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2.1 What Are Logos and Icons?

Before we dive into creating a logo for the ‘Buzz Studio’ brand, let’s look at why logos are a good place to start when designing brand identities, and why you should take the time to develop icon designs too. We’ll end the lesson with a good ol’ fashioned brainstorming session.

2.1 What Are Logos and Icons?

Welcome to the second section of this Envato Tuts+ course, Designing and Building a Brand. in this lesson, we're going to look at the first thing on our brand design checklist, and that is designing a logo. First step, do you remember in the first lesson when I asked you to look at those three logos and deconstruct them? Well, have your thoughts in front of you if you can, and see how your opinions compare to mine. So these are the logos that I picked, Coca-Cola, Chanel, and McDonald's. I want you to think about a logo's underlying qualities. So what does the brand's name say about their position in the marketplace? Who is the brand's target consumer, and how does that brand tap into the consumer's psychology? And finally, how can you link these underlying qualities to the way that the logo is actually designed? Does the design reflect these qualities accurately? Let's take a look at Coca-Cola first. Coca-Cola maybe one of the oldest brand names, but it's got a long-lasting appeal. It's catchy, and it feels really nice to say, and it's helped up by the illustration of those double C's O's and A's. This makes it feel a bit song-like, childlike even. It even makes the brand seem a bit more fun. Chanel, by contrast, has got a lovely elegance, smooth sound twists name. It's difficult to pronounce it about detecting traces of a fashionable French accent. And the McDonald's name also has a very different sound. It sounds familiar, friendly, unpretentious, and trustworthy. Okay, so what about the target consumer of these brands? Well we can see that Coca-Cola and McDonald's have a universal appeal, which cross different age demographics. Children and adults alike can recognize the nostalgic and fun qualities associated with the logo. Chanel also has an extremely broad appeal, but its logo is much more pared back and is really appealing to an aspirational audience. So while Coca-Cola McDonald's sell all American familiarity, Chanel is selling you an aspirational lifestyle ideal. For this reason, it can branch from targeting uber wealthy purchases to appealing to millions who want to emulate that luxury, high-end lifestyle. So how do these insights link with the actual visual design of the logos? For Coca-Cola, the punchy red and retro-inspired script font taps into its uniquely nostalgic quality consumers feel that they are buying a product that's been around for decades, and this gives the logo a reassuring quality. Chanel's logo is a brilliant study in understated brand design. The simple interlocking C's are a lesson in restrained confident elegance, but the choice to use the sans serif type rather than a more posh looking serif sets apart Chanel as a very modern fashion brand, which is always going to be at the forefront of new trends. The McDonald's logo design is also incredibly simple. Strip away the brand name, and the golden arches are just as iconic and commanding on their own. Originally inspired by the architecture of its fast food restaurants in the 50s and 60s, the logo still retains that retro appeal. Like Coca-Cola, the McDonald's logo reinforces the nostalgic associations and long-term attachment of consumers to the McDonald's brand. This power of inspiring comfort and habitual use in its consumers means that the McDonald's logo has needed very little reinvention over the decades. Okay, so what lessons can we take from the design of these iconic logos for creating our own brand designs? The first step towards creating a logo is brainstorming and just letting your creativity flow even if that sounds a bit cliched. What I want you to do is pull out a big sheet of paper and start thinking about adding logo concepts to the Buzz Studio brand or your own brand. Perhaps an identity for your own freelance brand, for example. I want you to just let loose, just brainstorm loads of concepts connecting the brand to a visual design. You want to aim for three things in your ideas that are very similar to what we've seen in these three famous logos for Coca-Cola, Chanel, and McDonald's. You want to aim for symbolism, and that is thinking of pictogram style visuals that connects the brand name to a strong visual idea. You also want to look for simplicity in your ideas. Don't waste time on creating over complicated fussy designs, just develop very minimal, strong, simple ideas. And finally, trying to aim for memorability. If your design is instantly forgettable, it's not going to work. If it says something clever or different, that's going to make it much more memorable. Go ahead, pause the video, and spend 15 minutes or so just drafting lots of rough ideas onto a sheet of paper for either the Buzz Studio design agency brand or your own unique brand. It doesn't need to be just drawings. Words and phrases can also be useful in sparking visual ideas, and it might be a good idea to step away from your computer and go find a quiet spot to just clear your mind and guess crippling. Try and draft some ideas for tight version of the logo and also some more visual images that are going to symbolize the brand. I'll see you when you're finished, and I'll share my own brainstorming sheet with you. Okay, so how is that? Did you have some ideas? So I'll show you what I've got here. This is my own brainstorming effort. So I started thinking about symbolic ideas behind the name Buzz and came up with a few options such as bees, honey pots, honeycombs, etc. I also wanted to take some of that retro vibe that Coca-Cola and McDonald's do so well and bring that into the logo somehow. So I took another sheet and started playing about with setting the agency's name in a retro-inspired type style. I had a quick look online at 1950s diner signs to look at how the text would have been angled, and the ways that a capital B, for example, would've been drawn in two distinct parts. So what I've ended up with is really two parts to the idea. One is more a type-based design with a nostalgic retro value, and the other is more visual, a more pictogram-based idea, which is something to do with bees or honey. What I want you to aim for in your logo ideas is these two identities, one more type-based and one more image-based. Why do I want you to do this? Well, basically, this is going to give you the flexibility to create both a logo and an icon. Okay, so we're getting into more tricky territory here. What exactly is the difference between a logo and an icon? So a logo is the base identity of your brand. It might include type alone or type plus a graphic of some sort, and the logo is the fullest representation of your brand identity. An icon is a little bit different. An icon is a much more restrained, basic version of your logo. It probably won't feature much or any text. Instead, it's going to have a visual emphasis. An icon is an instantly recognizable symbol that defines your brand without the need for the brand name. So how can we develop an icon from what we've got here? I want to share of you a little secret for creating really effective clever icons from your brainstorming ideas. Okay, so let's take Buzz Studio as our example. So I think of the word buzz, I instantly think bees, honey. And those are both pretty obvious ideas, and there will be lots of logos related to bees or honey out there, and they probably all have bees or honey pots for their logos. Let's try to think a bit more symbolically here. Break down the possible elements that make up the concept of bees and honey. You want to aim for the simplest elements that you can make into something very simple and very symbolic. As another theoretical example, say you've got a coffee shop brand to design a logo for. Your first thought is coffee cup, and you'll spend ages drawing a detailed coffee cup. But there are better ways of doing it. What smaller elements go into a cup of coffee? Think about the shape of a swirl of cream, or the curve of the cup handle, or the simple shape of a sugar cube. These are all small symbolic elements that shout coffee in a much more unique way than an image of a coffee cup. So let's apply that principle to birds. What smaller elements can we discover here? Well, I really like this idea of a honeycomb and the very simple polygon shapes that make it up. If we isolate just one of these honeycomb shapes, it still retains its association with honey and bees. It just does it in a much simpler, more clever way. This very simple polygon shape is going to become the icon for the Buzz brand. All that's left now is to integrate the icon and the type design together to make one unified logo. What I would like you to do is one of two things. If you want to recreate the Buzz brands that I'm putting together here, download the attached scan of the hand-drawn Buzz brand name. This is the original scan that I'm going to use to create a final vectorized logo for Buzz. If instead you'd rather create your own logo design and factorize it, scan in your strongest drawing of the brand name in a type style and bring it up on your computer. Make sure that the scan has lots of contrast, so going over it with a heavyweight pencil or black pen can be a really good idea. But try to retain some of that original texture in your drawing. It's going to add some characters your final logo. Okay, so either download the scan that is attached to this lesson or create your own scanned image. In the next lesson, we're going to look at vectorizing the logo, and pull together the visual and type elements to create both a complete logo design and a separate icon design. So that's great work, guys. Keep those creative juices flowing, and I'll see you over in the next lesson.

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