Looking to break into the wonderful world of logo design? There’s some basic gizmos and gadgets that you’ll need, before you can get underway.
Fortunately, most households already contain most of these fundamental items anyway.
Pens & Pencils
Despite owning an expensive Wacom tablet that does a phenomenal job at freestyle illustration, there’s nothing more natural and intuitive for a designer, than the humble pen or pencil. Either option is fine, but if you are going to use a pencil, I recommend a mechanical pencil, as you won’t have to waste time sharpening it over and over again. Also consider adding another coloured pen or pencil to your arsenal to help highlight your favourite designs in your sketchpad.
The humble pen or pencil is of little value without some humble paper to sketch on. Whilst all logo designs are tweaked and finalised in digital form, every great logo that you will ever create, will be conceived on paper. This is where all your awesome conceptual ideas are born.
On a number of occasions in the past, I had tried bypassing the pen and paper concepts in favour of a purely digital approach, but the lack of spontaneity and creative freedom offered by this method, hindered my ability to create quality design work.
Technically, you only need a single sheet of paper with which to start conjuring up some magical designs, but I advise using a range of different sketchpad sizes that’ll come in handy for various different tasks:
Large sized sketchpad – perfect for when you’re at the desk, the larger canvas allows you to get more done on a single sheet, avoiding the need to flip through your pages as often as you would, when using a smaller sketchbook.
Smaller sized sketchpad – every designer needs a smaller, more portable sized book with which to record their scribbles. Crucially, this will enable you to immediately put pen to paper when you’re out somewhere and feel that spark of inspiration.
If the pen and paper is where your designs are born, then the computer is where your designs graduate from college. Logo design applications don’t require an enormously powerful computer to run them efficiently, and any average computer is more than capable. For designers, the most important consideration is the monitor size.
I personally use a 30” Dell for my primary monitor, as the large screen size and high resolution allows me to fit a lot more into my workspace than a smaller screen does. Smaller screen sizes equate to more scrolling – and zooming, when designing. If you have the budget for it, buy a large screen monitor. It’s hugely convenient for a designer. If you’re someone who likes to design, while out on the road, then a laptop is also a must.
Logo Design Applications
The most famous graphics editor in the world is without a doubt, Adobe Photoshop. However, not even the mighty Photoshop is the go-to solution for logo designing. The industry standard is in fact Photoshop’s sibling, Adobe Illustrator. Photoshop specialises in pixel based, raster images, while Illustrator’s forte is vector graphics. Vectors images are composed of mathematically-formulated paths (vectors), rather than pixels, which enables them to be scaled indefinitely without losing their image quality, something that is essential for logo design.
Like Photoshop, Illustrator is considered the industry standard for a reason. It offers the most comprehensive list of design and editing tools and whilst being a powerful program, it’s really easy to learn. Of course, being a premium solution, it doesn’t come cheap. It can be purchased on a monthly stand-alone plan or bought together with the entire Adobe suite. Prices vary depending on your location.
Free Vector Image Software
If you’re looking for a free alternative to Illustrator, here’s several vector image creation applications that you might like to try:
1) Inkscape (MAC, PC, LINUX)
2) Gravit Designer (MAC, PC, LINUX, Chrome OS, Browser)
3) Vectr (MAC, PC, LINUX, Chrome OS)
4) LibreOffice Draw (MAC, PC, LINUX)
5) Fatpaint (Browser based – Adobe Flash Player required)
Every logo designer needs inspiration and what better way to find it, than by browsing the many designs featured in prominent books devoted to the subject of logo design.
Logo Design Love