Creating a logo you feel good about and represents your practice well starts with the right exercises. If you jump right in to design without going through these exercises, you’re likely going to end up with a logo you’re not satisfied with.
This guide outlines the steps you can take to get more clarity around what ideas to explore. You’ll also examine what the essence of your practice and your story are, so you can use that information to brief a designer, giving them more clarity to work with.
The goal of this guide is to help you generate a design brief for a designer with 2-3 strong concepts that resonate with your audience. This way, you’ll set yourself up for success by giving the designer everything they need to be able to deliver an ideal concept using their style.
Table of Contents
Importance of a Good Logo
Your logo is really your first impression. You can think about it in terms of clothing. You dress professionally when you visit clients so that you make an impression, right? The same goes for your logo. What’s more – after you apply your logo to your stationary, signage, and more – you don’t want to have to pay to remake all of those assets because you needed to go through a logo redesign in your first years of business. So, there’s a real cost in not getting it right.
Anatomy of a Logo
Before we dive into the exercises, let’s cover a few terms you should get familiar with. Most logos have a logo mark, and logo type. Some only have one or the other.
Your logo ‘mark’ is the symbol of the logo. This is the Nike ‘Swoosh’. It’s the image or mark. Some logos do not have a mark, just text (called logo type).
Your logo ‘type’ are the written words, almost always the business name, and the font choice or art style used to express them.
What a good logo is
A good logo is something that tells the story or represents your practice in a meaningful way, and resonates with your potential client. This means your practice name and logo should be designed with your clients as the foremost consideration.
The story will come from the exercises you’ll go through in this guide. Think of it as a main idea, or a couple of ideas, that best represent the feeling and mood of your practice and your unique approach to helping clients through therapy.
What a good logo isn’t
Try to steer yourself away from colors you like, fonts you like, and imagery or personal stories you’re not willing to make a part of your business. While these things may seem to be the right idea to base your logo off of, your audience will likely not understand the meaning, and you’ll lose the ability to make them feel like the business and brand is meant for them.
Remind yourself that this is for your clients, not for you. You should of course pick something you’re comfortable with, but to be successful it’s a logo for the clients first.
Word Association Exercise
The first exercise we’ll do is a word association exercise. This activity is great for generating ideas that you might not have already thought of. That’s particularly helpful if you’re stuck on coming up with an idea at all, or you don’t feel like your idea strongly resonates with your clients. Start in the center by writing one or two words that uniquely describe your practice, the work around those words to define your audience, therapy style, voice, and main idea that makes you unique. There are no right or wrong answers, and if you don’t feel strongly about one section, leave it blank for now.
The next step is to fill out a design brief. Again, there are no right or wrong answers here. These questions are designed to be open-ended questions that help you explore the main ideas of your practice so you can get more clear on what makes you different. That’s important, because people who are searching for therapists are looking for something that they resonate with, and if that ‘something’ is honestly you and what makes you different, you’ll stand out from the crowd and draw your ideal clients to your practice.
Terminology and Continuums
Each of these points represents a common range or continuum of design aesthetics. It’s important to learn these terms before speaking with your designer. The more clear you can get on your language, the more clear you’ll be communicating with the designer to explore your needs and the appropriate approach to the logo design project.
- Masculine – Gender Neutral – Feminine
- Loud & Bold – Soft
- Bright – Neutral
- Informal – Formal
- Retro – Modern – Contemporary
- Minimalistic – Detailed
- Abstract – Literal
- Fun & Playful – Serious
- Luxury – Plain
- Exclusive – Open
Mood Board - Collecting Examples
Now it’s time to pull together some visual examples. You can use the links below to screenshot or save images of examples that you think best represent the vision of your logo that you feel will best resonate with your audience. The idea isn’t to copy anything you find, but rather for you to use the visuals as examples to help the designer understand the look and feel that is most desirable. Remember, this is for your clients – so keep them in mind when choosing examples. Ideally, grab 5-10 examples of logos that you think will work, and be able to explain a bit for each one why you chose it.
Focus on saving concepts that contain elements or ideas that fit with the themes and specific ideas you’ve come up with so far. If you want to go the extra mile, create another folder and save examples that contain ideas you want to avoid.
Places to search for examples
Hint: If you’re wondering what to search for – try using words in your mindmapping document and design brief.
Hiring A Designer
The next step is to hire a designer. You have some options on where you can hire a designer, and figuring out where you should hire someone and how much you should anticipate to spend can be a bit challenging, so we’ve outlined two options to help you get started in the right direction depending on your primary criteria.
Best Low Budget Option: 99 Designs
If you’re a solo practice just getting started, you’re going to want to keep your costs as low as possible. Put it up for a contest at 99 designs. Designers compete to win the contest. You won’t get to work with the designers one on one, but you will get a lot of options to choose from. This option is particularly good if you’re not really sure what you want or need. You’ll have an opportunity to ask the designers to revise their concepts, and you’ll likely land on something you’re happy with. You can optionally add on things like business cards, letterhead and more.
Timeline: 1 week
Best Quality Option: Mental Health Marketing
If you’ve already hired a few therapists or you’re a clinic, you will want to spend a little more to work one on one with one of our designers so you can get help with refining the concept. Working with a designer has some big advantages. You’ll get review calls to speak directly with the designer to review your brief and each set of revisions. The designer can walk you through the designs and explain why certain choices were made. This option gives you more access to the creative process and allows you to contribute more to the creative direction.
Timeline: 1 week