A Special Need logo design process

A Special Need is a nanny agency devoted to providing nannies experienced in special needs to parents. The brand new company was in need of a logo to represent their services and online blog that helps parents and professionals.

Defining the goal

Each of my brand identity projects starts with a logo questionnaire, which assists in gaining as much information from the client as possible and helps define the goal early on in the process.

Working close with my clients is essential and I try to take their initial ideas and expand on their keywords and company objectives.

Below are some of the information, keywords and addition details they provided:

  • Something delicate – like children’s hands
  • Organic (nature, trees, butterflies, birds, flowers, leaves, nest with baby birds)
  • Owl, maybe with mother owl with baby owl under wing
  • Children’s art
  • Color preferences: earth tones; greens, blues, yellows, browns.

Sketching and brainstorming

Stemming off the initial ideas and concepts of the client, I began to take my ideas to paper. I wanted to play off the idea of a ‘helping-hand’, trust, delicacy, growth and development. Below you can view a few of the pages from my sketchbook:

Once I started to have a solid idea for the direction I thought would work best, I took a few of my initial sketches to the computer and began to expand on the ideas.

Concept 1 and 2

The first mark seen below, was created to take on a variety of symbolism with the two hands forming to create a heart. The hands symbolized a helping hand, while conveying trust, delicacy and care. The mark also symbolized leaves or flower petals which encouraged growth and development in the young children.

The client enjoyed this concept the most but felt (as well as myself) that it needed to be a bit more dynamic, which can be seen in later examples.


The second mark presented to the client seen below, expanded on the hand concept but more in an interweaving way. Not only were the hands interlocked giving the ‘helping hand’ approach but also formed the ‘S’ for Special in the negative space.


Expanding on the idea

As mentioned above, my client really enjoyed the symbolism and simplicity of the first concept presented, although we both felt that it needed something a bit more.

By replicating the first presented concept I was able to add an additional element to the logo, making it more dynamic and visually interesting. Once again it symbolized a “helping hand”, trust, care, growth and development, but with the addition of the 3 other replicated marks it also helped bring together the network and community aspect — since A Special Need helps find and place nannies with parents of special need children.


Deciding on the typeface

Once the above mark was approved I moved on to the typeface, which you can see some of the variations below:


Chosen idea


The chosen mark was complimented with Emigre’s Mrs. Eaves typeface. Mrs. Eaves is a beautiful serif with a bit of a quirky and a less sophisticated side than other serifs can give off.

Color options

Sticking with my clients suggestions of an earth-toned color palette, I decided to “brown down” some of my color options which you can see below. These were the six presented to the client to make the final decision.




As you can see, A Special Need’s logo clearly works at varying sizes because of the not over complicated mark and works well as black, reversed out (white) and color. It can also be easily adaptable to fit vertical and horizontal positioning and has a meaningful mark which represents the company’s objectives and goals—all which help a logo become more flexible.

The entire project lasted approximately 3 weeks from start to finish and will be used across a variety of print and web applications.

Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Fabian says:

    Love the sweetness of the design, it has a real warmth about it.

  2. Nice organic design. Really seems to align well with the clients initial requests. The best part is the detailed explanation of the process.


  3. aquafortis says:

    Thanks for this–it was reassuring to see that my process of designing a logo is fairly similar. I don’t do it often enough to feel 100% comfortable about whether I’m doing it “the right way.”

  4. Brian says:

    Glad the overall message conveys a sense of “sweetness” to you – it was a really important concept to convey especially since their company deals with young children and providing care.

    Thanks for the comment. It’s often hard designing with a strict brief but when the outcome conveys the clients initial message it’s often rewarding… :)

  5. Marcy says:

    I love the hands; the design turned out really pretty too. I also loved looking at all your sketches; you had lots of great ideas.

  6. hey Brian,
    thanks for sharing a detailed explanation of the process you follow. I seldom pen down my ideas when starting a design which only adds an extra amount of work and a blank screen in front of me.

    This method is fruitful in the long run. thanks again Brian. will make sure I jot down my ideas before I stick my head in front of a blank screen ;-)

  7. Luis Lopez says:

    I love the idea of the two hand making also a heart and even more when use to create a natural form and the typo was a great choise.
    I don’t like to much the final colors but is juts personal opinion, instead in black and withe is awesome.

  8. I love sweet design and your site collection is very sweet i impress your collectiont Thanks.

  9. [...] A Special Need logo design process [...]

  10. Raja says:

    Simple and Meaningful Logo….

    Might be good if the color of the Logo is replaced with Green tone.
    But according to the Client’s MInd, its gud.

    Looking forward for some more good Logos.

  11. Brian says:

    Appreciate the comment. Although the end result mimics that of a flower I didn’t want to over embellish the green/flower aspect. Wanted to keep the color palette warm and sweet according the the clients brief. I think by adding green into the mark one would associate it more with the flower and completely lose the hand-hand combination.

  12. Brian says:

    designing logos,
    Thank you. Glad you enjoy my collection. Always up for critique so feel free to leave more thoughts and comments :)

    The black and white versions are my personal favorite as well. The client was quite set on an earth-toned color palette so I was bind by that but overall the orange I felt was one of the better choices.

  13. CJ Cipriano says:

    Ah i was really looking forward to this!
    Great logo Brian, pretty funny how your sketches look like my best art seeing as though i cant draw for my life haha.

    Awesome work!

  14. Casey says:

    Nice man, thanks for sharing! This really helps a student like me perfect my design process.


  15. Preston Lee says:

    Nice job as usual Brian.
    Thanks for also sharing the client’s input throughout the process. It’s much better than some processes I’ve seen where you wonder if there was really ever a client involved. Thanks. :)

  16. Very nice, Brian! I totally get the encouraging growth and development (with love!) from this logo. Definitely one to be proud of and great job telling the story behind the design. I think that’s what will draw more clients in to work with you.

    Did you ever try out what the 2nd concept looked like in flower form? It already looks like a leaf or a petal at first glance.

  17. Brian says:

    Good to see another comment from you. Always enjoy reading your feedback and input. Glad you enjoyed the logo and reading into the process. I did in fact try repeating the second concept into a round flower shape… I was actually going to include that in the post, but felt like I already had many examples up. Might have to add that in for comparison although I felt the chosen concept was much more visually appealing.

    Thanks! Designing to a brief is really where problem solving skills shine through, and the area of design where in particularly enjoy. Logo design in general, in my opinion, requires the most problem solving since it represents the entire image and identity of the company and sets the overall tone of the remaining business collateral.

  18. Brian says:

    As once a student myself, I always enjoyed and learned so much from reading designer’s creative processes. I’m glad I could do the same for you. Thanks for the comment. :)

  19. rurunavira says:

    whoa, this is def a clever way of going about this! I love how it’s all planned out, I usually just launch in randomly, great post =]

  20. Greg Keane says:

    thanks that was very informative

  21. Brian says:

    I’m glad to hear you appreciate the approach and though process. A logo should reflect the essence of the company, therefore forming the “brand” (a term that I feel is often thrown around too easily). I’m glad I was able to shed some insight for you. Thanks for the comment.

    Not a problem. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

  22. Matthew says:

    Beautiful! I love the process and seeing how you made decisions.

  23. [...] A Special Need logo design process [...]

  24. Preston Lee says:

    I totally agree. I think the ability to design with a purpose is what sets the most professional graphic designers apart from novices. I mean, I am all for mock-projects and things but dealing with clients or creative briefs is a step above what a lot of those who claim to be designers do.

  25. niks says:

    great very informative post thnks for sharing

  26. Nitesh patel says:

    Nice man, thanks for sharing! This really helps a student persons like me i subscribed to your favs

  27. niks says:

    great logos hey man nice try out and step by step description

  28. Tracey Grady says:

    This is a very elegant design, Brian. Nicely done. It’s great and very encouraging to see the amount of detailed thought you put in at the conceptual stage, which is evident from seeing your extensive sketches. To me this level of preliminary sketching and brainstorming means a designer is more likely to produce a design which they can be certain is the right answer to the design brief. Would you agree with this from your own experience?

  29. Brian says:

    I agree the more you sketch the more ideas become meaningful… usually by sketching your ideas come about through keywords not “interesting” marks you make on the computer. When developing a corporate identity it should speak about the culture and service of a company, not some much “hey this mark looks pretty cool”. I’m glad my sketches and documented process was able to shed some light into my conceptual process as well as the design process. As always, thanks for the comment Tracey!

  30. João Guerra says:

    Great work Brian, and thanks for share the process.

  31. [...] always found it interesting reading the design process of others (David Airey, Contrast, Behoff). It’s good to have an insight into others work, to see if I can learn anything from their [...]

  32. Wow nice and informative concept logo design these are very elegant designs. Nice Creative inspirational.

  33. [...] this site you will find a few of my logo design processes, where I showcase sketches, concepts, briefs and [...]

  34. Great post and logo design – it’s great to see your thought processes behind the end design.

  35. Sneh Roy says:

    Very beautifully done Brian. The mark conveys care and there is a delicate, ethereal quality to it. Great work!

  36. Amazing process and thinking behind the design of such a beautiful and elegant logo. I am stunned with the simplicity and clarity of the logo. Being a newbie it also helped me a lot! Thanks very much!!

  37. Jasmyn says:

    It’s always nice seeing the processes that designer’s go through when starting a new project, and it never ceases to amaze me that it’s usually the most simple soutions that turn out to be the most elegant. Great logo!

  38. [...] A Special Need Logo Design Process [...]

  39. [...] A Special Need logo design process Por: Brian [...]

  40. Hi Brian,
    Very nicely done. I’m a designer myself, and your thought process went into this design is very much appreciated.

  41. Nice work, Brian. I didn’t see the hand when first looking. Like how it comes out slowly and morphs between flower, hand, heart. Great colors, too!

  42. I foud your documentation of the whole process to be very interesting, especially seeing you ideas in sketched form. The development of the idea took a clear and structured path that was derived from client input. Personal I would have like to have seen the second concep of the interlocking hand played out, but hey im not the one paying the bill. Im not so keen on the type face either personaly.

  43. tashi norden says:

    I really liked your approach and the design process, you’ve put it so simple.

  44. Drazr says:

    Very interesting Brian , I have to appreciate your work . Lots of graphic designers don’t sketch the thing on paper but to be the best one has to do something special . Best of luck and thanks for sharing . It helped me a lot . Keep up posting such tutorials .

  45. Graphics says:

    For making logo you need the ideology , then by trying again and again on paper one can get new and innovative design’s , that’s what I do and I have seen most of the graphic designer doing the same . Idea behind making logo is very important – like if you are drawing a logo for marketing company then it should reflect some features of marketing . Thanks for sharing though , it was really a mind blowing job by Brian !

  46. Cool process and good final result! I think that with the tiling of the image you lose the hand concept, but I guess if you look hard enough.

  47. Ashley says:

    Very nice designed logo , soft edges and and beautiful color combination makes it brilliant .

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: