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How to Create a Logo (Part 2)

In the first part of this two part post we covered most of what it takes to start the logo design process. But, like with everything it’s not how you start something. It’s how you finish.

In this part you will see how I refine what was a small thumb sketch into a final vector in Adobe Illustrator. If you enjoy this please share.


How to Create a Logo (Part 1)


Creating a Logo is far from easy. We will look at my process of creating a logo and all the ancillary processes that can make your next logo project an amazing one. This will be a series of blog posts in realtime as the process proceeds through out all the phases of the project with client permission.

Here are things you need:

  1. An Amazing Client (Check)
  2. Experience in Art, Design, Naming (Check)
  3. Sketch Pad, Pencils, Brush Pens (Check)
  4. Software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator (Check)

The Client

Clients come and go. Most clients stick around if you are doing a good job for them though. The most important thing to remember in Logo design is understanding that the creative process is a two way road and the client’s vision must be communicated. At times this can be hard when a client is basing their vision on something not reflective of their real value.

You must tread a fine line as a hired expert between giving and taking ideas. You need client feedback, but you don’t want them to create something that would, in the end, not benefit them. And other clients merely want to use you as a human pen and that’s ok. It’s their money. The kind of client we are talking about here trusts you. So trust them too.

The Creative

There are many B school grads that will describe logo design and all it’s ancillary processes as something having little to do with a company’s real success. Ask NIKE about design. I am from the design side of the business world with over 20 years of design experience. I can tell you the real difference from one campaign to the next, from one website to the next is infact the creative.

Creative is the variable that can make a business or any endeavor stand out. I never met a CEO that didn’t love beauty despite their thoughts on creative. What some execs don’t like is not being in control. In the context of web design the creative or design means how something works not just how it looks. Good design is how something works too.

It’s important to note that humanity loves beautiful things whether it be people, places, or things. Beautiful things aren’t just for the wealthy anymore, it’s democratized for all of us now. Beauty sells. Why? Because we are attracted to beauty from our human core. The creative must be beautiful and different and thats what sells.

Start by Knowing Your Client

The process of creating a logo can be anywhere on the spectrum depending on how much the client trusts you. One must always start with trust and cultivate trust everyday.

Research the client, the audience and use your sketch book. nothing should be on the computer yet. Understand the basics. What’s their favorite color? You are there to create something beautiful for them that was never there before. Know their business value, because that is the nucleus of this project.

Knowing the client is the start to any good creative. Talk to your client. Get to know their tastes and their ideas. Push yourself to understand their needs and their wants. Be able to understand the difference. Iterate and let it flow like a river. You can’t control a river just guide it.

The Starting Point

  • The Client: Essential Oils Company
  • Deliverables: Naming, Logo, Web Design
  • Note: The client has given us permission to use the process for this case study (of sorts).


The Client in this example has no name yet. The purpose of the company is to “spread the joy of essential oils”. The idea is to have a feminine strong value. The difference is how they do things and their personal touch. So they have products derived from the earth, feminine design, personal touch. Naming starts from what they are.

So the process of naming is like art and science. It’s very hard for clients to understand the process of naming and how very important it is. Encouraging the client to start with naming is one of the hardest parts of what a designer can do. As well it is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. A designer (going beyond design) to create a name that best represents the client in a marketplace is not for the faint of heart.

This is not literal design, but more like idea design. The purpose of naming is to instill the essence of the companies vision into very few words or a word.

While Joily was the name chosen it was the very last created of the set that began on a sketch pad iteration by iteration. In this context being that there is going to be a website there was limitations to what name could be used and not used depending on domain availability. Fortunately for the client and were available and purchased.

The Goods:

  • The Final names: Joily, Oils A-to-Z, Absolute Oils.
  • Name choice:
  • Tagline: The Joy of Essential Oils.

Start Sketching

Like a good photographer has a camera at all times, you should have your sketch book. Many cannot draw. It should not be misunderstood that a designer despite not being able to draw can create a beautiful logo, but just like in an example of an athlete the more versatile someone is the better. Use your sketch book and hon your craft.

Have a sketch book always. Anytime you begin a project start in a sketchbook and not on a computer. Put in the hours on the sketchbook and everyone especially your client will benefit. It’s like building a strong foundation on paper as opposed to slapping some vectors together. Sometimes time is of the essence, but in this example put your time in your sketch book not on the computer.

95% of all design is typography. The typography needed here is more script and less gotham. Here are some of the final sketches. As you can see having the ability to draw starts the creative process and in turn delivers a much richer product for the client.

Refine in Illustrator… (Part 2)

Web Design is 95% Typography

Web Design is many things. It’s fun, it’s business. It’s good and bad. You should know that Web Design is 95% typography. Everything can’t be arial. Font choice like any design element is important and how it’s displayed more so.

Web Design is like Baseball

It is America’s oldest pastime. It’s an amazing sport with tremendous athletes. And baseball is completely like web design. We will be looking at web design through the lens of baseball so we can understand who’s on first and what’s on second.

Who’s on First

In every good baseball team you have talent, good management and sometimes luck. It’s no different in web design and I believe the similarities are easy to see.

So lets discuss similarities that may not be so easy to see like who are the fans in this scenario? And where is the client? The client is in the skybox and their users are packed in the stands waiting to see you play. They want to see the home team win.

Sometimes the client themselves are the opposing team. And if that is the case in your dugout then you are doing something wrong. So your faced with the real opponent. It is actually close to the client, it’s the requirements of a project. That is the opposing team. You see, the client in that fancy rev generating skybox has a challenge for you and it’s in the opposing dugout. Time to play.


What is UX? What is UI or IA? For these more complicated concepts I am going to widdle it down into a simple baseball.

  • UX is how a baseball feels in your hand. It’s the feeling you get when you throw that strike or knock it out of the park.
  • UI is like the threading on the ball and the logo mark.
  • IA is like the dimensions of the ball. It’s the diameter or weight and how many stitches a ball needs practically.

Every project is like a baseball. And I guess one can arguably say “all projects are different”. Not really. The more projects are different the more projects are the same. Listen up meat. In this example I want to drive home that all projects need standards and with that a higher chances for success. You wouldn’t want a ball shaped like an oval would you? All projects need processes.

The Team

That means designers and devs are vetted in the minors for a while. As well, management has to understand the game they are playing and not just be lucky. And most importantly, there has to be unity in the locker room and if there isn’t then the team as a whole won’t play well together let alone win.

Every team has a super star, a journeyman, a young buck, etc. You get the picture. It’s management’s job to manage the talent to win the game. The point of the game is not about keeping your uni clean, though you wouldn’t think it by the way some very large agencies play ball. The point of any game is to win. To me an old veteran, the point is to dominate.

Here’s hoping you hit a home run. Remember this when you’re waiting in the box to hit that ball. This game needs business rules in order to work smoothly. There should always be processes like UX, UI, and IA on every project. Then you design and dev, not an inning sooner. You can’t very well play baseball without a ball. You need a team that’s unified. Fix problems before the locker room goes toxic. You need the fans. And you depend on money from the sky boxes. So batter up. There’s no crying in baseball and there sure as heck ain’t no crying in web design.

Working on Webly

Creating a url shortener named Webly. The logo is going to be driven by a script I create by hand. More to come.

webly1 webly2

Whiteboard Session: 3 SEO Must Haves


I have had a number of clients asking questions about a SEO. [twitter_pullquote]This is a short video to discuss the three most important things I think every SEO endeavor should have. [/twitter_pullquote]This is a way to show you just the basics of what you need in an SEO campaign and moreover this is specifically geared toward small-business owners and non-tech people that would like an intro.