The development process

Every job is different

Where the brief is a little too open, we can help to develop a more targeted brief with our client. During this process, Chris may provide quick sketches as visual aids to assist in the formulation of a clear brief that all can agree with.

An informed overview of the whole project, including, for example, brand projection, target markets, usage, style themes, colours, and print materials from the outset helps greatly to ensure the final creation is designed fit for purpose whilst meeting craft expectations.

The successful creation of an illustrative brand icon will always benefit from clear communication, insight and support from all those involved in the development process

It is important to keep the development process efficient and focused on a result which not only meets the brief but is also imaginative, engaging, relevant and functional. To that end it is crucial that the thinking stage of the process comes at the right time to help keep to time and budget.


Chris generally conforms to the tried and tested methodology for engagement that creatives appreciate and understand

The process is not a neat linear one, but trying to treat it as such provides a discipline which ultimately helps to keep everyone on track.

Although every project is different and may have a different starting point, in most cases Chris develops an idea from a well-drawn sketch. The chosen sketch route remains the point of reference throughout its design development.

The focus is important because the task ahead can sometimes be quite challenging where budgets are restrictive. There is generally little time for ideas just to drift in so loose thumbnail ideas are generally sketched out initially just to maintain discipline. We may advise against producing too many alternative options as this can sometimes confuse the direction.

For further information see useful links below.

Commission terms



Stage 1 - Exploration

Well executed, presentable line sketches are the most efficient way of presenting different concepts for early discussion. For many projects, this stage can be regarded as the most important.

Stage 2 - Development

The development stage may include one or more concept routes to help establish the most appropriate way forward: a number of routes may have merit. The illustration can then start to evolve in a well-calibrated manner, presented as a stand-alone icon or in position with the brand word marque, where required.

Stage 3 - Development review

While it is important to continually assess the development work, it is important to formally review the chosen design route in order to properly establish the way forward with certainty.

Stage 4 - Final execution

Once the chosen design has been approved, we refine and move to the creation of the master artwork.

Stage 5 - Other artwork versions

If required, the creation of other artwork versions, for example, light on dark artwork, single colour options and artwork versions created exclusively for smaller reproduction sizes or embossing.

We never work on the basis that something will just have to do, as expectations are high!

Chris Mitchell


Appreciation of the three core values during development is crucial to the brand icon's impact, ownership and longevity in the market place.

Unique. Original, imaginative and differentiating.

Impactful. Relevant, expressive and memorable.

Functional. Identifiable, practical and readable.

Tiger Beer brand logo


Adjustments for reversal

A few artwork versions of the illustrative brand logo may need to be created to best feature the logo on different coloured backgrounds, materials and platforms. It is the case that generally a reversal artwork will be required, as the brand logo may need to feature on a dark background, as opposed to just a dark image on a light background.

When initially created as a dark on light brand logo, it is crucial to avoid just reversing the illustrative artwork in the hope of creating a light on dark artwork version. Illustrative logos that project a sense of dimension in their use of light and dark will appear like negatives. Importantly clarity of detail will not appear consistent. Given the large investment in distribution and print it should be considered a false economy to create reversal in this way, without commissioning the required artwork adjustments. See demonstration examples below.

Negative reversal brand logos

The benefit of sketching is the power with which it can articulate original thought

Drawing still remains the most efficient way to communicate original ideas, and is completely unconstrained by the need to source and edit other material.

Time can easily be wasted by having to corral pre-existing material. Modern technology allows us to edit extremely effectively but can undermine the ability to create original design.

We believe the sketch is key and is the result of a creative mind, a passionate heart, a skilled hand and a critical eye to communicate an idea.


The industry has gone through enormous change in my working life, principally as a result of working digitally. I now work mostly with digital pen on a Wacom Cintiq platform. For me it as easy as working with a pencil for quick sketching. A key benefit of working digitally in illustrator for final artwork is that it allows for scalability, crucial for maintaining the integrity of the craft at all print sizes.

Chris Mitchell


Our clients do appreciate that where an illustrative brand logo represents a premium product, reaching high standards of craft in the creation of the marques is extremely important. Where the marque engages with its audience on an emotional level, by nature it adds value.

Excerpt from an interview with Chris Mitchell, published by Logo Lounge

AH: Why is an investment in craft particularly important in branding?

CM: Work that has a degree of longevity such as brand identity is an area where craft can excel if given the chance. The roll-out cost related to the distribution of a major global-brand identity across all material can be huge, so the benefit of craft for the relatively small investment that it entails should be prioritised.

Clive Christian Coat of Arms Brand Identity
Client: Identica. Clive Christian, a luxury British interiors and perfume company.


We work with our clients to understand their print process before we start art-working.

At Epic Icons we have the technical appreciation of the wider brand production issues. We have the experience to interpret and deliver on, what can be a complex brand design brief for different print platforms and materials. This is especially true for foiling, dye cutting, blind embossing or where debossing or embossing might be used.

The Illustrative artwork is crafted for print clarity, without compromising on the beauty. Where we can we do like to see client print proofs, especially for the commission of the more intricate art work where clarity at a small print size is most crucial.

Printers proof from Identica; Clive Christian coat of arms