Design Logos Like a Pro | #3 Scribble and Sketch

scribble and sketch

This is where the process starts to get interesting, the brainstorming session. (I prefer to call it “S&S” since I believe solitary brainstorming to be an oxymoron.) Some designers jump right into this session without first asking the more relevant questions  and going beyond what the client provides by doing research. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do the first two steps before going right into design itself. (Some designers even skip this session and get right to work on their computers!)


Scribbling is to get the words out of your head onto paper where you can see them.  I do either or both of the following to get ideas flowing. Do what works best for you.

A. Word Lists

How it works: One question on the design questionnaire goes:

What 2 or 3 words do you want your target audience to think of when they see your logo?

Also, based on the research done earlier, one or two unique qualities would have surfaced. Note the words from the questionnaire and the research (if different) and put them down as column headings. Under each, write any words or ideas you can think of that are related to this first word. Some solid concepts will begin to spring up from this exercise alone. Highlight those.

Note: sometimes I look up the synonyms to jerk loose even more word associations.

Why it works: This is pretty similar to mind-mapping but I use mind-mapping differently as I’ll explain later on. Writing down words on a list keeps me from over-thinking what to write. The purpose is to allow ideas to simply flow and word listing gives me that freedom.


B. Mind Maps

How it works: Mind mapping is a more organized process of word association. Starting with a word or two stemming from the design brief, you branch out and write down others that come to mind and branch out from those as well. Here’s a good example of  a mind map.

Personally, I prefer to use mindmaps to organize my word lists. Starting with the same words as my column headings on the list, I branch out and choose the “stronger” words from the list. Sometimes a few more good ideas pop up at this stage. Again, highlight the strongest ideas.

Why it works: Mind mapping organizes the thoughts and shows an overview of the possible design directions to take. Seeing the words then allows us to associate them with imagery.


Finally, the fun part! No, it’s not yet time to fire up your vector program.

It’s time to use your pencil and sketchpad. This is the time to truly get creative.

Based on the highlighted results of scribbling, sketch as many ideas as you can. Remember that the first ideas are usually the most common solutions but draw them anyway even if it’s just to get rid of them. Then draw some more to keep the creativity flowing until you hit upon a few solid possibilities. These few are what you refine and then later  recreate on the computer.

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  • February 21st, 2012 /