Creating Your Logo: Brainstorming, Sketching, & Typography
Okay, so brainstorming, this is my favorite part. Brainstorming and playing is where we're going to start looking at the answers that we've done with the questions. Yeah, let's actually bring that out, thank you. We've done a lot, we've answered these questions, oh, perfect, thank you. Something to play with, I want something to play with. So you've answered your questions, you've assembled your books, you've done some research. Now let's start playing with those things. One of the things that I find helpful, obviously having a sketchbook on hand. Or some loose paper and get a pencil, don't use a pen, use a pencil with an eraser and one trick is when you get your piece of paper, draw a grid. This way you can kind of keep your thoughts in order a little bit and then so you can go back and look back at them. I mean, believe me, I'm sure all of you out there have done this too, I do this all the time where you start just doodling and little things get littler and then the whole place look...
s like a mess and you can't remember what was good and what was bad. This way you have some good quadrants to fill. I don't want you to think about color right now. I want you to think about just black and white. A really well designed logo in my opinion can operate just as effectively in black and white as it can in color. So let's start off here, it's always best to write a song on an acoustic or a piano before you plug in, okay, so here we go. First, we're gonna do symbols. Now this is a little exercise. We're gonna go through each one of these. I'm gonna set up a nice little exercise for you guys to do so if you're at home or you're here and you want to try this try it out, okay, for the symbol, this is again the graphic piece so that person who asked about the app, this is where we can start experimenting, now we get blocked creatively so what we want to do is just kind of unblock ourselves a little bit and for this I want us to go to our question seven, I know believe, okay, so question seven in your, the questionnaire was the five adjectives or the five words that you would use to describe what it is that you do. Take each one of those words and try and do a graphic representation of that word. So let's say for me, Naked Creativity, I've got education. That's one of the words that I would use to explain what I do or instruction, let's use instruction. So I'm gonna use this whole piece of paper to explore visual ways that I can express instruction, so I might do. A pencil. Maybe I'm gonna do a couple different pencils 'cause I really like that idea. You know, various things. Do them quick, do them dirty, get 'em out. Maybe I'm just gonna express, like, just maybe something like this and if you start finding yourself kinda going off the topic, that's fine, that's what this is for. 20 to 40 on just instruction. Or whatever your word is. Just let go because it's gonna take you maybe 10 or before you really start getting into the groove a little bit and then do another one, grab another word, let it go. So you can see this will start becoming a lot more playful. You're gonna get looser, you're gonna be able to take a little bit more liberties with your sketches. This is just for you but the big thing that's happening here is you're unblocking that block that you have, that creative block, when it comes to, you're gonna end up copying a logo, you're gonna want to do this stuff but if you go through this, you'll kinda get through that and you're gonna start discovering some things that you had no idea were in your head to begin with. So that's why I wanna keep up with that 10 or 20. All right, so this is, imagine, filled, hundreds of instructions or words, right? Now put that aside. Grab a new piece of paper, do another grid. And now let's talk about the letter mark. Do you have a name for your company, your business?
Crafty Carrie, yeah.
Hey, I'm just gonna break in, before we move on to letter marks, let's talk a little bit about symbols and run into a little bit of Q&A on that.
Perfect, yeah, that's great
Cool, so can you talk about what is like, in your mind, quickly, the most famous symbol in logo design and why does it work?
Let's talk about Apple, maybe that would be a good one. Everyone knows the Apple. That is an interesting logo because obviously, it's an apple. Right, I'm right with that, yeah, and it's got a bite out of it and there's a lot of discussion, lot of schools of thought, why there's an apple bite in it. Maybe that's the user, but what makes that a successful symbol is because it doesn't waste any time telling you what it's about but then it allows this little bit of mystery that you can put into it. Now the CBS logo that we saw upfront, the eye. Is that an eye, I think it's an eye, maybe not, but again, it's identifiable, it's memorable and it's simple and we're allowed to put a little bit of our own story in it, those to me are the ones that pop out when I think of those sort of iconic important symbols.
And I'll give you one more.
Why does the swoosh work?
You know, and it shouldn't, it shouldn't work. (laughs) That is probably one of the more, I mean, obviously that's an iconic thing and you know, I think of it. There's a couple things about the symbols, now I'm just gonna rant here for a quick second. If you do anything in repetition enough, it'll become memorable and associated with your brand. I think the swoosh is one of those. I think the swoosh is an interesting sort of accidental success in logo world. I would love to hear other people's opinions, but I think that it's something that its application, it's perfect for its application. It's perfect for the shoe and it looks great on a shoe. Other applications, I don't care anymore because I associate it with the shoe so it works, it's an effective logo. So there, that's my.
Okay, great, so okay, back to your Crafty Carrie.
Is that C and C?
Okay. So C and C, this is a time you can start exploring the letter forms of C and C. Now back to our grid, so again, just you and a pencil and a piece of paper, start drawing as many Cs as you can. What's the relationship together? Mmkay, you got that, you know, do they work together, do they shadow each other, do they have different formations? You know? Do they go backwards, 20, maybe even 40, just play with 'em, are they big, do they cast a shadow? You know? If you do this enough, you're gonna get the crappy ones out of the way first, and atabout 10 or 15, you're gonna start really getting a rhythm and you're gonna see some relationships between those letter forms that you probably didn't think of at first. What about you, what was your, how 'bout your initials?
Ooh, those are good. Yeah. So this is kinda monogram land. A little bit, but MW is, I mean, you got those, well, that's a three, but just go and just do a bunch. And have fun with it. Oh, you're MW, I'm doing MM. Yeah, and sometimes throw some things in and play with that letter form again, I know it seems like you can't think of any other relationships but repeat some, just push yourself. And it'll end up becoming kind of fun. Yanni, what's your, Yoni, sorry.
That's okay, Yoni Photography.
Yoni Photography, so YP? Yeah, that's good, Ys are awesome.
Yeah, Y's are good.
Y is a great letter because it's almost like a P but if it's like you were to detach the top of the Y. That's a Q, but. You can start, looks like digital.
And I often use just my first name.
Again, great letters, O's are great, I's are great. Have fun with them and get really personal with your name, I mean, it's like these are millions and millions of options and it's always good when you go back to the M's, I do this a lot where I just search a letter in your internet search, just put the letter in there and look up what kind of images come up. Tons and tons, if you want to just put W in the search box and just search, you're gonna come up with all sorts of different ideas and that's where you're gonna be like oh, that's a great idea and copy 'em. Okay, any questions out there for the symbol or the letter form?
Yes, we do and I want to find it 'cause it was really kinda good. So. Let's go with this one, I'm planning on using my name as my business and my initials are JK. I was told that I might have issues with copyright because of JK Rowling. Is there a great way how to find out if this is true and can I not use it if so?
Well, JK is your name, so I mean, you can use JK. There are ways that JK Rowling has maybe used it, certain, the aesthetic use of the JK that you probably would do yourself a favor, I mean, you can still use it, but you probably want to do yourself a favor and do something really unique with it, because you don't want to confuse. Poor JK will start losing business because you're out there in the marketplace doing your thing and you're probably, unless you're an author, you probably don't have too much to worry about so you're kind of, I mean, as far as trademarking goes, you really need to think about what your industry is so if you're an author and your name is JK, then you might wanna think differently, but JK is a great two letters to use. 'Cause I have Jervis and there's all sorts of, so I do that, but again, you can have small, explore lowercase. But again, have fun with that, so if you're an author, maybe think about it twice, but anything else, I think you'd be fine.
Great, thank you.
Yeah, letter marks, now that's a great way to start kinda building a relationship up with the letter forms, now when we start into the word mark, there's a couple things that you can do here, again, just with pencil. We want to just write it out. 'Member when we were kids and we'd practice our signatures? Or our parents' signature? (audience laughs) Just take out a piece of paper. My parents had the easiest signatures. Same grid and then just write your name or the business name, Crafty Carrie. You know, you can, where do you, you try doing very, you know very straight. Purposefully messy. One of the things, to do a little foreshadowing what we're gonna talk about in the next section in the refinement, things that happen by hand, we're gonna talk about how we can transfer those beautiful little accidents into the computer and capture those things, like for me, one of the things why I just said that is because I kinda like the way this H just turned out right here, I know you guys can't get close enough, but I do like how that cross, so that might be something that I would want to bring into the computer and refine a little bit, clean it up, and I mean, it wouldn't do me very good because Matthew Jervis, why would I have a logo with an H? I don't know, but I kinda like it so it's something to play with, so you're writing your name, you write it in big letters, I was doing a logo class for kids a few years ago and this is where we started and for them I would say write your name in four different emotions, write your name as if it was sad, write your name if it was happy, write your name angry, and that just explores difference ways of doing it. Again, it's very easy for us to quickly go to the computer and start playing with typefaces. You're gonna get there, but first, capture the value that you have in your head, so. Like if I was gonna do mean, I would put teeth here. Everything is really jagged and angry. And then happy. You know, these kind of, looks like kind of a Disney thing. You know, so anyway, you can go through the emotions as a great way of sort of getting those ideas, and again, 20, 40, 60 ways of doing it. Sure, you're gonna recycle half of those in the bin, but there's gonna be one grid that's gonna stand out that you're gonna be in love with, guaranteed, you keep up the numbers, you're gonna better your chances for something awesome to come out, and unique and unique. When we do start talking about type, this is a quick slide just to introduce type, typography is a huge, huge thing as you guys know and it can get really heavy very quickly. But I just wanted to throw up one little, it looks like approachable didn't come through but one, you know, one little thing about serifs and sans serifs and scripts. A sans serif, obviously without the little feet, serif have little feet. Scripts, you can run into problems because you've got connections and things like that. The more, sans serifs are the most easiest ones that people go to a lot and when we're talking about industries, the tech industry is full of sans serifs. As you can see, kind of the voice of a typeface needs to be consistent with what you want to be, what are you selling, what kind of services are you? A serif hearkens back to more of a traditional, more, maybe more intellectual, not modern, sans serif is traditionally very modern, right, there's no, it's leaving it open for you to sort of implant whatever you're coming to. So if you're in tech, you don't want to hearken back to the days of old, you don't want to be Gutenberg press. You want to be ones and zeros, so that's just a quick little thing about type, but back to yours, stick here. Stick here until we get to the refinement stage and we'll talk about those types again. So again, 20, 60, get 'em out there. Now finally, the lockup, those combo logos that we saw and I think we had a couple questions earlier about should I do it this way or not? Now that you have about 60 ideas for your symbol because we went through the adjectives and we went through those words and we examined those words ad nauseum, go through those again, take your sheet of paper. Match it up to your word marks, is there any resonance, is there something that's happening between one of your ideas and one of these ideas? Is there something that's kinda cool? If so, star it or rip it out, put it together, put it up on your wall or put it off to the side. And try and see if you can match up a bunch from the work that you've already did, now you have this wealth of material that you've developed. Going through and matching up symbols, you might say, oh, well, now the symbol's looking different or I want to do this, again, allow yourself another rev of brainstorming and play and you're starting to build a relationship between your written word or letter, your letter mark to these symbols. You know, and I say that like if you want to do it this way. I think you should do it that way. Because having some fun with it, during this process, you're becoming intimate with your voice. You're getting to a point where your voice is now becoming visible because you've gone through this process and so it's a lot better than saying, aw, my kid'll do it in Word. Aw, my kid'll do my logo in Word. You've developed this very intimate relationship with how you're going to be represented when you're not around to represent you. Now. The choosing directions, this is important. You don't want to choose variations of a theme, you want to choose three different themes. I like to call them emotions. If you have three different emotions you're playing with, the you have three very different aspects of the voice that you're trying to communicate so for those of you out there who are doing up the tearing and you're putting together your, those are one direction, maybe one straight off the grid is another direction and then you really like this goofy kind of abstract thing you came up with early on, sure, put that in there, so you have three very different directions, now that's when you can go ask your friends, say hey, they probably have heard in detail your plans of going into business for yourself. Now you can actually show them something. Hey, this is how I'm gonna be represented. Which direction do you think is a good way for me to go? Am I cool, this way, everybody is like dude, that is terrible, I never want to see that again, okay, fine, now we're down to two, great, job well done and again, I'm gonna say, don't put 'em up on the internet, don't say, hey, everybody, social media world, what do you think of this logo? Nothing good comes of that, so. There you go, okay, so you're asking a trusted friend. Now I wanted to take a quick break here for some questions. Hence the Q&A slide. Jim? Folks in our studio audience, any questions?
We have tons of questions out here.
Is that a good thing?
It is a great thing. 'Cause it's a big picture, right, there's a lot.
It is a super big picture, I just wanted to apologize. This is a big topic.
And I am by no means saying that this is all you need to do to learn how to do a logo so I apologize for that, it's a big overview, thanks, sorry to interrupt you, Jim.
No problem, so this is one that I am plagued with. Let me just click this here. Phoebe Ben Venitas says I am plagued with this, personally, and I'm a graphic designer. My handwriting is horrible, how do I overcome this for my logo creation?
Oh, gosh, that's a great question. No, your handwriting is unique. (audience laughs) Dive into it, love your handwriting. You're gonna come up with some awesome situation, some awesome relationships and line. You're gonna find some really cool, maybe you want to play with difference thicknesses of markers and you want to break your pencil, maybe, and see what that does, but get into it, at this level, you do not, I mean, there is no such thing as good handwriting, all right, in my personal opinion because it's all visual and it's all beautiful so love the handwriting, yeah.
Great, this is a funny one. Caroline Wong says, my business is named True North Tribe. The initials are TNT which people might relate to dynamite. Is this a bad thing, thank you.
(laughs) Well, it could be a very good thing, depending, so we go back, now after going through that whole list of questions, you're starting to kind of develop a little bit of a story, now if your story is TNT, Ted Nugent Tour or True West Tribe, if TNT is the power that you want to communicate, then you're good, now obviously if TNT is not what you want to be talking about, then maybe a letter mark is not where you want to go, unless you are going to do an application that really will take us out of dynamite but if you want to explode the marketplace, you want to explode, you know, you really want to just, (laughs), then maybe you're good, did I answer that, I think I did.
That's great, perfect. And Web Sermon Seven says, what if you don't own the typeface? Is there, like, can you talk to us about purchasing typefaces and using typefaces that are free or not free or purchasing them when you're going to use them for your word mark logo?
Yes. And I don't want to talk about it it yet.
(laughs) But I want to, why I don't want to, why I don't want to. It's because I think that we immediately go to the computer because we're nervous about what we're doing with our hands or we don't feel that we're skilled enough to do it. We're not doing anything that requires any skill except just repetition and doing it over and over and over, as soon as you start looking at typefaces, you stop part of your brain from thinking and you start just relying on what has been designed already which is the typeface, now yes, it is important to own your typeface and yes there are tons of free typefaces out there. But each typeface that you get off the internet, will say hey, this is free for personal use but as soon as you start selling things with it, then I need a little money so Jim and I have been talking a lot about these type foundries like Da Font and what was another one, you came up with a couple, Jim, I can't remember, we had mentioned Da Font, D-A F-O-N-T, which is a great catalog of amateur and really beautiful typefaces.
My favorite is Font Squirrel.
Is a good one.
And we'll bring up that list and we can talk a little bit more about it.
Which is one of the reason why I didn't quite want to bring it, but to--
We can bring it up later.
We can bring it up later, but yes, it is important for you to own or at least have an understanding of how your typeface is to be used.
But don't go there yet. Do this, okay, any other?
Yeah, this is great.
And then Yoni's got.
Great question from G Patron, when a question gives you some details, and sometimes you and I know, many, many, many details, more than you may want, to build a logo, are brainstorms necessary?
Let's talk about that a little bit.
Yeah, so there is never a situation that brainstorms are not necessary. You go through a brainstorm whether you know it or not, I am just asking you to slow your roll a little bit and do it on paper, but if you're working out a logo for somebody, and I would say use that questionnaire that we went through that's in your bonus materials as a place to start from, they have a lot of ideas. Any client will have a lot of ideas, they have a lot of people they want to look like. But you need to also be the guiding north star for your client and say, that is great, that's so important, I want to hear all about it and when we're done, can you answer these questions? Give me something I can work with, but then, brainstorming is never a bad idea. The only bad idea about brainstorming is not doing it because you're gonna miss something, you're gonna cut to the chase, your brain is wanting to solve this situation very fast. Naturally, so you're gonna probably go to some low hanging fruit, and in the end you're not gonna be super happy with it, by allowing yourself to brainstorm, you're gonna find, like I said, you're gonna find some really awesome little nugget that might change the whole game for you. So go to Yoni real quick.
Sometimes I see word marks that are letters that are not recognizable, not readable, but they still work graphically, you know, interesting as a design so how important is that readability concept? With a new logo?
That's a great question. Again, it comes back to your brand story. I've done letter forms where I've scanned sticks and then worked 'em into the computer and I think that a lot of time is you don't, readability is only as important as what it requires you to get to communicate your brand, I mean, if you want somebody to leave with YP, then readability is important but if you want to abstract Y and P into something that's new and if you look at it, again, maybe you see the YP, it's almost like the 10 20 30 rule where a logo can read really well in 10 seconds, boom, got it, CBS, got it. Or like Apple and then the 20 second is like, oh, I kinda like looking at this, now I'm starting to see something new and then the 30 is like wow, it is a Y and P, oh, now I get it, wow. Now I've developed, your person has developed a relationship with your logo that you hadn't maybe anticipated, so as far as readability goes, it's all about what you want to leave people with.
Great, from Cesar Escobar, is there ever a situation where you would choose more than three final logos, maybe a top five or a top 10 'cause you mentioned choosing your top three.
Yeah, this comes from my work as a designer that you never want to give a client more than three. You know, you have an even number, is always a mess, you know, you go three, it's jazz kinda thing. You just have that one in there that kind of, so I always give a client either three or five. And so that's where I come up with that number. Sure, it's, oh, but I like so many of them, okay, that's great but you do need to edit yourself so if you do want to start with a top 10, that's great, but don't unleash those 10 on your friends 'cause your friends will do you a favor but you're not paying them, (laughs), so it's like, aw, dude, these are a lot, I don't know, my mind is going fuzzy by seven, you know? So I think that if you do the three and five, you're forcing yourself to edit. Maybe you have a B team, that's great, have your B team if when you go out and you test your logos and none of them pass, you can go to your B team but it's a really good idea to force yourself to edit things down a little bit.
Great, thank you. This is from Kim Bob 27.
Am I answering these okay?
Yeah, it's great, from Kim Bob 27. We ended up with a really long name. Any advice for, like, creating a good logo from a really long name?
Mmm, wow, I think long names are awesome. (laughs) There are lots of, what's that Leinenkugel? What's that beer, there's one that's like a script that's like, you know, really long, but I think, if the long name is part of your story, if length and intricacies are part of your brand's story, fall in love with it and go with it. If not, maybe think of variations of how you can short form it? Maybe you can short form it, maybe you can drop all the vowels and put periods or you can do the playground test. If your name was a kid on the playground, what would the kids call that kid, you know, as a short form? But that's what I would say. Either fall in love with it and just have a great time with all those letter forms or do what I was saying, drop the vowels or do the playground test is always good.
Great, perfect, just a few more, these are just great questions, really supporting all of our morning's content.
It's wonderful, from Ralston Vaz, when asking a friend for feedback, which we talked about.
Should we just ask what do you think or is it better to ask if it works for specific objectives that we're aiming for like does it feel fun or does it feel serious or so on and so forth?
Sure. Yes and no. They're your friends, so they probably have heard your plans, so I always think that it's best and I do this in client meetings, you don't want to talk too much because then it's a song and dance about you, it's not about the work. So if they know what you're trying to do, what kind of business you're trying to do, I would just explain that business and then say and then reveal the logos and say okay, how do these feel? Don't ask them any other questions because again, we want the client or the person, the user, the whomever who sees it to understand it and say oh, yeah, this is cool and then the followup question, why is it cool? Why do you dig this one and not this one? Right, I think that that's really important to do too because then they'll say, oh, well, I like it because this, this, this, I can't see the Y and I see the P and blah blah blah and you're like wow, you're unearthing these insights I had no idea, I'm really, great. So don't put too many, don't ask too many questions. Just let 'em see it.
Matthew Jervis is an innovation consultant and program instructor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. After years spent as a branding designer and art director, Matthew began leveraging his professional experience and training into working in education as a lesson designer and instructor for kids; kindergarten through graduate school.
I want to thank Matthew for a great insight into designing a logo. I am not an artist, have no creative experience in the digital or marketing or banding world, and because of this class, I actually designed a logo! I want to open a small kids art studio for classes in my neighborhood and I was looking to design my own logo to use in a Wordpress site and small scale branding/marketing and some building signage, and thanks to Matthew's easy and sensible approach to design, i was able to it. I def. recommend this class.
Loved all the prep work info and how that translates into a great logo design. The class was easy to follow, the instructor answered some great questions, and it was a great overview of how to create a logo.
a Creativelive Student
Great intro to logo design. Matthew outlined some great steps to take to kick off my logo creation process. I think I'll be able to save a lot of time and money working with a pro for final design as I'll be able to come to them with a more clear idea of what I'm looking for.