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Advice for a Newbie

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  • Advice for a Newbie

    Hi Everyone!

    I've started studying Graphic Design earlier this year and I am now learning about logos, only I find myself struggling with the question of "What makes a good logo"? I am currently working or trying to work on creating a logo for a dummy cell phone company for an assignment...and even though I've researched online and drawn a few design sketches, I am not feeling confident. Any advice from long time logo designers out there?

    What do you think is the most important focus?
    What is your creative process?
    How do you decide whether an idea is worth working with?
    Do you prefer type over image?

    And most importantly, what has experience taught you?

    I would love to hear your input.


  • #2
    A few sketches isn't enough. When you get to 100, keep going.

    Important focus? the company's potential clients and translating the client's message to them.

    Creative process is different for someone new to the industry than it is for someone who's been around the block more than a few years. You are still at the trial and error stage. Sketching is what gets you through that. As one member here has in their sig, sketching gets you past the BAD ideas first.

    You are working in a vacuum with probably a very minimal brief. Deciding what idea is worth working with requires a collaborative effort with the client. Try using your class professor as the client. Try to flesh out the brief with questions that you would ask a real client concerning direction. Make them work for what you are paying them to teach you this stuff. If you have progress critiques, offer more than one direction, slightly divergent but still on point, early on in the prelim critiques and see what happens. If you just have end-of-project critiques, they aren't doing it right.

    Type vs image is not a designer's personal preference. Designers should keep personal preferences to themselves and focus on what is best for the client. Sometimes that is a simple typographical mark, sometimes it is the most intricate of designs. Think of the difference between the Target store's design mark and the most intricately designed Belvedere Vodka bottle label on the store shelf. Which is correct? Both of course.

    Experience has taught me that clients can be fickle. You, as the designer, are the one that has to stay focused on the end result desired.


    • #3
      Hi Yass!

      *The most important focus:*

      It's not about you, it's not about personal taste (not even the client's -- but that's something we all have to work around), it's about conveying the right message to the right audience.

      *My creative process:*

      It's different for every project. But generally, I will do research first - I will look at what competitors are doing, and also what other companies are doing in both horizontal and vertical markets. I will look for imagery that fits the tone of of what I'm trying to communicate -- maybe it's looking at old vintage ads, or architecture, or rock concert posters... it could be anything really. I'll put all of that input into my brain, or sometimes a mood board, and then I'll get away from it and sketch. 100 sketches is a great exercise, but sometimes I have a ton of good ideas right out of the gate and I'll spend time fleshing those out as far as I can rather than pushing myself to think of more and more ideas. But as PrintDriver said -- it depends on the level you're at, I've been through the process a fair amount.

      *How do I decide whether an idea is worth working with?*

      In my view, you know you're on to something if you can combine more than one idea into one graphical representation, so I always try to find that, and if I do, I work hard to realize that idea. If your idea can be simplified elegantly in a way that makes it clear what the company is about, also worth exploration. (Simple is king in the logo design world.) If you have an uncommon or unconventional way to tell the story, work with that.

      The purpose of identity design is to help a company stand apart from the competition and create a device that will help their customers associate/remember/feel. I am of the opinion that generic and trendy designs are not the way to go, but sometimes the client will steer you in that direction nonetheless. To create a voice as a designer, it's important still to try to push yourself and achieve high standards -- the best logo design isn't always the one that the client picks.

      I design with my portfolio in mind -- not in a self serving way entirely, but if the client doesn't have good judgment or taste (it happens a lot), I want to do my best to be proud of the work I produce. The point is, get your client out of your head and be creative, go off brief if you need to and get the ideas on paper.

      *Image over type?*

      Totally depends. When I do a typographical logo, there's usually some customization to the font to make it unique, and sometimes I take a stab at custom type (I'm not that good ... yet!). Learning how to create custom type is something I wish I'd gotten into much sooner, it's such a badass way to approach logo design. Then there's illustrative style, some designers are stronger there and develop in that direction. Some have a more traditional approach, true logos really are all about simplification and attention to very fine details (kern that type! set your grid/rulers!)

      *What has experience taught me?*

      Great question. I'd say:

      Be humble. Your ego has no place in the process, it'll only get in your way. Dare to stink the place up with a design that's so horrible you can only laugh at it and apologize to the world -- then get back to work.

      Approach design with the right energy, heart, and knowingness that you're going to get there if you just trust the process.

      I hope that helps, good luck!
      Last edited by EC; 05-09-2017, 08:12 AM.
      You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB


      • #4
        Hi Yassminh and welcome to GDF.

        We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.

        I moved your thread to the student forum so you'll get more appropriate feedback.
        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


        • #5
          Ask yourself who the logo needs to impress (hint; not the client - their target audience)

          Don't overthink it - the best logos are often the simplest (although it can take a lot of tweaking to get something that looks simple)

          Remember the logo may be used in different contexts - so don't use RGB colours which look good on a website but won't print. Make sure you do versions in black only (for NCR invoices etc.) and white with a clear background, for use on photos or darker graphics. If the logo loses something in black only or white out, tweak it until it works.
          Last edited by StudioMonkey; 05-09-2017, 09:45 AM.
          Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana


          • #6
            Originally posted by StudioMonkey View Post
            Make sure you do versions in black only (for NCR invoices etc.) and white with a clear background, for use on photos or darker graphics. If the logo loses something in black only or white out, tweak it until it works.
            That's gold. I usually present logos in color and in mockup form, and then in pure white or black on top of a light or dark photo so they can see why it is what it is. They don't even realize the difficulty level in that! lol I see young designers going right to photoshop and doing cool effects too - I suppose it can't hurt to say that it also needs to be in vector format and scale really well.

            These days I try to do several versions too -- e.g. square and horizontal -- for use on social media, etc.

            You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB


            • #7
              I really hate it when everyone else gives such good advice that it leaves me with nothing to contribute.






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