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. Zack says:

    In searching tutorials for logo designing I came across one of the interesting tutorial and the one which is getting my feedback now . Author really explained things clearly which an ordinary person can easily understand .

    I am not a graphic designer but in search of learning I came across this tutorial . Things are explained in such a simple way that now I can easily design such logo , although I have some expertise in photoshop yet one need some kind of learning to get started .

    I think Brian has explained very well !

  2. Always excited about new geometric shapes in design.
    Yours is very cool: so many ideas in 1 shape: flower petals, hearts, even hands folded together !

  3. gokkasten says:

    Nice sketches. Gives me inspiration

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

  5. Juggle Logos says:

    I like how you take us through your design process step by step. Designing a logo for someone can be a difficult thing to do. The logo is the identity, so it is important that you take the verbal cues from the client and turn them into a visual representation that matches their identity. You demonstrate how someone can go through that process with someone looking for a logo and end up with a great result. Thanks for the post.

  6. Rodrigo Mattos says:

    Great logo Brian!
    I also enjoy your blog, and how you present your design process.
    Keep blogging.

  7. 3D animation says:

    Wow, This has been so helpful. i will refer back to this in future

  8. Very nice, Brian! I totally get the encouraging growth and development (with love!) from this logo.I have some expertise in photoshop yet one need some kind of learning to get started .

  9. [...] A Special Need Logo Design Process: [...]

  10. Wow, wish i could draw like that, i have many ideas but not the hands.

  11. John Foy says:

    The second concept- two hands making “s”- is the awesomest one. You really are a very creative designer I’d say…

    Again, nice work….

  12. Hey really inspirational design indeed. I really appreciate the originality of designs in real creativity.

  13. I really like this need logo design process. Defined in details. Amazing process.

  14. great works, great logo.

  15. Keletso says:

    Great logo Brian!

    I enjoy following your posts, this will be a great inspiriration indeed.
    Im a newbie in designing logos, so i wanted to know whats the best application to use for logo designs?

  16. Boldis Media says:

    Deciding on the typeface is most important part of whole processe. Thanks for article.

  17. dresses says:

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


  18. these designs are awesome very organic and very eye catching

  19. Jonny says:

    Really like the final design – do you usualy sketch that many concepts?

  20. Brian says:

    The sketches you see are more like loose sketches or just quick brainstorms on paper. Helps to get the brain think openly and not focused on one concept from the very early stages. I try to stay as loose as possible from early on.

  21. Derek says:

    Awesome designs.
    Thanks for sharing.

  22. anuja says:

    i believe the way you think about design is perfect and logical.I am inspired by the way you design..

  23. very imressive process which help new students like me to be a good designer like u.

  24. But I thought it was some kind of flower when I first saw the logo. I didn’t recognize the hands and heart when 4 of the them are putting together like this. However, when I saw your initial design of just one, I immediately saw it was two hands and one heart in the middle. I prefer the initial design. What about you? Do you agree with the client?

  25. I like the hands and heart concept, I agree with some others that it is hard to see at first as the final piece does look like a flower but when studied further it shines through.

  26. Brian superb tutorial for a keen learn like me. this post was very informative and right for me i would say. just keep it up dude!

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: