Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating transparent logos, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. I love designing brand logos. I've created and done work with companies large and small over the years and I find the process both challenging and very rewarding. It's a lot of fun. It's like solving a graphic mystery for me. That's part of the reason why I like it. I never know where the process is going to lead as I do research and develop a design, so that's the reason why I love it so much. Now over time I've managed to develop my own ways of creating deliverables, the final logo assets if you will, for a given client regarding the final art that I provide for them and one of those is reducing the logo down into a simple one color version that they can use on any colored or dark background or a photographic background if you will.
So in this movie I want to share with you how I approach this on a couple designs, so let's jump into this and get started. Now the logo you see in front of you is one that I created for a friend of mine by the name of Chris Hahn, he's a very gifted musician and an audio filer, and he asked me to brand his company called New Modern Science. And this is the design solution we ended up on. It was a lot of fun. If I select the brand mark here you can see it's grouped. If I ungroup it all this is is just hexagons overlapped with transparency and blend modes, so that they create the tertiary colors.
This is just using process colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black in order to create the tertiary colors of green, purple, orange, et cetera. And it works well for this context, but where it doesn't work so well, on a white background it looks beautiful, but as soon as you move to a dark or a colored background, like black, this isn't going to work. Now on most logos like this I'll take the type and I'll just reduce it down to a simple white and then I'll reduce the logo mark down to a simple white, one color, flat mark and it works well on any color, but on black here this is falling apart with the brand mark.
Even if you change to a cyan it's not working, it's not going to work well on this background either, or a magenta. It's just not designed to work in this context, and that's the problem. So I decided to revisit this project. This is about six years old now and I told Chris I was going to build him a one color version, because I saw him use it or attempt to use it on a background and I didn't like it and I realized wow, I never gave him those assets. So I felt obligated to create it for him.
And that's what I'm going to do here and show you how I resolve that matter. So the first one we're going to convert is this one. We're going to select the brand mark and we're going to use the Pathfinder. At the bottom you have all these Pathfinder methods that a lot of people just skip over. And I don't use them all the time, but when there's the appropriate usage they save so much time. And we're going to use this second from the left here at the bottom. And this is called Trim. So with this logo mark selected, once again, it's just hexagons overlapping, we're going to click Trim and we're going to ungroup this, and now all it's done is it's trimmed all the artwork into pieces.
Now the parts where we had overlap they have pieces on top, so we're just going to pull those out here, like this, and now we just have these individual pieces. So if I pull that you can see we can see the background. So I'm going to select these and just delete them. On this I'm going to select these and I'm going to go up here and I'm going to turn black outline on and then for the inside shape I'm going to do nothing and then on this I'm going to just adjust the stroke, so we'll go to Stroke, and I'm going to pump this up to let's do 4, I think that looks good.
And we'll go ahead and round the corner. I don't think it really matters, but we'll do that. And then on this I'm going to go to Object, Path, and I'm going to go to Outline Stroke, it's going to turn it into shapes. And then I'm going to go back down to Pathfinder and I'm going to go ahead, make sure, yeah, I'm going to go down to Pathfinder and click on Unite, like this. And all we've done here, if we go to Appearance you can see it's a compound still, is we've created a wireframe of the logo. Which in and of itself doesn't look that bad and this might work, but I think it's going to be a little too fine and I think we can handle it a little differently.
So what I'm going to do is just select the outermost stroke and just delete it, so what we have left is what's shown here. Now I'm going to zoom in on this, because there's elements on this I want to clean up, like where there's extra anchor points. I just go into a shape like this and I'd select all those extra anchor points and I'd delete them. So we're just going to locate where those are, there's a couple here, one here, and select them and use the Remove.
And I would go through the entire artwork like this, cleaning it up just to remove those, so it's the simple essence of each independent shape that makes up this motif. And we don't need anchor points. So that's just good production to remove all of those things. And if we zoom out we can select all of this artwork and in this case I'm going to Unite everything, so it's all black, so we have a one color mark.
We're going to go ahead and turn it to white. We'll go back to Layers and now if we turn on black you can see it's going to work well on black, it'll work well on cyan, it'll work well on magenta. So this is one way we could stylize a one color mark for this. And it looks good, it's still compatible with the existing aesthetic of the existing brand. But that said, I still think there's a better way to pull this off. So let's go back and let's reapproach this again and we're going to select the mark, we're going to go to Trim again and trim it like we did before with Pathfinder.
We'll ungroup it, select all the tertiary areas, which are these triangles that are going around this central hexagon, we'll delete them. We're going to take all of these shapes now and we're going to fill these white. We're going to take these shapes and we're going to fill those white as well. We'll select everything and group it. And now I'm going to turn on this blue layer and you can see right now some of these aren't showing up. Now the reason why that is, let's turn this layer off, is we'll go back into this mark and I'll select this group and I'll ungroup it, it's because we have some are still Multiplied, so we want to select Normal here, so everything's Normal.
Then we can click out, turn on our layer, and now you can see it the way it should be. So I forgot to turn off those characteristics of the shapes, which will be retained. Now with this we're going to keep the central hexagon here 100% value. On all of these triangles that kind of surround it we're going to keep those white, but we're going to adjust the value to 60% Transparency. And then we're going to take these shapes that are outward from there and these are going to become, they're going to stay white, but these will become 40%.
And look at the cool look and feel you get when you do this. It's transparent, but it's going to work on cyan, it's going to work on black, and it's going to work on Magenta, the brand colors for this logo. And I think it's more compatible with the characteristics of the original full color logo, because the full color logo is using transparency to pull it off. Here's two, a vertical format and horizontal format at the top here, on a light background it works really well, but now that we've created a one color version it's going to work just as well on a dark or colored background and that's how I would set it up and I provided it to Chris this way.
Now this is just one design. Not everything's going to have those kind of transparencies in it, but even on a simplified graphic you can pull this off. So let's do another one. Here's another logo for Phoenix Financial and you can see two different formats that I'm giving them on this logo. And I created a simple one color version that works on this blue background color down below, but I think it's a little flat and it could be more compelling. If we zoom in on this mark I really like the detailing here on the inside of the phoenix.
It gives it a little dimension and it pushes away from that flatness and it contrasts with the flatness really well. I want to bring that same characteristic to this mark. So we have the shape inside here, we'll select it. I'm going to go to Graphic Styles and I kind of cheated and prefabricated this, but we'll go ahead and select that. I'll deselect it and you can see all we have here, if I select it again, and we go to the Gradient, you can see it's blending from a white, if I select this, 100% Opacity, to a 0% Opacity white at the other end.
And if I select the Gradient tool you can see the angle in which it's running. And so that creates a really compelling one color version of this logo as well. So it can work on almost any design context for logo development. I hope this helps you in your own logo design projects. They are relatively simple methods, but they really do make logos so much more useful in almost any context and that's always a good thing. Thank you for watching DVG Lab.
I hope you enjoy these movies as much as I do creating them for you. Make sure to let us know what you think and if you have any questions make sure to send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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