How do you create gradient logos?

I’m designing a logo, and I wanted to do something trendy like gradient logos.

It’s always best to bolster your terminology with examples because I have no idea what you mean by “gradient logos”. Of course you’re probably referring to logos with gradient color in them, but there isn’t a classification of logos called gradient logos.

Part 2 of my answer has to be: While there may be particular cases in which designing the basis of a brand mark to be color or gradient color -dependent does no harm, the vast majority of brand development calls for logo graphics that can be reproduced in a single color if necessary. A logo that is designed with one or more integral gradients will pose production issues and may prove needlessly costly in the longer term. So you and your client can marvel at the slick “gradient logo” they just paid you to design, but next week you may get a rather difficult call from an embroidery shop. Oops.

Part 3 would be: Trendy? Gradients are trendy? And there I was hating the flat-color “trend” that IMO, ruined the UI of just about every software application I use.

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Gradient logos aren’t trendy.
Take it from a sign guy. For the 3D signage someone might use in their corporate office, try and guess how much it would cost to create a gradient paint finish on it… LOL.

While I don’t deny they look cool and all, save the gradients for a bling version and do at least the original lockup in a solid format. Quite honestly, other than X-Box, I can’t think of a Fortune 500 company that has a gradient logo. And even X-Box, these days has a solid version they rely on, not like their earlier days.

PrintDriver is correct in everything that he’s told you. Take it from another print professional, and look to other techniques to add style and flare to your logo design work.

are those chrome text logos still popular?

yes, but not the chrome now, its just using one color as the gradient

Who suggested they were “trendy?”
And why would you tag a logo with a trend effect?
wait for it…

Well, I was looking up 2020 graphic design trends, and gradients was one of them. I thought (in my opinion) it looked cool for certain designs. That’s why I asked the question in the first I only went off of what I found on the internet.

In 2020, they are I just looked up 2020 trends because I’m sure future Art directors would want someone to stay on top of the trends. I also just liked the idea for certain designs.

Maybe some — not me. When I interview applicants, if they mention trends or being trendy, that’s a strike against them. Being aware of trends is one thing and typically a good thing, but a portfolio full of trendy student work is pretty much a deal killer.

I prefer to hire designers who think beyond the trends and are more concerned with solving visual design problems for clients than they are in jumping on the bandwagon of the latest fad that will be out of style by the next year. That’s especially true when it comes to logos that are typically designed to serve a business for many years.

In all my years of working with clients, I can only remember one time out of hundreds when a client mentioned wanting something trendy, and that was for a client whose business dealt specifically with teenage fashions. For most clients, the latest trend in graphic design a complete non-issue, so the subject never comes up. Instead, what clients do care about is whether or not the design solution they’re paying for is a good investment of their money and will successfully address whatever business problem they hired us to help solve.

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I’m not doing it because “its trendy” I wanted to do it because it cool. My portfolio will not consist of “trendy” designs. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon I just thought I ask a question on how to do gradients on certain logos because I thought it was cool. While I understand that most fads go out of styles I just wanted to now how you do it. I believe if done right can be a good idea. But since you’re an Art direct and brought up the hiring process I’m genuinely curious of the hiring process. Could you tell me how the hiring process is like? How do you review their portfolio? What kind of workload do new designers, especially fresh out of college will do? Because I’m always curious what kind of workload I be getting my self into.

How to do a gradient?

One uses any number of tools in Illustrator. Most notably, the, um, Gradient tool.

You can also use the Gradient Mesh tool.

Don’t use the blend tool even though there are tutorials out there that show you that thing. It creates a jaggy horrible, difficult to control monstrosity of an effect that is not worth saddling your client with.

Another thing to avoid is any of the transparency effects. Because logos should be created with spot colors, once you introduce transparency with a spot color, you run the risk of some really bad artifacts appearing in your overall design, sometimes not even in the atomic areas of the transparency. An opacity gradient has its uses, I will admit, but not in logos. Drop shadows and inner glows are not entirely scalable either. For instance, Inner glows have a 2" limit. You have to be very careful of output resolution should the logo go large via scaling of the print file that avoids that glitch. Raster Effects Resolution is a setting in Illustrator that a lot of designers aren’t aware of.

You might even be tempted to use Illustarator’s 3D tool to create lit crap, but it is quite literally crap. The algorithm sucks, and if you flatten the art, the stitch lines you see on your screen WILL print. With the 3D tool, I’d recommend doing any extrusion with the lighting effect turned off, then separating and cleaning up the shape planes and colorizing them yourself. It’s a lot of work, but if you want it to print, and not cost your client even more money, you gotta take the long way around.

Just bear in mind that when printed, gradients tend to do strange things, most notably, banding. The gradient algorithm in Illustrator is not meant to be taken larger than 8.5" Yep. Almost big enough for half of a magazine spread. When you try to take them larger, like for billboards, certain colors will show the stepping as it fades from color to white or from one color to the next. I’ve yet to see a straight up red-to-black look anywhere near good where the colors meet at 50/50. Also, I have seen some red-side blue to white gradients get a really pretty pink stripe band somewhere around 10-15% of the blue, or wherever the cyan falls to zero before the magenta does. Fun fun fun.

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Thank you answering my question that I had at the begging, and giving me some tips on what to do, and what not to do. Greatly appreciated it.

You specifically said, “I’m sure future Art directors would want someone to stay on top of the trends,” which is what I was addressing. There’s nothing wrong with exploring what you think is “cool.” That’s one of the reasons all of us got into this business. However, it’s important to remember that this is a business, and it’s far more important that the client (or employer) think something is cool than it is for the designer to satisfy an artistic urge.

I might have worded my first response a little too harshly. I wasn’t so much criticizing you as I was expressing my annoyance at design schools that stress trend following as a desirable trait. It’s sort of a pet peeve, I guess. How this trendiness trend came to be over the past several years, I don’t know, but I’m running into it way too often with new designers who think it’s, for whatever reason, of utmost importance.

However, I wouldn’t call gradients in logos a recent trend. People have been using them since the gradient tool was first incorporated into Illustrator back in the 1980s. What does seem to be trendy with logos is the use of complex color schemes and continuous tones to create logos that can only be reproduced using full color. This is part trend and partly a realization that, unlike the past, logos are most often used where full color is available, which wasn’t the case until relatively recently. However, there are still many instances when full color can’t be used, so logos also need to have B&W and spot color versions. Gradients, specifically, also cause special problems when output and printed, which PrintDriver deals with regularly.

And given that we live in a world where full color has become the norm, almost every design tool has the ability to create gradients of various sorts. Logos are normally built in vector applications, like Illustrator, so you’d use the special gradient tool in those vector applications to create them. However, a blinged-up, special-purpose use of a logo might be better accomplished in Photoshop or a 3D or motion application, where you would use their gradient and special effects tools to create the look you’re after. There is no one single way to do it.

When I interview someone, I’ve typically already seen their online portfolio, whether it’s a dedicated website or on something like Behance. No online portfolio typically means no interview. The days of designers dropping off physical portfolios is largely over.

When applicants are selected for in-person interviews (or Zoom or Skype), it’s typically a matter of the interview team asking lots of questions that probe the applicants’ knowledge, experience and thought processes. Specifically, I would be looking for someone who is not only a great designer (or showed great potential), but also someone with lots of common sense, a natural curiosity about the world around them, a good understanding of how strategy relates to design, a sense of humor, and lots of enthusiasm for the job.

I might spend a good part of the interviews just asking about books they’ve read or their hobbies or the things they like to do after work. In addition, even though I’ve already seen much of their work online, it’s always good to look at physical samples they might bring in and ask them about how they decided on this solution as opposed to another.

I’ll also typically ask questions that probe their understanding of the real problem behind a design problem they were given. For example, let’s say there’s a brochure in the portfolio. I’ll ask about what the brochure was meant to accomplish and what kind of business problem prompted the client to need a brochure and how the brochure addressed that problem. I’m always surprised how many designers stumble over these question as though they had never considered the reasons behind a client needing the piece in the first place.

On those occasions when I’ve been involved with interviewing new graduates, they get a light version of what I’ve mentioned above. I don’t expect them to have a portfolio full of real work from real jobs, but I still expect them to be smart, curious, enthusiastic, have a good grasp of the basics and have lots of outside interests that they’re passionate about.

As for what a new designer who is fresh out of college would do, at first it would mostly be production work and working closely with someone with more experience. Once the new designer started demonstrating proficiency at various things, that person would be given more responsibility and latitude in making decisions. At first, though, the job would consist mostly of learning and helping with routine sorts of things that needed to be done.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’d have much problem regarding either enthusiasm or lack of curiosity. :wink:

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Thanks for sharing on what the hiring process was for designers. I was always curious what the process was, other then reviewing portfolios. I wanted to know what questions I would potentially get.

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