Tutorial on Designing Emotional Logos Using Grid
Step One: Gather Supplies
First, we're going to grab our supplies:
- Graph Paper
- Adobe Illustrator (or you favorite design software)
Step Two: Types Of Graph Paper
Now there are multiple kinds of graph paper you can use but the most popular three types are:
- Multi line graph
For today's tutorial, we'll be using multi-line graph because it's the most common and has the most versatility.
Step Three: Pre-sketch
Before you start working on your logo, it's helpful to sketch freehand for 20-30 minutes to loosen up your sketching muscles and get you thinking outside of the box (see what we did there?)
Think of gridding as a guide, not a cage. It simply exists to help you create shapes that feel balanced and whole, but it should never make you feel constrained to certain shapes or looks.
Step Four: Choose Your Subject And Emotion
Choose your emotion and choose your subject (both things that can be gathered during the intake phase of your project). How emotion and subject come together to make a simple and cohesive message, is the key to what makes a truly great logo.
I recommend sketching with rounder shapes, asymmetrical lines, and compositions that aren't typical. And ask yourself: what would my subject look like in grid lines? How can I think outside the box with this logo design?
Note: Remember, during your sketching phase that there's always time for optical adjustments once you're in the final stages of your logo design. Optical adjustment is basically when your logo design is tweaked by your eye and looks properly aligned, but may not necessarily be in line according to the precise measurements of your graph. There is always room for optical adjustment at the end.
Step Five: Setup Your Grid
To use a gridded background on illustrator, open a new file in illustrator of any size. Then select view, then scroll all the way down to and check “Show Grid.”
Start building your custom grid based on your sketch. I like to use the Snap to Grid option (also under View) so when you create a shape it snaps to those lines individually.
Note: Remember to keep the perfect dimensions of a circle with in Illustrator by holding down the “Shift” key while creating a shape. There's a lot of copying and pasting that happens so remember the shortcut commands (command+C and command+V on Mac or ctrl-c ctrl-v if you're on PC)
Step Six: Cut And Join Your Shape
Using the Cut Tool, remove the lines of your grid that you don't want and join them to the lines you're keeping for your final logo design.
You'll end up with a singular simplified shape version of your sketch. You can then fill in the colors, gradients, and effects you want to add to finalize.
If you're struggling to get lines to connect properly, select View > Outline and it will simplify your logo design to outlines only so you can see where your lines start and stop. This will keep your logo design nice and clean.
Note: It is good logo design practice to copy and paste your work as you're going so that you can always go back to an earlier version so copy/paste.
As humans, we naturally see faces in objects. It's called pariedolia (pronounced pear-ray-dole-lia) and because of how our brains work, we naturally want to attach emotions to those objects.
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to see patterns in a random stimulus. This often leads to people assigning human characteristics to objects.(source)
As logo designers, it's our job to make sure our viewers are seeing what we intend for them to see. Evoking emotion through your brand visuals is key to engaging your audience quickly and effectively. They say we have somewhere around 2.7 seconds to catch someone's eye online and that's done 10x faster through visuals than through copywriting. Make sure your logo design (or your clients logo design) stands out above the crowd and grabs the attention of their intended audience, through an intentional emotion.
For some brands, it might be a cheerful smile, others it may be a serious or sultry line, drawing them in. This all depends on your skills as a logo designer to convey the right message visually, in a super effective way.
This is what we're going to play into here as we're sketching, gridding, and finalizing our logo design. When we choose the emotion, we can try out different markers and gestures of that specific emotion and blend them into our subject seamlessly.
Step Seven: Finalize Your Logo Design
When you've got your logo design as you like it, with it's lines joined into a solid shape, simply remove any extra gridlines and do any final cleanup, coloring, and effects such as shadows, gradients, or outlines.
If humans are going to naturally search for and find emotion in objects and logos, sometimes it might require an exaggerated version of that emotion to really relay the message correctly. Time and experience will help you determine, as a logo designer, what level of exaggeration is necessary for your specific logo design.
If you get stuck, and not sure how to incorporate emotion into your next logo design, search online for that expression and emotion and take some notes on what that looks for humans. It could be as simple as a head tweak for curiosity, an eyebrow adjustment for sass, an arm gesture for sadness, or the curve of a spine for inviting.
You're likely only one or two tweaks away from achieving the emotion that you want to achieve with your work and I encourage you to use this method to break down your next project into a simple emotion and a simple subject and then put the two together and see what happens.
To be able to fully master the grid with emotions, let's see what different types of logo grid systems we usually work with.