6 Tips on the Identity Design Process

As a designer at Fabric Eleven my focus is mainly on creating identity and branding. I got my start as a print designer, leading the visual marketing department for a university, during which I diversified into web design as it in turn adopted elements of print design. These days, I find myself most interested in the fluidity in a business’s transition between print and web and I concentrate of creating identities that reflect that.

My interest in writing this blog, and the others on this topics, is to help designers and clients start dialogues about design. I can’t say that the process I will outline is the right method for you, but I hope my knowledge and experience can provide some insight.


The Identity Design Process

Clients have a variety resources to draw on when it comes to the identity design process, and anyone can gain access to the software needed to create an identity. What separates designers—no matter their experience level—is their process for creating solid, lasting brands that get a positive response from their markets. Some logos refine the best aspects of the current version, others stick to tried and true ideas, but you can’t say which concept is better until you’ve done the research to see where a client is in their market, and where they hope to go. This is the research phase. The following tips apply from that phase onwards:


 Six Tips

  1. Think about where you logo will be placed—i.e. logos that are too wide will limit their possible applications.
  2. Design in black and white, then grey-scale, then color.
  3. Create 40 thumbnails to show the client, then do 40 more to refine the idea. Research in the beginning, and during each stage, as this will make your ideas more original and help you avoid replicating another idea because you’ve all ready seen what is out there.
  4. Avoid using Illustrator for the design until you’ve explored every option. Once you go to the computer, you can get caught tinkering to ensure you have the perfect lines and colors while loosing focus on the overall project.
  5. Never show your client an option you don’t want to develop further.
  6. Before you settle on the final logo, mock-up the logo on t-shirts, cars , bottles—as many things as you can—so you can see how it works in a wide variety of applications.


In a future post, I’ll be going through an example of this process in action.