Part 3: Logo Worksheet

“Find a wide range of insignia, emblems, badges and other forms of logo. Draw them in your sketchbook, highlighting their basic shape or form. Try and note the dominant visual elements and other components that make up the logos.

Using one or more of these logos as a starting point, develop a worksheet that explores the visual possibilities of mixing and matching different forms of logo, putting your choice of logo into new forms, or exploring different ways of presenting the logo…”

I should mention in preparation for this section of the course, I’ve been looking into logo design and watching a designer named Tim Frame talk over his inspiration and methodology at length on Creative Live. The poor chap gets a bit of stick for having a rather monotone delivery, but I really like his work. He tends to design with a very crisp elegant style. Symmetry features a fair bit, and theres a retro feel too. Thumbs up from me!

To return more specifically to the brief – There are some gorgeous examples of traditional designs…

Medieval trade guilds. I think the images are really charming – it does what it says on the tin. Mostly you can guess the trade, even if the writing is in another language. These aren’t abstract, or metaphorical, they are simply illustrations of the tools of the trade.

Inns of Court

Coat of arms – Assorted countries. You can see they are either precisely, or generally symmetrical in design. In each case, there’s a symbol with a shield, and a banner below. Animals guard either side.

African National Arms

As you might expect, there are a great deal of symbols connected to the military

US army special forces

Alchemy – I love these symbols, so mysterious! These sparked my imagination as they are quite simple shapes that convey a long forgotten (and entirely useless) practice. Nevertheless, there was a time during which these ideas would have caused a sense of wonder and excitement. Perhaps we are still searching for ‘gold’ when we aspire to impossible things.

Having looked at all these images and more, I roughly sketched a selection of them to better understand their construction.


And some modern day logos. My favourites are the publishers logos, they are really fluid and quite illustrative in style.

Next I put layout paper over the top of my scribbles to simplify down the basic shapes, making notes on the general shapes that were frequently used.

And I carried on experimenting with basic forms, starting here simply with a circle

I just let my mind wander and my pen do the work.

None of the above are intended to be logos – but they allowed me to experiment with shape, and begin to understand the vast array of designs available that you could then use to build a more coherent design.

My final step was to go digital, and explore a few ideas based on circles. I found by simply overlapping two circles, I could snip out a ‘petal shape’ and work up just a few combinations very simply. The process could be expanded or repeated almost endlessly with different shapes – squares, triangles, stars, spirals, ovals, curves etc…. I’ve only scratched the surface.

My ‘Proto’ Logos

The bottom row enclosed in squares shows how much choice I might have available in just altering colour and tone.

…Review the forms you’ve developed. Which shapes might be suitable for a letterhead or the medallion on a car or bicycle? Which might work as a small logo on a jar or a large logo on the side of a train? Are some shapes better suited for these contexts than others, or can you develop a logo shape that fits comfortably within all of them”

I would like to think that I’ve developed a final idea that would be scaleable to any size. The 4 circles within a square are readable at a small size, such as on a letterhead, and have just enough detail to be eye catching enlarged on the size of a train. They also work in colour or monochrome.

I found it really interesting to use shape to develop ideas, rather than any specific theme or brief. It felt like working in the ‘opposite’ direction to normal logo design. Obviously a logo would more usually have some sort of narrative or inspiration relating to a particular industry or company, reflecting their values and speaking to their target market. There’s no company name to work with here, just abstract ideas. Its a different way of looking at possibilities, and I found it really useful to keep things so broad.




Other image sources: & Wiki


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