This is part 2 of the series in which I interview thirteen talented logo designers, asking about their process of designing logos, why the love it so much, which elements are most important, and where they draw their inspiration from.

You can find part one here.

iamgarth-logo

Iamgarth Client

IamGarth

Name: Garth Humbert
Company: IamGarth
Twitter: @iamgarth

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

A person, product, or company’s brand is it’s core asset—the foundation on which its identity is built. I love being a part of this most basic message—the name. It’s how the name is portrayed that forms a large part of a consumer’s initial reaction. I want to make sure the brands that I manage don’t hinder the relationship between a company and its clients.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

There’s no set list of elements that every logo should have. They can’t all be strong or ethereal or bitchin. They don’t all need a mark or icon or illustrated monkey. That said there are some basic functions that I make sure that any logo I create can handle—because a master brand should be flexible. There are times when it needs to look good really really small or 8? wide on a billboard, in black and white or in full-color, fit into a vertical or horizontal space, in RGB on the Internet or embroidered on a polo. The other thing that’s important to me, is that nobody with illustrator (or Word) could sit down and say, “hey that logo looks like Impact with a bunch of letter-spacing” and type out one of my logos. When a client asks what font I used for their logo (so they can use it on other internal projects), I can proudly say, “I made your logotype by hand” or “I custom-tweaked some type so nobody can copy it”. Delivering a logo that is truly unique is something I always strive for.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

You’re probably expecting “riding the subway” or “old album covers” or “vintage Americana” but the reality is that my inspiration is driven by the client and their needs, goals, vision, target market, industry, competitors, history, existing materials, desired traits, and any other number of key factors that should inspire a brand. Next on my list of inspiration are the letterforms—what are the letter shapes? how do they interact? uppercase? lowercase? mixed? So much of the story can be told with the letters themselves.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

A recent identity project that was very successful (read it exceeded the clients expectations) was Eden Reforestation Projects. Where this logo is successful is that it tells the story of ERP—Healing Lands & Lives. ERP assists communities in third world countries where deforestation is rampant, by helping them understand the issue of deforestation and giving them the tools and resources to begin reversing the effects. The local community is heavily involved, resulting in a changed landscape and changed lives. This “hands-on” approach of planting trees and restoring the land is clearly communicated in the logomark—providing an immediate connection between human lives and our forests.

Im Just Creative Logo

Im Just Creative Logo Client

Im Just Creative

Name: Graham Smith
Company: Im Just Creative
Twitter: @imjustcreative

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

It’s like my little own world, I control it, I influence everything about it. Being a nutter of a perfectionist, crafting a logo is the closest I have found to actually achieving perfection. Which really throws it in the face of many people who say that perfectionism is mostly unobtainable. Prior to focusing on logo design, I was struggling with the whole perfectionist aspect. The bigger the job, the worse it was, the longer I would spend aching over the smallest of details, micro details. Yet to me they were as glaring as a huge zit on the end of someone’s nose. Not healthy.

Logo design has actually given me peace of mind many, many times. I see it as a obtainable goal with each project, rather than being overwhelmed, each logo has it’s own neat compartment where I know exactly where everything is. Rarely do I end up feeling overwhelmed or unable to deliver.

I see logo design as a true craft, one that is easy to mess up if you don’t have all the right ingredients. I love logos, plain and simple, I love that feeling when you find some utterly clever play on words, or create a monumentally brilliant logo mark. A good logo can reward you with much happiness and achievement.

To a degree, what helped me decided to focus on logo design was really the feedback that I received over a period of time, and people coming back for another logo or recommending me. That is a wonderful feeling when you know in your heart that people respect and appreciate the work you do. So that was a big influence for me, as well as my own passion for it.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I’ll keep this simple. From my perspective, a font makes or breaks a logo. Not everyone agrees with that. I have even had people question my logo design process as unorthodox. But the fact is, I’m getting more and more logo work, so something is working. As well as having my own style of design, I seem to have my own style of logo creation – but ultimately it works for me and works for the clients.

I focus on fonts from the get go. They create the mood, the atmosphere and the emotion. They set the tone and create the right balance of feeling. I spend a lot of time thinking about fonts for every new logo project. I will occasionally do the reverse, create the logomark then choose the font, but this is pretty rare. Only in cases where the logomark plays a significant role, and my brief dictates that the mark is foremost the focal point. So yes, in these cases, I design the mark, then pair it up with a suitable font.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Often I will just go with internal feelings, the gut instinct approach. I try to avoid getting inspiration as for me it can actually cloud what it is I’m trying to achieve. I certainly have my own style, something that has been eeked out over time. A style that is totally natural to me. Looking at logo inspiration sites actually causes internal conflict for me and hinders me more than it helps. If I get a logo project that actually stumps me for ideas, say maybe about a topic I know little about, then in these cases I usually refer to my many LogoLounge books or my favourite book of the moment, aptly named, ‘Logo’.

However, I will visit the many wonderful logo inspiration sites during quieter moments, when I don’t have any logo projects on. This was I can admire the many 100’s of excellent logos being created on a daily basis without it causing me any conflict with a ongoing project.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who struggles to pick out a favorite logo, Of course I have my own personal favourites, but often they tend not to be the ones that other people would choose, as say my best. So the dilemma is to try and choose one that really just sums up what I like about logo design. Even if, when compared to other designs, it’s not so ‘bouncy bouncy’. As i previously mentioned, I have a style that is natural to me, a minimalist at heart. So when I get a logo project that has the opportunity to be just that, then that is a time for me to celebrate. When a client says, I love your style, I love the clean shapes, the focus on typography, ‘I want the same’ then that’s a great thing.

The Octobox logo was just that. I saw potential for a very clean, font focused logo. I considered of course using shapes to create a more ‘creative’ form, but my gut kept telling me to keep to words and letters. For sure, on the surface, it looks pretty simple. Hindsight is great. But this logo actually took a lot of revisions, and font changes. Backwards and forwards to find that ‘perfect’ feel and balance.

Using shapes to represent the initials in this way also proved to be an exercise in this coming and going merry-go-round. I would classify this as my desire for perfection on overdrive. I see it, I feel it and that’s what is important. It feels and looks right to me and I’m very happy with how it turned out. The great thing with this logo design are the endless colour variations you can work with. The original was a two-tone blue, as is on my portfolio. But I have many other versions and for the purposes of this post, decided to do an almost mono reversed style.

Just Creative Design

Just Creative Design

Name: Jacob Cass
Company: Just Creative Design
Twitter: @justcreative

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

Logo design is one of those fields that can really captivate you or on the other hand, bore you to death. Thankfully for me, I really do have a passion for it. Encapsulating the core values of a business and portraying that in an a simple, identifiable and creative manner is the challenge and I suppose that is what draws me to it. I ended up specialising in logo design purely for these facts, plus it is a field that not many other designers specialise in.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

Every business has different needs and one must adapt these needs to the project, rather than following a “rule book”. I do however believe that simplicity in logo design is the best – if it reflects the core values of the business in a creative, memorable and describable manner then this should make a solid foundation for a logo.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I usually browse logo design galleries and refer to my books to get the creative juices rolling but other than that it’s just me, my sketchbook and Illustrator.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Although it was not particularly for a client, I am most proud of my own logo design for my own blog / design business, Just Creative Design. It encapsulates exactly who I am and what I do in a simple, creative and memorable manner. In case you missed it, the logo consists of the initials JCD that form a pencil. The initials of my own name are also JC (from my name Jacob Cass). I wrote about the design process in full on my blog.

Mayhem Studios

Mayhem Studios Client

Mayhem Studios

Name: Calvin Lee
Company: Mayhem Studios
Twitter: @mayhemstudios

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I have always loved identity and logos, even as kid. A simple and single mark representing an idea or company was very cool to me. Taking the mark and applying the brand to other collateral and products.

Specializing in logo design is more fun and conceptually creative. You can play around with different concepts and ideas with fewer parts to worry about like a brochure, website or concerns of resolution since most times, logos are built in a vector application.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

  • Simplicity – Not overly complicated or busy with bevels, gradients and drop shadows. Stick to basic shapes.
  • Readability – Don’t distort so much that you don’t know what it is.
  • Scalable – Built as a vector, able to enlarge and reduce the logo without losing quality.
  • Memorable – Unique that stands out from other logos.
  • Versatility – You want the logo to be consistent when applied to other collateral and marketing materials.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I usually look at awesome logo designer work, logo books and websites like Logo Lounge, Logo Pond. Many times, I get my logo inspiration when I’m out and about, like at the gym or shopping.

Simplicity, modern and clean design, and the use of white space inspires me most. Experiencing life also inspired me. Having a balance between work and play helps to keep you fresh.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

My favorite logo has to be for a client start up of an urban music production company, Downtown Entertainment. The only request the client made was to include a downtown skyline.

I like double or even triple meanings combined into a single logo sometimes. Downtown Entertainment being a music related company. I combined several elements together: a downtown skyline with headphones, which also can be musical notes. I offset the letters of “Downtown,” to give the feeling of musical notes dancing.

memo-logo

memo-client

Memo

Name: Heather Carson
Company: Memo
Twitter: @heathersmemo

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love logo design because I am an entrepreneur at heart. I LOVE helping people find the icon or image that will represent them to the world. Getting the right brand image is so important to the success of a company. I get to work with people who are excited about their businesses and passionate about their ideas. It’s fun to collaborate to create something that means so much.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I have a three step test that I apply to logos. First, is it simple? Can you photocopy your logo in black and white and still read it correctly? Can you make a black only version and have it still work? Is it adaptable to all types of applications- print, web, embroidery even? Second, is it scalable? How does it look really small and really big? How about upside down? Does it work? Third, is it unique? Does it stand apart from a page of text? Is it memorable? Does it portray the company in it’s best light? Is it relevant but not obvious?

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I gather inspiration all around me, from nature, everyday objects, my family… But, I am so amazed at the creativity of humankind. There are some seriously crazy talented people out there! The internet has opened up a whole world of inspiration to explore other graphic works, photography, print, web… truly amazing. I love social media. I love Twitter. I love getting cool links and information that I might not have found on my own.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

How can you pick, it’s like children. ;) I feel like I’m always trying to get better and better. Hopefully I’ll never have a “this is my best work” moment. However, I am sending one I finished recently that I really like. It’s for a custom cabinetry and woodworking shop called Copper Canyon Design. The icon itself contains the letters for the company but it also forms the shape of a protractor – a common drafting tool.

penflare-logo

penflare-client

Penflare

Name: Sean Farrell
Company: Penflare
Twitter: @penflare

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
I guess for me, it is the challenge of taking an entire company – what they specialize in, what market they are in, and the services they offer, and encompassing all these things into one image that defines them. A logo is their mark in world business so it should be a unique representation of their product or service.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I think simplicity is essential to any good logo. Simplicity works, but only if the logo conveys the message what you want it to. Being too simple though can sometimes leave even the client wondering what it represents, so flexibility is essential designing a new or revised logo. The logo should also work in other mediums such as black and white, grayscale, full color, etc.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I like looking at designers like David Airey, David Pache, Bojan Stefanovic, Mike Erickson and Alen Pavlovi to gain inspiration. Their designs are so simple yet they convey such an immediate impact when you look at them. I also believe that my inspiration and creativity comes from God and my life experiences. I don’t believe creativity is something that can be learned – you’re either born with it or you’re not!

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I think my all time favorite logo I’ve designed for a client would have to be Logoreview. This was probably one of my most simple logos, but took me a while to get it just right. I came up with the idea through brainstorming. I was originally designing a check mark in a unique way to be separate from the text. It wasn’t turning out like I thought it would so I looked at doing a type treatment. I then saw a perfect spot for the check mark in the word review. I cut off a sliver of the “v” and voila, a check mark was born.

phire-logo

phire-client

Phire Design

Name: AJ Troxell
Company: Phire Design
Twitter: @phiredesign

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I had always been more of a web designer up until a couple of years ago. I started working at a print company as an in-house graphic designer, and after being there a while really turned a lot of my attention toward designing logos. Many of the customers, or potential customers, were looking for a brand new logo, or a recreation of their current logo, and this quickly became something that I spent much of my time on.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

If you consider “thinking outside the box” part of a designers mind, then I don’t think there is too much that is essential. The only key components in my opinion are:

  1. Recognizable (in large or small format).
  2. Easy on the eyes. Subtle, yet stands out.
  3. Simplicity. Simplicity is key for a logo itself, but the way it is integrated into an advertisement or any digital media can be quite complex and still keep the logo recognizable.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

My daughter and my wife. They are as much responsible for everything that I do, as I am.

Really though, I look at what the company or person does, and draw from that, their personality, and what they or their company is trying to convey. I prefer smooth curves and smooth angles as compared to sharp edges and roughness.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

My favorite logo that I have ever done, is for a landscaping company called Taylor Made Landscaping. This was one of the first few that I designed, and still to this day remains my favorite. I honestly couldn’t tell you why. But it has always remained as a inspiration for future logo design.

r27-logo

r27-client

R27.Creativelab

Name: Rajesh Pancholi
Company: R27.Creativelab
Twitter: @r27

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

What do I love about it you ask…? I guess it’s the challenge of representing sometimes-complex messages in one simple form. I didn’t intend to specialise in any way but one of my tasks over the last 7 years has been creating identities for incentive/motivational programmes for large corporate companies. Meaning a very quick turnaround, portraying the mood/emotion of the campaign.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

The first element that comes to mind is simplicity and then adaptability on different media, this usually is something that hangs over the entire project from the start. From here it’s about trying to get an idea of the client, the image they would ideally wish to portray – the character, and fundamental values of the company. Where do they sit within the marketplace and who are their competitors. I then move on to ask whether there are any existing colour palettes I should be using or guidelines I should be following.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

There’s no magical answer to this. With the level of resource material available online I can’t imagine anyone not getting inspired in some form. From tutorial sites, to blogs, to guys on Twitter. Just google a few words and explore. Pop into your local bookstore if you don’t already have a library of material and thumb through a few books and five minutes will become sixty, trust me. Understand how others approach a specific project. Use your eyes when you’re out and about. Most importantly I would say is talk to individuals outside the creative zone as the more you understand people the closer you may get at achieving your goals. Nature is also a big influence, the colours, the organic shapes and textures. The more you look around and take note the more you will find to be inspired by.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

The original brief for Darnmore had a very tight budget attached to it and I was called in by a small marketing agency to provide the creative resource. They had already discussed ideas between themselves (agency and end client) and were adamant that the end result should include three trees, I’m not sure why but they had in turn scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper.

A few variations of this idea were provided for them to view. But for me it didn’t do anything, that’s not to say they looked bad, the concept just wasn’t original enough. I began playing with the ‘D’ as you would and the idea of sustainability and the tree rings seemed to work. The end result, the original ideas they liked. The final idea, I was told their eyes lit up. I couldn’t ask for a better response.

Is it my best logo ever? I hope not but the clients’ response was enough on this occasion.

Leighton Hubbell Logo

Hurried Chef Logo

Leighton Hubbell – Illustrative Designer

Name: Leighton Hubbell
Company:
Leighton Hubell (Blog)
Twitter:
@leightonhubbell

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love the immediacy of the medium most of all. A direct impression of a company or service is developed in the viewer’s mind from the moment it’s seen. I think that’s the challenge in the craft–creating that impression with a small symbol and/or typeface. All types of design variables come into play in a single image–concept, color, type, contrast, style, illustration. After the logo is created, it comes to life in the identity design when additional elements complete the overall package. The logo itself cannot work alone.

I never started out thinking I would be a logo designer. My career just kind of evolved into the specialty. Early on, I was often recruited into helping redesign existing campaigns which in many cases involved a complete identity makeover. I would be asked to contribute my rough logo concepts in with the others and soon found that my work was the chosen direction more and more often. After literally thousands of logos later, here we are.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

First and foremost there needs to be a concept driving the design. Without a concept, it’s just decoration. It needs a reason to live. From there, the concept drives the use of either a mark or mark/type solution in the logo design. It should communicate to the viewer what the company or service does and do that quickly and efficiently.

A good logo should also be able to work in various sizes flawlessly and read well in a black & white format. There is too much reliance today on lots of modeling, gradients and other accoutrements in the design. With the huge amount of different applications a logo could be potentially applied to, this is often overlooked and readability suffers. Most of all, with any good piece of comedy, music, writing or design, there needs to be a visceral connection with its audience to really be successful.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

It could be anything really. Most of all, I ask the client lots of questions about everything from the company history to appropriateness of certain colors. If possible, I try to get a tour of their company, meet the employees and most of all, talk with any business partners. I try to make my role in the process much more than a designer, but more of a marketing and design partner. I really try to immerse myself into their world and try to glean as much new information I can. Even things they aren’t talking to me about, such as the lobby, the product or service itself and how they perform it.

From there, I continue my research on their current and potential competitors. After that, I can determine which directions would be appropriate and begin conceptualising and sketching.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

There are many of them that I am very proud of, so that’s a rather difficult decision. One that is very popular in my portfolio is the design for The Hurried Chef. It’s a logo for a ‘take and make’ meals concept restaurant. The meals are pre-prepared and ready to take home—just heat them up and serve them to your family. The menu offerings and their preparation are just like a traditional home cooked meal.

The concept came from the way in which families are always pressed for time with all of the activities everyone is committed to. The Hurried Chef menu and the term ‘comfort food’ gave me the inspiration for the retro cookbook-style pot, color and steam swirls. So, making it into a clock face showing 5 o’clock melded the two concepts together to create the mark you see here. The typeface choice is current and quirky, yet it works with the style of the visuals. Overall, it was very well received.

Share Your Logo Love!

Let’s keep this group interview going by passing it over to YOU!

Are you a designer? Do you specialize in creating logos? If so, we’d love to hear from you…

  1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
  2. What elements to you consider essential to any good logo?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Of course, it goes without saying that I’d like to say a big Thank You to all of the designers who participated in this interview! Your responses are incredibly informative, and the logos that you’ve shared are inspirational in and of themselves!


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. mayhemstudios Says:

    Selene and Jacob

    Thanks for asking me to contribute. I feel honored amount all these awesome designers. :)

    - Cal

  2. Leighton Hubbell Says:

    Thanks so much for including me with all these very talented designers. I hope everyone enjoys the posts.

    Leighton

  3. Sean Farrell Says:

    Wow, awesome stuff. So nice to see my colleagues process and thoughts about logo design. Thanks for the feature as well, and @ Leighton, love the hurried chef, very cool and unique

  4. Heather Carson Says:

    Thanks so much for including me in this article! I appreciate the opportunity. Great to see “behind the scenes” of some of my favorite logo designers.

  5. Dainis Graveris Says:

    soo beautiful logos – I just dig those typographic logos with some creativity! Very good post, Jacob, You are really becoming logo expert :)

  6. Jacob Cass Says:

    You are all welcome, a big thank you to Selene for compiling it. I enjoyed reading through your answers!

    Dainis,
    This article was written by Selene Bowlby. At the top of each article is the author’s name for future record.

  7. Garth Says:

    Great list and cool insight. Thanks for the include :)

  8. Cristhian Bedon Says:

    Nice to see how every tackles their work. Great post Selene, and thanks Jacob for sharing.

  9. Panknot Says:

    http://zainspirowanijaponia.pl.....sari-gama/

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