Image of Jordis Small sketching by Stellen Design branding agency and Logo design firm in Los Angeles California

How to start a logo design?

So you are wondering how to start a logo design? Well the first step is actually to do what I call a “discovery” or a “brand strategy”. To find out more about a brand discovery and how crucial it is to the success of your business, read this. 

As you will notice in this article, the first 6 steps are not design steps… They are strategy and planning phases to develop the brand. 

Once you go through the strategy and brand discovery phase you will be ready to start designing the logo and you should have some clarity on what that logo should be and what style it should have. The brand discovery often brings light to ideas and themes around the brand. 


Logos for how to start a log design by Stellen Design branding agency and Logo design firm in Los Angeles California

At Stellen Design we always like to present our ideas for the logo design before designing anything… if we are thinking a tree logo makes sense for the client’s brand, we want to share that with them before we start designing a bunch of tree logos. We also always share style references with our clients. These are a collection of existing logos that have a similar style of what we are thinking of for that particular client. Sharing these examples makes it easier for the client to get excited about what is to come and helps warm them up so they are not feeling blindsided when we present the initial concepts. 

The worst thing to happen during the logo design process is to not be on the same page as your client… you will present what you think are the best design ideas only to have them be underwhelmed and begin to feel insecure about the process. That is when you get the feedback like “I don’t know, I am just not loving it”. Or “that’s not it… but I will know it when I see it”. Those responses will send you on an endless journey trying to get it right. 


Images of logo sketches by Stellen Design branding agency and Logo design firm in Los Angeles CaliforniaOnce the client is excited about the logo direction and the logo style we go to the drawing board… literally… we put pencil to paper and start drawing! Once we have exhausted the pencil and paper we can take the sketches to the computer and begin to see the magic happen. Sometimes stuff looks much better on the computer, other times we realize stuff is just not going to work. Logo design is called a “process” for a reason! 

We personally like to make a true mess on the computer, think of the messy kid in art class… but that is how we get there. We will flush out what is good and worth showing the client and clean them up! 

The Lahaina Room Logo by Stellen Design branding agency and Logo design firm in Los Angeles California

To Conclude

The true start of a logo design is in the brand discovery phase but if you are going to dive into a logo design, always start with narrowing down the idea and present styling. If you are a business owner trying to design your own logo or work with a contracted designer who is NOT taking you through the branding process, do your homework, define the concept you want to see for your logo, and find some style references for the designer. That will help give them a starting off point. Designers are not mind readers so the more visual references the better. 

Another great resource for communicating with your designer is a mood board

Love logos? Check out the logo archive.

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Carolina Vangilder of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolina Van Gilder
Project manager / Assistant
The coordinator, facilitator and scheduler for all Stellen Design projects. She communicates with clients about everything from contracts and payments to design edits and revisions. She helps keep the logistics on point so Stellen Design can live up to their reputation.
Carolyn Packard of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolyn Packard
Carolyn Packard is a seasoned designer with valuable insight into effectively communicating and interpreting design needs to her clients. Carolyn knows the value of creating good, functional design.
Jordis Smalls of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Jordis Small
Creative Director
Jordis is a big believer in continued education. She makes it a point to attend at least four workshops or conferences a year to keep her skill improving. She is also a big advocate for “creative play” and loves to spend her spare time trying new things and learning new techniques.