How Long Will it Take? A Graphic Design Timeline in 4 Easy Steps!
April 20, 2023
One of the most commonly asked questions in the creative agency-client relationship is, “How long will this take?”
This is completely expected and understandable. Expectations regarding the graphic design project timeline must be clearly communicated at the outset of any project to ensure things run smoothly and efficiently.
We know you want the design as quickly as possible. You are eager to get your new logo or branding designs in hand so you can begin using them! At the same time, good design takes time. As we aim to steward that tension effectively, we find it useful to ensure that our clients fully understand the process so that they know what they’re getting into before they begin.
In this post, we explain our graphic design timeline in great detail. Even if you’ve worked with a graphic design or branding agency in the past, every process is unique. Therefore, it’s critical to understand what is involved to complete your request promptly while simultaneously exceeding your expectations.
So if you’re looking for information on how long it takes to design a logo or rebrand a business, keep reading. This post should provide the clarity you need!
Logo Design and Brand Identity: How Long Will It Take?
For the sake of this blog post, we will speak in terms of logo design, as that is one of the more common graphic design requests. This process will give you a good idea of what to expect and the order in which things happen.
That said, the amount of time required for each step varies depending on the project’s complexity. Generally speaking, most straightforward logo design projects typically take around 4-6 weeks from start to delivery, and longer if you plan to apply the logo to a wider variety of collateral (e.g., websites, business cards, packaging).
If you need something done faster than that, it’s worth discussing expedited timelines, but we want to emphasize that good design takes time. High-quality final products cannot be rushed. We hope this peek behind the scenes provides helpful context regarding the logo and graphic design process.
Read More: How Graphic Design and Marketing Work Together to Grow Brand Awareness and Generate Leads
Step 1: The Kick-Off Meeting
Step one is the kick-off meeting (or discovery meeting). This is generally a lengthier meeting to give us adequate time to really get to know you as an organization and gain clarity on key differentiators that will provide for a unique design.
At the kick-off meeting, be prepared to share why you’ve come to us for help, the problems you are experiencing that prompted the request, and your vision for how this project will help you reach your business goals. We also want as much information as possible regarding your target audience, competitors, and other factors that could provide a stronger outcome. It’s also wise to familiarize yourself with graphic design terms so that you have more context for the discussion.
On our end, we will ask questions such as
- What brought you here?
- What problems are you experiencing with your current branding?
- What are your business goals?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What are the primary ways you bring in revenue?
- For nonprofits: how do you bring in donations and/or recruit volunteers?
- What do you want people to think, feel, or do when seeing your logo?
- Do you want a symbol, wordmark, or both?
- Where will this logo go, e.g., packaging, collateral, etc?
Understanding these details will help us identify ways to create a handcrafted look and feel that truly reflects who you are as an organization. For example, if you plan to apply your logo to merchandise, such as company t-shirts, a multi-colored logo can quickly become a considerable production expense! We will ask all the necessary questions to ensure that the final product is suitable and sustainable for your future needs.
As we conclude the meeting, we will provide a timeline with milestones and deliverables so that you know what to expect next.
Read More: Color in Graphic Design: 3 Ways Color Impacts Your Business
Step 2: Ideation and Design
In the second stage, our team will get to work researching your industry. We will look into your competitors, evaluate the impact of their branding, investigate your target audience and what appeals to them, and current trends that may need to be considered (or avoided).
Another important aspect of the research phase is researching any potential trademarking concerns. Not all businesses and nonprofits need to pursue trademarking, but sometimes it is a good idea. We will provide guidance relative to that later in the process.
The research part of step two can take up to one week to complete. Once we have a handle on these details, we begin exploring concepts, generating ideas, and creating design concepts. This stage also includes experimentation with typography, color schemes, imagery, and other design elements to create a visual solution that aligns with the client’s goals and audience.
Finally, we will produce approximately three complete designs for you to review, which leads to step three!
Read More: 5 Things Your Graphic Designer Wants You to Know
Step 3: Client Feedback and Revisions
Now is the fun part you’ve been anxiously anticipating—presentation day! We will schedule a meeting with you to present three, sometimes four, different concepts for your review. Some agencies may simply send you a PDF file to review internally, but we prefer to walk through the options with you. We want to explain the context, why we chose the directions we did, and provide insight into the exact process that led to these specific designs. We also know that you may have questions, and we want to answer them as you review the concepts.
At this point, in reading this article, you may be wondering, “But what if I don’t like any of the options provided?” This is a valid concern, but we feel confident you will like our present concepts. Why? Because of the kick-off meeting. We ask as many in-depth questions as possible (many more than we listed above) to ensure we come back with concepts you truly love. Typically when presenting clients with logo concepts, they have problems choosing the one they love the most, not the other way around!
After you’ve had a chance to take in the concepts and ask all of your questions, you may know right away which version you want to go with, and that’s great! However, some people need time to chew on it, which is fine, too! Initial reactions often change after you’ve had time to absorb the information. It’s usually better to sleep on it, return to it the next day, and see if you feel the same way. This will either confirm what you initially thought or help you know what you really like and how to provide feedback on what you’d like to see changed (if anything).
You may also want to share the concept with one or two trusted associates (but not too many!) whose opinions you value and trust to offer more input into your decision-making process. You may discover that they gravitate toward the same concepts you did, which can be affirming as you make this big decision!
Sometimes clients return after sleeping on it and want to make tweaks or revisions. This is normal and expected. We generally offer three rounds of revisions in the initial contract (which we explain in the kick-off meeting).
Read More: Great Graphic Design Helps Small Businesses Thrive
Step 4: Final Production, Delivery, and Launch!
With your feedback in hand, our team will make final adjustments to complete your logo. After you approve the final design, we will prepare the final deliverables. This typically includes preparing files for print, web, video, or merchandising and creating a style guide to ensure consistency in future designs.
With every last detail in place, it’s now time for delivery and launch! We will provide all necessary files in one organized package that includes any fonts or other resources used in the design process. Additionally, we can work with you to launch the new logo and brand design throughout your marketing touchpoints. Alternatively, we can provide launch instructions so that you know exactly how to get the new designs live on your website or other digital platforms.
Read More: 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Design Your Own Logo (And How a Logo Design Agency Can Help!)
Looking for a Graphic Designer? We’d Love to Help!
We hope this article provides the details and context you need to enter into your next graphic design process with eyes wide open. If you’re still on the hunt for a graphic design agency or creative team to help with your next project—let’s chat! We’d love to learn more about your goals and see how we can help you reach new heights with outstanding branding and graphic design services!