Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”
Great logos are deceivingly simple. As the above story illustrates, the simple often takes the most training achieve. To get to very essence takes years of experience and a select eye.
So how do you go about design a logo? First I assume you have the foundation in design principals which include: typography (understanding the different classes of type and having a sensitivity to letterforms, counterforms, kerning, leading), color, symbolism, and knowledge of the design programs.
Examples of Logos by Design Intense
My logo design process:
- Research — Research includes general reading on the industry itself, sometimes on its history, and on its competitors plus visual research on other logos and symbols for the industry. Google image search is one of the easiest ways to do this.
- Visual Brainstorming — To create the logo design concepts you need to tap into your creativity. First I jot down words associated with the logo then using a sketchbook I sketch several ideas.
- Simmer — Like a good soup, you need to let the ideas simmer so after a brainstorming session, I usually put the sketchbook away and do something else for a while. The process stays active in my mind however and I find myself looking at everything around me “framed” by the concept
- Review — Once I have several concepts worth exploring further I think review type and graphical source material
- Develop — The concepts are then fleshed out into more developed ideas in the computer. I usually develop 5-7 different concepts.
- Reflect — Before showing the designs to the client I give myself another break from the process to reflect. Then I look at the designs fresh, make any necessary adjustments and present them to the client.
- Adapt — Based on client feedback a design direction is established and the concept is adapted to the suggestions.
- Polish — Final step is to polish the design, perfect that curve, kern that letter and any other tweaks.
Logo Design Example
When I designed the logo for my business I followed the process. The sketch on the left is one of the ones I choose as a final competitor. I knew I wanted a customized type-based logo using different fonts and the combination would contrast raw creativity with controlled design. I scanned the sketch into the computer and redrew it. I found a typeface that worked well for the word “intense” but the word design was a customized extended font with the “d” and the “e” forming a ligature. I like the middle design but after reflection I felt something was missing. The ligature was unique and well integrated but the rest of the letters were regular type separated by spaces. I needed to tighten the design concept. So, after several reworks, I created further ligatures between the “e” and the “s” and the “g” and the “n” and that united the design.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify — if it doesn’t add value, get rid of it
- If it needs an explanation, it doesn’t work — a good logo should impact and communicate without a long explanation. Yes there can be a deeper level to the design but the logo should work without any explanation
- Integrate wherever possible — avoid the type of logos where there is a symbol separated from type and there is no relationship between them.
- Consider how it will be used
- Consider how it will “fit” amongst its peers
- Consider how it will stand the test of time
- Make it super small — does it still work?
- Adapt it to a dark background
- Make it scalable
Want to be inspired? Check out this sites:
And for laughs as to where one can go wrong: http://www.artistmike.com/Bad-Logos/BadLogos.html