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Logo Design for Your Small Business

Lesson 7 of 16

Color & Logo Refinement


Logo Design for Your Small Business

Lesson 7 of 16

Color & Logo Refinement


Lesson Info

Color & Logo Refinement

Refine and finalize. This is where we've taken now, now just a really quick recap, we have three directions that we've chosen, that we really like, they've passed the friend test, and now we feel like we can move forward. I strongly suggest taking a couple logos into this next refinement process, because again, things happen, new insights, somebody might say, oh I don't like how you did that, but now I really like that one now that you've cleaned it up, so it's always a good idea to have a couple going through this process too. You don't wanna limit yourself completely to one. Okay, so what we probably wanna do is we wanna, now I do have, oh you know what, my tracing paper, when we do, we've got our directions, it's always a good idea before we come up with the computer, thank you. Grab some tracing paper and what I've done is I've put my logos, my sketches, underneath the tracing paper, and basically take a pen or a pencil. Again, I strongly, I know I have a pen in my hand, but I woul...

d urge you to keep with the pencil. And start going in and re-drawing it. Re-drawing it, you can start, obviously when you're sketching, you've got a lot of lines, now you wanna get into that root line. You wanna get into those root forms and maybe you wanna play with something. The tracing paper allows you to again have some more brainstorming time with those three logos that you had. As you can see, I go through a lot of tracing paper because this is a great way of kind of, you can start looking at what you have, do a little something, look what you had, and kind of go back and forth, and by hand, start to refine the process. Now. Plus it's good to have tracing paper on hand for other things too. I love tracing paper. Okay. Now, when you get down, I'm holding this up not just as an example, but once you have those tracing refinements done to your three directions, you wanna scan them into the computer. Now, scanning, if you have a scanner at home, or you wanna use somebody's, I would suggest importing it as a jpg, or having it scanned in as a jpg, and then that's something that you can open up into Illustrator and we can play around with. So let's actually, let's put this computer on the screen and we can kind of see a little bit. So I've scanned this and I have it up on my desktop here as a jpg, this document here. Now, again, we're gonna just, I'm gonna show you some quick little things to do in Photoshop to start working. Open up Photoshop. And there it is. Now it's important that we continue looking at our logos as black and white. We wanna stay out of the color realm first. So I wanna make my image grayscale, there it is. So if you've done anything else, if it's CMYK, or if it's RGB, go back up and make sure that it's a grayscale. Now if you've done a grid, or on your scan, there's a couple different logos on there, you want to first crop the logo that you wanna start with. You've got your scanned image so you have your full page already there that you can go back to. So we're gonna start with this one, and make this a little bit bigger. I'm really into this pencil. Again, we're in Photoshop, grayscale image, cropped in on the logo that I wanna concentrate on. Now we wanna go to our levels. Move it out of the way so we can see what we're doing. Now, we wanna get this black. There's a lot of gradation, but we want it just really black and white, so we wanna pull this over pretty hard, get a lot of that white out, as much as you can. We'll stop there. Now I'm gonna go over to my erase tool. Gonna get rid of this. Get rid of this. Open up that layer so we can play with it. And now I'm gonna go and I'm gonna even crop it tighter. So there we've got a pretty forced, level image that I'm gonna work with. Any questions up to this point? Yeah, Yanny. When you import it does it matter what the resolution size is? Yeah, that's actually a great question. When you're at the scanning, I always go for a 300 dpi. Again, there will be some, the dialog box, depending on what your scanner is at home, you want to make sure that you can decide the grayscale at that point too, so hit the grayscale there, do it about 300 dpi, that gives you enough information to play with. And then I don't know if it's habit or not but I guess it is, I just do jpgs. And then from whatever format from there, I choose different but I always start with a jpg. How about at home, Jim, has anybody got any questions yet? Yeah, we definitely have a couple of questions. So the first question is, do you know if you can use your phone to photograph if you don't happen to have a scanner, and do this same process and move it into Photoshop. That's a great question. iPhonographer, is that what it is? Okay. Yeah, so definitely use your iPhone. Your iPhone is an amazing camera. It's really an amazing camera, so if you can take a picture off your desk or something that's great. Or take it outside and get some natural light. You can totally do that and then you can send it to yourself, and then pull it into Photoshop, sure. That's a great shortcut if you don't have a scanner. Great, and we touched on this a little earlier in our first segment, what if I'm a bad drawer, can I still be successful at this? Yeah, and like I said, I think bad is just subjective, it's just a subjective term that just means you draw differently. (laughs) You're a different drawer. And that could be a good thing. So depending on what you wanna communicate, you might be the perfect person to create your logo. But again, to go back to the whole beginning here, remember it's not important that you are the one that actually creates the logo, at the end. But what we're doing is we're walking through a process that regardless of what you're gonna do, it's an important exercise as a new business owner trying to basically build this identity. So what you basically have been doing after you finish this class and we've done everything and you decide, nah, I'm just not gonna do it, I'm gonna get a freelancer. The work that you have done is gonna save you hundreds of dollars, because you are gonna take so much diligence that they would have to do already off the table. So if you're not a good drawer, of you feel like you're not gonna be skilled at being able to communicate what you want to communicate, go through it anyway, and then you have got some great sketches to show a designer. Great. Thank you. Okay, so back to our pencil. Now this is a rough pencil, and I like keeping this rough. I don't want a super clean pencil, I wanna keep it kind of rough, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna even pull these, make this even darker. 'Cause I really wanna capture these lines. And I like that sort of brushed stroke, so I'm gonna keep that in there. Now, if you want to go in and clean up, get really up in there and get a brush, make sure it's on white, and then you can knock out some stuff, you can adjust your brush to be a little bit more of a harder brush. And you can go in and you can open up some of these. Get in there and pick out some loose pixels. And why are you getting rid of the loose pixels there? Well I'm cleaning it up. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna create a vector work path around this file, around this image. And I'm gonna bring it into Illustrator, just do some other adjustments. So I don't want that work path to include stray pixels, because it makes a mess. And this way I'm gonna get a little bit, I do like the sketchiness of it, I wanna retain that, but I also wanna sort of make sure that it looks considered and not just like I went through and just didn't consider, I just wanted it to be a little cleaner. So, go back out a little bit to make sure that I'm looking good. This wasn't, yeah there we go. Okay good. Now, so it looks really pixelated right now, what we're gonna do is we're going to make a work path here. So what you wanna do is you wanna select the black portion of your image, and you hit it a little bit and then you can go over to select, and then you can go to similar, and now it looks like it's being crawled over by a bunch of ants. So basically what I told it to do is I've told it to capture all the outline of the black. And this will be a work path. Go over here to path. Make work path. The tolerance is how close that work path is gonna come to the image. The tightest it can get is point zero five, so I'm gonna go point zero five. I mean, point there, thank you. I meant to say zero point five. There, now it feels like it's all the sudden crystallized around it. And I'm going to go up to file, go down to export. And you want export paths, where did it go? Export paths to Illustrator. Hit okay. Yes, thank you Photoshop for reminding me what I'm doing. And it's going to save your original file with an AI, which is Illustrator. Figure out where you wanna do it, I'm gonna put it right on my desktop. There it is. Save. And put Photoshop away. And here's my now Illustrator file. Now it's very important to keep your legacy files. Make sure that your original scan is there. Now we can open up this. There's that, I can get away with that. I'm gonna now open that desktop. Open that up. Hit okay. Now, that little piece is actually, that's our little image right there. I'm gonna zoom in on that. Okay. Put that away. Oops, what happened? There we go. Now control A or command A. That's our file right there. Now this is now what we would call a vector file, which means there are points along, it's taken that work path and it's reinterpreted it into a line with little vector points. And we can color this up by going to edit, or file rather. Go to where's my fill. Oops. Let's see, go to color. And we're gonna go to black. And now it's colored everything, but what we can do is we can take our select tool. See all those lines now. Now this is, oh, what happened, oh there we go. This is a place where I go to my control Y. Which exposes all the lines in there, and now I can go through and I can say, okay, now I wanna keep this white. So just make that white. We can go through all the places that I wanna keep my white. And we're just coloring 'em. Basically what we're doing now is we're creating something that we can go into and use these points, now. Let's go in and take a look at these points so we can talk about that. Each one of these points can be moved and screwed around with, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna take our anchor point tool. And we can pull. And I'm just gonna do these for examples. We can also delete some. And we can make things a little bit straighter. And again, however, if you want a straight, more clean image, when you're doing that refinement with the tracing paper, work that clean image, work that line if you want something straight, you can use a ruler or whatever when you're in that environment, when you're in the tracing paper environment. Ah, the tracing paper environment. And then what you're scanning, and you'll have a little bit less of a jagged edge, but since I kind of wanted that, I'm not gonna do too much. Now we back out. And there. So we can kind of start playing around. Now this is gonna get, I want it to be really jaggedy, so the type that I might start playing with might have a lot of angles to it as well, or I might wanna counter the jaggedness of this with a very smooth, more elegant typeface to have, like a sort of push and pull effect perhaps. Now again, it's important to stay black. We wanna stay in our monochromatic world right now because as soon as we start adding color, it's a whole new ball game. So let's go back to the presentation piece. And let's talk a little bit about color. Color is, again, we're gonna go through it fairly quickly, you can get really deep into color. Color has a lot of weight. And a lot of messaging, and a lot of personal, we look at color and we all have our own sort of feelings about it, and it's also very cultural. So this is a wheel, this is also included in the bonus material, so if you have this at home you might wanna print this out, or pull it up to take a look at it. What I've done here is I've built this wheel, and just captured a few top level moods and emotions and associations that each color has. Now why we're talking about this. When you do your research about your industry, you will notice that there's a language. We talked about that visual language that the industry may have or the formula that people have sort of latched onto. There's very specific reasons why some colors are used. And we can just go through, I'll just start here with green. Green, obviously we have our own connotations that we pull with green. But psychologically when we look at green we're always thinking, or most of us are thinking, fresh, new, harmony, nature, balance, those things are things that come to mind with green. And opposite that with red, we've got anger and love. When I see green, I think about money. Or money, true that, true that, Jim. Fresh money. Fresh money, fresh, peaceful, harmonic money. And then with red, obviously we've got love, and passion, a lot of food logos use warmer colors like that. Colder areas of the spectrum connote more intellect, seriousness. And we have here, cold, sadness, distance, calm. But this is something to refer to, just to put yourself in the right ballpark. Now just really quickly to sort of pull back out and show some actual applications that logos have used and why they're using the colors. Now, we can see again with the green. You know we have Starbucks, NVIDIA, Mint, you know, environmental. These are, they're trying to communicate, it's another level of communication. Environmental, money, natural, organic, we see these colors being played with in these types of logos, right. So in the blue, more tech stuff. Liberal, cold, smart, launch, trust. That's in your blue category. And then purple, royal, mystical, Victorian, decadent. Now, these are words that you may have used when you were answering your question number seven in our questionnaire that we were talking about. So maybe there's a direct correlation, maybe you really have answered a color question before you even started looking for it. But it's also important for you to think too, what color do I like? And why do I like that? With that first color wheel, and some of these examples, you can kind of say, wow, okay, I'm kind of in that park, or wow, that's definitely not what I wanna communicate. I need to rethink my color. So you can barely see here, with the brown, rustic and Fall and earthy. It's fairly intuitive, but when we start seeing them actually being applied, we can start to see that graphic language of color emerge. Other ways that it's been used in these emblems here. It's always a good idea not to use more than two colors in your logo. It's always a little too cumbersome. It gets visually a little noisy. I think, my personal thing. With NFL we got two colors. Black, yes, it is a color. And the green. And then we have the orange and black here. Great use of color in these logos. Now no more than two in your logo, but it's very natural for a brand to have three colors just generally. So I've worked with brands that have a lot more than three. But they usually have sort of the three hero identity colors, sometimes they could be a Pantone color, or they're a unique mix of color. But those are their standout sort of brand colors, and then there'll be a secondary, and even a tertiary level of colors as well. Now how do you go picking those colors? We go to this color wheel. And this is something that's also in the bonus materials. This is a fun one to print out. Because we can start looking at monochromatic, we can start seeing analogous colors, complementary colors. And one of the things that's fun about this particular color wheel is you can play around with knocking some out. So if we were to start thinking about what colors we're interested in, you've got spectrum, you've got cooler spectrums here, you start getting warmer here, and then back to cooler. So now you can start seeing with this line here is analogous. These are analogous because they're right next to each other in the same level of hue, or the same value, right? Now, complementary colors are fun too. And we see this a lot if you go to the butcher. They always put the green next to the red. That makes the reds bounce a little bit more. So you can see directly across from each other, right? I just pulled this one out, but we can see what those complementary colors would be. So if you're looking to have sort of a warmer end of the spectrum for your logo, it might be worth some exploration in what a complementary color would look like with that too. What would happen is they're complements so they make each other more of what they are. So a red will make a green more green, and vice versa, it will make the red more red. So that's a lot of information here. But again, start out with what you like, see what that's communicating to people, and see if you wanna stay there. Any questions? I have a question over here. I use a website called Color Lovers, and there's also Adobe Color, Cooler, do you have some online sites that you like to go or that you use for referencing color, or do you use Pantones, and could we talk a little bit about that? Sure. Pantones are great. Pantones change annually. So that's a very dynamic color language that you can buy a book for. They're fairly expensive but they're very specific and unique colors to that group, Pantone, they're like a branded fleet of colors. I tend to look at books, because most of the systems that I've designed have been used digitally but they're also used in the print world, so I always go to print and see how colors are being reproduced. I'm a designer that still feels that press checks are important, so being able to see how those colors are being reproduced is always, so I always kinda lean towards the printed material. Colors are one of those very subjective things. I don't use any online sources for color. I feel maybe it's because I've been doing it for a while that I feel like I kind of know how some colors come across, I know that yellow is a bad color for mostly print stuff, because it's hard to read if you use it for print. So there are some colors that are better, like cooler colors are better for text. Warmer colors sometimes can reverberate. Sometimes when you see colors together you see this vibration happening. So you wanna make sure that you are in the right family, or you're in the right spoke sometimes, because there's, if I go here and I wanna match it with over here, there's a difference in value that might not play well. But then again, it might play well. And one of the things about going to these online color sources is they're gonna tell you what they think, and they're gonna give you examples, but I kinda like to just see them myself. Now one other great way to do this is to go to a paint store. And all those paint swatches that they have on the wall, right, they have a ton of them. Go through there and just pick stuff. And then put them together, see what they look like. Now you can scan those in, or you can match those colors. But that kind of gives you sort of maybe some ball parks. Again, those are branded colors in most cases to those paint companies, but they'll at least kind of give you a ball park, then you can come back here and start saying, oh, I kinda like this green, and I love this green the way it plays with this violet, warmer. And that kind of gives you a place to play. Again, there's no right or wrong. It's whatever works and whatever you like. There are a lot of rules and a lot of people that say that this is definitely don't do this, and do that, or whatever. Throw all those rules out the window when you're starting out. And it's good to know those rules, but it's also good to just let your eyes play. Because you'll know when things don't work out. Any questions, you guys? Yeah, Yanny? So much of what I do now is online. Should I be considering colors that are web safe, or does that not matter? That's a great question. So by general rule, RGB colors, there's other hex colors, there's a whole suite of web safe colors. Unless you're gonna do a specific mix, just doing an RGB you'll be safe. And you'll notice in Illustrator when you pull up the RGB palette versus the CMYK palette that the colors become more narrow, there's not as many. So I would start with the RGB palette for the digital stuff. But that's also, it's good to mention though, when you're doing, we're gonna talk about formats in a second here, but it's good to do your CMYK mix, and then also while you're in Illustrator, or I always lean towards Illustrator when I'm doing my stuff, then also make an RGB version. When you're doing your PNG for your website, or your application or something, make that RGB mix and have it. So you can be making those two different types of formats. Alright. So now choosing the right file format. This is another thing we're just giving a real general brief overview here. When you're looking for something to create, let's say now you've done your Illustrator file, you've got your Photoshop file, you've got your folder full of all these versions and scanned and whatever. Keep them. Don't throw them out. You're probably, in most cases, now you may have been able to make your logo, but now you wanna do things with it. And you might require a designer to help you in creating your business cards, your business system, or your website, maybe you don't know how to do a website. So they're gonna have a particular file format in mind that they're gonna need from you. Okay, so there's a lot of things that you'll have to go back to those original files and create a new format, and that's just as easy as just exporting or save as. But, that being said, in general, web formats, a Gif, jpg, or PNG file will get you to the party. And likewise for print, a PDF, EPS, or Illustrator files will be great for print. Really quickly what the vector files, and vector EPS or PDF files, those are when those points are there, and so that's the hardest edge you can have and it has the most information associated with it that you can do a really nice clean print job from. File formats, try and keep out some information in order to make that file lightweight. And so when you're at a website and it's loading and it takes a long time for the website to come alive, it's probably because there are some really heavy images on there that could have been made a little lighter. And so these are your lightweight but yet still contain enough information to be readable.

Class Description

Logos are a vital asset for any business. A good logo acts as a public touchpoint for everything that a brand represents: it establishes consistency of look and feel, adds a level of professionalism, and conveys the core ethic of the business. But you don’t need to be a professional designer to create a logo for your business or side-hustle.

Join Matthew for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • What makes a great logo, how to differentiate between types of logos, and how to get started on doing your own logo research
  • How to create preliminary sketches of your logo, import it to the computer, and add color
  • How to prepare logo files for many different use cases, from printed business cards to social media icons.
This class is designed to be accessible and actionable, and devoted to the basics of design thinking. Matthew will break logo design down into a step-by-step process and help you choose the tools you need. 

The DIY series is for creatives who want to create designs for themselves. The classes are geared toward beginners who aren’t necessarily ‘designers’, but need materials to represent themselves (or their small business). Classes labeled DIY are project-specific, under three hours in length, and priced affordably. Learn to design what you need quickly and easily.

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3


patricia villamil

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.

Lacey Heward

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.