10 steps to great logo designs

  1. Sketch
  2. Sketch again
  3. And again
  4. Don’t worry about mistakes
  5. Sketch with pencils
  6. Try using pens
  7. Sketch indoors…
  8. …and out
  9. Sketch fast
  10. Keep on sketching

Make lots of rough sketches. You’ll rule out many design ideas quickly this way before wasting time in Adobe Illustrator.

24 responses

  1. Good call, Jamie. My sketch process will normally span over a few days, giving time to sleep on the ideas, too.

    Hi Verne, your box drawings are exactly the type of thing I’d love to see on your creative briefing website. Do you plan on posting any?

  2. In my case, there’s sometimes a step of “random doodling” to clear my mind of influences first. I’m not sure if that’d count as step 1, or a step 0.5!

  3. Hi David

    Yep, I absolutely always do some sketches. Most are unrecognisable but it just helps me to get the stuff out of my head and onto some paper. When I give my class design projects I IMPLORE them to draw something first and then get onto the computer. You can do a hell of a lot more rough sketches on paper in 5 mins than anything you could do in Illustrator or Photoshop in 5 minutes.

  4. Jermayn, I completely agree. It’s important to know where web sections are going before you begin with any code.

    Jennifer, I think it’s great that you implore your students to draw first. Thankfully, any design teachers I’ve come across do likewise.

  5. Sketching for designers is like stretching for athletes before a game. I sketch before I do any kind of design work, period. I even go as far as making little notes on my sketches like color treatment, potential font choice, design style, etc. Anything that will make the actual sitting in front of the computer part go smoother and more efficient. But of course more than half the time my final piece looks nothing like my initial sketches haha. Sketching is still a must though!

  6. You’re right about the sketching David for sure. So many times I would just jump straight into Illustrator and go to work when if I had took the time to sketch a little I could have ruled out all the worthless crap I came up with in Illustrator before I even started the program. On that note…I just created a new logo earlier which can be found on my blog. I’d love it if you could give me your thoughts on if it looks good, bad, okay? And what, if anything would you change to improve it?

  7. Hi Deron, you mention on your site that you’ll probably change your logo quite a lot before deciding on a final version. In that case, it’d be great to see the sketches you come up with to see your thought process.

    Much easier to give a critique when there’s more than one option to choose from, and of course I’m more than happy to give you my take on it.

  8. Your article on google penalization was interesting, so you probably know about keyword stuffing? This article here has a fine example of keyword stuffing! ‘Sketch’ appears 10 times in the first 30 words and has nothing to do with the title. Dodgy ground IMHO …

  9. This might be true, but what about those who cannot draw or sketch. I used to draw a house or mountains and the sun rising over them in drawing class always since those were the only things I could come up with all the time. David give some pointers to the non-artists among us, like some software that will automate the process.

  10. Moser,

    Practice improves your ability to sketch, and automation defeats the purpose. If you find yourself unable to come up with new ideas, try brainstorming first.

  11. David,

    I have a question. Would you stay away from letter logo’s? Or creatively using letters in a logo? I have been sketching w/ the letters M M for so long that I am unsure if it’s hokey or if I am over thinking things. (unfortunately my initials are M.O.M which is extremely hokey in the sporting goods industry!)

  12. Molly,

    I enjoy well-crafted monograms. The trick is to find an original idea, which is extremely difficult, as combining initials is often the first route designers take for logos.

  13. Hi David,
    I really enjoy the sketching, doodling. m final yr student of applied art, we always work on the softwares lk illustrator, flash, photoshop. but before every assigment i do write wat is topic about n then print my visualizing brain on the paper through the sketching..saw ur porfolio..liked ur work n process of designing…

    thnks David :)

  14. I’ve learned that sketches are a must for me – so it’s good to see that others agree. I seem to waste a lot of time trying to brainstorm in illustrator!

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