Working out and developing design ideas through thumbnail and refined sketching.
- [Voiceover] When you approach any graphic design assignment, be it a logo design, iconography, or illustration, drawing is going to play a huge part in the creative process of not only thinking through your ideas but actually practically constructing those ideas and building those ideas. But when it comes to logo design, many aspects of logo design is really graphic and simplified iconic, if you will, and it doesn't require precise drawing. If you look at this thumbnail sketch, this is an ideation for a brand icon that I'm developing for a conference, an ideation for a conference and I didn't have to draw a perfect circle, I just had to capture the essence of an idea.
And that's what a thumbnail sketch is, it's not so much figuring out the exactitude of a given graphic that you need to create, it's all about capturing the essence of that graphic. So, this is where I started, this is as far as I took this one. I didn't have to work it out anymore detailed than this. I used it as a foundation to build precise graphics in Illustrator. All these are, are just simple elliptical shapes, circles, and rectangle shapes here.
And these are easily built using those tools to pull that off that you can see here which is this is the rectangle tool and I also used the elliptical tool. So this is very easy, basic shape building and once you have shapes like this, it's very easy to select the shapes we want. So in this case, I'll select all of these shapes that make up the inner detail of this logo motif or go to Pathfinder and I'm going to unite them all together into one cohesive shape.
Once I have that I can select the background shape of the larger circle, go back to Pathfinder and I'm gonna remove from that shape or as I like to say, "punch through it", almost like a cookie cutter to get the base shape that I need for this logo design. So, logo design doesn't have to be difficult and drawing can help you to figure out an approach and a methodology to pull off your graphic but you don't have to draw it precisely when you can build it precisely with shapes.
And on this logo mark, we ended up coloring it like this and the total brand system for this direction, I did multiple directions that I presented to this client. This was for a conference on Open Source Security and this was one of the iterations for that. So you're gonna see a lot of these kind of examples going through and this is what I call a brand system. And we're going to go over that in more detail in an upcoming movie, but you're going to see this consistently put forward in all the movies in this course and this is just one of them.
Now, let's take a look at another thumbnail sketches that is, and this was for another client called Movie Droid. This client individual works in the movie industry and he wanted to develop a website that other people working in the same industry could come together, post the project they're working on and make business relationships with other professionals in the movie industry. And his name for this was Movie Droid. These are some of the thumbnail sketches that I created to capture the essence of the idea to move forward with and build it out.
Once again, thumbnail sketches aren't about exact and precisely drawing shapes, it's about capturing the essence of an idea. In this case, I focused on this thumbnail sketch showing here, but it's not precisely drawn, but once again, it's gonna guide my building efforts and because I can build in Illustrator precisely using Vector Tools to create all the shapes, whether it's this circular shapes for his eyes or these shapes that encompass the various elements in this motif, it's relatively simple to do that with the drawing guiding me.
It's not exact. You can see how below the eye on the drawing is very inproportionate to what it actually is gonna be because I can build it precisely. So, drawing will guide you, drawing with help you facilitate your creative process even when it's not perfectly drawn. You don't have to be a master fine artist to pull this kind of style off in a graphic sense, but for logo development, it works great. This is how the color exploration on this one went and once again the brand system, and I'm gonna explain that more coming up, but a brand system is nothing more than multiple iterations in various formats to make the flexibility of usage a lot easier.
Now, there's different kinds of drawing that you can utilize to pull off a logo design. And this one isn't precisely drawn, once again, but once again, it captures the essence of an idea. I used this to build my final precise artwork. This was for a company called The Seed Collective and they grow and harvest seeds from various plants and then they sell them to farmers and other people who want to grow them. So it started off as a crude sketch, but it guided me and helped me to build precisely using all the precise tools in Illustrator such as circles and triangles and the pen tool so on and so forth.
Now, as you're working on a logo design it might not always be graphic in terms of non-realistically proportioned that is. And this is another project where I used a symmetric motif. In this case a cowboy hat. And I had to build this one but because it's such an iconic image and the positioning and the format of this is symmetric, is that I only have to build half of this. So, I only have to draw half of it. And what I do is I just build out all of my shapes.
So, I've used both point by point method with the Pen tool to build out this shape. And the brim of his hat here. And then I use the Elliptical tool just to create this band here. Once I've created all the elements needed and I should point out you can see the detailing on the hat where there's an indent, even though I've drawn it out the more I was thinking about it as I was building the shape I thought, "It's almost adding too much detail. "I don't need that detail." I wanted to simplify it so you can make those decisions as you go along. But once I have all the base shapes, it's very easy to select shapes, in this case I'm gonna use the Pathfinder again, and punch out of that.
And then we'll select the brim of the hat and I'll go ahead and I'm gonna fuse these shapes together like this. One thing I should point out when you're doing a symmetric composition like this is that times when paths are directly on top of other paths, it'll leave little artifacting if you're kind of punching through it using the Pathfinder like this. So one trick that I do is I'll go up and I'll take the segment tool and I'll grab this path and I'll just pull it over so I know it's overlapping that point even more and with this selected now, I'm gonna select this shape, which is on top, select the bottom shape and then I'm gonna punch it through like this so I end up with the final shape you see here.
I'm gonna clone this. And when I say clone, all I mean is I'm gonna copy, Command C, and I'm gonna Paste. So, I'm gonna go up here. You would Copy it and then you would Paste in Front, Command F. You can do it this way, we can go Command C and then go up to Edit and go Paste in Front, Command F. You're gonna see me do a lot of this in this course, but I have an F key set up to do that command and it's attached to an action I created. And if you want to know more about that, make sure to check out my original Drawing Vector Graphics course.
I explain how to set up your own keyboard commands but it helps the process go a little faster. We're gonna go over to the Reflect tool now, and select that. We're gonna Highlight on a central anchor point. And I have smart guides turned on so it tells me when I'm over an anchor point. You can enable those by going Command U and we're gonna click on this anchor point and then I'm just gonna simply flip it like that to create the graphic I want. And once I have it flipped or reflected, we'll select both of them and we'll fuse them together into the final mark like that.
So, logo design doesn't have to be complicated and when you use a process like Symmetry, it makes the whole process go faster because you only have to create half of it. Now, on this logo mark, I colorized it like this. Now, it's not gonna stay in this color format because the name of the company dictated the color of the hat because the name of the company was called White Hat. So, this was the final motif using this. Now, not every logo design is gonna be iconic and simplified like this.
Sometimes there will be a requirement to be more illustrative with your design. And this is where drawing is really gonna be important to pull off the given style. So, there was a client that approached me about creating a brand for a new distillery they're putting together based in Idaho, and it was called Printers. And the whole, kind of concept behind the name of the company was that printing on the Pacific Coast started in Idaho, and this was one of the founders of the first print shop there.
And so one of the ideations I came up with was kind of playing off with that character and creating him into a brand character of sorts. And it started with this reference image that the client gave me. Now, based off of this, I drew out my refined sketch where I simplified the form. So it's a process of looking at a complex image and then iconifying it or simplifying it. We're gonna cover this in more detail in a upcoming movie on how to go about doing that. But this is what I did here and I created my base sketch as you can see here.
Once I had this base sketch set up this is when I'll go in and I'll go to Transparency and I'll set it to an opacity like 20% so I can see it and it can guide my building efforts but it won't get in the way. And then all I do is I simply go in, if I zoom in on this, you can see that all I've done is I've let my underlying drawing guide my building efforts in terms of the Vector Shapes, using the Pen tool and this just takes time to build it out, but it's not hard.
We're gonna cover the clockwork method in a upcoming movie which shows how to pull off this type of Vector building. And once again, if you want to know more in depth about the basis of Vector building like this, make sure to check out my Drawing Vector Graphics course where I go over that in detail. But once again, drawing assisted in iconofying this character to create the base vector shapes needed for putting together, in this case, the brand mark on this character. Now, when I'm working digitally, I don't always stay digitally, so at this point once I had my black and white artwork worked out, I actually printed it out and I go back to analog on a print out and I draw out all my shading.
So if I zoom in on this sketch, you can see where I printed it out digitally, but I've gone back in with a pencil and just drew out all the shading on how I'm gonna handle this. This is more efficient and it makes the process go faster. It's not always the easiest thing to try to figure out on the fly in a computer program like Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes, it's more efficient just to print it out, figure it out in analog, scan it back in, align it with my underdrawing and then, as I did with my base art, just simply start building those shapes off of the drawing that I figured out outside the box, outside the computer.
So, analog and digital skills go hand in hand and really improved the creative process if you handle it in a manner like this. Now when it's all said and done, this is what the brand character looks like with all the Vector Art build for the shading and it's gonna work really well for this project. Now, movign forward, as I nested this character into a motif that's gonna work for the final mark, I didn't have to show his full body. This guy is just mast inside of a shape to pull off this motif.
And make sure to check out these source files and you can deconstruct to see how all of these are composed if you're not completely sure. All of these are the actual source files I used in both the exploration process and the final art that I gave a client. And this was the final direction for this exploration. So, drawing is gonna benefit you in terms of pulling off any type of design whether it's iconic like the original mark we created or a little more grahic and geometric like the one we did for the Movie Droid.
Symmetry is gonna help if you're creating a mark that requires something looking straight on and you can reflect the image to create the full art but you only have to draw half of it. Or, it could be illustrative like the brand character I showed you. So our industry may be digitally driven, but ideas are still best developed in analog. And drawing is arguably the most important creative skill you can develop as a designer because it will help you fuel ideas and facilitates a greater degree of craftsmanship when executing those ideas in Vector form.
In other words, drawing is design's best friend. So remember, never stop drawing.
- Drawing your design
- Selecting a logo style
- Building a logo with shapes
- Creating modular designs
- Establishing brand colors and visual continuity
- Iconifying complex shapes
- Adding dimension to flat motifs
- Using negative space
- Delivering the final logo files and style guides