gs mark

So, who is Von Glitschka?

I’m going to assume you mean from an existential view point. ;)

I’m a 22 year veteran of communication arts. I do both design and illustration but my niche is a good mix of both, a symbiotic relationship between design and illustration if you will, hence my coined title of “Illustrative Designer.”

For the past seven years I’ve operated Glitschka Studios a multi-disciplinary creative agency. The studio shines as a hired creative gun for both in-house art departments and medium to large creative agencies working on projects for such clients as Adobe, Microsoft, Pepsi, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Major League Baseball, John Wayne Foundation, Disney, Lifetime Television and HGTV.

That said I still enjoy working with small business owners. After all their companies exist in a marketplace driven by multi-national brands, so I enjoy equipping them to visually compete on the same level to be successful.

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Logo name: Fly Agency: Templin Brink Designer: Von Glitschka Client: Leap Frog

What makes a good logo in your opinion?

Many people think using terms like “Good” or “Bad” in relation to anything creative is merely subjective. For me personally there is an inner criteria as to what constitutes a “Good”, “Marginal”, “Bad”, or even a “Great” logo design.

I’m sure many will disagree with me, but it’s how I process a logos success from a creative point of view. Now obviously a logo can quantify as great in my perspective but the company can end up being a complete and total failure because they didn’t run it well despite how nice their identity was handled. So the below is only in reference to the visual mark itself and not the total brand marketing context in which it exists, nor how well that marketing is carried out.

When ever I look at a logo there are “5″ specific attributes I critique it from.

1. Is there a core concept? Great designers should be great thinkers.
2. Is the style appropriate for the given client? It’s commercial art, not fine art.
3. Is the artwork well executed and precise? It should have quality craftsmanship.
4. Is it unique? Avoid being another drop in the sea of marginal design.
5. Is it inspiring? Does the mark contain a clever visual twist or metaphor?

How these attributes break down for me.

Good Design: Must contain attributes 1, 2 and 3. Most often will have attribute number 4 as well.
Great Design: Contains all five attributes but is very rare.
Marginal Design: Contains at least two attributes but fails at the rest.
Bad Design: Most manage to avoid all five attributes.

I’ve designed hundreds of logos, but in all honesty I’d only consider a handful of them as being great logos. Not all companies need great logos, not all logos will need a clever twist, thus why they are so rare.

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Logo name: Color Lab Agency: Glitschka Studios Designer: Von Glitschka Client: The Color Lab

What makes a good logo designer?

You heard the saying “Practice makes perfect.” Well, I prefer to say “Process makes perfect.” instead. Within a well defined and methodical systematic creative process you’ll naturally improve your skills with daily practice but it’s in the greater context of the creative process.

How do you initially approach your projects? How do you formulate both creative and pragmatic strategies to meet your clients commercial needs? How do you harness an ethereal idea in your head and practically draw it out into a graphic design on a consistent basis? How do you visually problem solve non-literal concepts? How do you stay relevant graphically in the age of the digital lifestyle?

A good logo designer should know these answers about themselves so they can be proficient and effective creatively speaking.

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Logo name: Skrumps Agency: Gel Communications Designer: Von Glitschka Client: Disney / Jim Henson

What are your main methods of finding new clients and which of those methods work best?

A very practical method is to know what you like to do, the genre of design that most compliments your style or interests, know your strengths and then seek out that type of work. Seek and you will find.

At this point in my career I don’t really go looking for clients. Word of mouth brings me most of my current clientele. I work with one creative director, they move on to a new job and use me again later. They may tell another creative director in the same firm and I’ll get work from them as well. So it’s kind of like that old shampoo commercial “And They’ll Tell Two Friends… And So On… And So On… And…”

Word of mouth is viral and it works both positively and negatively. So I guess the moral of this story is when you do get a gig, make sure you do the best job you possibly can, try to exceed your clients expectations, avoid being the stereotypical temperamental artist and more than likely it’ll create a new potential revenue node for you in the future.
What information do you gather from a client before starting a logo? Do you have some form of questionnaire? (Please share if you wish to do so)
For agency work I’m usually provided a creative brief defining the specifics from the agencies creative director or art director. And I just read through it before I begin working. They manage the client and I just focus on purely creative work.

For my own clients that are small business owners I usually provide them with a PDF creative brief and a customized list of questions once I have done some research regarding their business and the graphic needs they have.

If they are not use to working with a designer then I also provide them with a PDF flow chart that explains how everything works so as to help them know what to expect from me and how they’ll play a part in the process.

Download both PDF files here: http://snipurl.com/gsforms

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Logo name: Bear Bryant Agency: Upper Deck Company Designer: Von Glitschka Client: NFL License

What is your typical design process when designing a logo for a new client?

My creative process is very systematic. I approach every project be it a logo design or another type using the same modus operandi. It’s not a rigid set of rules mind you, my process is pretty fluid, but I’ve worked this way for so long now it is second nature for me.

That said if someone asked me to define where I was at in any given project I could pinpoint it for them within the steps listed below.

1. Project Preparation & Research-A Solid Foundation
- Gauge client expectations.
- Understand the client/project purpose and their target audience.
- Define the client/project personality.
- Use photo references. Know what to draw.

2. Style Selection-Determine an Appropriate Style
- Does the style fit the client/project purpose and target audience?
- Does the style fit the client/project personality?
- Can you pick the wrong style? Yes.

3. Thumbnail Sketching-The Lost Art
- You can never have too many ideas.
- Know what to draw. Develop attribute recognition.
- Work out concepts.
- Isolate your strongest directions.

4. Refinement-Learn to “Art Direct” Yourself
- When in doubt, re-draw it.
- Use the fresh eyes effect.
- Avoid visual tension.
- Think in shapes.
- Work until you have a final refined sketch. Know when you’re done.

5. Building Your Artwork-A Roadmap to Success
- Leave no room for guesswork.
- Become a “Bezier Curve” Jedi Master.
- Symmetry is your friend.
- Pay attention to the details.

6. Final Art and Beyond-Continue Your Growth
- Only show your strongest ideas.
- Stay creatively consistent.
- Have fun.

To get more information regarding my creative process shown above go to: http://snipurl.com/creativeprocess

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Logo name: Divina Agency: Netcom Group Designer: Von Glitschka Client: Divina Properties, Costa Rica

How do you present your concepts to your clients and how many do you usually provide? What final files do you deliver to your client?

I guaranteed my clients at least three concepts. I usually create more ideas than that but I never show volume over quality so I weed down to the three strongest approaches and present those to the client. Sometimes I do more though.

I have a PDF template for presenting logo comps so it’s usually a multi-page PDF with each marks direction on it’s own page. I might show both a horizontal and vertical format with each concept too.

Has there ever been a case when the client was not fully satisfied with the suggested logo designs? If yes, how did you handle that? Did you charge extra for the additional designs? How often does this happen?

I like baseball analogies because they can apply to so many arenas in life. They also work well when it comes to defining aspects of design as well. Such was my inspiration when I wrote a blog post last year called “Design Batting Average” which talked about this very issue.

I can’t explain it any better than my blog post which you can read here: http://snipurl.com/strikingout

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Logo name: Fire Squad Agency: Glitschka Studios Designer: Von Glitschka Client: Friends in Robotic Engineering

How long do you spend on average creating a logo? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating a logo?

My timeline isn’t that ironclad. It usually takes me a good eight days from the time someone approves a quote to when they get to see the logo concepts.

Once someone approves a quote and I’ve gathered all the upfront information I need I tend to then sit on the job for a good five days and just let my mind percolate on the information I’ve taken in. I call this part of my process “Slow Boiling.” Once ideas begin to form I then start sketching them out, writing them down, doing more research spawned from an idea etc. and from that point it goes pretty fast.

But if it’s taking longer than expected I just tell the client it’ll take longer. Some deadlines obviously don’t cater to that methodology so I just do the best I can.

How do you choose the right colour and font for each logo design project? Do you have any favourite or most used fonts that you use in your projects? Why?

In general I tend to prefer sans serif over serif fonts. No particular favorite. Style exploration usually dictates an appropriate direction for both the typography and color choices even before I begin drawing or building.

I don’t worry about colors until I have form worked out in it’s entirety. I have found over the years that keeping the two compartmentalized keeps your focus precise and helps you pay attention to details better without being distracted.

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Logo name: Play Flag Football Agency: Glitschka Studios Designer: Von Glitschka?Client: Play Flag Football

Do you have any main influences that affect your work?

I don’t worry about colors until I have form worked out in it’s entirety. I have found over the years that keeping the two compartmentalized keeps your focus precise and helps you pay attention to details better without being distracted.

What is the most challenging part about logo design and how do you deal with it?

Educating the client. Not so much because I don’t know how to do it but rather it’s the inherent risk involved in doing so. For example a recent client showed a design to a committee and the consensus he got was to make a change to the art that in my opinion would ruin the design.

So I had not just tell him that their decision was wrong but explain it in such a way that was well-reasoned and defined why it was wrong. Of course doing this no matter how diplomatic your approach runs the risk of offending a client and straining a work relationship.

I think our job is more then just design, it’s also being a good communicator and teaching others. We shouldn’t just know how to design, we should know why we are designing it so we can explain our approach to others and thus gain their trust. Doing so obviously raises the bar in terms of the publics opinion for what we do.

Unfortunately our industry is flooded with legions of “Toolers” those who know the tools, know all the pre-fab pull-down menu fx and spit out marginal design in volume. The public sees this every day and it leads them to think to themselves “I can do that too.”

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Logo name: Mardi Gras World Agency: Phillip Collier Design Designer: Von Glitschka Client: Blaine Kern Studio

What are your most favorite design resources? ie. What gives you inspiration and where can we find it? How do you deal with creative blocks?

Most of what truly inspires me and facilitates my own creativity doesn’t really come from mainstream sources. Many times it’s pretty spontaneous and unexpected. I may see an old barn and marvel at the texture that time and the second law of thermal dynamics has created on it’s side so I’ll go out of my way to take a digital picture of it and use that texture in a project at some point.

A few years back I was watching a TV program about owls. In the midst of watching that I thought “I’ve never illustrated an owl, I need to do that.” I did and it was accepted into the New York Society of Illustrators show. That one illustration has landed me so many projects and it all came from a very unlikely source of inspiration. You can view the owl here: http://snipurl.com/owlillo

Probably my favorite online haunt for all things logo related is http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/ I enjoy the humorous banter between designers and following the latest reaction to new branding in the design community.

One thing I discovered about myself is that I have to physically get out of my studio and go off-site to do concept work. Not sure why but it frees me up mentally and removes the creative blocks. Ironically enough I do some of my best concept sketches on logos during Sunday Church services much to the consternation of my wife. LOL Actually, now she’s so use to it I don’t bug her so much anymore.

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Logo name: Lorain County Agency: Glitschka Studios Designer: Von Glitschka Client: North Central Ohio Tourism Board

What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Geographically I’m hoping it’ll be in the southwest.

First thing I thought of though was the last time someone asked me a question like this, so I reviewed what I had said to them and have discovered I’m definitely not Vonstradamus.

Currently though I have another design book in the works, a concept for a cable TV show I plan on pitching to a network I’ve been working with for the past several years, and I’m currently working on a line of licensed products with a firm back east. I always have a lot of irons in the fire, mainly because my mind never stops churning. Sometimes that can be a little tiresome but mostly it’s a a lot of fun.

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Logo name: Tourism Icon System Agency: Glitschka Studios Designer: Von Glitschka Client: North Central Ohio Tourism Board

Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring logo designer? And any last words?

- Communication: Make everything clear up front before you start anything. (Deliverables as well as Budget) Gather, research, ask questions, glean, observe so you leave no room for speculation.
- Education: Don’t assume your client knows what you mean. Go out of your way to explain the finite. Avoid industry terms, speak like your client. Don’t assume you know everything, ask them questions, get to know their sub-culture. See the ball, be the ball.
- Dedication: Be prompt on your replies, honest in your answers and promises, true to your convictions and precise in your creative execution. Don’t be a “Tooler.”
- Satisfaction: Enjoy what you do. If you exude passion, your clients will catch your vision and get excited too. If it doesn’t move you don’t expect it to move them.

Be relentless in these matters and success will follow.

Let normal life inspire your creative life. Finding a good balance is important because design isn’t the most important thing in life but good design is inspired by a good life experience. Walk the rice paper with purpose young grasshopper. (If you don’t know that reference ask someone older than you to explain it) Oh yeah, have fun.

Be sure to check out Von’s new website, Glitschka.


22 Comments For This Post

  1. Aslam A Memon Says:

    great post, great work


    http://www,aslammemon.com/blog.html
    http://twitter.com/aslammemon

  2. mystudio Says:

    Like Master Yoda – it is Master Von Glitschka.
    Simply the wisest and the best.

  3. Vin Thomas Says:

    Great stuff! Inspiring. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Fabian Says:

    Thank you Von for a very inspiring read:)

  5. Gonzalo González Mora Says:

    I think the “Do you have any main influences that affect your work?” is missing (although there’s a later reference to inspiration, maybe there is an interesting answer to that question). The text is the same as the previous question’s last paragraph. Really nice interview, thanks! :)

  6. Josiah Jost | Siah Design Says:

    Excellent. One of the best interviews on logo design I’ve ever read. Thanks for sharing Von!

  7. Jacob Cass Says:

    Thanks for that Gonzalo, I’ve removed the duplicate copy but for now do not have Von’s answer to that question… maybe he would like to answer in the comments here?

  8. Gonzalo González Mora Says:

    Thanks, Jacob :) And if he could answer it here, it’d be awesome, indeed!

  9. Ioan Davies Says:

    Awesome post, this is great information to any young designer, great work, and very good points, Von Glitschka you are a legend, thank you for sharing this information,

    Regards

    Ioan Davies

  10. Von Glitschka Says:

    Question: “Do you have any main influences that affect your work?”

    Missing Answer: I really like brainstorming ideas with other designers and collaborating on a creative process. I’m a one man shop so when I get approached to tackle a job that technically is beyond my ability to manage myself I contact another full staffed creative firm and let them manage the client and I just work as a hired gun.

    That is what I’m doing now on a venture capital group starting a new business. The past three weeks we’ve just been playing hot potato with naming concepts and the coolest part about it is that the name we ended up with would have never been discovered if each of us wasn’t being motivated and influenced by the other participants input and creativity. So a good influence for me is those creatives who think though ideas well. It’s like laying a solid foundation. You can have a beautiful house (good design) but if the foundation (concept) is sand (weak idea) than it’s a glorified disaster waiting to fall apart.

    So I guess a big influence to me is creatives who have a solid, well thought out design apologetic. They can defend their design on a deeper level that goes beyond mere aesthetics.

    BTW: Thanks for all the nice comments I appreciate it.

    Von

  11. Gonzalo González Mora Says:

    Great reply, Von Glitschka! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer it here in there comments, I really appreciate it :)

    Gonzalo

  12. fahimeh Says:

    Hi.I have visited your weblog.it was fine and useful.I am studing ma graphics in Iran.I should colact 3 pages of new logo tips for the class.would u please help me to do so.how should i serach?sorry for bad dictation.

    Fahimeh

  13. Von Glitschka Says:

    Fahimeh,

    If you email me at von@glitschka.com with some questions I’d be happy to answer them as best as I can. Don’t worry about your translation/dictation I don’t speak Farsi so we’ll just do the best we can.

    Von

  14. JWG Says:

    Very good stuff. This was a very enjoyable read. Thanks!:)

  15. thiet ke trien lam Says:

    Thanks post! very nice!

  16. Kevin Brode Says:

    Nice logos! and what a smart guy, such great advice. Thanks for sharing Von Glitschka! Speaking of good logo, I want to thank the design team at Logo Design Creation for the great work on my logo. I always found the team highly responsive to my ideas, and they provided excellent expressions of those ideas to work from. The entire process was so much quicker than I have ever anticipated! Since designing the logo and business cards, I have received hundreds of positive comments on the design and logo for my business. When I again need design work, I will look to the Logo Design Creation team for assistance.

    Kevin Brode
    President,
    Kevin Brode & Associates

  17. Steve Kim Says:

    Thank for these logos. they are great

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    There are a TON of survival books, websites, and “experts” out there that have terrific information, but people make the mistake of thinking that reading a book means you’ve got a workable plan. In addition, all of them miss one of the seven key factors for helping you create the perfect survival plan.

  19. Tim Says:

    Holy Smokes! Those are some very powerful, UNIQUE logos. Beautiful!

  20. manish verma Says:

    hallo how are you I am manish verma frome haryana
    my contact no is 09355370312

  21. Logo Designing Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful and beautiful added and logos are looking to good.

  22. George Finecott Says:

    I really like these beautiful logo designs inspiration. This is the same blog, what i was searching for.

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