Lately I’ve been diving into the craft of logo designing by consuming as much info as I can about the topic as well as designing them for practice. Over the last ten years, I’ve worked for three companies, so logo design isn’t something I’ve done much of in my design career, and I want to get better at it. It’s one of my favorite pieces of brand identity to design and want as much practice as I can get.
For the practice, I joined 99designs and have been designing about two logos a week for the past three weeks. I have yet to win a contest, but have made it to the final round of all but one contest, so I know I’m on the right track, I just need to keep tweaking my skills.
Because I’m trying to hone in my logo skills, I’ve also been watching tutorials, reading books and blogs about the subject. I’ve read some really great tips and while they mostly say the same things, it’s great to hear them all through different perspectives of a variety of designers and I want to share them here on my blog.
First, join David Airey’s blog. If you aren’t familiar with his work, familiarize yourself with it, it’s worth it. I’ve been following his blog for years and I love the content he publishes. It contains some of the most memorable content I read on the internet. Second, his book, Logo Design Love, is filled with how to’s on becoming a great logo designer. It isn’t just technique and design theories about logo design. The book also goes into detail on client interaction and tips on absorbing client info that will end with a logo that best represents the client. If you are into designing logos, read this book. You just have to.
by Joshua Johnson
Joshua gives us an article filled with quick tips on logo designing. Like I said earlier, the tips in these articles are repetitive, but I like Joshua’s description of the concepts like, Avoid the Cliche. That’s always a good idea when designing a logo. I also like how he explains the Double Entendre of logo design. Some of my favorite logos apply this design type. They are always unique and the cleverness of their nature is hard to replicate.
by John McWade
John gives an hour long tutorial on Lynda.com about logo designing. You have to have an account on Lynda.com to watch it. If you are a designer, you need a Lynda.com account anyway, so sign up and start with this tutorial. It’s only an hour long (which is short on Lynda.com) and it’s filled with award winning logo ideas. Also, if you are just beginning to designing logos, it’s a great place to start. The video is not overwhelmingly filled with info, but it gives new designers a great place to start learning about what logos are, why companies need them and the most important aspects of designing one.
What I’ve Learned
Of all these things I’ve been consuming, there are three rules that stick out to me most that seem to be the most relevant and helpful. 1. Avoid the Cliche. If you need to create a coffee shop logo, avoid a coffee cup or coffee beans. Try to create from the story behind the shop, which brings me to the next rule. 2. Listen to the Client. Listen, listen, listen and ask questions and then listen to the answers to those questions. This is where you will get the best ideas. Any company is about the client and the clients dreams and that’s what makes it unique. 3. Simplicity. This is so much harder than it sounds. It’s difficult to take a clients dreams and put it into a simple yet memorable mark, it takes practice and time to learn.
There is a lot more to logo design than these three tips, so go read more. These are the three that stick with me the most when designing a new logo as far as technique goes.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The unfortunate and fortunate thing about any creative act is that there is not set of rules one can learn to make them great. It helps to learn the rules and learning them from more than one source. Read multiple articles, books and watch tutorials, but you also have to practice. Logo design (and all graphic design) is a craft that your brain has to learn from doing and it takes time. If you study successful people and their path to success, a common pattern among them is practice. Mozart wrote over 600 musical compositions and only a handful are famous. 600 musical compositions in itself pretty amazing. And he did it in his 35 years of age. He practiced….a lot. By practicing so much, he became one of the most memorable and successful composers ever.
99designs is a great place to practice logo designing. If you have the time and motivation to begin designing logos or graphic design in general, it’s a good place to start. I have a hard time just sitting down and drawing out logos without purpose, so this gives me a brief to read and a story to start putting together logo design elements.
Crowd sourcing is a bit of a controversy for some designers, but it’s a resource that shouldn’t be ruled out. Look into it and make your own decision about whether or not it’s right for you. You also have to opportunity to create long lasting relationships with clients, so it can be great for starting a Freelance career.
Motivational Tips for Logo Design
Don’t get discouraged. It’s easy to get discouraged when success hasn’t found you, but don’t give up. Like I said, it takes time and if you give up too soon, success will never have a chance to find you. I haven’t won any contests…..yet. I’m just starting to really study logo design as a separate art. I need practice and practice I shall.
Watch other designers too. I’m not suggesting copying other designers work, I just want to point out that your brain needs to know what logos should be and look like when they are successful. Pick a few of your favorites and follow the designers that created them. Watching other designers always gets me pumped up and gets me motivated to go do work. It’s inspiring to watch creation reach success. Go to Amazon and pick up the LOGOLOGY Vol. 1 and Vol.2 books. They are pricey because they were limited numbers printed, but these are great to have in your library if you are going to be a logo designer long term. They are filled with case studies on branding and logo examples.
Those are good places to get started learning about logo design. These sources I’ve highlighted will also give you more sources to consume, so what are you waiting for? Go out and get started designing…..I’m going to go practice more myself.