A Sketch in Time Saves 9 (Hours in Illustrator)
As part of Taoti's continual effort to refine the processes by which we do what we do, we've recently added a "sketching phase" to our logo design process. Now, this might seem like an obvious necessity, but don't get me wrong: as a designer I almost always sketch an idea for a logo design or website mockup before I begin working it up in Illustrator or Photoshop. The distinguishing element of this sketching phase is that my preliminary sketches are shown to clients before I begin creating a polished concept in Illustrator.
Pros of Adding a Sketching Phase
Showing your preliminary scratchwork to clients might be a bit humbling, especially if you're a perfectionistic, artsy type like myself, but thinking of your doodles as a means of communication (a means to that end) rather than a work of art can really help. You can, for example, gain a LOT of information about what sort of things a client does and does not like that neither you nor they can express very well in words. I may know exactly what I'm talking about when I describe my latest idea as "an abstract, typographically-based mark" alongside a "bold, extended sans-serif font" but even if your average businessman or woman happens to be a closet typophile, this isn't terribly helpful. To rehash a very old cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a quick sketch is going to communicate what you're imagining with an immediacy and accuracy that you simply cannot achieve with language.
And that is the key to efficient logo design: speed. Anything you can do to hasten along what is naturally a time and labor-intensive process will reduce the time it takes you to deliver a finished product and keep your clients happy. Jumping straight into Illustrator without consulting the client over your visual brainstorming is just asking for rejection of one or more polished concepts that you spent hours refining, which inevitably pushes deadlines back and leaves both you and your client frustrated.
Cons of Adding a Sketching Phase
Uhmmm... there are none. You're already sketching your ideas before you begin working on them in earnest. Why not extend what is a natural, intuitive form of self-communication to the way you communicate your ideas to your clients?