In this article, I will take you through a 'behind the scene' start to finish process of designing a new brand identity and a logo design for one of my clients, The Infinity Yacht Brokers. Please keep in mind that even though every project might differ depending on the client, scope, and industry, the design process itself tends to remain fairly consistent.
PHASE 1: GETTING THE JOB
Daniel Da Silva, the owner of Any Boat, a top charter boat agency in Sydney, has recently approached me via email asking for a new logo design for his ‘newly-born’ company named Infinity Yacht Brokers.
PHASE 2: THE DESIGN BRIEF
Upon exchanging a couple of emails to clarify the initial details, I sent him a DBC Design Brief document and asked to fill it the best he can. He promptly filled it out and returned back to me.
Here is a little snapshot of the filled in design brief:
WHAT PRODUCT(S) OR SERVICE(S) DOES YOUR BUSINESS OFFER?:
“We will be moving into the Superyacht Broker market. Basically, individuals/companies might want to hire a boat or a Superyacht anywhere around the world (Australia, Mediterranean or Caribbean) so they use a broker (ourselves) to find a boat for a week or more to stay on board with a full crew, chefs, etc.”
After having a careful read of the document, I found in short that he wanted a logo that would involve around concepts such as exclusive, discrete, simple (no-fuss). Be memorable, clean, crisp and simple. Incorporate the infinity symbol into one of the concepts - sending a message such as "endless locations around the world”
PHASE 3: FORMALITIES
In this stage, I forwarded him my price list accompanied by my recommendations as to which package/s would be suitable for his needs and the reasoning behind it (all based on the information from the filled design brief).
“Based on his brand-vision, he informed me that out of the offered options, he selected the “All Inclusive Company Logo Design package.”
I then sent the Copyright Legal transfer of Ownership PDF form and the Invoice for a 50 % deposit. Upon finalising all the paperwork, the payment and a few more short emails clarifying little details, (and thanks to sufficiently filled design brief), I had all I needed to commence with the job.
PHASE 4: RESEARCH
a) Market research
Here, I started by restating all the relevant points from Daniel’s brief to establish, and to maintain the right direction throughout the process. I paid extra attention to information regarding companies’ brand positioning and its specific target audience. The logo I was about to create must always speak to, and, be relevant to the right customer segment determined by the positioning of the brand on the market. Next, I focused on the competitors and understood their branding presence in the current market. I specifically searched for some commonalities and patterns amongst them that can be helpful to my project. At last but not least, I looked into the chartered boats industry itself to gain some insides about its history, present and future trends and etc. (For a logo to communicate effectively, it’s important to view the bigger picture, I like to follow trends, not for their own sake but rather to be aware of them: longevity in logo design is key.)
b) Visual research
Once I got the understanding of Daniel’s business and the overall market ideology, I diverted my attention to the visual aspect of the logo. I looked at styles, attitudes, souls, and approaches of similar and different brands and their logos and critique them. Then, I put together all the findings, studied them and searched for relevant linkages and repetitive patterns.
“Throughout the entire research process, the information outlined by the design brief never left my mind.”
PHASE 5: CREATIVE RITUAL
This is where my work routine might highly differ from regular occupations/jobs. This is because the process of creation is hardly instantaneous—it’s nothing like switching on a light bulb ☺. Rather, I like to think of it more as a gradual synthesis of my own thoughts, dreams, and experiences.
So, here I like to leave my usual workspace and replace it with an environment that makes my mind free and relaxed. Along the time, I have learned that the best way to fuel my creativity is to practice mindful observation and simply let my external surroundings speak to me. Then, I can easily notice interesting patterns and connections in my environment and effortlessly create an alignment between them and my current logo design project.
“The need to look for inspiration is a crucial part and it gets repeated numerous times throughout the entire designing process.”
PHASE 6: SKETCHING & DEVELOPMENT
Once I acquired many new ideas from my research, summarized what I know from the brief and got sufficiently inspired, it was time to get to work.
Even though at this stage I usually start by drawing on paper, this time I began by utilizing the vector tools of my logo design software. I brainstormed and conceptualized every idea that came to my head, allowing each concept to evolve on its own. I kept continuously refining them and using my previous sketches to influence the outcome of new ones.
“During this process, Phase 5 got repeated so I could step back, reflect on my designs and get a fresh perspective before continuing.”
In the first concept, I started to experiment with the golden ratio principle together with the infinity symbol. After some time, multiple sketches, I observed that while using the golden ratio circles I can create a boat and seamlessly place the infinity symbol in its center. Then, I cleaned and ‘de-cluttered’ this concept resulting in, what I believed to be, simplistic and balanced ‘Infinity Yacht Bow.
The second concept evolved around the idea of the symbol of infinity itself, as per Daniel’s request. Initially, I must admit, I felt quite skeptical about applying the infinity icon as the sole company symbol at all. This was mainly because of its saturated use across multiple industries. This was a challenge, as even after a number of sketches and brainstorming sessions, I still did not feel connected with the infinity icon. Finally, during my “zoning out’ moments, the question kept re-appearing multiple times – ‘Why infinity?’ The answer appeared– ‘Y Knot' ;). Suddenly I ran to get a pen and paper and ‘documented’ the whole process, looking like this:
Both drafts were then compiled into a presentation pack and email to Daniel. As this project was a company logo design, the final concept was to be approved not only by Daniel but also by his business partner and their team via the majority vote system.
Within a couple of days, I received the verdict from Daniel:
“Mike, we have a clear winner here - the team has decided to go with the infinity symbol with the ‘Y’ in it. Thanks a million! Where do we go from here?”
Once agreed on the winning logo, we exchanged a few more emails clarifying additional details.
PHASE 7: FONTING & COLOURING
I went through different typefaces, focusing on crisp and clean fonts such as Brandon Grotesque, Futura, Helvetica, etc. I kept experimenting with different fonts until I found the right fit (though it is never set in stone)and recommended Nexa Light & Nexa Bold, as the chosen font together bundled with other font options for comparison.
Simultaneously, I was also trying out different colour combinations, while utilising both, the colour palette and colour psychology principles. The primary colours finally selected were white and 'Infinity Blue' ( a unique hand-picked spot colour especially custom made for the Infinity Yacht brand). I also created a set of secondary colours consisting of a gradient of 'Infinity Blue' and a gradient of shiny metal grey.
'“All the font & colour draft packs compiled into visual draft presentation and forwarded to Daniel and the team for an approval. They loved all the colour options and were happy to go with all my recommendations.”
PHASE 8: FINAL CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT & DELIVERY
At this stage, I was ready to put together the final pack. Meanwhile, I kept constantly considering how each element - the fonts, colours, positioning, etc. - can be used elsewhere and function within the entire brand. This got then reflected in the final logo file, where I showcased how the logo can be rearranged or broken apart to create different variations for versatility.
PHASE 9: FINAL APPROVAL & CELEBRATION
After final approval and payment of the balance I sent Daniel and his team the final Infinity Yacht Brokers LOGO Files. Being a company logo design package, it included AI (Adobe Illustrator vector file), JPEG, PNG and PDF versions of the logo design, accompanied with various colour grids, and variations, as well as the psychological rationale behind the logo itself.