Chapter 9. Logo Design

An important step towards creating your own trademark is logo design. In this chapter, I will explain how to choose a designer correctly, with a benchmark of average market prices for development. It is essential to understand that logo design should be undertaken only after the name has passed all uniqueness checks. This stage comes after the deep uniqueness check, which differs from the primary check. The primary check is done using the database of registered trademarks, which is publicly accessible. The deep check is performed using the database of submitted applications for registration, accessible only to patent attorneys.
What does this mean?
Let's assume we have chosen the name "Tuzik Grelku" for Jack's flea control project, created and submitted an application for trademark registration. Naturally, our application will be assigned a number and a filing date in Rospatent. The processing time for applications, including the decision on registration or refusal, may take from 6 months to a year, with an average of 10 months. Now, let's say another brand with a similar name, "Tuzik Domoy," filed an application two months before yours. It is not yet registered in the database of trademarks, but during the examination, Rospatent's expert may compare these trademarks and, upon finding similarities, will decide based on the filing date, the so-called "priority," which is assigned based on the principle of "first come, first served." That's why you should start the logo design process only after passing both checks.
Now, about the logo
I do not recommend using free logo makers, and I'll explain why. Branding is, first and foremost, about packaging uniqueness. By using standardized solutions, you undermine the essence of this work.
You can find designers on multiple platforms that allow you to find a worthy professional graphic designer, but like in any market, truly excellent ones are gems. Freelancers, who are mostly graphic designers, are essentially small entrepreneurs with different business models.
Some create 10 logo concepts (one concept meaning a set of design proposals; on average, a designer develops 3-5 logo variations, depending on the agreement) for 35,000 rubles, while others offer 50 concepts for 7,000 rubles, ultimately earning the same amount. However, one provides a more individual and thoughtful approach, dedicating more time to the development process, while the other churns out generic solutions.
In some cases, I have seen logo quality from such "cheap" designers not far from what ordinary logo makers offer. In any case, each designer values their work differently, and we can only assess such work subjectively.
My seasoned eye can easily distinguish an artist from a craftsman, but how can you do it?
My method is quite simple: if you want good quality, don't buy cheap. Start by looking at designers with a logo development price starting at $250. Carefully review their portfolios, which should include at least 16-20 published works. Read the accompanying texts and take notes. Select 3-5 designers whose works resonate with you and inquire about their process. A "good" designer always has a detailed brief for logo development or corporate identity. Some, like my agency, combine these services.
Note: You should be aware that a graphic designer is not a marketer or branding specialist. The more detailed your technical task is, the better. Provide them with everything you have developed up to that point, and by the time you place an order, you should already have a completed value proposition, in which the metaphor must provide both you and the designer with a list of symbols that can form the basis of the logo. However, don't be too restrictive; don't stifle the creative people's desire to offer their own version. Be open-minded while providing the designer with a clearly defined conceptual field for creativity.
Our agency never provides a large number of options to choose from, and there are reasons for that.
When the brand's value proposition is thoroughly defined, the scope of symbols is outlined, and the mood is clear, and the name is chosen purposefully, logically following the previous stages, the choice cannot be extensive. Sometimes, before starting the project, we propose to agree on the color palette. The client tells us the colors they envision for the brand and why, and we present our vision. Usually, the color palette is included in the corporate identity presentation and is part of the next stage of brand development.
However, some designers and agencies have a product called a "logo book." What is it? It is a logo presentation that includes the logo itself, fonts, a simplified color palette, and 1-2 applications (business cards and letterhead). This mini-product necessary for launching a company is called a logo book. Typically, this product is not related to branding and is more of a product offered by graphic design companies. I think it's time to clarify the differences between design companies and branding agencies.
Branding agencies move from meaning to form, embodying the marketing idea of a product in its packaging, complementing the meaning with visual solutions.
Branding agencies work on shaping these meanings together with the client, participating in the development of concepts and positioning. Companies selling design, even the best ones, usually work with projects that are already established, with ready-made concepts and businesses. Certainly, top-notch design agencies have marketers and creatives who can develop a brand concept or advertising campaign, but then they are essentially on par with branding agencies.
Let's say they have branding divisions. The main difference is that brand managers work with ideas, conveyed through various channels (including visual solutions), while designers work directly with form (visuals). If we talk about designers, who can be found in abundance on popular freelance platforms, they usually work only with visuals. That's why you should fulfill the conceptual and marketing function by forming the brand's value proposition and incorporating it into a detailed creative brief.
Creative Brief
There is no established form for it. If you are lucky, you will receive a well-thought-out brief. If not, you might receive a few questions in an email or Google Doc. Don't be alarmed, just fill it out. Don't expect designers to be overly enthusiastic about your project; remember that you are one of many clients, just one among the multitude.
Everything depends on the workload of the designer. There is a common belief that all designers "miss deadlines." There is an objective explanation for this – any project in such development, like any creative process, is unpredictable. Sometimes ideas come right away, while other times they take time. A template solution can be produced in a few days, but it will lack uniqueness. Even a very skilled designer is unlikely to research the logos of your competitors or adjust the colors accordingly; that will be up to you.
The average time for logo development is 7-14 days.
Taking longer? It means you are in a long queue of clients. I would recommend finding someone more expensive but with more availability.
The logo consists of two parts: the symbolic (graphic) and the typographic (font).
In the age of minimalism, which has been prevailing for the past 5 years, some logos are built solely on the typographic part. Overall, you can determine which stylistic approach suits the brand best, but it should not be random either. Let's explore what factors influence this choice. In some cases, when several similar trademarks are found at Rospatent (Russian Patent Office), a patent attorney may recommend developing a logo with a predominant graphic part (usually 70% graphic dominance over typographic). This helps reduce the risks of trademark registration refusal. Other than that, you are free to do whatever you wish with your logo.
Let's say you have identified your target audience as conservative, primarily aged 42-54, consisting of men and women with an average income of 150,000-300,000 rubles per month. The product range includes consulting, premium goods and services, such as real estate and automobiles, legal and accounting services, expensive watches, custom-made clothing and footwear (the list is not exhaustive) - obviously, in the choice of fonts and style, you should adhere to a conservative image or restrained minimalism.
The premium segment is quite conservative in choosing colors. Classic colors include black and white, navy blue, purplish-red, shades of gold, deep, and subdued colors.
Here is a small set of visual elements that could reflect the appropriate brand platforms.
Here is a small set of visual elements that could reflect the appropriate brand platforms.
The situation would be entirely different for the fashion and beauty industry.
The situation would be entirely different for the fashion and beauty industry.
The IT sector, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and services, are generally associated with different fonts and colors.
The IT sector, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and services, are generally associated with different fonts and colors.
I hope you now understand that the choice of each element cannot be random. Each detail and stage logically follows from the previous one and cannot contradict it. The symbol, organically born from the brand's metaphor, is complemented by a font that corresponds to the industry and image you are trying to create. What is the purpose of this image? Primarily for your target audience.

The corporate identity, and as part of it, the logo, is a complex system that signals the target audience that the product/service is made specifically for them. Just like walking through a massive shopping mall, potential visitors can distinguish premium products from everyday goods based on signage, color schemes, brand names, fonts, and window displays. The subconscious relates a brand to a specific price category through the corporate identity. In a fraction of a second, potential customers understand if this is "their" brand or if they should pass it by.
Of course, there are other means; in large malls, premium and luxury brands are usually located on the ground floor. People who are not part of that segment can quickly head to other floors of the mall without wasting their time. But if you stand for a few minutes at the railing of one of the floors in a large shopping center, you can observe the stylistic differences in the design of stores offering premium and mass-market products, sports and cosmetic brands, clothing, and furniture, which may be imperceptible to an untrained eye but still distinctly noticeable.
This is the goal of branding – to make you not consciously aware or see the difference but feel it.

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