How To/Techniques: Develop a logo identity

So you’ve been given the brief to create a logo for a streetwear brand? Where do you start?

Shernette gives you some top tips based on a Year 1 BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity group project, illustrated by work from one of her students, Sam Walsh and his collaborators- Misato Ishikawa, Vale De Marchi and Simone Ferraro.
The ‘Fashion brand lookbook’ brief was to create a memorable brand, logo design and brand manifesto ahead of the launch of a new fictional sports brand collection. Students had to complete this brief within the timelines of an average design cycle leading up to their brand’s launch via a beautifully art directed lookbook.

Here are some tips that I gave them and will help you when considering how to develop a logo identity:

1. Research your competition

A screenshot from Google of famous logos

Credit: Screen shot search of ‘Famous Brands’, Pinterest.

First things first- it’s really important to carry out in depth research into existing visual identities before creating a logo design otherwise you could be at risk of copyright infringement. You only have to search this term online to find out how expensive it could be if your designs are too similar to existing well-known brands. Pinterest is a good start, but also look for ideas in the library- we’ve put a couple of suggestions to get you started at the end of this article.

2. It all starts with a name

A brain storm of name ideas for a logo

Credit: Group brainstorming, Sam Walsh, Misato Ishikawa, Vale De Marchi and Simone Ferraro.

Students were tasked with developing a name for a sports brand collection based upon two given fictional fashion designers who work collaboratively. ‘Ectic’ derives from the words ‘hectic’ and ‘eclectic’, this new fashion line is aimed at a young audience with a busy lifestyle. The image above shows the group’s initial brainstorm. When brainstorming for the right name it is good to start with a dictionary/thesaurus. Discover the definition and consider how these words represent your brand. At the moment, it’s popular for many companies to use quite random terms or numerals. But a brand is not just about its name. It’s about the story behind the brand and how you tell the story, who is your audience?

Take a look at my ‘Video Picks’ article for inspiration on memorable brand stories and manifestos.

3. Sketch and develop your ideas

A gif of logo ideas being drawn in a sketchbook in black ink pen

Credit: ‘Work in progress’, Sam Walsh.

Once you have decided on a name, begin by exploring a series of initial approaches in sketch form. Try different font styles and analyse what works. Produce several ideas, then reflect and choose 3 or 4 to take forward to create more developed ideas. At this point you can introduce colour- this ideally should be done on paper and then you can transfer your ideas to a digital environment. You can see how Sam developed and produced his final design digitally in the feature image at the top of this article.

4. Look again at your competitors

A gif of a logo spelling the words 'ectic'

Credit: Final logo identity for ‘Ectic’- BA Graphic Branding and Identity – Year 1. Group Project: Misato Ishikawa, Sam Walsh, Vale De Marchi, Simone Ferraro.

When creating a good logo consider the various ways you can depict the name. Analyse symbolism within other brand identities, what do they represent? How memorable are they? Do they use negative space? Is the brand still recognisable when using just the symbol? Create the right kind of visual language to give your brand a personality and tone of voice to suit the style of the company. This can be achieved through experimenting with various font styles, graphic icons and symbols to communicate the right message.

Shernette has produced two other articles for us that will really help you to respond to a branding brief. Check out ‘Video Picks: Memorable Brands’ and ‘How/To: Make a mood board’ for extra tips and insights. You’ll see some of Sam Walsh’s work featured here too. You’ll recognise it from the layout and fonts used to present ideas. Find the articles in the related posts below.

Looking for more inspiration?

Seek out AAW Award’s page for more inspirational web designs.

When you’re in the library see if you can spot some of these books, or put them on your wishlist for christmas:

Logo Art –Charlotte Rivers
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities – David Airey
Designing Brand Identity – Alina Wheeler
Logo Modernism – Jens Muller & Roger Remington

Find out more about the course Sam studies and Shernette teaches on:
BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity

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