Graphic Design – Logo Design Theory- Color, Layout, Styles and Anatomy of Strong Logos



logo design theory is essential for anyone interested in creating strong logo designs that stand the test of time this logo design Theory class guides you through basic logo anatomy and terms we will review all the different liberal categories and show stellar examples of each we will talk about proper logo balance between logo marks symbols and type we will review concepts like the golden ratio and grids next we'll look at the many different logo design styles and what makes them successful and what are their possible downfalls we'll go over flat polygon geometric handwritten styles and many more we will go over the main characteristics I see in strong logo designs and use several real-world company scenarios lastly we cannot talk about logo design theory without talking about the power of color will review basic color psychology and the emotions and effects it can have on a viewer we will talk about how to properly use color in logo design including when to use it and how often there are plenty of awesome downloadable resources that come along with his class so what are you waiting for let's get started and learn what makes strong logo designs [Applause] there are many different forms and styles of design used in local creation but logos all have a general form and basic anatomy this lesson will review the structure and anatomy of great logo designs we'll also review the many styles forms of Graeter's they can come in first of all what is a logo can assemble without text or a company name be considered a logo let's break all this down a logo type is a written type or characters that make up a company or logo name for instance in this example racing revolution will be the logo type a logo mark is the symbol iconographic that's included in the logo but is separate from the type or typography a great logo design will be a local mark that can exist outside of the logo type and still be recognized the best example of this in action is Apple they do not need to have a logo type our words next to their logo mark to let the consumer know it's an Apple product they understand this simply by looking at the logo mark a logo mark and a logo type put together create the full logo not all logos require a logo mark or symbol to be successful take for instance this logo it only is this typography or text but it remains effective and recognizable with no need for a separate graphic or symbol now can a logo mark or symbol exist without the type or the company name so the logo type this is where it starts to get a little bit complicated yes and no our Apple example the logo works without the use of typography and you can see on their web site the absence of the type our company name next to their main logo in the website header this is because the brand is one of the most recognized brands in the world a smaller brand perhaps one you might have as a client someday may not have the same brand recognition so a logo with a logo mark or just a symbol only may not work to build that company's name recognition a combination of a logo type and a logo mark inside one concise shape our symbol is called a badge or a CEO logo sometimes they're referred to as emblem logos these are special as they buying both type and symbols to create one flexible graphic the great thing about seals and badges is they reduce the need for two separate objects making them versatile and applying them to a wide variety of products and placements very easily emblem seals and badges are great for event based brands and programs they can exist in a central part of the design in the flyer poster for example and they can explain both the event name and the company brand all in one simple graphic let's talk about spacing spacing is huge in logo design a properly spaced logo can look professional and clean but too much spacing can create a disconnect between the two elements a typography only or type only logo can have problems with spacing as well if the characters are too close together it could seem crowded and overwhelming if the gaps are too wide there can be the same disconnect with the characters in the logo or a company name what is the proper spacing for logo design elements there are several tools and methods you can use to find the proper spacing including grids to find the right spacing for your logo elements grids can be used to create the same space between characters for example making sure there is even spacing to create that clean professional look not all logos need a grid to be successful some logos which are hand-drawn Illustrated maybe later vectorize to keep this hand-drawn feeling there for the spacing may not have to be perfectly even as it starts to lose that organic authentic feeling that way the golden ratio is another method designers can use to find the right spacing for a logo the golden ratio is based in nature and more details about the golden ratio will follow that will include us building a golden ratio based logo together a little bit later in the class but it comprises of circles and rectangles that are all sized according to a ratio of one to 1.618 these circles and rectangles can then be arranged in a way to create spacing and shapes that apply the golden ratio to them giving them a look in a feel that is based on the ratio that is pleasing to the eye and found in nature and lastly there's the designers I finally the right spacing does not have to adhere to a special formula or a grid with practice you'll learn what looks great and what distance is too far too close they call this optical adjustment when you optically adjust a logo you're using your eye to find the right placement and not grids and not a formula I found this very important when working with logo types or typography only logos this is because certain characters create wider gaps between them optically if we were to put this T and this P together it creates this default spacing between the characters I think this is a nice spacing not too wide not too close but what if we had a tea and a together and we wanted to have the same spacing between each character of the word we can do that here but because the tea naturally has bigger gaps to the left and right sides because the heaviness is on the top of the tea using the same spacing is a little bit awkward that is why manually adjusting character spacing may be needed to offset these visual gaps when that tea is creating the act of manually adjusting the spacing between type characters is called kerning and we'll do plenty of that when we work on logo projects together now it's time for the balance of the logo and finding the right balance and a logo design is critical I find a lot of designers like to create large logo marks or symbols but leaves this seemingly tiny logo type in its wake hard to see and hard to read company name recognition as we reviewed earlier is essential to a newer or blooding brand being able to have the type be readable but also balanced with a symbol is good neither the symbol or the type should overwhelm or take over there should be a balance in the logo and a lot of times there grid can come in handy and finding the right balance between this like in this example where the size the logo mark and logo type are figured out by making the symbol half of the width of the text using the grid to figure out exactly what that is there are different terms who may have heard to relate it to different types of logo design I'm going to go over a few so you can get a good visual description of a few of the main ones monogram logos or you might have heard the term abbreviation logos they consist of the initials of a company for example International Business Machines or IBM as you know it they use a monogram of a company for its mane similar mark word marks another name is logo types as we discussed earlier word marks are basically logo types and type only logos that consist of the company's name only Google and FedEx are great examples of this in action emblems or other names or seals and badges and they consist of a combination of type and symbols into one shape we talked about this a little bit earlier but that shape can be endless abstract logo marks consists of logos that contain an abstract shape or symbol that can loosely be based on what the company does Lululemon is a great example of this as well as BP or British Petroleum with their soft flour like abstract graphic mascot logos are another one and then consists of a main mascot and you might have seen this a lot in sports teams MailChimp it's a great example of a mascot being used in a logo the last one we're talking about today is combination marks which combine both the type and symbol together and one logo so we had a chance to review basic logo Anatomy talk about spacing and balancing and we reviewed several different categories of logos now let's take a look at some different styles of logos before we hopped into the next lesson I wanted to mention that I also have a resource a downloadable resource that contains a cheat sheet of all the main logo types and styles that we went over in this lesson [Applause] logo styles can vary wildly and there are many to go over before we begin I have a logo style cheat sheet as a downloadable resource these aren't the only logo design styles out there there can be hundreds main logo categories like seals and word barks the ones we studied in the last lesson never change but logo styles do with new styles added each year while other styles falling out of fashion the first style we're going to talk about today is flat design a super popular style as of late it requires a logo to use simple shapes and vector graphics to create a sense of depth the requirements for a flat design style it's no use of blurred shapes or drop shadows usually there's solid colors without the use of gradients and the flat design style remains simple and clean with as little design elements to use as possible these are flexible versatile logos because of their simplicity and they can easily be applied to a multitude of products illustrative script and hand-drawn logos are the trending style as of late and I think these are popular because brands and companies want to appear more authentic and relatable and it's a great way to have a logo that emulates this authenticity as a designer this one is the toughest style to master because it requires some comfort with drawing an illustration a skill that is sometimes comes not more natural to some people than others in this class we'll try to illustrate a hand-drawn logo to see if we can master this technique with practice I think companies and brands are going to continue to move toward this direction so it's our job as designers to be prepared for what lies ahead grunge style logos use gritty textures with holes rips and sometimes destroyed edges these rough logos can give a logo essence of rawness and a worn look the texture adds depth and character and the key to a great runge logo is a more subtle use of texture one that will not interfere with a readability or logo m-type geometric logos use a combination of basic shapes to create a geometric pattern they're sometimes created by using grids this example here was created using the isometric grid which we'll use later on in the class you can also use standard grids to create a multitude of shapes that come together to create one unique shape geometric logos can be simple and clean yet some can have detail and be very ornate geometric logos can give the logo a modern clean look gradient and gradient overlay logos use a combination of gradients or blending modes to create a sophisticated layered look they can provide big pops of vibrant color and create an endless amount of intersecting shapes in the in-between areas eye catching and beautiful this logo style is great for giving off a youthful energetic vibe crest style logos are a fantastic way to organize those logos that need many lines of type including an established date maybe a sub line of the company or a byline and also a main company name a company symbols can also be used in the crest to further explain the company's mission and values next up are polygons logos and they use a combination of geometric shapes but mainly triangle shapes to create a computer generated 3d look technically polygons logos use solid colors not gradients with different light and dark values in the same color hue to create the effect of shadows and highlights without the graphic actually being in 3d a similar in style to geometric logos polygons logos can create a sense of and complexity giving a logo a contemporary appearance golden ratio style logos use the golden ratio to piece together their elements these intersecting circles which follow the 121.6 1 ratio create shapes and curves which paired together can create animal figures letters and more the golden ratio logo is used often by design experts and ad agencies to show the client that design has a sense of purpose it had a method of creation and was created by using a system not just created because it looked cool creating logos with the golden ratio can be hard to master at first but worth the extra effort to look a little professional negative space logos are a pure joy to look at especially when you discover that the shape created while using the negative space the negative space is the space created by the absence of a shape take for instance this logo the negative or blank space that's created by the O is transformed into a bomb and the same thing goes for this lamp logo example with a natural space that's left by the clothes counter of the circle area of the a it's transformed into an object that can help the logo exist with less stuff and symbols negative space logos utilize this negative space to reduce the amount of illustration that's required to create a symbol leaving it much more clean and has a simple appearance double-meaning Lobos are clever and fantastic ways to create a memorable logo take friends since this example I created it's the letter B but it also creates the insect B and it requires a company name that can also have a double meaning to pull it off but if you have something that comes together like this then take the chance memorability is the mainstay of a solid logo design many of the logo examples you see throughout this lesson were created by talented designers who post their designs on B Hanscom and a wide variety of other websites there's fantastic resources and finding a little logo design inspiration if you ever feel stuck of coming up with a theme or idea for your logo design and the logo design resource guide another downloadable resource in this class there's a list of my favorite places to find a little bit of that logo design inspiration now that we looked at a few different logo categories and also some Styles now it's time to review the characteristics of solid logo designs you what makes a great logo design what makes for solid branding these are questions we will answer throughout the section as we look at solid examples of each local design is the mainstay of graphic design as a graphic designer for over 14 years I've designed logos for a wide variety of clients for both profit and nonprofit clients I've come to learn all the projects and designers tasked with the logo design project is a heart of it all but why look at any poster facebook page website what do you see you see the company's logo and brand mark a group of text symbols colors and words that try to describe the very essence of a company and designing one is no easy task the way logo looks and feels is not random but based on several different factors the look and feel of a logo must match the company's mission statement beliefs target audience and style take for instance Under Armour the entire brand is focused around the Under Armour logo the logo is not just a marketing tool or a design asset but it makes up the basis for their entire clothing line shoes backpacks and more and just like Nike and armor makes a whole lot of money from their local design and branding they spend a pretty penny to hiring branding agencies to craft it into the multi-million dollar logo it is today logo design is not just for large corporations solid local design principles can be applied very easily to much smaller companies without the million-dollar price tag and this is where you come in and knowing these solid design characteristics can help you identify great logo design and help you create one yourself strong local designs have the following characteristics they have balance between symbols type and elements not all logos need type and not all logos need symbols some are just typographic elements such as a simple name written out in a typeface that matches their style some logos are made with unique custom typefaces designed solely for you for the use of that particular brand they are recognizable using only part of the logo design Louis Vuitton is a great example of this without seeing the full logo or even the name you know right away that this is a Louis Vuitton purse having this type of brand recognition makes marketing that product or service so much easier they do not need to depend on color to be effective color is critical in logo design but a strong local examples does not need to depend on color coach is a great example the logo can exist and many other environments without using any particular color this makes the logo more versatile and adaptable to all environments many times as a designer I've had to work with the logo using only one in color or a black and white publication sometimes logos that are in totally color dependent make this job harder for me to do they work well in a wide variety of applications logos need to be flexible and dynamic can the logo adapt to a small 48 by 48 pixel square and still be recognizable can it be just 1 in color and still have all of its main characteristics a logo needs to be able to be seen from a distance and still be readable and recognizable having a logo that can adapt to all situations is vital when it comes to creating a logo mark worthy of a long-lasting brand they can stand the test of time logo redesigns can be expensive not because you have to pay it the designer to redo one but the cost of reordering letterheads business cards packaging and products with the new logo it really adds up uber recently did a rebrand back in 2014 and 2018 they decided to refresh the brand once more with a new logo and branding they'd have to switch all of their print and their digital assets to the new branding and logo mark a very expensive endeavor doesn't mean that the first uber rebrand did not look great not really it just means that uber has evolved as a company the logo and branding assets did not move along with it thus the rebrand was necessary to keep up with its ever-changing vision how do you as a designer create a logo that stands the test of time simply by getting input from the leadership of the company whether that's from the owner for a smaller company or the marketing manager for a larger corporation knowing where they are trying to end up as a company can help you develop a logo that can be flexible and adapt to their future needs they avoid popular trends I cannot stress this enough avoiding trendy themes in your logo can help it stand the test of time remember web 2.0 well most of us try to forget it but it was popular when I was first starting out circa 2004 to 2007 a web 2.0 had glossy buttons made popular by the latest OS X GUI upgrade on Macs everyone needed the logo with the gradient a highlighted glossy portion and a simplistic icon you do not see this trend anymore and if you do it looks dated tired and just plain ugly any logo that was designed in the style had to quickly be rebranded as soon as something called flat design came into style circa 2008 which is a style that simplifies a design no gradients flattened simple shadows and no gloss or details basically the opposite of the trend before it ask yourself if this logo will still be on point 2 5 10 years from now if the question is maybe or depends then going for a more classic look may be a better bet simple clean and understated you see a lot of logos now that use gold hand-drawn lettering and lots of water color super cool and trendy now but five years from now probably not fight the urge to be trendy but be classy instead they use negative space to their advantage not a requirement for a great logo but a wonderful design theme I see in strong logo designs they are liked by the company's target demographic when I think about this one I think about gap a clothing store brand they did a rebrand in 2010 making its logo more modern using a sans-serif instead of its classic serif typeface chosen for decades prior there was such a backlash and hate for the new logo they were forced to switch back to its original logo and it was a very costly mistake they underestimated how their target audience would react to their beloved brand changing and typeface and in style make sure your logo design will resonate with your company's target audience knowing your target audience is half the battle who are most of your customers if you don't have any customers yet who do you wish to sell to never fear social media is hitting opinions about a logo designs it's better to get negative feedback earlier in the process you can adapt and make changes before a final launch before the level has already been applied to hundreds of items and products people can read the logo seems like a no-brainer characteristic to have duh everyone knows you should have a logo that's readable but here lies the problem you may have spent so much time with the design you may not have a fresh pair of eyes to see any of those issues make sure others can read it too I see this problem a lot with script fonts and logos sometimes certain script characters do not flow well together and they could make a logo very hard on the eyes to read which leads us into the last characteristic and a great solid logo design they are as unique as the company logo should be one of a kind this is another reason why staying away from trendy design themes is important you do not want to look like everybody else the logo you are designing is like a snowflake I see way too many logo redesigns looked the same way and I shake my head in disappointment when I see another rebrand that these are just a few characteristics of strong logo designs I've noticed throughout the years of studying rebrands and logo designs if you strive for just a few of these characteristics you'll be well on your way for a logo that will work well for you or your client you not all logos need color but when they do need color it could be a huge part of crafting a logos feeling mood vibe and tone you might already be familiar with the color wheel an organization of colored hues in a circular format certain colors exude certain emotions in the right situations I've put together a common feelings emotions and terms commonly associated with various colors around the color wheel now let's first review the warm colors like reds orange and yellows red popular uses of red and logo design are social media companies and you see it a lot in the food industry they can grab one's attention and cause a sense of alertness exactly what a fast-food restaurant wants to go for to get your attention when driving down the road next time you go to a grocery store take a look at the packaged food products aisle a red will be your most commonly used color as we moved along the color wheel we get two orange and orange keep some of the enthusiasm and excitement of red but it also starts to combine the energy of yellow and you'll continue to see orange commonly used in beverage drinks and the food industry as we move firmly into yellow yellows energy is undeniable but can also be one of its biggest weakness alongside pink yellow is one of the least used color for logos and brands it's powerful and can be overused easily it could be a great compliment color alongside other colors for example the Google logo which uses yellow but not as the single primary color this does not mean you avoid yellow entirely when crafting your logo design palette but it should be used cautiously as yellow tends to be hard to print and read if used improperly there is a reason why green is the color choice of mini cleaning industries green equals clean but it also equals nature green can also be used heavily by the financial industry to display a sense of wealth but also success as green is commonly used to show profits and growth as you can see green can mean many things cleanliness an actual organic and success there's no wonder that alongside blue green is the one commonly used color palette choices used by major brands cyan a unique color not as commonly used as some of the others like green and blue but it combines greens organic clean feeling and blues columnist to create its own unique blend of the two you may commonly see biotech startups use cyan blue is the most commonly used color for brands worldwide and there's many reasons why because it evokes motions like stability and calmness banks love to use the color blue for that reason especially with banks losing trust since the 2008 recession you also see it used by industrials and those in the manufacturing industry the healthcare industry loves purple it mixes a bit of the stability and calmness of blue ok starts with HTML roll intends basically h2 multiple is common so humans royalty and frosty patients also commonly Electra boxes we start to adapt mantras inside boss's process wrong association with the slide when you're given a box you can either have another you just have a chance to really show anything you can have texture so there's really three and while creating this color wheel graphic I started roxolani and every cell has a different purpose and basically each display a color in the car they fold for the browser color on the other side of the wheel is called a compliment color and these color combinations seem to work well together because of this association and they also have the most contrast of all the color combinations because they're on the opposite of each other which helps for example yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel thus complementary colors but I also notice when it comes to color psychology that they're also both the least used colors and logo design analogous colors are those on the color wheel that are next to each other and they have the most sense of harmony as they do not jump wide distances in the color wheel having a lower contrast and having less conflicting color I found it very interesting that analogous colors make great logo combinations because of the sense of harmony it was also interesting to note that the color blue was associated with a reduction and appetite and I don't think that's by accident as the food industry gravitates more toward the warmer reds and oranges and is fascinating that the colors used by top social media websites were either blue or red with other colors being used a lot less the fact that blue and red are polar opposites of terms of being on the color wheel and color psychology it was telling that social media companies wanted to evoke strength or calmness depending on what the platform was not all logos use just one color companies and logos can evoke several different emotions around this color wheel by combining colors to create a logo color combo or color palette some logos have one primary color but this can also exist by using several chosen secondary colors so it can adapt to many different situations this color wheel graphic is available as a downloadable resource in this class if you really wanted to take the time and study it in more detail finally another great resource that's available online to you is color dot Adobe com this is a great resource for finding and applying color harmony rule to the color wheel the color harmony rule are the various rules and color combos like triad complementary and analogous colors I also have a downloadable resource that goes over the basic color harmonies as well as a few popular color trends now that we talked a bit about the emotions of color in the psychology and a little bit about basic color combinations let's talk more about how to use color effectively in logo design logo designs as we mentioned in an earlier lesson should never be totally dependent on color color can help bring it to life but it should also be able to stand alone and just plain black and white if required so knowing this rule when we do use color it should be done with intention you never want to overwhelm a logo with color and sometimes just small important elements can be highlighted with color sometimes having the company name or logo type be a neutral gray or black color can help a logo mark with color really stand out but not overwhelm the entire logo you need to be aware of what background the logo will be placed on the most common background color uses white if your logo uses a bright color that has low contrast with white it might not show up very well if you have a logo on a dark background and you use a darker color that contrast may not be big enough for the logo to be readable as well that is why it's nice to develop a logo they can work in just black and white but also if you use color it works well on both lighter and darker backgrounds when I develop a logo I place it on both to see how the color palette is working out and there are times when I have to tweak the shade of the color used for it to work on a darker or lighter background developing a logo color palette can take some time and we'll get a chance to use mood boards and other methods of finding the right color choices for our logo in the project based portion of this class now that we establish some great logo design theory we've studied color Anatomy Styles categories of logos let's begin by creating our first project together I'll see you there

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