Building organic logo marks.
- [Voiceover] All logo design starts with thinking through an idea. Once you've captured a solid concept, you have to produce the graphic art to carry it forward into an actual logo design and this requires Vector craftsmanship. I like to say, practice doesn't make perfect, process does, because if you practice the same flawed methods over and over, you only get good at creating marginal results. The process I want to share with you now is one you can use for a lifetime that will only improve your results over time.
And once again, a drawing is gonna reinforce and facilitate this process. This was for a client based out of the UK. He's a video producer and he kinda has a self-titled moniker called Lord Maude. And his approach to my branding brief that I gave him was that he just said, "I just want it to be so cool, people'll want it "on a t-shirt." And I replied to him, saying I think I can pull that off. So that's a fun project to work on.
So in this case, I wanted to go over the top and just create this, like, really cool image. So this was the ideation I came up with and it was the type of project where I didn't do multiple iterations. I didn't come up with five different logo concepts. I just came up with one and sold it to him kinda like those Saul Bass stories you hear of days gone by or Paul Rand, where he pitches the Next logo to Steve Jobs and said, no this is your mark. That's kind of how I handled this.
Now this client is a little unique in that respect. But he loved it, he went for it, and I wanna show you how I built the artwork, because once again, you come up with a great idea, you need to follow through it and create great artwork that's gonna capture that idea and do it precisely. So on a drawing like this, I set the opacity to about 20%, lock the layer, and this is just so I don't move it. And then on a layer above it, I usually call it building, as shown here in the layers palette. I'll go in now and then with the pin tool, I wanna go to my graphic styles and you can see I have graphic styles set up here.
And all this does was it sets the line to a magenta. And this is usually how I build. And I use magenta just because it's a color that I really won't use for anything else. And this is where you'll wanna zoom in and you can pick anywhere to start. In this case, I'm just gonna start building with the pin tool on my art like this. And notice, I'm not worrying about the curves, because I can go back in the next phase and adjust the curves. I'm more concerned about placing my anchor points exactly where they go.
And this shape couldn't be easier, because wherever the shape comes to a point, gets a point. This is an easy one to discern. I'm gonna select the anchor point tool in Illustrator here and just bend the path into place. Now, you have to have CC or above to use this tool. Older versions of Illustrator, this functionality won't be in there. Now even though I use this tool, I have to be honest with you and tell you that in my day-to-day work, I never use this tool. It's because I prefer a plugin for Illustrator called Vectorscribe and it has a specific tool called Pathscribe, this one right here.
And I use this because if I double-click it, you can see how I can customize it. This is why I use it. I make it behave the way I want it to. And it works the same way. I can grab a path and distort it, but it has a lot more sensitivity than the one built into Illustrator. Now you can use either, it's your choice. But in this course, you're gonna see me go to Vectorscribe and use their plugin a lot because in my opinion it just works better. And I'm gonna show you a few examples of that upcoming, but there's also some great features that come with this plugin that you just can't do in Illustrator.
But either way, this is how you would go about building this specific artwork. Let's get this to a point where you can see it easier. So that's how I would build that path. Now when it comes to something more organic, such as the eye here, this is even easier. This is where you can just simply get an elliptical shape and we can just quickly build this eye or the pupil of the eye, then we can go ahead and just create another shape with the same tool.
And I would just go in and start moving my anchor points to get that exact form that I have captured in my drawing and carry it forward in my Vector building. So you can see how fast it goes if you just think in shapes, that's the key here, is thinking in shapes. Now when you're creating other components, such as this eyebrow, this is where you'll have to discern where to put in your anchor points. And I just pull out the bezier handles just far enough that I can see 'em, but I don't worry about forming the whole path.
Once again, I'm just trying to get the anchor points in the right location and I will build this path, then I'll go back and then I can start playing with it. Now this is one reason why I don't use Adobe. As you can see how it changes and moves the paths on the other one, I don't like that feature. This is why I go to this one and then I can pull this and it doesn't move that top one. And then if it breaks the anchor, like this is no longer smooth, I can pull this down and you see how the S appears.
It fixes that curve and now it handles it the way it should. So I'll just go back in and I'll adjust these bezier curves like this. Notice how this white thing shows up. That's what's called a ghost handle. It's another nice feature of this plugin. And I can just pull that really quickly. So it makes the whole process go a lot faster and in my opinion, it's far more precise than the tool provided in Illustrator. But that said, the same principle, the same methodology is gonna work either way.
And actually on this one, I go back in and adjust this kinda like that. So that's all I'm talking about in terms of building precisely. Now if we go back to our layers, let's jump to the, we're gonna turn this off, I'm gonna turn this layer on. And you can see how I built the hat and I built the shape that makes up his right claw down below. Now this is what I call rough building, this stage. This is all I do initially, then I'll go back and I'll shape 'em, which means I'll go back and I'll use the tool, such as the anchor point tool here, or if you're using the plugin you can use pathscribe, and I'll bend those paths to form the actual shapes I need.
And this principle that I'm using here to discern where to place anchor points is what I call the clockwork method. So if we zoom in on the eye here, you can see that at the top here, this represents a 12 o'clock, a nine o'clock, a six o'clock, and a three o'clock. But it was based off of the initial elliptical shape that I created. And as we zoom out here, you can see if you look at this clock and the color-coding for the various points on the clock, this is how I discern where to place my anchor points.
Now any time your art comes to a point, it gets a point. Those are easy to discern. But when you get into more organic shapes that have curves and forms, it gets a little trickier to figure out where do I place my anchor points. If you think of a clock in terms of the shape association, it's gonna help you figure that out. Now this is a very quick overview of this process. To see this in more in-depth, make sure to check out my original Drawing Vector Graphics course. And there's some nice animation within the movies of that course that really define this process well.
So we're gonna move forward here and this shows all the base Vectors for this design and then once I get to this point, I can start selecting different points like the hat here and the brim and I'll fuse them together using pathfinder. So I'll do just some simple shape-building techniques until I have my final art shapes built. I'll colorize it as shown here. And now the next thing I wanna show you is how you can combine the clockwork method with simple shape building.
Now this design, Lord Maude, was a fun one to work on but the next one was one of my personal favorites of late and it was for my favorite podcast called The Futility Closet. So this shows my rough sketch and this shows just some basic anchor points. Now if you look at this shape, this one was very freeform in nature, it's not geometric in how it was created. The only points that come to a point are right at the tip of his beaks on the top and bottom and on the inside of his mouth.
Everything else I had to discern where do I place my anchor points and once again, the clockwork method helped me to discern how to place my anchor points, where to place my anchor points. And so it's a simple process. Think of it as a Jedi mind trick for doing Vector art. That's all it is. It's about thinking in shapes and discerning where to place your anchor points. Now on a design like this, it's not hard if you also combined with freeform shapes, such as the inner detail of his body here. This is a very freeform shape, especially where his fin is, going down to the bottom.
But when it gets up to the top, I wanted it to be very geometric, because he's wearing a monocle and I wanted to base it perfectly centered off of that. So I combined a freeform shape with a geometric shape and then I just used pathfinder to fuse 'em together. Now notice when you do this, it creates extra anchor points like this. This is where I'd like to use the pathscribe tool, so we're gonna open this up. And you notice it has this tool. This is a smart remove anchor point feature.
Now I can remove anchor points by going up here in Illustrator and clicking this, but notice how it messes up your artwork. It doesn't do it smartly. So let's command Z. I'm gonna click this and you can notice how it removes it using pathscribe and it does it smartly and it retains the quality of my art. So that's why I use that plugin. It just works really great. So that's how I'll combine both geometric shape building and freeform building point by point using the pin tool to form the shapes needed.
Now, that's not to say that I don't have other simple, basic shapes, such as the monocle, I have this shape, I have the inside of the monocle shown here, and so all I'm gonna do is I'm gonna select this monocle shape and I've made a clone of it. Command C, command F, if I pull this off you can see there's a copy of it there. I'll select this kinda highlighting that I have made up of two rectangle shapes and I'll just go to pathfinder and I'll go intersect and then that's how I'll create those shapes.
So simple shape-building techniques, I created the in line that's the kinda the cord that comes off the monocle and falling down over his shoulder just by using a simple shape and offsetting it using the offset feature. So if you select a path and you go up to object, you can go to path and you can go to offset and then you can set it for how many ever offsets you want, one after the other, and that's how I created all the base shapes needed, in this case, to form my black and white artwork as shown here.
So once I have it at this point, it's just a matter of doing some color exploration. Here's the color mark and the final logo design itself. So building precise Vector art for logo design isn't necessarily hard, it just takes purposeful determination to adhere to a systematic process. The end result is impeccable logo design crafted with precision and care. Once again, make sure to check out my Drawing Vector Graphics course, which has more helpful movies on the clockwork method and how to construct your Vector art in this fashion.
- Drawing your design
- Selecting a logo style
- Building a logo with shapes
- Creating modular designs
- Establishing brand colors and visual continuity
- Iconifying complex shapes
- Adding dimension to flat motifs
- Using negative space
- Delivering the final logo files and style guides