Get an overview of the creative process working out design motifs.
- [Instructor] The creative process when it comes to how you approach vector building in Illustrator can differ quite a bit from one user to the next. So in this movie, I want to take you through how I usually approach the creative process related to building my vector-based logo designs, exploring typography options and art-directing myself along the way. So let's jump into it. One of the first things I'll do when I approach any branding project, whether it's for a new business, or in this case a rebrand, is I'll go back through my past projects and I'll try to determine if I've ever worked for a company within the same industry, or utilizes the same visual aesthetic that I have in mind for this current project.
And that's what I've done here, is I've gone back and pulled various things. And some of these relate, some of them I only put in here just because I still like it and it's going to inspire me to create something new, even though I may not use anything that is specifically shown here. One of the projects is a past heating company that I worked on. Here's a direction that I really liked that was never used, this penguin, and you can see in this secondary mark down here, this horizontal one, I even stylized the motif so it looks like a thermostat.
I quite like this, and I don't think it's going to work for this project, but it inspired me nonetheless, so I brought it in here. Here's another kind of organic flow of air is what I was thinking with this half-tone, and that was another direction that I used for the same project along with this mark that I liked, but never used. Another company, Striem, based out of Colorado, these were design explorations for a branding for, this company makes, basically, grease traps.
They're a business-to-business type of product, so the consumer end doesn't really see this. It's more construction and building companies that utilize their products and services. But I really like the boldness and fresh approach, and it's related to plumbing. I really like the S for this one. But none of these were used, and I did an ecologically based version, brand mark, for this. That wasn't used either. And at some point I did consider repurposing this mark, but the aesthetics is what I'm really focusing on here, that idea of having shapes and gaps in other shapes.
That is why I brought it in. I want to reinforce that in the new direction I'm creating for the new company that I'm working with. Here's a badge, never used. I really like this architectural work I did, and once again, it's that gap idea of a brand mark with those gaps in it. That's why I brought it in here. Here's another one that the mark isn't what I'm really focusing on here, as much as how I've used typography in a hierarchy. I might utilize that same methodology in this project, that's why I brought it in here.
And this brand mark, it wasn't from a branding project, it was actually an iconography project I worked on, one of the directions in there, and I brought it in here not just because it's a great shape for water, but I brought it in 'cause I really like the color combination here, and I'm going to utilize this in one of my directions for suggested brand colors moving forward. So that's why I decided to bring that in. But what we're going to do now is we're going to refocus back on our refined sketch that we created previously, and each of these, we're going to build out.
And the first one we're going to build out is this direction, it's symmetric, so we only have to create half, clone, flip it to get the other side. And if we go ahead and zoom in on this, you can see how it is symmetric. The only asymmetric part of it is the figure itself. And on areas such as this, I use strokes as well as shapes to build content at times. It wouldn't speed up the process to try to build this cable, for example, using shapes. It's much easier with strokes, so I'll just punch in a size here to get the volume I needed to match the gapping we're going to be building in this shape.
So when it's all said and done, it's going to work really well as a brand mark suggestion and direction to pitch to the client. So that's usually how I go about building and creating a brand mark like this. You saw previously that I use reference materials to draw out a monkey wrench more precisely, so now I'm going to build that out. This is my refined sketch. But even though I worked it out based off a reference, I an still making tweaks and changes, and you can see how I've sized this, just so it would work better, and it's okay if it doesn't match the reality.
So it didn't match my sketch, I brought this up, and then I decided as I was building it, this was too thick, I slimmed it down here. But you can see I'm using strokes once again to create this artwork. So if we zoom in on this, all of these have a fill, and they have a stroke. And all the colors here, this one's filled red, stroke with white, this one's filled gray, stroke with white. And that's to give that illusion of a gap. But what I'm going to want to do is I want to actually want to build this as a shape, and if we go over to this one, you can see that I have those shapes right here.
So let's say we take another color, and we'll just draw a box. We'll go ahead and color it blue. I'm going to copy it and I'll paste it behind the shape. You can see how the gaps here are showing through to the background. That's the styling I'm after for all the brand marks in this category, and if we bring it over to this one, and we paste it behind this one, this is how I initially build it with a fill and a gap. So it visually gives the same look and feel, and then when I'm ready, I can go ahead and select the shape, such as this wrench, go to Object, go to Path, go to Outline Stroke like this, and it outlines that stroke into a shape, and then the next step I have to do is go to Pathfinder and remove from shape right here to create that gap.
Now, let me do one more just to show you how it creates a gap. We'll take this one, Object, Path, we'll go Outline Stroke, and we'll go Remove from Shapes. So you can see how it's created this gap in between it to pull off that aesthetic. That's how I go ahead and create the initial shapes, fill it, put a stroke on it, work out the weight of that stroke to get the look and feel I want, and then I move forward from there. And that allows me to create a brand mark like this one, which is going to be used on another direction we're going to pitch to the client.
And here's another mark we've created, and this is one that reflects the water drop. It reflects the flame in terms of the whiff going out here, and electric. So it's actually representing all three of the services. And once again I select this, and I just want to beef this up because this needs more volume, more weight like this, and then we can select these two shapes. Go up to swatches, and just so you can see how this is going to work, we'll go ahead and color this black, this one we'll knock out of that, and we'll color the stroke black.
So that's how I'll build artwork like this. It's not complicated, it just takes time, and when you've worked out your drawing to capture the essence of the mark, it's going to make it work, make the whole process, that is, work a lot faster and go a lot smoother, so when it's all said and done, you have a great brand mark you can move forward with. Here's the one that I'm really excited about to focus on, and it's the character himself. Once again using that same principle of creating this cable by just using a thick 13 points, in this case, to create the cable on the electric.
Now, as I was working on this, you can see the created shape, like this drip head, I used a circle for for the most part, and then just added this shape to it, so I can select these two and just unite 'em together to get the actual shape I want. So if you think in shapes, it makes building a whole lot easier, so when it's all said and done, this brand mark. Now it's at this point when I'm working on any project, I'm always scrutinizing it. I'm looking at this, and then it hit me. I go, oh wait a minute, they do three types of services.
They do plumbing, heating and cooling, and electric. Well, cooling involves water, but this really isn't communicating that well, because I think more plumbing than I do cooling with the drip head. And so I realized I had a problem here, and I need to fix it. And this is where I printed it out, and then I went back in, I decided we're going to make his head a flame, because the wrench already alludes to plumbing and the flame distinctly refers to heat. That's a better visual metaphor.
And along the way, I also decided the hands aren't looking that great, so we're going to restyle the hands. I'm going to change the pose on the body, make it a little more dynamic, and make him smiling a little more as well. Once again, we just take the base art, we rebuild all the aspects we need to such as the body and the hands, which are all based off elliptical shapes. So once again, if you think in shapes, it makes vector building a lot easier. You don't always have to use the pin tool.
So when it's all said and done, you have a nice, refined brand character mark that's going to work great for a direction. Now, I usually build out all of my marks, all the brand marks first, and then I start working out okay what typography is going to work best with 'em, and that's how I decide on what type to use. I don't go the opposite way. I let the artwork inform the typography choice, not the opposite way around. And when I do this, I simply go to my font manager. Now, you might use some other font manager.
It doesn't matter what font manager you use. I'll type in the name here, OneStop Pro, and then I'll just go through my list. This one, I was thinking I wanted these bold and blocky, so I'm using some fonts I have loaded in my block slab folder here, and this is one that I really like. So I'm going to write that name down on paper. And that's all I do, is I start going through my list and finding styles that visually look and align with what I have in mind, write the names down so when I go to Illustrator and I start pulling down through the font list inside Illustrator, I can find those fonts and start mocking those fonts up.
So when I work, my area usually ends up looking like this. It gets pretty insane in terms of the amount of fonts I have open at any given time. Now, I don't have all of these as live fonts in this file, they're just converted to paths just so I wouldn't have to load all these fonts on this other machine, but usually these are all live fonts so I can type in the word and test it out and see where it's going. Now, you saw previously in my harvest work, I forgot about another logo that I'd done for a plumbing company, and I'd done this one about, man, this goes back about 14 years now.
But I really like the name, Schier, the type style, and so that is this font right here and that is one that I'm definitely going to use in one of the directions. I love san serif, that's just my favorite type. I like block and slab fonts a lot. I'm not a huge fan of serif fonts, unless it's an appropriate context. For this type of projects, san serif all the way, in my opinion. So I'm going to utilize these fonts. But this is how I'll load fonts into my build file, for this project, and start exploring and testing.
And when I mean testing, I'll take one of 'em and I'll start working it out. So here's one type phase that I took, and then I decided well hey, I have this wrench, what if I go ahead and create an icon with this wrench? Hey, that looks good. Well, what other icons did I do that fit the service? And then I develop these other icons for heating and cooling, a fan, an electric plug, and then the plumbing. And then I go, that works pretty good for a mark, so this was a design exploration that I never had initially in mind, but because I art-directed myself, and I took assets I already created and created new assets styled the same way with that gap look and feel, it lead to another design direction that I'm going to present to the client.
So that all works really well. As you're working, you can see how I'm working out the negative space with the N here to work it in to this typography treatment that I'm going to use in one of my directions. So this is how I approach typography, and work out typography. I usually convert my fonts to paths, and I do kerning that way, instead of kerning in a live font. I think it's really hinky to do kerning in a live font, so I always convert to paths, zoom in on something really well such as this, and just work out my kerning so it reads really well and it works really well.
So that's how I usually approach this. Now, in all of my build files, I have what's called a Layer X. And I don't know why I called it X, well, actually I do know why I called it X, it's because I start doing it back in the 90s, and the X-Files came out and so I decided, well, I want the layer in my files when I build stuff that I can store things in it and always go back to it if I want to grab something I tried earlier and didn't use, and try it for something else.
What can I call that layer? I just started calling it X, so the X-Files did inspire that, actually. And we have an X file, or X layer, in this file, and you can see as I build, I'll move things to this layer, and this just becomes my creative junk drawer of sorts, and I can always go back and pull from it. You can actually see a whole design direction I created for this project here, and I think these were the two that I ended up with finally, but I decided not to show this to the client. It's okay, I just didn't really like it, and if I don't like it, there's no way I'm going to give the client the possibility to pick it.
That's just the wrong way to approach branding. If you're not sold on it, don't try to sell it to your client. It's a good thing to always keep in mind. So that's what I use my X layer for, is basically a creative junk drawer, but on this project, these are going to be the five design directions we're going to now pitch to our client, and I'm going to go over that process in an upcoming movie. So, we'll package up these design directions, and do a nice presentation for the client to pick a choice on what direction he wants to go with.
This movie was an overview of the fundamental creative process I use for building logo designs. For more specific information, methods, functionality, and detailing aspects of logo design I encourage you to watch my logo design illustrating logo marks course, which dives deep into the craftsmanship of creating logo motifs.
Join Von Glitschka, illustrative design guru, for this hands-on project that demonstrates what successful rebranding involves from the designer and the client. He takes the existing brand for a small plumbing and electrical company and asks questions to get a deeper understanding of their goals. He maps the answers to a new name and develops a logo that better represents the brand values. He solicits and incorporates feedback from the client, and then presents the final brand assets. Last, he reviews the uniforms, vehicle wraps, asset library, and advertising campaigns that were developed to complement the new direction.