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  • Draplin kind of composes his logo research in an interesting way: different artboards for each concept that could be incorporated, artboards for just shapes


  • Often, pleasing logos have a symmetry (Saul Bass, Paul Rand)
  • How can you break down something complex into simple, pleasing, possibly symmetrical shapes? Perhaps you take a part to stand for the whole? (good ex. is NBC logo where plumes stand in for a peacock)
  • One thing I've noticed about logos/illustrations I like is that the designer will use familiar shapes and icons, but give it some little twist or differentiating detail. Spending time making variants seems like a good idea for this reason.
  • Grids you can use for keeping your logo consistent: dot, square, isometric, other angles (30deg lines, for example)
  • Curves, in this case, would then bisect the grid blocks
  • Sometimes, it helps to visually balance positive and negative space by making the negative space slightly smaller than the positive space next to it. Same principle as white on black feeling heavier than black on white.


  • How can you match the qualities of the shapes/linework in your typeface selection?
  • Ways to play with type/wordmarks:
    • Clip a corner or shape
    • Leave cross bars or other shapes open
    • Find rhythms or through-lines between characters
    • Extend letters to create shapes
    • Exaggerate shapes
    • Play with contrasts of thick and thin
    • Unexpected angles and curves


Personally, a good one seems to me:

  1. Gather references, research, concepts
  2. Sketch loosely on paper
  3. If appropriate, "grid" the logo on paper
  4. Take to digital B&W
  5. Choose colors

With the caveat: there's always room for goofing around and exploring in the gridded or digital context, and sometimes formal play can yield interesting results.

Digital workflow

  • Before tinkering with an option, duplicate it in the file so you don't lose the history of the mark's evolution
  • Complex and scary-looking forms can be broken down into simple shapes


  • Always ask yourself: what is the cheapest way to do this project? That might yield some refreshing and creative production ideas


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