• Mark Hannafin

Logo Making 102

Welcome to the second part of this blog on logo making. If you haven't read the first part; logo making 101, click this link (https://www.markhannafin.com/blog-1/logo-making-101). It’s a short and fun read so have a look.

Ready to design? After you get the sketching done and have found a design you like, now is the time to move on to the CAD program of choice. Personally, I use Adobe illustrator. Mostly I prefer it because the shapes are easier to make and manipulate and I also find text looks and works better in Illustrator than in other programs. If you prefer Photoshop, however, don't let me stop you. There is no right and wrong way to design. You do you. Firstly, take your picture and scan it into your CAD program. If you don't have a scanner just take a picture. However, a photo might warp the image and make the dimensions different. For increased accuracy always use a scanner.

Once you’re in, start recreating the design. I won’t go into depth here about all the different tools you can use, that's for another blog. Looking at the example of this lovely logo of mine you see how many times the design changed in small ways. Even after sketching things will change, sometimes you end up with a totally different design from where you started.

The name of the company in question was "Photographer On-the-Go". They are a landscape and underwater photography group. As such, they wanted a logo that represented this, with circles to depict water ripples and the letters P, O, and G incorporated into the design. Decisions like this are made in the research and sketching phase of design although I found a logo that might have worked, it still wasn't perfect. Throughout the design process keep playing around with the design until a combination that works well is found. It should look good and describe the style and theme you set out to create in the beginning. You could easily come up with fifty or so iterations for one single design, until you find the logo that fits. At times you will probably still not be happy. It’s easy to go back to try and perfect a design, however, part of the job is about making a decision, going with it and sticking by it.


Text is the next step to be taken and it can be a long procedure, especially for a beginner designer. serif, or sans-serif? ; that is the question. In some instances, you will know the design calls for a serif font, maybe if you’re going for that classic feel. Then again, a nice descriptive text could fit the bill there. One process used is to get the logo design, slap a text box beside it and go through all the fonts installed on your computer. If one looks nice just copy and paste then continue on looking at the rest.

Sounds simple and straight forward. But, if for instance, you don't find a font that fits, then it’s back to the web for you. With millions of free fonts and loads of expensive fonts to choose from it can take some time to find what you are looking for. Have a picture of your logo at hand to refer to if you come across something that might work. Fonts can be tricky. My advice; keep it simple and make a decision. Here again is where you will need to just decide instead of spending days trying to find perfection.

That time will be spent finding the style of font necessary for the job.

Some logos you create will be text logos and so you will probably skip sketching and the initial design stages. That time will be spent finding the style of font necessary for the job.


I leave colour until the end of the design process, not because it is unimportant, but because I prefer to continuously think about it as the design develops. Throughout the process continue to think about colour you could use and start formulating some ideas. In the example, blue was always going to be part of the logo due to the water based nature of the company. The question remained, ‘what shade?’ From your research, you will have deduced that a certain colour or shade will suit.

Different colours convey different emotions and feelings. Shades of red are often used in toy logos and food logos used to symbolise bold, fun and excitement. In contrast, blue is used to convey a message of trust and dependable. This is commonly observed in social media and computer manufactures. Your choice of colour is crucial to the design.

It is important to note that all logos created should also be able to accommodate a grey scale, meaning they should still be pleasing in black, white or grey. If someone prints your logo but doesn't use colour and the logo you spent days designing looks like a black blob it won't fill any potential customer with confidence.


At the end of the day, your logo should create an experience for the client and the clients’ customers. More than likely the logo design will be used to sell or convey a message to an audience who don't have time to go investigating what it’s all about. When designing a logo the process is never straight forward as each step links with one another, sometimes you will need to go back to sketching or even do more research to find the right design. Also, remember that perfection is elusive. There is always something you will want to change or redo but that's part of being a designer. Knowing when to make a decision and then sticking with that decision is something you have to become accustomed to. There is so much choice between text, colour and style it can be easy to get caught up fixing every little detail. However, I can assure you the majority of the logos out in the world would are imperfect in the eyes of their creators but they wouldn't tell you that.

Thanks for reading. I wish you all the best and every success in both design and life