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Screenshot of my third freehand sketch in Illustrator

How I made a logo for my business from scratch

Skip to steps

  1. Start with your brand name
  2. Evaluate brand name ideas
  3. Logo design process
  4. Get inspired
  5. Digitize your sketches

Introduction

As a designer myself, I enjoy spending time thinking about a logo, sketching on paper, and then digitizing it in Illustrator or Sketch.

However, if you are someone who does not have the time, patience or skills to design your own logo, just know that there are a host of logo services where you can hire creative freelancers to do it for you.

Photo of shopify logo on shopfront
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

Check out Freelancer platforms like Fivver or Upwork. These are marketplaces that will allow you to reach out to creative freelancers all over the world.

There you will find a variety of freelancers specializing in anything from Logo design to voice-overs, to animation and a whole lot more.

All you need to do is find a freelancer, discuss the requirements and then agree on a price.

If you are happy with their reviews, and they seem like a good fit, you could get your logo within a week to 10 days.

However, if you are someone who plans to design your business logo yourself then keep reading.

Skip to the section below on designing the logo as I share my design approach for the FounderCopilot logo.

1. Start with your brand name

Before you can create a great logo, you’ll need to have a brand name.

One of the most important first steps is to evaluate your brand name choices properly so you can collect feedback from the people around you.

Photo of two young entrepreneurs looking at laptops
Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

When planning and developing the brand for FounderCopilot, I set the following goals to help guide me through the process:

  • Create valuable content for my audience by sharing practical advice and support on WordPress, SEO & Digital Marketing.
  • Design a brand that young entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business owners could relate to.
  • Ensure the brand is intuitive and easy to understand. In other words, people need to know exactly what the brand is offering on their first impression — a characteristic of any great brand.

These goals could be applied to almost any brand, so feel free to use them for your own project.

Although I had some ideas, I knew I needed to gather feedback.

However, at the time, I was not sure what the best approach was.

It wasn’t until I did a little more research online that I found a really simple method that set me down the right path.

2. Evaluate your brand name ideas

“FounderCopilot” was not the first name I came up with, it was actually one of 6 other names I had made a shortlist of.

In fact, I had settled on a different name for nearly six months before I arrived at FounderCopilot.

So how was I able to decide on a good name and proceed with confidence, you ask?

In the end, it was simple — I collected invaluable feedback from friends, colleagues, and family members using the findings I collected from my brand name evaluator survey.

Screenshot of FounderCopilot brand name survey
Screenshot of the brand name survey

The survey evaluates the name choices based on the following characteristics:

  • Sound
  • Distinctiveness
  • Memorability
  • Wow-factor

If you would like to know more about this research process, check my related article how to create a memorable online brand in 5 steps.

Originally, I found that the names I believed were the strongest, actually turned out to be the least favourite and did not get good feedback in the survey!

In the end, the name “FounderCopilot” was rated the highest in each category for sound, distinctiveness, memorability, and wow-factor.

Knowing this allowed me to pivot and move forward with confidence.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get feedback on your brand name.

From experience, I usually find that the first set of names are the ones I get attached to the most.

You may also convince yourself a certain name is ‘the one’ so you can move on — Something I admit I have done myself in the past!

Once you settle on a name, always run it by people around you, whether that be friends, family, or work colleagues.

The last thing you need it to launch with a brand that no-one understands.

In my case, gathering feedback on my own brand came fairly late, (a month almost before the website launched!). However, what matters is that I did receive valuable feedback which steered me in the right direction.

3. The logo design process

 Note – Most of the following section assumes you have some experience with graphic design tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, or Figma.

Whether you are designing the logo yourself or hiring someone to design it for you, it’s important to understand that the process can take time.

Designing a great logo takes careful research and many versions before the name and the logo make a perfect match.

Man sketching logo on drawing paper
Photo by feliperizo.co | heart made on Unsplash

If you have some experience in graphic design, note that some experience with freehand sketching on paper or whiteboard is definitely ideal but not necessary.

I used Adobe Illustrator to digitize the logo, so some experience with a vector-based graphic design tool is ideal also.

Before designing the logo for FounderCopilot, I had a vague idea of what I wanted the logo to look like.

When approaching the logo concept, I knew I wanted to include something in the logo that would incorporate something that a pilot would wear, for example, pilot glasses or headphones.

I began to look for inspiration from vector graphics of fighter jet helmets!

However, the initial concepts I outlined in Illustrator were either too detailed or simply didn’t work.

Following this, I knew I didn’t want a detailed logo related to fighter jet helmets.

My logo needed to be simpler, more modern.

I then found myself exploring helmet logo designs. Below are the results from a search for “retro space helmet vector”.

Screenshot of google images with helmet logos
Google Image Search

I liked the simplicity of the shapes and decided to explore this further by sketching some rough concepts.

Exploring different concepts and ideas like this is what great logo design is all about.

One of my first concepts included a pilot helmet with glasses as seen in the sketch below.

I usually like to sketch on a whiteboard as it allows me to quickly capture the visual I have in my head, and then tweak and modify as necessary.

Photo illustrating the whiteboard sketch of version 1 of logo
Version 1 – whiteboard sketch

Once I had seen this sketch a few times, I started to realize there was again too much detail.

I knew I needed to simplify even further!

Like with design the first few versions are usually rough, and with each version, you’ll get closer to the logo you want.

Below is a later iteration of the logo I designed in Adobe Illustrator.

Screenshot of version 1 logo design
Version 2 in Illustrator

When I finished designing the second version of the logo, I was convinced that this was the one.

However, after a few days, I started to see some of the flaws.

I noticed that the character looked like someone wearing a swimming hat! I simply couldn’t get it out of my head.

This version was simply not strong enough, so I decided to go back to the drawing board.

4. Get Inspired

Inspiration for a logo design can come from anywhere, on a billboard, an online forum, or even in a movie.

What matters is that you need to be open to explore lots of things to improve the scope of your ideas.

When designing FounderCopilot, I got inspired by Manga!

I have always been a big fan of Manga character art.

I find the style is simplemodern and dynamic — the kind of characteristics that work well for logos.

Even some of the older Manga comic books from the ’80s, still look modern to this day.

One of my favorite manga movies is Akira — a 1988 cyberpunk anime classic by Katsuhiro Otomo, set in Neo Tokyo in 2019.

Screenshot of Akira poster
ArtStation designed by Lucas Mendoça

The art from the movie has inspired people all over the world.

When I Googled “Akira art”, I came across the above poster on ArtStation designed by Lucas Mendoça.

I felt it had a simple, yet dynamic style was exactly the direction I wanted to go in.

I decided to explore this further.

foundercopilot-logo-sketch-final
Version 3 – whiteboard sketch

The sketch above is the third and final iteration of my logo. Notice how I took some inspiration from the manga art style.

I used a Wipebook to draw a freehand sketch, then erased and redrew it a couple of times to get the angle of the face just right.

I also used some characteristics of the space helmet design I explored earlier versions.

5. Digitize your sketches

Once I was happy with the sketch, I then took a photo of my sketch and then placed it into Illustrator.

Below is a screenshot of the outlines I created in Illustrator using a combination of the pen tool, the circle shape, and the direct select tool.

Screenshot of my third freehand sketch in Illustrator
Digitizing sketches in Illustrator

I personally find that creating digital versions of my sketches allow me to iterate more efficiently.

A big part of this is seeing the sketch get closer to the real thing i.e. a ‘high fidelity’ logo design.

For maximum efficiency,  I also strongly recommend storing your designs on the cloud on services like Google Drive or Dropbox.

This will allow you to review your designs and ideas on the fly.

FounderCopilot social icon
Final version

I personally find that the hardest part of logo design when you are staring at a blank canvas.

When you have version 1 and 2, it is usually easier to tweak and perfect it as you like.

One thing to keep in mind is to try and make your logo easily recognizable at any size i.e. favicon, app icon, website logo.

This way you will have a logo that will look great on all platforms, web, mobile apps, and even print!

Conclusion

Whether you design the logo yourself or hire a freelancer to do it for you, make it your business to create a logo that your confident your audience will relate to.

The best way to achieve this is by collecting feedback as early as possible.

This could start by showing it to friends and family, however, if you want to get more unbias feedback you could look to SurveyMonkey’s Logo Testing Survey.

It’s also important not to feel tied down to one method. Feel free to experiment, and most importantly, have fun!

Niall Conway

Niall Conway

Founder & Marketing Director
FounderCopilot.com

I am an online entrepreneur who helps people build, launch, optimize and monetize their online business with Wordpress, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Adsense and a whole lot more.

On my website and on my Youtube channel, I share the skills and insights I have built up over the last 10+ years while working as a freelance designer/developer and while founding several digital businesses of my own. Read more...

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