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Logo Design

Logo Design

Creating a logo at its essence is simply manipulating shape and color to create meaning.

Let's get started with an example

Take a look at these two well known logos. What do they mean? What do you notice about them?

logos

To break down the meaning in these logos, hone your Visual literacy—how we read and understand images. Learn about different types of shape and their implicit meanings, the various meanings and perceptions of colors and how to choose a good color scheme.

What's most important is to make sure that everything that goes into your logo is a choice!

Visual Literacy for Logo Design

In order to design a good logo, you need to understand and deconstruct how images are consumed and read.

Wordpress LogoNASA LogoStarbucks Logo

What does it mean to read images? How do you do it? Watch this introduction from the Center for Visual Literacy.

Shape

Shapes contribute meaning, structuring your design like visual grammar. What types of shapes will you use?

There are three basic types of shapes: geometric, organic, and abstract. Purposefully choosing to use a specific type or mix types will strengthen your design and influence the perception of your work. Read more from Vanseo Design below.

Specific shapes also impart meaning—e.g squares suggest strength while circles suggest unity.

What type of shapes and lines do Republican and Democrat logos use? Do those shapes and lines carry any meaning? What is it?

Color

Color can make you design stand out, but to make an accessible design, don't rely on color alone for meaning.

Make a conscious choice with your colors, one of the few elements in a logo. However, different people have different perceptions and may distinguish less or more colors than you; different people also have different associations with the colors they perceive, based on culture and personal experience. For effective design, you should be aware of the various meanings and perceptions of colors.
 

First, start by thinking of what meaning you want to convey, and what your audience is.

If you can distinguish the following common colors, what meanings do you associate with them?

Here are some possible meanings of color, but individual and cultural context can change and add meanings.

Keep in mind that while your colors should be chosen with a purpose, we can't rely on color for meaning, since not all people distinguish the same colors or have the same associations.

Second, consciously design a color scheme, taking various color perceptions into account. Don't pick your colors at random, even if you've a good eye for color combinations. You can use a color wheel and some simple rules to pick colors that will pair well for someone with high color acuity—but you'll want to make sure your design will still be accessible for people with common forms of color-blindness. Check out the resources below to help design your color scheme!

Meaning

Design and Color Blindness

Color Schemes

The Science of Logo Design

To design a good logo, you need to use shape and color to get Attention, evoke a Response, create Meanings, and be Memorable: the ARMM model, as explained by William Lidwell. Visit the Lynda station in Burke Library to learn from his tutorial.

How—and how well—do the Republican and Democrat logos from the beginning of the lesson get attention, evoke response, and create meanings? Are they memorable? What's good about them, and what changes would you suggest?

Imagine you're in charge of overhauling one of the logos—what would you do?

Deconstruct Designs

The best way further hone your logo design skills is to look at logos—both those with very strong choices and those with less strong choices. It also helps to keep informed of current logo trends and best practices (the LogoLounge trend reports are particularly illuminating)!

Illustrator Support

Get help realizing your design with Adobe Illustrator by dropping in with a Digital Media Tutor or scheduling an appointment.

Resources

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