Designers, How Did You Design Your Logo?

grace-oris-logomark-2011

grace-oris-logomark-2011

It took four months before inspiration struck and I finally created my current logo. Having previously hid behind usernames on spec sites, I didn’t need a logo until I decided to ditch spec work for good and start over using my real name. I then tried my name in varying typefaces and positions. I also came up with marks that I liked for maybe three days before I found them corny. Anyway, those four months don’t matter as I now have a logo I am happy with and have received a good number of compliments for.

 

The Story

The difficulty in using my name as my business brand is the lack of an instant visual association. Had I gone with something like “logolovenotes” that might have been easier. I could not be content with just my name spelled out and I wanted a logo not just for what I do but also for who I am.

One day while I was working, my toddler daughter came in. I suddenly remembered my baby pictures and I looked very much like her at that age. That’s when it clicked. The open-faced innocent look of a child. Exactly what I wanted to portray with my brand: friendly and approachable, can easily deal with people, always trying to view things from a different angle. These were just a few of the things I wanted to convey.

logo inspiration grace oris

 

This is from the last page of my sketches and doodles before I finalized my logo in Illustrator.

grace oris logo sketches

 

It has been said that having oneself as a logo design client is more challenging than usual.  I found this true for me. How about you, how did you come up with your brand name and logo? Was it easy on your part?

 

 

  • April 18th, 2011 /
  • 18 Comments

18 Comments to “Designers, How Did You Design Your Logo?”

  1. Fiona says:

    Hi Grace, I recently rebranded myself and designing my logo was both hard and easy.

    It was hard because I worked on ideas and various concepts on and off for months but I felt nothing I did was good enough or appropriate for what I wanted to achieve.

    But the easy part came one day when I had a sudden thought and I sketched something in Illustrator in under 2 minutes, which with a little bit of development became a logo I really like.

    I think it’s fair to say that designing for yourself is harder – I’m certainly harder to please than some of my clients!

  2. Nick Paul says:

    I’ve had issues with self branding for years and have constantly been updating or even redesigning my logo altogether months at a time. Until last year, where I sat myself down and decided to plan it out and design a logo as I felt it didn’t reflect me as a designer/person and the progress I had made as a designer.

    I focused on my name, more appropriately the ‘N’. I aimed for a look which looked playful yet professional and which would look good on business cards, website etc without it appearing dominant against other elements. I researched current design trends and different typography styles which enabled me to start design a base for my logo and gradually developing it. All in all, it took around 3/4 months to get to a point where I’m happy with it and could look at it the following day without thinking its crap and start again.

    Branding yourself is so easy yet so difficult at the same time. You know what you want but to design it to your pixel perfect standards is challenging. After all, its going to represents you and your work at the end of the day, so its got to be perfect.

  3. Daniel Kunkel says:

    I´ve got the same opinion about design a logo for myself. As you said, there is nothing in my name, what i can choose for a visual association. So the first output was just the first letters of my name. And the last and final output…. the same. My initials, but much better than before 🙂 Just have a look on my website…

  4. David says:

    Love your logo. Thanks for sharing your process.

    Coming up with a logo for myself was more painstaking than anything else I’ve ever done. I had decided on calling my business Second Shift Design because it started as something on the side – nights and weekends. But I’m my own worst critic and was having trouble coming up with an icon for months. I was driving home one day (1 hour commute) when the idea finally popped in my head – an owl hunting a (computer) mouse. I was so excited that it felt like days to get home to sketch it out. I’ve used the current logo for two years and haven’t felt the need to change it.

  5. Muneeb Ahmad says:

    Very interesting article! It took me a short while to think of my original logo design but that was because it wasn’t the best! After I began to use it I realised it would not really suit being placed on business cards, etc. and it didn’t look as good as I had intended, so being the perfectionist that I am I redesigned the logo and now use it on my blog, twitter, gravatar and soon my new design website. This new logo is more professional and works well everywhere so far.

  6. Grace Oris says:

    Thanks all for sharing your experiences.

    @Fiona: I agree, we designers are harder to please. Your new logo does look better compared to your current avatar. Time to update that too? 🙂

    @Nick Paul: Loving your logo, Nick. Yes we need to be perfectionists when it comes to our own branding. After all it wouldn’t reflect well on us to claim to be designers yet go about with crappy logos.

    @Daniel Kunkel: It’s great to see you were able to work with your initials. I couldn’t do initials either because I didn’t want to be known as “go”!

    @David: Thank you! The difficult part is indeed coming up with that great idea but when it strikes, the rest comes easy and we just know it will work.

    @Muneed Ahmad: I did my first logomark in a few minutes. At least I realized it was bad before I even applied it on anything! It’s always nice to see a change for the better. Thought I was lost landing on your site until I saw your blog which does look a lot more professional. Happy website redesigning!

  7. Charles says:

    I love seeing inside other peoples creative process and watching things develop. I on the other hand have yet to like most anything I g=have come up with for myself. So far I have a file full of work mark logos I am semi happy with but nothing has slapped me in the face and knocked me out!

    Mine is a tortured process of evolution instead of “Revolution”!

    Some day…….some day!

  8. Muneeb Ahmad says:

    Thank you Grace and thanks for the follow on Twitter! 🙂 My website redesign is actually very nearly done and thankfully looks and works miles better than the current…errr….’place-holder’ hehe. I’m just waiting on some matching and snazzy business cards to be delivered and other small things.

  9. Grace Oris says:

    Hi Charles. Thanks for stopping by. I’m sure you’ll get that perfect mark someday. Here’s hoping it will be soon 🙂

  10. Grace Oris says:

    My pleasure. I’ll be sure to check it out when it’s done 🙂

  11. Fiona says:

    @Grace whoops, you’re right, time for a new gravatar!

    Thanks for the great post, it’s fascinating to read how other designers fare when designing their own logos.

  12. Lorne says:

    Great Question Grace.

    My logo began in Design School. One of our last projects was to create a logo for ourselves and after 3.5 grueling weeks of asking “Who am I?” I finally created a logo type that fit my personality and design style. Once I graduated, I used that logo for my freelance work, outside of my 9-5 job, and it seemed to work great. But once I decided to pursue a full-time design career on my own, I needed to change the name, look and feel of my logo to appeal to a broader, more competitive, market.

    I chose Razorwire Design based on a tag line I came up with “Sharp Thinking. Cutting Edge Design” and tweaked the graphic element of my original logo type into something that “suggests” razorwire. I used fonts that were legible and strong enough to balance the graphic, but not so strong that it competed with it. The transition process was a little easier for me since my graphic was very close to what it is today, but it still required many hours of revisions with different fonts and layouts before I felt it “worked” for my new venture.

    I have had great success with the Razorwire Design logo and continue to use it to this day.

  13. Grace Oris says:

    Hi Lorne. Thank you for sharing. It’s great when you have a concept that is strong enough that only some tweaking (although sometimes a long process in itself) is necessary to update it to fit your current needs. Glad to hear that this is the case for you 🙂

  14. Daniel says:

    Designing my business logo was the most difficult thing for me besides surviving as a freelancer. It took me a good year of brainstorming & sketching & redesigning & hating the results… But I finally came up with something that I decided works, and just said this is it, its time to move on. So for me it was not finding perfection but finding something I could live with. As critical as I am about my work and what I do, I think that I will never be 100% happy with a logo, it could always use a little something…

  15. Grace Oris says:

    Hi Daniel. Thanks for sharing. I hope someday you get that spark too when you’ll just know it’s the perfect logo for you not just to live with but love as well. It’s part of growing as designers. We would know what is best for us for now, later on as we evolve, we’ll find something else will work much better.

  16. Ted Moeckel says:

    When I really dove into freelancing, I first needed a name for my company. I did not want to use my personal name, as I wanted to appear as a larger entity. Also, my last name is hard to pronounce correctly (Moeckel rhymes with freckle). I came up a multitude of names and checked their domain availability. My company is now known as Creative Eye Design. http://www.creativeeyedesign.com/

    The logo actually developed instantly. I wanted a strong mark that could be recognized alone without the supporting words. I also wanted to emphasize the abbreviated CED, as the full name is somewhat of a mouthful. Once I initially introduce myself to a client as “Creative Eye Design”, I follow up by referring to the company as CED.

  17. Jim Kramer says:

    I am totally my own worst client.

    Whether it’s my website, my business card, my logo…anything; I am (was) never happy with my mark. The only thing I was ever sure of was the name. I always wanted to use my name. I always thought J. Walter Thompson was such a cool name for a company.

    I tried signatures. I tried stylized portraits. I tried illustrations. I tried juxtaposition of unrelated images. I tried balck-and-white. I tried lots and lots of color….ugh…..it just got so depressing.

    Back in the mid-90’s, I had an opportunity for some freelance work, but the client wanted a proposal on ‘my company’s letterhead.’ I wasn’t freelancing full-time back then, and didn’t have a logo let alone stationary. So, I took about 30 minutes to draft up the logo that I am still using (www.jdkds.com).

    Back then, it was just 1-dimensional black or orange. But I have found the mark to be surprisingly long-lived for me. I still find it a strong mark, and am still happy with the results I achieved now 15 years ago.

  18. Grace Oris says:

    Ted—you’re probably one of the few able to come up with a personal logo quickly although deciding on the name was probably a difficult task in itself. Thank you for sharing.

    Jim—15 years, congratulations! Client “pressure” can be great inspiration 🙂