Developing a Logo: Part 1

Posted on June 28, 2013 and tagged Small Biz

If you've been to CourseCraft this week, you'll notice that we have a bit of a new look! We changed the logo, the colours, and the style of the buttons. Working on CourseCraft this year has taught me so many things. I always thought I had some design talent. I can make a mean wedding invite, I've been through a million Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials and I'm always trying to learn new things. But you know what? Turns out designing a whole web app is a bit different than some floral party invites. The design process has been a constant struggle for me. Not to say it hasn't been fun, because it has! I'm learning new things everyday. But I feel like a lot of what I do is trial and error and learning by doing.

I thought you might want to see my process for designing the new CourseCraft logo. I recently took an amazing course at Alt for Everyone taught by Laurie Smithwick. She walked us through her process for creating a logo from scratch and I borrowed a lot of her techniques. I don't claim to be an expert, but here ya go!

Sketching is the first obvious step... you might think. But it's not where I started. As per Laurie's amazing advice, I took a few minutes (literally) to browse Logo Pond to find logos I liked. I scrolled around and makd quick judgements. If something caught me eye, I quickly took a screen shot. Once I had about 10 logos collected, I put them all in front of me at once. Then I took a closer look at each one and tried to put it into words why liked it. I came up with a list of words and right away started noticing a pattern.

These are the phrases that were most common:

  • simple
  • line drawing
  • two tone
  • soft
  • low contrast
  • square
  • logo on top, name on the bottom

Then I set that list aside and went to work on another list of words. I wrote down words that (to me) described CourseCraft or what I wanted CourseCraft to be. These were a little harder to come up with and kind of abstract:

  • tools
  • bringing people together
  • school
  • teacher/student
  • learning
  • growing
  • sharing
  • books
  • building blocks

Ok now let's get to the sketching! With those 2 lists in mind, I started drawing. The kind of drawing where you just put down on paper anything that pops into your head with no erasing. If I liked something I tried to build on it and come up with more iterations. After a few days (yes days) of slow sketching I had this.

And this.

What did I do next? You'll have to come back next week to find out! I'll show you how I went from these rough, ugly sketches to the new CourseCraft logo.

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