A number of you have written in to ask about Ian’s creative process. The following is part of Ian’s response to the question as posed by A.M., a graphic design student at Humber College.
How do you go about your creative process?
The brief is my guide on any project, and is the starting point for ideas. One of the first questions I ask a client is “Why do you want to change this logo?” and “What do you think is wrong with it?” I should point out here that virtually all of my clients are design studios or ad agencies, so I’m always dealing with creative directors who are able to explain in visual terms what they’re after. I almost never work directly with the end client, so I depend on the creative director to filter the clients’ needs accurately.
Many clients also send me references of work that they like and think is appropriate for the project we’re working on, as a way of kick-starting the process. If they send me a lot of these references, I like to have a chat with them on the phone to narrow down the range, since sometimes they send examples that ultimately aren’t applicable.
Once I feel that I know exactly what the client wants to express with their logo, I’ll usually sketch some loose ideas with pen or pencil in order to work out the basic structure of the piece, as well as the relationships between the letters. Then I’ll usually do some larger sketches that explore the detail of the letters, and work toward a cohesive style. (Sometimes I’ll only do a few of the trickier letters in sketch form, because it’s faster to draw the simpler letters on the computer.) Once I’m happy with the larger sketches, I’ll scan them and convert them into outlines that I can manipulate in Adobe Illustrator.
Everything I send my clients is in vector format (as Adobe Illustrator files), since they always want to drop my work into a layout or package design, and need to manipulate colour etc.