Logo Design Tips by A Complete Beginner

Tan Jun Rong
Android Programmer who likes writing blogs, reading, coffee, snowboarding.
Sep 7, 2018 1889 words
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I am a programmer at my day job, but I've always been interested to learn how to draw and design. Even in my programming world, I tend to pick up tasks that are related to UI or UX.

Now that we're building Bloggie and all of us are programmers, we are in a dire need of a person with some design skills. So far we've been using a free logo, but the problem is that if I do a Google Image Search, I can find many others who are also using this logo.

So I decided to take a stab at creating our own one!


Getting Ready!

To begin my logo design journey, I bought Sketch and Adobe Illustrator. Now I'm ready to design a great logo 🖊🎨!

Next is to come up with an idea. 💡

Should it be a letter 'b'?
Should it be some shapes?
Should it be a character? Github's logo is pretty cute

Then I decided to just shut up and get started! So I drew a bunch of things at my canvas:

My Initial Attempt
My Initial Attempt

But I feel like I'm not heading towards a good direction. So I decided to put it on pause and do a little bit of thinking.

Eventually I got myself a long list of questions and concerns:

The more I consider, the more confused I am. I don't know where I should be heading. 😕 😭

So I thought, maybe I can learn by looking at the others. I begin googling up all the famous brands. Got to learn from the masters!


The Logos of Top Technology Companies

Here's a picture of the logos of top technology companies:

The Logos of Top Technology Companies
The Logos of Top Technology Companies

Here's a list of things that I learned, I will mark it with "WIL" which stands for "What I Learned":

After looking at the big brands, I thought maybe I should look at some of the brands that are more relevant to our product


Here's an image I gathered and piece together myself:

The Logos of Blogging-Related Platforms
The Logos of Blogging-Related Platforms

I wondered maybe logos are all about simplicity? But I do remember some fancier logos.

Then I searched "Baseball Team Logos":

Baseball Team Logos
Baseball Team Logos

They are all pretty fancy!

WIL: Logo must be suitable for your product, fancy logo is not suitable for a blogging platform


Logo Evolution

I've already got some answers to my initial questions, but it's not good enough, there're some unanswered ones still. So I continued on the next question: "what style should I use? Flat Design?"

So I decided to took a look at the style of bigger brands again.

Twitter
The Twitter Logo Evolution
The Twitter Logo Evolution

I noticed that the logo started from less details to more details, and eventually to almost no details. The latest logo consist of only shapes (eyes and legs disappeared).

Apple
The Apple Logo Evolution
The Apple Logo Evolution

The apple logo evolution is almost the same, where it went from very detailed graphic into a colorful one, then into a glossy one, then into simple black. It then somehow repeated itself into a glossy one, and once again back to the simple black.

Windows
The Window Logo Evolution
The Window Logo Evolution

The windows logo started with very little details, then evolved into a more detailed one, then glossy, and back to a simple four-color-logo with a modern feel.

Google
The Google Logo Evolution
The Google Logo Evolution

The Google logo evolution started out with gradients and shadows, it then became flat without the details.

Finding

By looking at the logo evolutions of these companies, there is a very noticeable trend. All of them has more details 10 years ago, and slowly evolved into a logo with a much flatter design. You can google up "logo evolution" and see more results of such evolution.

WIL: The style of the logo is more or less determined by the current design trend. When the logo follows the current design trend, your brand will look more reliable, because most of other notable services have a similar style.

WIL: Every logo has a story of it's own, if you google up each of the notable brands, you will be able to find their stories. The meaning of the logo always remains even the style changed over the course of a few decade (For example: Samsung Logo).


Logo Adaptation

I noticed that some companies provide a family of similar products and they use a very smart logo that can be adapted into various logos to represent a wide range of products under the same family.

Take a look at these:

The Google Play Service Logo Family
The Google Play Service Logo Family
The JetBrain Logo Family
The JetBrain Logo Family

There are some services that use a character as their logo. What's interesting about having a character is: it can be used for logo adaptation too!

Look at these cute little Reddit characters used for different Subreddits!

The SubReddit Logo Family
The SubReddit Logo Family

Github on the other hand doesn't really use their character for their different services, but it's really has a good ability to be adapted into anything. These are all fan created. 👇

Fan Made Github Characters
Fan Made Github Characters

Here's the case of Hipmunk using an illustration of a chipmunk as their logo:

Hipmunk Logo
Hipmunk Logo

It has a high adaptability too:

Hipmunk Search Icon
Hipmunk Search Icon
Hipmunk Business Class Logo
Hipmunk Business Class Logo

Finding

WIL: There really isn't any rules when it comes to logo design, when there is a need, the logo design can be tweaked to fulfill the need. See how creative people are to adapt their logos into a big family of logos.

WIL: While character is fun, it is harder to design one as a newbie in designing. Besides, Favicon can be a problem since a character has so much details, we need to discard a lot of details to make it much simpler. We also need to think of the app icon which has to be much simpler due to screen space constraint.

Here are how each of them simplify their logo for favicon:

A Screen Capture of the Favicon of Github, Hipmunk, Reddit
A Screen Capture of the Favicon of Github, Hipmunk, Reddit

Github uses a silhouette version, Hipmunk uses a pixelated version and Reddit uses an outline version of their logo.


After a quick walkthrough and analyzing the more notable logos, I have most of the answers to my initial questions 😀. Let's have a re-cap:

Another Failed Attempt

Back to my original intention of designing a logo. Here's my failed attempt by trying to use Typography to create a fun "Bloggie" art. Typography is harder than I originally thought and I realized that I know nothing about it.

My Failed Attempt By Trying To Use Typography
My Failed Attempt By Trying To Use Typography

Using a Single Letter

After a couple of failed attempts and trying to find answers for my own set of questions, I decided to try out using a single letter 'B' or 'b'.

Logo with 'b' Letter
Logo with 'b' Letter

Remark: This looks simple enough, but looks too similar to Beats logo.

Logo with 'B' Letter
Logo with 'B' Letter

Remark: It doesn't look nice.

Logo with 'b' Letter Consists Of Blocks
Logo with 'b' Letter Consists Of Blocks

Remark: Better, but it doesn't look too good either.

But I feel like I'm on the right track, so I kept going in this direction.

Variants of 'b' Logo
Variants of 'b' Logo

Finally, I have a good feeling on some of them!

I narrowed down into these 3 👇

The 3 Possible Candidates
The 3 Possible Candidates

We still haven't decided on which one yet, but I feel like we are in the correct direction!


Wrapping up

That's all for now, I hope you learned a thing or two from my experience. If you are a complete beginner like myself, hopefully you have a better idea of which type of logo you can start with.

Also, please feel free to share your ideas of what can be a good logo for us in the comment!

I hope you enjoyed the post.

Bye! 👋


Written By

Tan Jun Rong

Android Programmer who likes writing blogs, reading, coffee, snowboarding.

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