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Designing a Logo

Exploring type variables


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Designing a Logo

with Nigel French

Video: Exploring type variables

When working with type we have an almost infinite number of variables. Just with the type alone, we can change the case, we can make it upper case, lower case or a combination. We can change the color of maybe one word or one letter. We can change the relative size of the words. We can adjust the spacing between the words, and of course, we can choose from a billion different typefaces. So what I'm going to do here is very methodically and starting with a really neutral, control version here, set in Helvetica Neue. I'm going to just explore some of the basic type variables working with our logo in progress for the company Deep Green Designs.

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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

Exploring type variables

When working with type we have an almost infinite number of variables. Just with the type alone, we can change the case, we can make it upper case, lower case or a combination. We can change the color of maybe one word or one letter. We can change the relative size of the words. We can adjust the spacing between the words, and of course, we can choose from a billion different typefaces. So what I'm going to do here is very methodically and starting with a really neutral, control version here, set in Helvetica Neue. I'm going to just explore some of the basic type variables working with our logo in progress for the company Deep Green Designs.

So my first design decision is that, that name is too long to work with. I think it's going to work better if we loose that word. So having done that, I then want to think about the casing. Do I want it in lower case or initial capped and I'm holding my Alt key and my Shift key to make a duplicate. And the shift is just constraining the movement of the duplicate. Or do I want to have that all in All Caps.

So this is a kind of confirm for I suspected all along that -- actually I want it in the lower case. But what I'm not liking is I have got two words, one of four letters, one of five letters. I think the space between them takes up disproportionate amount of space. I can track that space or rather kern that space and make it smaller. Or I could just get rid of it. This is after all a logo. We don't need to be grammatically correct here. But of course, how am I going to now differentiate those two words? Well I'm going to try and differentiate with color. Let's get in a little bigger here.

If I'm going to differentiate with color then who says just because one of the words is green, then that's the word that has to be in green? Maybe, we'll have that word in green. Maybe no. Let's try now the different weights. So I have got the Roman, the Regular weight here of Helvetica Neue. What if I try Bold? Okay, now as I mentioned in an earlier video, this logo has to work in black and white. Now if I'm differentiating my words with color, then how is that going to work in black and white? Now let's just make a copy of that again. Set this back to black and how about if I make one of the words in a 50% Grey. Now I have got a 50% Grey there, on my Swatches panel or I can come to my Color panel and reduce the black to 50%.

That makes me little bit nervous though, because that word is now going to be printed as a screen. A 50% screen of the black and maybe as a consequence of that the type isn't going to be as crisp as I would like it to be. So I think rather than doing it that way I'll set that back to 100%. And then we can differentiate the words with choosing a different weight. Now I have chosen your typeface family here with lots of different weights.

I have got a lot of options in that respect. Maybe I want a little bit more contrast it, little bit bolder on the left. Then a little bit lighter on the right. Let's see how that looks, so instead of light what about thin and instead of bold what about heavy, maybe. Okay, go and make to this one. I'll go now, clear some space, get rid of those.

Now I started off with the Sans Serif typeface. Instinctively I feel that this logo called for a Sans Serif typeface. I want a fairly minimal look to it. I started with Helvetica, because if we are going to stop with something neutral, so that we can evaluate each change as we make it methodically, then that's a good place to start. But I also want to look at some alternatives in terms of Sans Serif typefaces. I'm going to make a few different copies here, Alt+Shift and then I'm going to press Apple or Control+D to repeat that transformation and this one. I'm going to set that to Gill Sans and this one I have another popular, Sans Serif, and a favorite of mine Myriad Pro. Then about a geometric Sans Serif, Futura. Well one thing that tells me is that this maybe worth exploring. I like the two-story G that the Gill Sans has. Have to look to a little bit more organic then these single story Gs that the other Sans Serif typefaces are offering us.

So let's see, Gill Sans now compared with Franklin Gothic. Now that's a font with a higher x-height. The relative size of the lower cases letters is higher and has this interesting hook on the G. Maybe this in potential there that we can explore with that. Now in all fairness I should try also in a Serif base. I'm going to copy that again and let's have a look at Adobe Jenson. Now I'm choosing that one because I happen to know that this has these diagonal cross bars on the Es. Then they are kind of interesting looking, I like the look at those. Especially with the two words that we are working with here got four Es. So it's like good idea to choose a typeface that has a nice E.

Some food for thought there, but I also now want to look at it in a script face. So let's see what do we have in the line of scripts. How about a Brush Script? I don't think so. How about Linoscript, which is not really a script, but kind of feminine looking font? I suspect that might be a popular favorite although I'm not that keen on it myself. Another one, Papyrus, again no script font but I display font with lot of character, and again not to crazy about that one. But we started out with three words all set black and now we have boiled that down to two words. We got rid of the space which is by in itself, is quite a big design decision that we have made. Now we are differentiating with color and it looks like we are kind of gravitating towards a Sans Serif typeface with a two story G.

Now in the next video I'm going to tweak the type a little bit more and try to tease out some more character from what we currently have.

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