2.2 PROJECT: Design a Logo and Icon
Building on our sketched logo ideas, we’ll move our strongest designs onto the computer and produce a polished, vectorised version in Adobe Illustrator.
1.Introduction4 lessons, 16:46
2.Logos and Icons3 lessons, 38:46
3.Brand Typefaces 3 lessons, 36:18
4.Branding ‘Extras’: Color, Shape, and Graphics 3 lessons, 29:34
5.Brand Guidelines (Style Guides) 3 lessons, 30:56
6.Conclusion1 lesson, 02:20
2.2 PROJECT: Design a Logo and Icon
Okay guys, so in the previous lesson we looked at brainstorming some logo concepts for either the Buzz Studio brand or for a brand of your own. In this lesson, we're going to take the scan of either the Buzz sketch or your own sketched idea, and use them as a template for creating a vectorized version of your logo. It's really important that you vectorize your logo designs, as this is gonna make them scalable. It's no use handing over a raster logo file to a client. They're not going to be able to scale it up and down without compromising on the quality of the logo. I'd like you to first open up the scan of your sketch in Adobe Photoshop. So, go ahead and open it up in there now, pause the video, I'll be waiting for you. Great, so here we have the scan opened up in Photoshop. Before we begin to vectorize the logo, we first need to make sure that Illustrator is going to be able to pick up on all the minute details of your drawing. If you want to bring in some texture to your logo, and give it that really desirable vintage inspired look, this is going to be a really sensible thing to do. So first of all, let's duplicate the original background layer, just by dragging that layer down to the bottom of the Layers panel, and dropping it onto the new layer button. Okay, now we want to bring out much more of the contrast in this scan. So from the adjustment button down here, choose Levels. You want the white background to be brightened, so let's drag that slider like that. And you also want the dark tones of the sketch to be made much blacker. So you can drag the black and the midtone sliders like that, until you're happy with the balance. Great, so that's giving your sketch much more contrast, without getting rid of any of that lovely organic, patchy texture that you can see on the inside of the letters. We're done here, so head up to the File menu and go to Save As. And then choose JPEG from the list of options. And give it a filename like editedscan, and hit OK, perfect. Now I want you to leave Photoshop for now. So either minimize the window or exit the program. And then open up Adobe Illustrator, which is what we're going to use to vectorize our logo. Sp pause the video if you need to do that now. Okay, so with Illustrator open, let's go to create a new document. And then head up to the File menu and then go to Place. And then track down at your JPEG image of the sketch, the one which has got more contrast in it, and get that centered nicely onto the artboard. Great, okay, so let's expand the Layers panel first. For now, what I'd like you to do is just to lock that Layer 1 which has the JPEG image on it. Do that by just clicking in this space next to the eye icon, next to the layer's name. And then click on the create new layer button at the bottom of the panel. What we're going to do is trace around the shape of your logo and just pick up the general outline of the letters. So people have their different preferred ways of tracing In Illustrator. And you might have a preferred method yourself, but what I like to do is to use the arc tool. Which you can find just here in the tools panel if you click on the line segment tools pop up menu, there we are. Okay, get right in there. Zoom in to one side of your scan. And just click and drag, pulling that curve around the shape from point to point. Then you can switch the direct selection tool by hitting A on your keyboard. And get right in there and adjust those handles until the curve is just right. If you're using a drawing tablet, this is going to be a bit quicker and smoother to do, but you can still get this done really nicely just using your mouse. So continue around the letter. And begin each new curve from the endpoint of the previous curve, so you have one continuous line. I also find it quite useful to set the stroke color to a bright contrasting swatch. Let's try, say, a bright magenta. So you can see really clearly how that shape is looking. What I'd like you to do is just keep moving around the letters, tracing the outline, using the arc tool. And if you have any sections that are straight, switch up to the pen tool and connect these straight lines to the whole outline in just the same way. So pause the video while you get that job done and I'll see you back here really soon. Hi guys, so how was that? Have you traced your whole outline? This is the kind of thing you should be looking at when you're finished. You can switch off the visibility of the layer below so you can take a better look. Where you got these parts of the outline that are separate from the others, like the Z letter for example, drag your mouse to select all the lines that make up that outline. And either right-click if you're using a Windows computer, or Ctrl+click if you're on a Mac, like I am. And then choose Join. Or since all those lines are being joined together into one shape. So let's do that with the other sections, dragging across to select each outline and then choosing Join. Fabulous, okay, so you might have some curves that join with others and you can still see where that anchor point is sitting and it looks bit messy. So from the pencil tools pop out menu, over on the tools panel, pick out the smooth tool. And then just click and drag your mouse over any sections that are looking a bit bubbly, until you have this really lovely, perfect, smooth logo. Once that's all smoothed out, drag your mouse over all of the outlines and adjust the stroke color to none and the fill color to a solid black. Okay, so that's starting to look more like our original sketch. But the one thing that's letting it down is that it looks a bit too perfect and polished. What makes logos look modern, ironically, is actually a bit of vintage style texture and a bit of imperfection about them. It's going to give the logo a bit more character, and make it look more on trend. To do that, we need to bring in some of that original texture that we have in our sketch. So let's ignore this polished outline for now. Head back over to the Layers panel and lock Layer 2, and switch off the visibility of this layer as well. Then grab hold of Layer 1 and drag it down onto the new layer button to create a duplicate of the layer. Lock the copy of the layer that's sitting at the bottom of the pile. This is just gonna keep a version of your original JPEG image intact, in case we need to use it again, we might not. Then switch on the visibility of the second layer up, which has got a copy of your JPEG scan on it. Great, okay, so let's select the image with our mouse and then head up to the Window menu and choose Image Trace. In the image trace window, click on the down arrow that's next to Advanced to expand the window so that we can see all of our options. First of all, make sure that the Mode is set to Black and White and that the View is set to Tracing Result. Then if you click in the Preview box of the bottom corner of the window, Illustrator is gonna think about it. And then it's gonna show you a trace version of your sketch. So it might be a bit basic at first, but we can play around with the options to get it looking as close to the original result as much as possible. Slide the threshold slider to the right to pick up more of the detail of the image. And you might find the increasing paths, corners, and noise, is going to pick up even more of that detail. Make sure one more thing, that only fills is checked, not strokes. And also that snap curves to lines is also checked. So, have a play around, and once you get the result you want, remember we want to pick up more of the texture in the background of the image, not really the outline of the letters themselves. You can then head up to Objects on the top menu. And choose Image Trace and Expand. There we go, we've got a vectorized version of our scan that's ready to play with. Now I know what you're going to say, why on earth didn't we just do this in the first place and use this as the logo? Well, the image choice function is great, without a doubt it's really useful, but it's not going to produce the polished logo look that we're aiming for. It's fine for producing drafts and ideas, but it's not going to be as good as manually drawing the outlines of the logo. Just take my word for it. Okay, so what are we going to do with this trace logo? Let's get rid of this white background first of all. So right-click, or Ctrl+click if you're on a Mac, and choose Ungroup. Then select the white background and hit Delete on your keyboard. Then click anywhere on the black bulk of one of the letters, and delete. What you'll be left with is these minute traces of texture that are in white, and that's really the gold stuff that we're interested in. So get rid of the rest of that solid black. Then drag across, highlight all that texture, and switch the fill color from white to black. Perfect, okay, so we need to bring this texture back into our logo outline that we did earlier. So switch on the visibility of the top layer showing your outline. Then select both this top layer and the next layer down, which has your trace texture sitting on it. Go to the layers panel's drop down menu and choose Merge Selected. Then drag your mouse across one of the outlined areas of the logo, and with it, all the textured sections that are now sitting behind it. So right-click or Ctrl+click if you're on a Mac and choose Make Compound Path. And like magic, all that texture is going to be brought back into the logo. And it's looking really great. Repeat this process of each section, making a compound path, until your whole logo has a nice vintage style texture brought back into the vector. If you feel that some of the texture is looking a bit too much, you can double-click individual bits of texture, isolate them and delete them. And there we have it, a new complete logo, which has brought in all the hand done charm of your original sketch. But it's got that extra bit of polish that's going to make it look super professional. So what I've shown you here is how to vectorize your logos in Illustrator, and maintain some of the original charm of your sketch design. This is really important in logo design. Logos that are too polished, too perfect, kind of lack character and personality. There is a general trend in logo design now to make logos look more organic and a bit more hand done. You can even see this with something like the Google logo. It's phased out that crisp Serif font and come for something a bit more rounded, even a bit more childlike in form and style. So here you have your main logo. Great work, it's looking really fantastic. But there's something missing still. What is it? So do you remember when we talked about symbolism in logo design? Symbolism is a really important part of making logos memorable. Transforming them into pictograms, which get lodged in people's memories. This logo's looking lovely and it's got a strong shape and style that's going to make a great face for the brand. But we can add an iconic element to the design that's going to make the logo more symbolic. This iconic element can also be lifted from the main logo and used in isolation. Let's look at that Google example again and watch the last part of the video. Okay, do you see that? That multicolored G is Google's icon. It's lifted from the main logo design with the uppercase G and all the colors of the full logo. But its got a more symbolic, simple quality. It doesn't actually read Google but you look at and nonetheless, you see Google. So that's what we're going to do with our Buzz logo. Let's go back again to your sheet of sketched ideas from right at the beginning of the process. What symbolic elements can you pick out from there? Is there anything that would work seamlessly alongside a type-based logo? Is there anything that you think has really strong, memorable symbolism that communicates the name of the company without the need for text? For me, that's got to be this ultra-simple honeycomb graphic. It really is as simple and symbolic as you can get. One honeycomb shape isolated is recognizable enough to function on its own. It communicates the ethos of the studio, the busy working bees producing something creative and stylish. And it's very evocative of the name Buzz. What I would like you to do is either to take an idea from your own sketches to add something symbolic to your own logo design. And take that, vectorize it in the same way that we did for the main logo, and integrate it into your logo design in a creative way. Or you can do as I do and create the honeycomb icon alongside me and use the techniques that I do. So it's really up to you. Let's get started. Okay, so first let's do what we did before. Scan the sketch in, improve the contrast of the scanned image in Photoshop, and then place that edited JPEG into Illustrator. You can work with it in the same logo file that we've been using so far. Or, like I prefer, create a new fresh document for now and we can merge the two together later. Let's keep the sketch as a reference. You can do is we did earlier and set the sketch on a locked layer, and then use the pen tool to trace the edges. But for this sort of design, where it's very simple and geometric, we can create this using the shape tools available to us in Illustrator. Let's head over to the rectangle tools menu on the tools panel, and choose the polygon tool. Hold down Shift and draw a perfect polygon onto the artboard. Now, right-click if you're on a P.C. or Ctrl+click if, like me, you're on a Mac. And go to Transform and Rotate. Let's type in 90 degrees and then click OK. Is looking much more like that honeycomb shape now. Now let's set the fill to black. And let's open up the brush libraries menu and choose Artistic and Artistic Ink. Let's apply a one point stroke to the shape, set it to a black color, and choose Calligraphy 1 for the brush effect, which is this one here. Just to give it that slightly rougher, more hand done look, awesome. Okay, so here we have our icon. Now we want to look at ways of integrating this symbolic element into our main logo. I've had a play around with a few ideas here. So I've tried setting the type logo into the honeycomb shape as a background frame. I've played around with isolating the B in the shape, but I don't think this is quite clear enough. I like this idea of the trio of honeycomb shapes above the type, but I also sort of feel like it's got more of a pharmaceutical feel in this layout. And I think it's also a little bit lazy. It doesn't bring the two elements together in a very creative way. Now this design with the honeycomb set in the bowl of the B feels much more right to me. It's got more gravitas, it's most stylish, it just feels a lot stronger. So once I have the design that I like, I then copy and paste the design onto a new Illustrator paste board. And here I can start experimenting a bit with color. Now there are whole books on the influence of color on how audiences perceive brands, but that's for another course and another day. If you're looking for color inspiration for your own logos, it's best to take a look at the sort of colors that are used on logos in the same industry. Or even in logos that you just admire. For design studios, I tend to like bold color combinations that feel a bit in your face. They suggest creativity and a strong opinion, which I think kind of suits this field. So I've used a strong orange and black combination, which also has the benefit of looking a bit bee-like, without being the obvious yellow and black combination. Just having these two colors gives some more flexibility about how the logo can look. We can render the logo and just black for where we need it to be more simple. But we can also highlight the honeycomb in orange, or reverse the color way to give the logo a slightly softer feel. This last design might work really well across social media marketing, for example, because it has more of an open, friendly feel to it. Once you've decided on colors, your logo is ready to save. Isolate each colorway on its own artboard and save each one individually as an EPS file. This is going to make them really easy for others to use and scale, whatever software they're using. So there we have it, a simple straightforward process to designing a logo for your brand. Let's recap the steps. So first you need to get brainstorming. Use pencil and paper and sketch out lots of riff ideas. Some of a more type-based emphasis, and other ideas of a more symbolic angle. Secondly, identify your strongest type-based design and scan this into your computer. Use Photoshop to improve the contrast in the scan, making it ready for tracing. Next, place the edited scan into Illustrator and trace around the outlines of the design manually. Then you can use the image trace window on the compound path function to bring back in some of your original sketchy texture into the design. Then, take a look back at your sketches and identify a strong symbolic design that would work well as an icon on its own. Repeat the vectorization process. Then look at ways of integrating this icon into your original type logo design. You'll end up with both a main logo and a more flexible icon. That's really fantastic work this lesson, guys. For now, I want you to save all of your drafts and final vectorized logos. Put them into a project folder on your computer. We're going to come back to them a bit later in the course and look at absorbing them into a style guide for the whole brand. In the next lesson, we're going to move on to looking at how making choices about typefaces can make a really big impact on the personality of your brand. So stick around and I'll see you in just a moment.