Logo Design Portfolio update

I’ve posted a sampling of recent and past logo design work over at Behance. net. Take a look at the logo design portfolio and then search around the site a little. The interface and presentation are very unique. I really like their approach of creating “projects” rather than just the generic portfolio, though I did simply opt for the simple “portfolio” this time around.

I’m not sure about the efficacy of using third-party portfolio websites in regards to supporting and directing traffic back to a blog. I participated in the Behance network site for two reasons:

  1. Lot’s of other freelance graphic designers have work here, and I’m following the crowd 100% on this one.
  2. I have come across a lot of other logo designers with their portfolio on Behance, and it seems the quality is very high in general.

As with any new website tinker-tool, we have to just wait and see what happens. It didn’t take long to get signed up and get a pretty nicely-formatted portfolio up and going, so I’m pleased at that much!

6 Tips for PDF Brochure Design on the Web

A quick way to give customers fast complete access to a printable version of your business or products is to get a PDF version of your brochure on your website. Smart move! But you don’t want to put just any PDF brochure design on the web. If you want to communicate your services or products effectively using a PDF, it must be designed and optimized correctly. Here are some points to consider:
… [Read More]

15 elite graphic designers and agencies, and their corporate identity portfolios

Who is who these days in corporate identity design? We searched out this over the course of a few days, here and there, all over the web, from scratch. We searched for things like “famous graphic designers”, “top graphic design agencies”, etc., etc., and tallied up what many other sites had mentioned as their top inspiring portfolios. The list could have been 50 long, but these 15 came up over and over. Yes, there are so many other amazing designers and agencies out there specializing in corporate identity design, but this snippet represents a nice cross-section across the whole internets, which as you know is a series of tubes. Those tubes make it 1) easy to find these elite graphic designers and 2) easy to present to you for your consideration.

So, the common denominator all of these designers and firms is that they have famous clients, with which they focus on branding. Recognize any brands out there? And who did we miss? Please suggest and we’ll amend the post!

BTW: The Big Book of Font Combinations wants you to stop by and check out its samples. So many fonts, so little time...

Happy clicking!

Logo design process revealed in 23 steps

Learn how the creative brainstorming process works and how the logo design process flows along all the way to the final vector art. Understanding what a graphic designer does when designing a logo mark is valuable because it helps clients understand just how tactile a process it is. We’ll show you how we do it in 23 steps!

For BonFX, and any designer worth his or her salt, logo design is an iterative process. Many dead ends are encountered looking for the one right idea. But those dead ends are like pieces of marble that are chiseled away from a sculpture, as the artist “frees” the image trapped in the stone. In the case of a logo designer, the “stone” is blank white paper, and the chisel is a No. 2 pencil.

I’m going to walk you through my creative and technical process for creating the logo mark “BonFX”. I’ve run BonFX as such for over 10 years, and was Bon Communications before that. Now, BonFX has changed several times over the years, but with the advent of my new blog at www.bonfx.com, I decided a new look and feel was in store. The cobbler’s children are finally getting some shoes! My previous logo was a very simple, overly-austere type based mark relying on Akzidenz-Grotesk, one of my favorite typefaces (that I did quickly and ended up sticking with for some time). I wanted something warmer and friendlier, but I’m not a big fan of using handwriting fonts for logo marks. I decided to just brainstorm to see if I could get to “loose”, “friendly”, “fun”, buy yet convey a sense of restraint, balanced by a refined corporate sensibility. Let’s commence and see how it went!

Last step first:

First, let’s start with the end and then work through how I got there. Here is the final logo in production now on my website and collateral, in black and white:

process-23-done

Now we’ll run through 23 steps of this logo design process and see just how crazy it got. All good logo design processes follow a similar path.

Step 1: Brainstorm logo concepts

The first step in creative is brainstorming is to just improvise some visual ideas guided by the research done in a previous cycle of work. In this case, since I was the client and the designer, I already had worked out my goals for aesthetics, evaluated my competition, and decided where I wanted to end up. The important thing at this stage is to generate too many ideas and leave nothing unexplored, even if it seems at odds with the research and stated objectives:

process-01-brainstorm

Step 2: Bring a logo design concept into further focus

I had an initial visual I wanted to pursue, on a chunky box theme:

process-02-bag-idea

Step 3: Pursue even random logo design concepts beyond simple lines

But no…and then I was off down rabbit trails when I realized the initial “box idea” turned out to be a “bag idea”. Even though I wasn’t going to use the idea, I still make it a point to let my pencil enjoy itself and get creative and make wasted ideas look nice. Well, they aren’t really wasted really. What’s more fun than doodling? And what’s better than coffee?

process-03-coffee

Step 4: Free associating logo design concepts

I’m really getting out there, trying to get sillier so that I can get some perspective on where I need to be. A banner? Why not? I need to “say” something fun with the logo I’m looking for…I’m drawing quickly, very small, and generating lot’s of free association ideas:

process-04-banner

Step 5: Remain unhindered in your creativity as you hunt for the right logo design concept

Hmmm…what is that happy lamp thing from Pixar movies? He’s fun. Can he help shine some light on my new logo?

process-05-lamp

Step 6: Never give up, but keep iterating, and always letting your creative juices have their way

Ok, no light from the lamp per se, but I’ve filled a sheet of paper at this point. No luck yet. It’s the end of the road for this creative burst…

process-06-billboard

Step 7: Give yourself plenty of white space as you pursue the logo design concept

So I grabbed a new sheet and went right back at it. Let’s look and see some places this next creative brainstorm took me. There is something about a blank sheet of paper that forgives the past, keeps only the good, and invites the artist to explore:

process-07-new-sheet

Step 8: Try all the different directions for a logo design that you can reasonably and quickly prototype

I really felt like I wanted that square idea from earlier to work. It was a feeling I was after, and I thought it was squarish, but not quite. I needed movement. Can I move some lines around inside a square? Stability and playfulness?

process-08-square

Step 9: Try a different angle on your logo design concept when your current perspective fails

Nope, not working. So let’s go with the “stable” thing, keep the straight lines so we avoid looking like a 60’s psychedelic poster. Oops, I went from the 60’s music poster to the 50’s movie poster. Fine, fine…I see “staring Charlton Heston” floating somewhere…

process-09-3d

Step 10: Work diligently to trap the mood of the logo design, but don’t worry about specific designs

Maybe we can stack some blocks? Have some grown up fun? Maybe not. I’m not sure about the fun idea at this point, but I’m thinking we need friendly and I’m groping again to get there. This is too disorganized but I like the freedom concept that is lurking in this one. It’s about mood at this point, and not about execution or final design. You need to trap the mood and then explore that. I’m committed to hand drawn letters for sure:

process-10-stack

Step 11: When the right path to take on your logo design presents itself, you will know it

Nope, too rigid. Let’s speed the pencil up and get the left brain to take a breather. The left brain often starts saying “I know best, give me the pencil” and you start listening to it. “You want lines and grids” it says. So you start drawing lines, but lose emotion. But I don’t want boxy lines and grids! I want to break out of this entirely. Right brain takes the pencil:

process-11-handwriting

Step 12: Refine the vision for the logo design

That felt good! Let’s jam on this free-flowing theme and eschew all manner of lines and grids. Left brain at this point is observing, slack-jawed, and wondering where this is going, grumbling like a back-seat driver, waiting to say “I told you so!” However, I get the idea to use the structure of flowing lines to build up something more substantial and weighty:

process-12-handwriting-2

Step 13: Try variations within a tightly narrowed focus for the logo design

After coloring this in, I get an ah-ha moment. I grab another sheet and rapidly sketch out some variations on the free flowing handwriting thing:

process-13-handwriting-3

Step 14: Refine the logo design concept using the freedom of pencil to bring out what might be the details of the final art

I quickly flesh out and fill in another handwriting sample:

process-14-handwriting-4

Step 15: Eliminate extra logo designs and narrow the options to only a few concepts

Ah…I can see where this is going. This is not it, but is like it. Let’s get even loser and write in a manner that will produce lines expected to be further improvised on. I narrow it down to four looks and now things are getting clearer and tighter:

process-15-print

Step 16: Arrive at the final logo design and complete the brainstorming process

I now see where I want to go. We are getting friendly, stable, professional, and clean at the same time. This one is it…

process-16-final-print

Step 17: Begin production of the logo design by beautifying and clarifying the lines and curves by redrawing them

Now we transition out of the brainstorming phase of the logo design process and into the production phase. The first thing we must do is blow this little tiny sketch way up and clean up and solidify the lines. The beauty of working small and then going large is that you capture a lot of gesture that is lost when making larger movements with the arm. The fingers do an amazing job on a small level. I scan the sketch in and blow it way up in Photoshop. I then blur it so I can’t see precise lines, and then fade it back to about 50% gray. I’m going to draw over this print out which is now about 5 inches across, up from about the 1 inch of the original:

process-17-blurry-print

Step 18: Produce the final preliminary drawing of the logo design and make it ready for vector art production

Now I use more controlled flowing movements of the pencil to establish graceful defined lines. I then color the whole thing in to see what, for the first time, the final logo design is going to look like. It’s like one of those Polaroid moments, when the fuzzy film gets some clarity and you know for sure if you got the shot or not. In this case, I got what I was after:

process-18-final-drawing

Step 19: Draw the logo design in Illustrator

I scan this drawing back into Photoshop and adjust levels to get my grays to nice charcoal blacks. Now it’s ready to be imported into Illustrator. I proceed to use the Pen tool to hand draw all the same lines one final time in vector. This gives us the ultimately clarity and crispness. If something in the logo design was off at this point, it’s way too late to fix it. However, minor refinements are easy and expected at this point. I balance out some spacing, tighten a few lines, etc., and Left Brain is happy to get of the bench and make itself useful. Left brains work best when you tell them what to do, not why to do it:

process-19-vectors

Step 20: Import the logo design into final production software

I’m basically done with the core artwork in Illustrator. Now I need to import the logo into Fireworks where I have my web page design mocked up and ready for production. I improvise a variation on the color scheme for the header of the site:

process-20-fireworks

Step 21: Release your new logo design to the client and the world

I export the graphics and import them in to my WordPress template using Dreamweaver and move it to the web and check it out in Firefox. This logo design is now live!

process-21-firefox

Step 22: Recap and compare the steps to see the final drawing of the logo design to the final vector art

So how does the approved sketch compare to the final production ready logo design? They should be about 90% the same, where the final 10% is refinement and not fundamental design change. I think we see that clear hear. I’m pleased with how this went:

process-22-compare

Step 23: A closer look at the final art for the new logo design

And our last step is back to our first step, and we take a closer look at the final art. What a great trip it was!

process-23-done

In Conclusion:

I hope this was an enjoyable read for you, and that you learned a few things about the logo design process you didn’t know before you started. Also, I hope that you understand a bit more about our creative brainstorming process and how it might apply to your logo design project.

Thanks for reading!

Further logo design process examples:

How to purchase a corporate identity package

Working with BonFX to put together your corporate identity package is easy and enjoyable. We have a streamlined creative process that always yields results that please our clients. With 20 years of experience in the field of brand identity, BonFX knows how to help you reach your business identity goals. We figured out that there is a process to doing this, and we’d love to show you how!

Corporate Identity Packages & the Logo Design Process

Our corporate identity packages follow a set of well-trodden steps. While there is no wrong way to approach logo design, experience has taught us that there really are quantifiable steps that repeatedly produce good results. Any of these steps can be repeated, and no next step is taken until the current one is completed satisfactorily, ensuring a professional end product by means of mastery of each step along the way:

  • Scope Definition
    We work out in writing what the expected course of action and deliverables will be including budget and timeline.
  • Research
    The first step in the creative process is gathering information on similar companies in your industry. We also analyze any logos that you like, or envision you new logo having a similar look and feel to. We ask you a set of questions about your marketing goals and how your company needs to be perceived to attain these goals.
  • Thumbnail Pencil Sketches & Brainstorming
    At this step, we generate as many thumbnails sketches as we feel is necessary to cover the bases and give you many options based on our research and your answers to our questions. We get your feedback for each concept and repeat the process as many times as possible while keeping on track with the project budget and timeline.
  • Narrowing the Range
    After the necessary rounds of sketches are complete, we work with you to narrow down the sketches to a few choices that we will being formal digital design on.
  • Preliminary Digital Sketches
    We present the initial translations of the narrowed range of sketches into Illustrator, along with any variations the translations process avails. This is a bit like an archaeology hunt – you never know what you are going to find, or which path leads to great and unexpected discoveries.
  • Refinement
    We work to refine one, at most two concepts, by producing another set of variations on our now tightly-focused vision for your new logo.
  • Final Selection
    A final variation is chosen from the refinement process to receive one last round of focused and detailed refinements. This logo is then completed and made ready for print and other media.
  • Corporate Identity Package Collateral items
    If business cards and letterhead were ordered as part of the corporate identity package, a similar but much shorter process that includes most of the previous steps now takes place.
  • Delivery
    The final logo is delivered in Illustrator (AI), Adobe PDF (PDF) formats, along with any bitmap requests you may have, like TIFF, JPG or PNG. Corporate Identity Package collateral items are delivered in (AI), Adobe PDF (PDF) and sometimes InDesign (INDD) file formats depending on the nature of the collateral.

That covers the essentials steps we follow for corporate identity package creation and logo design for virtually every corporate identity client that we have served in the last umpteen years or so. If you are looking to hire a graphic designer to do identity work for you, we would like to cordially invite you to contact us about getting your project started.