Step 4: Draw

This step is all about exploring ideas and communicating them visually back to yourself, so when it’s time to develop them digitally you can quickly evaluate whether they’re solid concepts to move forward with. 

You’re going to bring all the elements required in the logo together, and draw various forms and arrangements to see how they could be laid out.  

Don’t skip this step!

Unfortunately, this is the most commonly skipped step. What’s the most common excuse to bypass drawing and jump straight onto the computer to develop concepts?

“I can’t draw.”

If that’s you, here’s a liberating fact: it doesn’t matter how well you can draw. The aim here isn’t to have a beautiful final sketch of a logo ready to digitise on the computer. Rather, it’s an exercise that allows you to visually communicate ideas to the future you when you’re further into the process. 

Note, if the logo you’re creating is a custom type-based detailed illustration, then your process will probably involve sketching in detail. This process in general will vary slightly from this method, although you can still apply the idea-generating principals here.

Get your ideas onto paper

Get out your sketch pad or a blank piece of paper, and let’s get started on your drawing your concepts.

Draw lots of concepts! Brain dump your ideas by getting them out of your head and onto paper. Ideally spend around 1-2 minutes per concept. If you can see a concept is working straight away - however poorly scribbled it may seem - then move on and sketch out another concept.  

If you saw a logo design you liked while searching for inspiration in Step 3, be inspired by it. Decide what you like about it and see if you can apply it to your brief.

Remember, you are concentrating on figuring out how all the elements will fit together, and what form they could take – in a very loose manner. So don’t labour over your concepts. Avoid getting too detailed, and don’t stop to evaluate whether or not they are good ideas or not. You’ll do this later. 

Draw quickly

Drawing your concepts quickly will keep your idea-generating mind firing and active, and help you avoid time-wasting tangents. If your sketches are pretty, perfect or detailed, you’re spending too much time on them. 

Remember the keywords

Remember the keywords you defined in Step 2? Refer back to them often. These will be great cues to help spark ideas, and remind you to stay focused on the brief.

Do 20-in-20

If you tend towards getting stuck creating concepts that are too detailed, try this challenge: 

Create 20 unique hand drawn concepts in 20 minutes. For one minute, sketch your concept. And the end of that minute, stop. Start a new concept. Repeat this 20 times.

You can practice this ‘20-in-20’ as a creative ‘tune up’ even when you aren’t creating a logo for a client. It’s a great exercise to develop your ability to generate concepts quickly, and it can even help to shift creative block.

Choose your concepts

Once you’ve got a page of concepts sketched out, it’s time to decide which ones you’re going to develop. 

Choose up to three concepts that cover a good range of styles, meaning and varying layout formations. Any more than three concepts can be overwhelming for your client – you want to avoid giving them analysis paralysis! 

Circle the concepts you’ve chosen, number them 1, 2 and 3. By circling them you’re making a solid decision on the ones you are going ahead with. You may also want to quickly write some notes about the style of each concept and why you’ve chosen it. This will come in handy in a later step.

If all of the concepts you’ve drawn have the same meaning behind them (as guided by your brief), make sure you pick the concepts that are quite visually different to each other, rather than selecting ones that are just variations of the same idea, arrangement or form.

For clients who have indicated quite specifically how they want their logo to look, you could choose a range of concepts by using the guide below: 

  • Concept 1: Give them what they’ve asked for
  • Concept 2: Give them what they’ve asked for, but with a twist  or an improvement from your design knowledge
  • Concept 3: Give them something completely different

Sometimes, you’ll be surprised at what concept they choose – most often then not it’s concept 2 or 3 that they’ll go for.

Not enough concepts?

If you don’t have enough concepts that you’re happy to move forward with, take a break, go for a short walk and let your mind reset. 

Then come back refreshed and go back to Step 3 and do more research and inspiration. 

Then come back to this step and have another go.