Anatomy of a logo

This is for all the graphic designers out there…

I thought it would be interesting if I explained a little bit about how I came up with the design for Capes & Babes since I did go to school for graphic design. I also thought this might be interesting for all those that love fonts as well.  So here’s what went into the thinking process of the logo:

 

  1. Masculine looking font to symbolize that, in this universe, male super heroes are the ones that generally wear capes. Capes = male.
  2.  A slight tint of a cityscape outline.
  3. A script font to off-set the more masculine “Capes” font. The curvy nature of this font is there to suggest “female” when set against the “Capes” font.
  4. The ampersand (&) is a completely different font than either  “Capes” or “Babes”. I wanted something that looked extremely  “swishy”. I set the drop shadow ampersand inside a black oval to help create a unified sense of space.

Why a proper font selection is important…

Below are some samples of different font combinations I could have used to make the Capes & Babes logo and an explanation of why those choices would have been bad.

Fake Logo Number 1:

 

 

 

 

 

What? Is this a strip about pirates now? The “CAPES” looks too much like a pirate font so that won’t do at all.

The  “Babes”  font isn’t bad since it certainly suggest “female” but because “Capes” is a script font, there isn’t enough contrast between the two words. Since I was looking for a strong contrast between a male and female super hero text, using two script fonts is a bad idea. They are just too similar to one another.

There are some other things that ended up making this a bad choice. For instance, “Capes” is too thin to be able to add a skyline or anything like that inside of it. Likewise, the “Babes”, although a nice script font, is just not what I was looking for.

Let’s take a closer look at the other two examples, shall we?

Fake Logo Number 2:

 

 

 

 

 

This selection for “Capes” is certainly more bold but now it’s too bold and blocky. Also, it’s not as inviting as the original Capes font.

The font choice for “Babes”  certainly suggests  “female” but it’s too thin. The stems on the ae and s will be lost when reduced. And it is not strong enough to be below the blocky and heavier  “Capes”.  In the actual logo, the “Babes” font is both feminine and powerful enough to “hold up” the “Capes” font.

It also suggests strength, power and the curves of a female – just like a female super hero should.

Fake Logo Number 3:

 

 

 

 

 

Now we’ve become a 1970’s sci-fi TV show instead of anything that might suggest “ super heroes” .  Even though it is a masculine font, it doesn’t really capture a “super hero” feel. It’s too blocky. Too harsh. Perfect for an outer space adventure but not for super heroes.

Although a nice script font, this font says “hip hop” way more then it says “female”. It’s not a bad font – just that in combination with the 1970’s sci-fi “Capes”, it looks WAY out of place – whereas in the original logo, even though the two fonts are completely different, they look like they could be brother and sister to each other. There is a nice complementary factor there that these two fonts lack.

Some definitions for logos…

When you’re in the business of creating logos, you’ll come across some of these definitions quite a bit:

IDEOGRAMS:
Logos that are based completely on a symbol or a combination of letters that create a symbol. Icons. Signs. Emblems. Examples: Red Cross, Nike “Swoosh”, Apple’s Apple logo, VW.

LOGOTYPE:
Logos that are based completely on a type of font. The font can be decorative but is still a font.
Font is distinctive and recognizable. Examples: Coca-cola, Kellogg’s, IBM

Logos can have fonts that have decorative art inside of it or some other art technique fill up the inner part of a letter or typeface. Examples: Gradient fill inside a font. The hands of a clock inside the letter “O”.

Some helpful tips when creating a logo…

  1. Create your logo at a variety of sizes – from business card size to 11×17” to make sure your logo is legible on everything from business cards to billboards – hey, you never know! The size of your logo needs to be legible at a variety of sizes – not just on your computer monitor or web site.
  2. If you’re doing a full-color logo, you also need to design a black and white version as well. You may also have to alter your original full-color version as it may not look that great once converted to black and white or in reverse.
  3.  If you’re looking for some great inspiration, check out the cereal section of your local grocery department. Cereal boxes are all about grabbing a busy shopper’s attention. Take a look at what the variety of different cereal boxes look like. Why did they choose a block font for one box and a script font for another?
  4. Don’t just pick a bunch of fonts from a CD or your computer. Try to look at each font and see if the font suggests something – like my “pirates” and “1970’s sci-fi TV show” samples above. Your logo font should match the same kind of “feel” as the name of your brand or comic.
  5. Remember that logo creation is an art form all to itself. Take a look at some of the things you enjoy… TV shows… movies… posters… why did they use the font they used? Does the font match the feel or theme of the movie, tv show or video game? Keep looking around and study other logos you like.
  6. Try sketching a bunch of versions of different types of logos instead of relying on computer fonts. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your brain, hand, paper and pencil can come up with some really great ideas.

And there you go. I hope you found my first article for the Webcomic Alliance helpful. Now, get out there and start designing logos!

-Chris Flick

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Posted in Featured News, Helpful Hints, Tutorials.

6 Comments

  1. Hey Liz… thanks for being the first one to comment on my very first Webcomic Alliance article! Also really glad to hear that you liked it and got something out of it.

    A lot of what I said in the article about fonts having a particular type of “personality” really was influenced by my graphic design professor in college. That was his way of getting all of us first year students to learn and recognize different uses of fonts in our typography classes.

  2. I start school for Graphic Design in less than a month. I am eagerly finding anything I can read and devour in the design category.
    This will be a life change. I’m 47!! LOL
    This is a great and informative article! Thank you!
    I can’t wait to get my hands on my Adobe CS6!

    • Mindi, congratulations on taking the challenge of joining us in the design world. It’s a crazy, wild ride. You’ll still have those frustrating moments but those usually go away once you hop on to your next project. 🙂
      G;ad you found this article informative. Hopefully, when you get in to Typography, you’ll have a bit of a head start because of this article. At least you’ll have an idea of what the “character of a font” is supposed to mean, right? 😉

  3. Thanks for the follow up, I’ll be starting to show at a few Cons soon. A first for me, so I really appreciate a fellow artists impressions on the experience.

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