Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a wordmark, part of Branding for Designers.
- Before I determine whether the brand message requires a wordmark, monogram, icon, or combination of these, I revisit the brand's defining attributes. These are my five to eight words that my client and I agreed on in the research and strategy phase. Now that I've reminded myself what I'm communicating, I won't just be thrashing around trying anything. I may think I know what the solution is, but before I commit to one, I explore many variations of each type of logo.
I start with a wordmark. At some point I will need to see the brand's name with or without an icon. Letter forms work together in surprising ways. What sounds good orally may look awful visually, so I need to try different fonts and arrangements. I begin in a program such as Adobe Illustrator. I set up several landscape format 11 by 17 pages. Next I type in the name in any typeface.
I duplicate this and end up with four rows across and four rows down. I should now have the brand name 16 times on the page. Now this isn't wildly creative and may seem too simple, but I work my way down the fonts trying each name in a different typeface. Some may look awful and some even worse, but surprising things can happen. Right now isn't the time to stop and edit. Fill up a couple of pages with at least 32 variations.
Now even simpler, duplicate all of these and change the case to all caps. You now have 64 typographic variations of the brand name. Go back and look at the defining attributes. Based on these, choose the two that best align with these from each page. Put all of these on a new page. You've refined the selection down to eight options. Take these eight options and play with the arrangement if the brand has a name with more than one word.
Try it stacked, horizontally, change the scale of the words. Often when I do this, I find interesting interlocking options. From these options, select your favorite three. Since a wordmark that is simply typeset isn't proprietary, it's time to go in and start refining the letter forms. Work with each version until you reach a point that is strong and matches the brand attributes. This is no longer a word. This is an icon of a word.
You don't need to refine it to death. At this stage you're in draft phase. Once the client decides on one, you can go back and spend much more time refining.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books