFinal Design TransparentFinal Design T-Shirt

Want a logo designed? Curious about what can be created?

If you are currently reading this going 'I need a great logo for my business' then do get in touch.  I am an experience digital designer and confident in my abilities and processes.  Feel free to get in touch or reach out via any of my social media networks. 


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