Branding & Logo Design

Your logo is the foundation of your brand—a succinct, memorable representation of your identity. I’ve been designing effective logos for 20+ years, but more importantly I can craft a documented Branding & Logo Design strategy to ensure your organizational vision is consistently communicated. Your brand is what the world thinks of you, and I can help you manage it.

Branding & Logos Design by Duane Smith

Organizational Research

To create a logo and brand strategy, I have to understand your organization. Gaining that depth of knowledge takes Organizational Research—interviewing stakeholders, talking with clients and customers, reviewing documentation and previous communication efforts, discussing current and future needs, and more. Only then, equipped with organizational understanding, can I define the visual communication problem that needs to be solved with logo and branding design.

Ideation & Exploration

Once I know what problem is being solved, I start exploring possible solutions with thumbnail sketches—quick, rough conceptual sketches that allow me to get dozens, even hundreds of potential solutions down on paper as quickly as possible. Typically, I’ll do 50-100 thumbnails on a small project, with 100-200 being common on most projects.

logo design thumbnail sketches

It might seem silly to an outsider, but this Ideation & Exploration process is the pretty standard in the industry. It’s what I learned in college, it’s what I did in agency work, and it’s the best way I know to explore potential solutions, new thoughts, and new approaches. Admittedly, 95% of what I try won’t work—either they’re the wrong solution, or an incomplete one—but with so many potential solutions, there’s always a handful worthy of pushing further.

Once I have a handful of options, I’ll work up pencil roughs to flesh out my initial ideas. From there, I’ll start building vector objects in Adobe Illustrator, then reviewing and reworking until I have a draft solution.

Application Examples

Looking at a logo on it’s own doesn’t always communicate the complete idea. Yes, you’re looking at the logo, but on it’s own you start to judge it not by how it solves your communication problems but by how it meets your personal aesthetic preferences.

But your organization’s brand isn’t about you. It’s about your audience—the people, the users, the clients, the customers—and their perception of your brand.

To that end, I show the logo and brand in action through Application Examples, mockups that show what your audience will see so you gain an understanding of how the brand will be perceived.

Guidelines & Standards

A new logo or brand is useless without Guidelines & Standards to ensure it’s used consistently.

Visual identity guideline documentation defines the elements, orientations, colors, and usage guidelines of a logo so your team (or outside vendors) don’t misuse your new logo. Nothing will destroy your awesome new logo faster than reproducing it incorrectly!

Logo Design Usage Guidelines

Branding guideline documentation includes visual identity guideline documentation but carries it much further, defining not only the logo itself but the overall brand—typography, iconography, photography, voice, and tone—establishing the overall brand strategy. Well documented brand guidelines provide a single source of truth for your brand to everyone tasked with managing it.

Learn More

Strategy in Expertise
User Experience (UX) in Expertise
User Interface (UI) in Expertise
Consulting in Services
Branding & Logo Design in Services (You are here)
Website & App Design in Services

Let's Talk

Got a project? I’d love to hear about it. Just want to learn more, or aren’t sure what you need? I’ll help you figure it out, and if I’m not the right fit, I can refer you to someone who is.

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