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Designing a Logo
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Choosing the right typeface for the message


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Designing a Logo

with Nigel French

Video: Choosing the right typeface for the message

Take a look at these logos. I'm sure you recognize them all. What they have in common is there are all nothing but type. There is no illustration there. It's all just letters. So that means that even though we may not be Illustrators, we can create impactful and successful logos that really convey an image working with type alone. But of course we need to use our type skillfully. So let's take a look at some suggestions for working with type in logos. So here are some suggestions for working with type in your logos. As we saw before every front has its own personality. Typefaces are like clothes.

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Designing a Logo
2h 57m Intermediate Sep 17, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

A great logo is often basic, composed only of essential parts, but simple is not always easy. Designer Nigel French distills over a decade of professional design and teaching experience in Designing a Logo. He discusses the principles and techniques of what makes a logo work, and explains type-only designs, type treatments, and logo symbols in depth. He also explores how to work with clients on defining job parameters and selecting a final design, as well as how to prepare the logo for print and web publication. Nigel demonstrates each of these techniques in the course of designing a new logo for a real client, so viewers can either follow along or apply the techniques to their own work. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Choosing the right typeface
  • Exploring transparency, warped type, and other treatments
  • Working with line, shape, and imagery in a logo symbol
  • Considering current trends in logo design
  • Fine-tuning a design after client selection
  • Drawing up usage guidelines
Subjects:
Design Logo Design Print Design Projects Design Skills
Software:
Illustrator InDesign
Author:
Nigel French

Choosing the right typeface for the message

Take a look at these logos. I'm sure you recognize them all. What they have in common is there are all nothing but type. There is no illustration there. It's all just letters. So that means that even though we may not be Illustrators, we can create impactful and successful logos that really convey an image working with type alone. But of course we need to use our type skillfully. So let's take a look at some suggestions for working with type in logos. So here are some suggestions for working with type in your logos. As we saw before every front has its own personality. Typefaces are like clothes.

You don't want to be caught wearing the wrong clothes for the wrong occasion and we want to keep things simple. Here we are again with that recurring theme; keep it simple. No more than two fonts. In fact, you probably only want to use one font in your logo. Very few logos use more than two fonts. And while it may be tempting to experiment with these fun fonts, chances are that they are going to give your logo a very dated look very quickly. So you want to stay away from fun fonts. And if you want to use scripts, now scripts can convey a very kind of informal feel to your logo. Rather than just choosing up script typeface from the font menu, instead do your own script. Make your own calligraphy. That way it's going to really embody your character.

As we saw in the previous video, not any all type will do. We need to choose an effective typeface for the message, to convey the image of the company that we are working for. And in order to do that we need to make some broad distinctions between the different typefaces that we have available to us. And the broadest distinction we can make is Serif, Sans Serif and Script. So let's take a look at an example of each of those. So here I have on screen Sans Serif, Serif, Script. So beginning at the top, the Sans Serif font. By Sans we mean without and that means that letters do not have any of the ticks on the ends. So they are more minimal in their letter shapes and then obviously at the bottom we have got the Script. Let's look now at some logos that use Sans Serif type, some that use Serif, and some that use Script. And we will see if we can make any broad statements, come to any conclusions about the type of image that these different types of typeface convey.

So here's some very recognizable logos using San Serif typefaces, and now some that use Serif, and now some that use Script. So broadly speaking I think we can say from this fairly random sampling that San Serif typefaces are apt to give you a more modern, contemporary, and a more simple, straightforward, more minimal look to your logo. Serif typefaces are apt to give you a more established, more sophisticated, more elegant look.

Now that's a very, very broad sweeping statement and you may be thinking well wait a minute, what about this example and that example and you are right. It's a very broad statement, but I think broadly speaking it's true. And then thirdly, I think we can say that Script typefaces convey a more friendly, more informal feel. Now I want to make an important point about working with Script typefaces because if you want to use a hand- lettered script in your logo then hand-letter it. Don't bother with a script that you can choose from a Font menu.

Because when you do that every A is going to be the same as every other A, every E, the same as every other E. It's going against the very nature of the hand-drawn quality that you are trying to convey. So one of the things that we will be looking at is, how to create your own script. But next, we are going look at working with some basic type variables. Experimenting with casing and tracking and stacking the letters and adjusting the relative scales of the words. That's coming up in the next video.

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