The Logo

The Logo is the quintessential graphic design project.

While seemingly simple, a good logo actually accomplishes a range of challenging design goals.

A logo should strive to be:

  • Unique (not derivative or easily mistaken for another logo)

  • Refined (crafted with an iconic, essential simplicity in mind)

  • Evocative (relates the personality, product or experience of a company’s services or products)

  • Attractive (rendered in a style that resonates with the intended audience)

Yep - accomplishing all these goals at the same time is tricky. (But as with many things in life, a real sense of pride is only attained when figuring out something that is truly hard.)

So embrace the challenge - and get ready to make a high- quality logo.


1. Communicate

With the logo project, start by imaging you are launching your own company. This means you’ll give yourself the client questionnaire - and form a personal design brief.

Here are the essential, logo-specific question you need to clarify:

  • What product or service do you provide?

  • What’s the personality of your company and your audience?

  • What is the exact name/spelling of your company?

  • What type of logo best suites your needs? (Note: no solo “pictorial marks” without the logotype included.)

2. Research

Based on your design brief, visit the following websites and conduct some related searches:

Google (monogram image search)
Logobook (letters section)
Dafont (use custom sample field)
Google Fonts (use custom sample field)

If a font, logo, image, etc resonates with you, screen grab it (cmd+opt+4). After you have 10 or more, drop the collective images into gomoodboard.

3. Ideate

Based on your moodboard, grab your sketchbook and draw at least 6 possible logo solutions.

From these initial 6 solutions, selected one. Flip the page over and draw 6 new variations based on the initial solution you selected.

From this second round of 6, pick your top solution.

Before you fully commit, get some feedback from classmates, family, . . . anyone you can. Listen to learn - and be open to suggestions - you might come up with an even better solution with some outside feedback.

4. Finalize

Using Illustrator, either draw from scratch or import/trace your top solution. Paying close attention smooth curves, aligned edges and other professional standards (see “Specs and Standards” below).


Specs and


Your logo should be setup and turned in with the following specs:

  • 1000px X 1000px

  • RGB

  • .ai file format

  • Black graphic on white background (color version optional)

  • “Full Lockup” layout - with both the mark and logotype arranged with proportion and alignment in mind (horizontal or vertical)


Issues and

Did I mention logos can be tricky?

Here are some common challenges and helpful guidelines that a logo designer should consider.




A logo should express a feeling/experience abstractly rather than a limiting/literal representation of a product.


Artboard 6.jpg

While color can help define a brand, a logo should still work in black and white. The mark (symbol) should be iconic, not complex or illustrative.


Artboard 6 copy.jpg

A logo should be clear at a distance or scaled down. Avoid thin lines and tiny elements. Keep strokes consistent for unity.


Artboard 6 copy 2.jpg

The mark (symbol) and logotype (type) should be scaled in relationship to each other. Avoid putting one inside the other and awkward type angles.