Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating hand-lettered logotype, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. Design and typography are synonymous, so using unique and clever letter forms is a great way to solve the design challenge. In this movie, I want to talk you through a hand lettered identity project, so let's get started. Now locally, all throughout the nation, there's a bunch of what are called TEDx events. They're localized versions of the bigger TED conference, and this was the local one for our area here in Oregon, and over the last four years I branded this event for the local group that produces them, and these are all the themes that we've done so far, so this last year was Revolutions, and that's the branding I created for that.
The year before that was called Fearless, and that's what I created for that one, and the year prior to that was called Moxie, and this was the branding I created for that, so I handled each event in its own unique style to capture the essence of whatever that theme is, and that's what I'm going to walk you through now. It's for the theme that's going to happen next year, in 2018, and that theme is called Through the Looking Glass, so if you're familiar with Alice in Wonderland, you might be familiar with that terminology, so that is the theme I had to play off.
It all starts in drawing for me. It all starts, in this case, from those drawings, so I'm taking those words, through the looking glass, and I'm trying to come up with a unique design. Now I realized as soon as I heard what the title was that it's not a one name title, like in the previous year for Revolutions. That's just one word, or Moxie, or Fearless. It was a distinctly different approach for a name. It had a lot more words. It's like a little paragraph of four words, a sentence, if you will, and I had to compose it in a way that's going to work well for a branding, and so I immediately decided that this is going to have to be a logo type solution.
It's not going to be a modular type of setup with a brand mark and type that floats separately from it, so I started working off the theme, working off the idea of through the looking glass. I also kept in mind that I wanted this to be different meaning for every person coming to this event, meaning I didn't want to set the stage conceptually, saying this is what this means. I wanted it to be open for people to be able to read into it their own meaning for this saying, so that was really important for me and kind of the challenge I gave myself.
This shows some of my thumbnail sketches. Here's the rough that I decided to move forward with, and I decided to do hand lettering. Now you can see here in the middle, you can see this tape and I have, it's pasted on top of another shape. That's because when I start drawing, I always start drawing, in this case I was drawing glass out first, and then I realized, well I'm right on the edge of the paper, and so I have to tape more paper. I do that all the time, never fails.
It's kind of a bad creative habit of mine, but it's a rough so it doesn't really matter, but you might be wondering why that's the case. Well that's the case. I'm not paying attention when I start drawing and I draw too close to the edge and I run out of room and have to tape more paper onto it. So when it's a rough drawing though, I'm not concerned about getting it perfect. I'm just trying to work out the general overall form and then I can refine and improve it moving forward, so this is a good example of a very rough and crude sketch.
Now as I move forward, as I start drawing out it, the artwork in a more refined fashion, I'm keeping in mind the specific shapes I need to create in vector forms, so I'm drawing them as I intend to build them, meaning I'm thinking about how I'm going to build this and I'm drawing it in such a way that this is going to act as a roadmap, if you will, for my vector building, and so it's very precise. I'm not doing a lot of guesswork here. I've also decided I don't want to make this a flame so it's distinctly representative of passion.
I just want it to be insight, and that's why there's that little sparkle in the eye, and then I turned the dot in the word looking to a flame to somewhat represent that passion that sparks those ideas that lead to great things, so that's kind of the meaning that I've poured into this. With that said, I want it to be open enough that people can read into it whatever they want. But when I draw like this, when I create a refined sketch like this, it enables me to then go in and start vector building.
In this case I will be using the pen tool, and I'm just going to build out a couple of these shapes just to show you exactly how I approach this. Now I don't worry about getting my curves right right off the bat. I want to get my anchor points in the right location. Then I can go back, and if you're using the built in methods to Illustrator, you can just grab a path and you can start finessing these anchor points like this to end up getting the exact shape, the exact look and feel of the contour of your bezier curves in order to form it.
And on this, this. Notice how you can break points like this. This is why, even though you can do this kind of editing in Illustrator with their tools, I kind of prefer a plug in, and that plug in is the PathScribe plug in right here, and all this does is it just allows me, it gives me ghost handles so I can grab those, and it allows me to take a handle Like this, and notice how that S shows up, that means it's smooth and I can let go and now that's fixed, so it's an easier way, in my opinion, to use vector based artwork and craft it with precision.
It's just, that's why I use any plug in. It just makes the process go faster. So those are pretty easy to create, the shape like this. Now other shapes, with this hand lettering, I don't try to create this H with one single path. I'll do, once again, a rough build, just get the general form, general feel, and I'll put these in the right location like this, like that, and then you can see I have the smart guides turned on, you'll want to toggle these on and off, so I'm going to toggle these off right now, and we'll go ahead and I like getting everything a subtle round, I don't like them being absolutely perfect.
It looks less mechanical, less digitally driven if you can give some imperfections, you know. On some of these you might need to zoom in further to get the better grasp, like this, so instead of being perfectly straight like this line, I'll go in and give it just ever so subtle of a curve, and I've just found doing that enables the aesthetic to just kind of feel more authentic, and so I'll create shapes like this that are all separate shapes, and then at some point I'll select them and I'll fuse them together into one shape, so that's how I create elements like this.
Now one way you can create like this star shape is go into the shapes here, select the star tool, and find the center point, and if you hold option down, you can scale it up, and then if you'll hold command down, you can pull these out as far as you want, like this, I'll scale it, and I want to add more, so using the nudge keys will add a couple more stars in here and get the right amount.
Once again, I'm going to edit the shapes just a little bit and so this is how I'll create this kind of shape, like this. Now the sizing isn't completely correct, so I'll use the nudge keys again. Like this, just to nudge it in. And you can eyeball it on this or you can use the nudge key to do it exactly at the same.
Now what you can also do, if I select all these anchor points right here and I go to scale, I can select this and go 60, and I can scale everything down. That's a little too much, let's do 65, the wrong way, I'm not paying attention. Let's try that again. Yeah that looks better, go to okay. So that's how you create a shape like this. By the way, if you've ever wondered how you get this bounding box corrected, just go to object, transform, reset bounding box, and it will correct that, so, and obviously the easiest of all shapes, an ellipse shape, in terms of the pupil here, about as easy as it gets.
So that's the process I'll use. I'll let my sketch guide me and I'll build out all my letter forms until I have everything built out like this. Now once I have all my base shapes built out like this, it's just a matter of selecting, you know selecting elements like this, and going to unite here. Once again, if we go you'll see it's a group, I'll go hit F7 to turn it into a compound like that, and then I'll select everything here, like this, de-select, I don't want the star there or the G to be part of this, and we'll fuse those together as well, hit F7 to create a compound, so this is how I'll start building the final artwork that I can now start colorizing, so the process is pretty distinct, goes quickly.
I'll simply colorize this black, all these shapes are now set up, inside of the eye. I want it not to be see through. I want it to be a solid color so it stands out on different usages, as I'm going to show you shortly, and on this the brand colors for TEDx couldn't be simpler. One of my favorite color combinations, red and black. That's why I like using, working on TEDx because in this case very simple. There you go, that's the color, red and black. Now as I was looking about this, I'm always looking to art direct myself, always looking at ways to improve my design as I go along, and on this one it's no different.
I was looking at it and then I decided if I moved it, adjusted the spacing, it improves the readability, so this is what it was, and I adjust it. So you can see how it's changing just ever so subtly, but it's improving the readability, and I continue to make those improvements, so here's another adjustment after I adjusted it the first time, so this is where it was at, and this is where I decided, this T is falling off the left edge, and to balance the design better, it would work better this way, so those are the little kind of self art direction things you have to force yourself to notice, and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is to use the fresh eyes effect.
Print it out, hang it up, and don't work on the project, but over a period of a day if you can give it, look at it and come back with fresh eyes, and you're going to see those things you can improve on. That's the only way to do it. If you don't have the luxury of that time or your deadline is escalated, then print it out and give it to somebody else to look at it who hasn't been looking at it, and say do you see anything that could be improved here, and that way you could spot those things as well.
Now here's another thing. It's subtle rounds, and all I mean by this, we're going to zoom in really closely, specifically right here, and notice on the letter forms, I have these subtle rounds here. Now if I toggle on to the previous artwork, you'll see how everything came to a sharp edge, and at times things can be too precise, too sharp, inside Illustrator, almost like a dagger. It's going to poke you if you get too close to this letter I, so it's always good to go in and add these subtle rounds.
By the way, there's a great book called Logo Creed put out by Bill Gardener of logolounge.com, and it goes over the aspect of adding this rounding. Now this rounding originally happened all the time on brand work in the past before digital because everything was done through optics, so when they blew up a logo, it would naturally round off those sharp corners even though they are drawn sharp, and now we have to kind of consciously think about that because it does give humanity to the design and improves the readability in my opinion.
So this is the final mark they're going to use for the new TEDx. That's how I went about creating it, and it's a really flexible one, so it's going to work on its own, on a white background, it will work on a colored or dark background, such as shown on this t-shirt. Now when I delivered the final art, I set it up on a simple style guide like this so it makes usability for them moving forward a lot easier. If you want to know more about style guides and the setup of the final art assets, then make sure to check out my logo design, illustrating logo marks course, and you can see all the information I go over regarding setting up style guides and everything else regarding creating a brand logo.
You may not consider yourself proficient when it comes to hand lettering, by the way, but like any creative skill, it takes doing it over and over to improve, so I encourage you to give it a try on one of your own projects. To further help you in this effort, you can watch my drawing vector graphics hand lettering course where I dive into this topic in far more detail. Thank you for watching DVG Lab. Until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.