Click on each thumbnail image to enlarge
In my opinion as a graphic designer, a logo is the nucleus that brings together the elements and components which make any business or industry prosper. The two main functions of a logo are identity and unity. Many of the logos used for many, many years are still used and recognized today. Some change and some never go out of style.
I love to conceptualize and design logos, mainly because I find it challenges me to explore both inside and outside of the boundaries of art design. If I were hired to do some freelance work for a client which involves designing their logo, I would want to learn as much as I can about my client and his/her business to better understand where they're coming from and where they're going with their goals. That way, I can come with artistic methods that measure up to their standards - not mine. My philosophy for making a logo work is, it's either a logo or it's a no-go.
Some of the logos, whether old or new, may consist of letters, numbers, shapes, or a combination. Some may be simple, while others may be complex. Whichever the case, whoever is designing the logo has to keep identity and unity (as mentioned above) into account.
The following logo designs are what I created for either class projects or independent purposes. Below, I'll be explaining each one, and why I chose to apply my own creativity in an attempt to make that logo stand out.
This is the logo for a fictional candy distributor, American Candy Distribution House. I've taken a class called Type Concepts several years ago, and it taught me to experiment with the shapes of letters to form wordplay. It's a matter of bending and distorting letters to form design meaning as well as unity.
So in this case, I studied the abbreviation of the title, "ACDH" and after much time carefully observing each letter, and playing around with them, I came up with the shape of a classic bubblegum machine. But even still, I wanted to keep the letters in order. Another very important case in point in logo designing!
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
The first letter, 'A' was used for the top of the machine. The letters 'C' and 'H' was used for the glass ball which contains the bubblegum balls,
One of my ideas was to have each letter spelling out the full name of the company on different colored gumballs arranged inside of the glass ball. But then it occurred to me that as the title implied, that this was an AMERICAN company. It was best to keep things on a more patriotic level!
Lastly, I used the letter 'H' as the base of the machine. Notice how I redesigned and distorted this letter. I bent the sides and curved both the tops of the 'H' to contour the bottom of the 'C' and 'D' which holds that "crystal ball." Then, I curved the bridge of the letter to give the resemblence of a coin deposit. Below that "bridge" I made a second curve to suggest a gumball spout!
Finally, I placed the name of the company on the 'H' in red and blue type. Speaking of which, I used a curly distorted font to suggest that of an old candy store back in the early 1900's.
As stated in my introduction, I have been working in the production department for an African-American newspaper publishing company for over 20 years. Each year in February, the paper commemorates Black History. I have been put in charge of putting together a special edition of Black History for our paper and appropriately decorating, so as to not offend all parties involved.
A long while back, I challenged myself to create a logo that could prove to be suitable for this occasion. I was going to do some research, but putting together the Black History edition has proved to be otherwise useful for me.
This particular logo may appear to be quite complex. In fact, it's probably the most complex I made. The main logo is comprised of elements formed into the shape of actual letters. I believe one of the paper's client was the African American Museum of History & Culture. I wanted to achieve a design that was strongly associated with historic museums if I were to make a unified shape with the abbreviation letters, AAMHC.
The only possible element closely associated with a museum was an exhibit pedestal. So I studied on how to go about using each letter shape to visually form a pedestal.
As I previously mentioned, I wanted to be sure the letters were in the right order. Starting out, I carefully shaped each letter as to maintain its recognizable form. The first letter 'A' was used to create the outside shape of the pedestal. The pointy tip of the letter was flattened down. I didn't want it to end up looking like the letter 'H,' so I wanted to make sure that top horizontal line was visible by adding "arcs" on each end. I fit the second letter 'A' inside the first one, looking identical, but without those "arcs." The next letter, 'M' was placed inside the second 'A.' The two points at the top of the letter were rounded, and worked out well to indicate vertical columns with rounded ends. Then came the letter 'H,' which didn't need to be altered. The two vertical lines worked as pedestal columns. Finally the 'C' was used as the base of the column.
So the logo was finished. Or was it? The design was all in black, looking too complex and confusing. So the solution was to add color. Since this was African-American related, I decided to incorporate the four colors of the country's flag: red, yellow, green, and black. Now this took careful thought, because I wanted each letter to stand out so it could be recognized and distinguished from the other letters.
I gave each letter an individual color. However, since there are five letters and four colors, I had to give the 'C' a color. I thought about making it black, but was concerned that it would make it look like part of the 'M' which had the same color. In fact, any one of the four colors I make it would appear to be a part of the letter with that same color. I had to make a choice by adding an outside color, blue. If you research the African-American flag's colors, you'll find their meaning. So just for creative purposes, let's make blue symbolize the sea.
One final touch I added was the words each letter stands for. To simplify this logo design even more, I made each word the color of its respective letter. I surrounded the pedestal design with the words, and included stars to fill up wide open gaps of space.
These next two logos are shown on my ad design for Freight8 and posters for Cats, West Side Story, and Romeo & Juliet, in case you haven't seen those already.
Starting with the logo for Freight8, I mention about this ad being a class project as well as its function as a fictional freight shipping company. But what I want to cover here is how the logo design originated.
At school, we were to choose our own imaginary company that sells a product or provides a service. It took much time for us students to brainstorm and gather ideas. Well, somewhere along the way I saw the word
"freight," and that's when the light bulb just flashed on!
The word "freight" I noticed, also contained the word "eight"! I thought, "How would 'freight' and 'eight' go together?" Since they both rhymed, "Freight-8" had a catchy sounding name! So the next question was, just what type of company or business is "Freight-8"?
I decided, "I'll make Freight-8 my new industrial freight shipping company." But what would make this shipping company stand out among the competition? The answer came instantly. This company would deliver goods in eight hours or less. Now I know this is much easier said. I mean let's get real here! A shipping company is nothing more than an oversized post office, how can they get something shipped out in such a time frame? Probably by air freight, which makes the cost of shipping with this company pretty steep!
Because Freight-8 is a shipping company, I wanted to make the design of my logo hint some industrial ruggedness to its name. When most of us think of freight and cargo, we envision these large and rectangular metal boxes stacked on top of each other. I looked for a font that was typically seen on wooden crate boxes. At first, I was going to use a stencil font. But then I found this "bold impact" font which closely resembled that seen on those commercial oversized shipping containers.
Once I determined my font, all I had to do was type out the word "Freight-8." But I ran into another problem. Where would I put the number 8 in the logo? I already had the word "eight," and would likely end up looking something like "Freight 88." The answer came almost instantly: I would replace the 'G' with the number 8! When you first see an '8,' it looks almost like a lowercase 'g."
Then I gave the word one last touch, and that was to give it a 3D-like appearance in an attempt to resemble that of an actual freight box. To strongly emphasize the company's delivery time commitment, I changed the '8' to red, a typical color of a real box.
This was a simple and fun logo to make. When we were to make a poster for the three Broadway performances, we also had to design a logo for our own performing arts theatre. Much like TPAC, except we were not allowed to use TPAC (ahem!) for obvious reasons.
Our first poster we made was for Romeo & Juliet. Even before I began with my poster, I wanted to think of a name for my arts venue. The first thing that came to mind was a theatre's iconic pair of masks representing comedy and tragedy. I looked through a library of fonts on the computer hoping to find a font with a theatric theme. Then the idea just struck like lightning!
I could just use the letters 'C' for the mouths and 'B' for the eyes on the masks! So I explored for a few more fonts, and found a set that included a capital letter 'B' resembling that of a theatre mask. With the 'C,' all I had to do was use one of the Adobe software programs to convert it into the shape of a crescent.
Then the fun part was to come up with the name of my fictional theatre, which was "Charles Bernard Bartholomew Center." And that's how it came to be. My own new "TPAC"! Click on the thumbnail for just a very brief "performance!"
Finally, my own logo. In the past, I have made just a few self-logo designs with my initials. Of course, I didn't want to make my logo too complex, but just simple enough to illustrate who I am as a designer who likes to experiment with typestyles. I tried playing around with the initials of my full name, JDB. The truth is, I rather spend more time looking for what would most likely work, than what might sort of work.
I started working on this website a few years ago, after a job networking contact convinced me to build an online portfolio. Something that prospective companies can use to see your work anytime, anywhere. On a computer, mobile device, and tablet.* A trend being used today, as opposed to dragging around a portfolio case.
The first and most important thing I needed in order to get my portfolio published on the internet, was to have my own logo. That was the turning point where I just had to get my creative juices flowing, and as I mentioned on the top of this page, to establish unity and identity. Something simple, yet obvious enough to make a connection with my portfolio, as well as my self-representation.
Since my background is in desktop publishing and graphic design, I have been using a Mac computer with desktop publishing software as my main tool, although I've created art projects by hand. So I've been contemplating on what type of icon to use to give the visual appearance of the utilization of computer operating. I studied the hardware components of a computer. The machine itself, the monitor, the keyboard, and the mouse. Which one of these could be best used to reflect my background involving a computer?
One possibility was having the rows of keyboard keys that had each had a letter spelling out my name. The top row keys spelling D-A-V-I-D, and the bottom row spelling B-E-R-S. It might've worked, except my last name has four letters, and I wanted them to align evenly with my five-lettered name. Another idea was having my initials, DB, fit in a monitor screen.
But that's when I started studying those two initials of mine. What if I turned the 'D' around? And THAT is when I started to see something!!! I started seeing a computer MOUSE!!! All I had to do was turn the last letter 'D' in my first name! And it sits right next to the 'B' in my last name! It was then at that very instant, the light bulb just burst! The (backwards) 'D' was the handle of the mouse, and the 'B' symbolized the two buttons that most mice have. It was made in the shade... the "birth" of my own logo.
All that was left was choosing a font and maybe even a color. I started out with just plain black. Instead of picking out a font for the two initials making the "mouse," I just used my line tool in Adobe Illustrator to "draw" out the 'B' and backwards 'D' and stretched them to give the look of an actual mouse. I had to put my first and last name under my logo. That's when I decided to give my name the same design on top, and made it smaller to align with my name.
It looked okay, but I wanted to add in color somewhere. So I used one of my favorite colors, aqua-green for the logo above, and then matched the smaller logo below. I even aligned the vertical lines of both logos.
So, it just goes to show that unity and identity really do go hand in hand! *Some projects best viewed on computer monitor only.