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Logo Design for Your Small Business

Lesson 5 of 16

Creating Your Logo: Ideation & Research


Logo Design for Your Small Business

Lesson 5 of 16

Creating Your Logo: Ideation & Research


Lesson Info

Creating Your Logo: Ideation & Research

How do I start coming up with ideas? This is where I like to bring in a little bit of a process, it's nice to have a process to follow through. Because a lot of times we can get caught up with things in our heads, things that we like, things that we wanna, you know we wanna be like this logo, or we want this kind of feel. This kinda stops your flow a little bit, and kinda walks you through something. So you don't get caught up on some of those things that just get knotted up in your heads. We start start off with research and understanding. With any creative endeavor that you guys probably know, it's always good to get a firm understanding about what it is that we're doing. Research, I strong urge people to go to a bookstore. Get some design books. Research your industry. Get on the internet, see who's out there. See what kinda colors, what kind of looks and feels are happening in your industry. And then do something different (laughs). But get as much information about the kind of wor...

k that you do, and out of your own, get out of your own head and see what other people are doing in the world that is similar to you. Research, then we move to sketching and brainstorming. This is where we just sketch and sketch and sketch. We're still off the computer. We wanna use our hands. We wanna just draw, and we come up with a lot. Maybe like a hundred variations. This is, I put play here because I think it's important. We have to have fun doing this, otherwise it's complete drudgery, and you're gonna be fighting yourself. From there we choose three directions. I do this because we have this whole huge list and sketches of things. Now we pick three distinct directions. Not variations on a style, but three definite emotions or moods or types of directions. Pick three and then go and ask a friend (laughs). Do not (laughs) do not submit yourself to throwing these directions up online. It's just way more headache. You're gonna get a lot of people, you're gonna get a lot of opinions, and sometimes that can sort of impede your progress. So go to a close group of people, maybe a couple strangers, just say, hey, these are my three directions I'm looking at for my logo, what are you feeling? What is your, you know, gimme some feedback. Once we get that feedback, then we can move into refining. And this is a good place where we can talk about moving to the computer. We can scan 'em in, we can use Photoshop. We can us Illustrator to sort of refine those designs a little bit. Maybe actually play with some real typefaces, and then we can start talking about color. And then once we've done that, knowing what we wanna use it for, we can start creating our formats. Then can do print, like EPS and vector stuff, or PNGs for digital. Color spectrum obviously, there we wanna do CMYK for print, RGB for web, that kinda stuff. But that all happens here, and then ta-da! You've launched. You're good to go. All right so-- Okay so we're gonna. If you don't mind-- We're gonna take some-- Yeah. Questions from the internet. Oh, great. Great. (man whispering) And I can drink some water. Perfect! So one question that we had from G. Petrone, "Can a logo be created from fonts that already exist, "like combining two initials and being one original idea?" Ah, the short answer is, yes. First of all, thanks for your question. You can. There's a few situations you might run yourself into. First of all, you wanna own the typeface. You want to, there's ways of creating those typefaces into vector forms that you can sort of manipulate. I would urge you to maybe do that as more exploration, at first. Try a ton of different typefaces. There's tons of foundries you can go to and grab really unique typefaces. The typefaces that come on your computer, I would hesitate in actually using any of those. Because it stops being unique. If people can say, oh that's Futura or oh, that you're using Times Roman, or God forbid Comic Sans. People can see that and that gets in the way of you actually communicating your own unique differentiator. So, I don't know if that answers your question. Jim, does that answer your question? Yep, that's solid. Okay. And we're gonna move on to our next question-- from Bea Naylor. Yeah. Who says, "How do I, what's the best way, "how do I determine which kind of logo, I should go with? "Are there situations where a text-based logo "or an icon or a combination of the two "are better than others?" Yeah, that's a great question. Now we did go through the five types of logos. But I strongly urge y'all and everyone at home to do the symbol and the word mark. Because what you're doing is you're creating a suite of material that you can go and use in other places. Some places you might find that the, like if you're doing a watermark, that's your symbol. You're gonna use your symbol part of that, or your graphic piece. Invoices, you might wanna have your full name on it. So in developing the combo or the lock-up version, you're just creating more stuff for you to play with, and more ways to use and push your brand around. Great, and then-- Thank you for the question. That's good. Another one is, "Do you have any suggestions "on strategy for a mobile app logo?" Suggestions as in format. I'm assuming that they-- mean format. Yeah, yeah. Yes, for a format question. Well, obviously, you're gonna look for something really lightweight. A GIF, JIFF, jury's out. PNG is also a good format. As we move forward in this class, we're gonna talk about creating print and digital formats. But it's also important to keep all your work in a file, so whomever you work with in developing your app, they might suggest a file format that they wanna use. So you can always go back to your original work and create that. But just off the top of the dome, I would say, a JIFF or a PNG. And I think so I misunderstood. I think maybe the question is more of what kind of of logo, whether you use just-- Oh, sorry. Totally went off a different tangent. But that was valuable information still. Yes, for sure. I think what you'd wanna do is go with, I call 'em little bugs. They're like little symbols. But again, that might be what you use for the app. In other applications and other materials you will want your word mark or a letter mark, so again, create everything and then use what you need for different applications or applications. Perfect, thank you. Okay, so I wanna get into the research and understanding piece. Again, gather as much information as you can. Go out and get a couple of books. I'm a sucker for design books. Is use them, I mean, geez I have quite a little library, and I love looking at them, but if you don't wanna buy them, go to a museum bookstore, is always a great place to find awesome art and design books. And then get on the internet. Start, like I said before, get on the internet and start researching other people that do work like you. How are they communicating their story? What is their story? How do you differentiate yourself? That's important stuff. Here's an 11-point questionnaire that I have put together that I think (inhales) is almost akin to what the thought process you might go through in developing your own business plan. But this is sort of a little self-examination on how to start building that story that you're gonna start pulling some visual language from. So let's just go through this. Now if you're at home, I strongly urge, I hope you are, but take notes because this is on the bonus materials. But for now it's always good, you know, top of the mind, just getting some thoughts out is always a great idea. So even if it's just scratch work, it's still worthwhile. So how would you best describe what you do or sell? We don't want a page and a half. These aren't huge essay questions. Try and do a couple of sentences. Number two, what are your goals? Who are you targeting? This is important. Millennials. 18 to 20 year-olds. 50 to 70 year-olds. The clearest vision you can have of your target will make a heck of a lot of work much easier, because you can really start focusing on what that target likes to see, what are their behaviors and how can you best reach them? Number four. Who are your main competitors? Like I said, do a little research. Who's out there? Who's doing work like you? Number six. How did you get started doing this? A little personal story. Again, we're searching for visual language. Number seven. Share five adjectives or words that best describe what you do or sell. This is really, you can kind of maybe see where I'm going with this. You're just kind of getting this stuff off your head and you're gonna use it. How would you use your logo? We went through that. So obviously, if you're going to do things like the question we had about the app, you're gonna use it really small. You're not gonna want a lot of detail. You're gonna wanna have open registers. It's good to know this before you get into it. Because if you do something that can't be used like that, then you're kind of out of luck, and you gotta go back and start all over. So it's good to know how you're gonna be using it. Number nine. What is the most important thing you want people to know about you? These are questions, brand-level questions as well. But it's always good to be foreshadowing a little bit of what's down the road. So what's that big idea? What's that unique proposition that you want to leave everybody with? Number 10, what are three brands or identities that inspire you? Back to the research. I mean, back to the books. And it's also important, yeah I like 'em, but ask yourself why do you like them? They operate really well, black and white, and color, or I really like the way the letters are kind of folding on top of each other. Just jot those little things down, 'cause you can use those obviously. And then, finally, what words would you choose to describe your brands', excuse me, desired look and feel? What five words would you choose? We can think of five words for the Apple logo. We can think of five words for the other logos that we saw before. But what about you? What are the five words you would like to use to describe your brand's desired look and feel? And when I say brand, I mean, what you do or what you sell. Any questions out there about this? Yeah we have a lot of questions. So one regarding the goals. Can you talk a little bit further about-- how you define that? Sure. Yeah, now you're going into business for a reason. Those reasons could be your goals. I'm looking to make a career change. I'm sick and tired of working for the man. I'm gonna start making money for myself. These kind of things are goals. Or you could have actual goals, like I wanna stake a claim to the marketplace. I wanna bring my value to people. I am a hotshot wedding photographer and I wanna start showing that. Those are goals. Those are easy goals. And then they could get, but I always like to have sort of the year-one goals, three-year goals, five-year goals and beyond. Sort of scaffold your way into financial independence (laughs), success. But yeah, that's how I would answer that question. Great, and then one of the, another question bout-- Yeah Helping us define, to, you know, meh, bleh, define the differences between our competitors and what kind of thinking should we be thinking about as we go into logo design? Sure. So there's a couple of schools of thought here, and thanks for stopping me on this Jim, because there is a little something here. So when you're about to open up a shop on a street, it's always a good idea to be aware of your competition. You will never, if you open up a restaurant, eat out at other restaurants. I think that as far as when you're starting your own business, being aware of your competition is never a bad idea. Now as far as the identity and the logo are concerned when you start looking at a marketplace or an industry and you start seeing the logos that start popping up, you start to see a flavor. You start to see kind of a theme. Look at tech logos. There's a theme in color. There's a theme in typeface. There's a lot of sans-serif stuff. You can see there's sort of a language. Each industry has a visual language, that people participate in, at varying degrees. Now you can decide either to be part of that language, or break the mold and do something a little different. Now breaking the mold, is a story in itself. So that would entail you bringing something new, but you can't really go anywhere with sort of the knowledge base that you need, unless you take a look at your competition. Who are you basically competing for business with? Who are the successful ones? Who are the real successful people in your industry? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? Copy them. You know, great artists steal, and I think one of the things that we should not be afraid of is doing just that. There's a language there. There's a formula for a reason. Again, whether or not you break that is depending on your story.

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.