How to Learn Logo Design for free
More and more people are starting to get into logo design lately. As people are becoming more aware of nicely designed logos all around them, especially on the internet, a lot of people are getting more and more interesting in the process of logo design. Another reason for this is that learning logo design is becoming a lot more accessible. Where you in the past had to enroll in an expensive course or go to school, these days it’s much easier to start learning logo design at home and it’s even possible to do it for free.
In this guide, we’ll go through the entire process of learning logo design as a beginner. All the way from the logo design process to presenting your logo designs to your future clients.
What is a logo?
Before you start learning about designing logos, you’ll have to know exactly what a logo is and what it can and does represent. A logo can be used in tons of different ways and as you probably know can have all different shapes and sizes.
Why are logos used?
A logo can have multiple use cases but the primary use of a logo is to aid and promote public identification and recognition of a brand or individual. This means that a logo is primarily made to make a brand easily recognizable and identifiable. This has always been incredibly important for any brand as a logo is often the main visual identifier people remember and associate with a brand. A good logo can thus lead to more people recognizing and remembering a brand which can have a big effect on sales or revenue in general.
Types of logos
There are a lot of different types of logos that each have their own advantages and uses. The type of logo a brand use often relates to the industry their in and the demographic they’re targeting with their products. These are very important factors to consider when choosing a type of logo that fits best with a certain brand. For example, you won’t expect a steel producing company to use a mascot logo, just like you wouldn’t expect a cereal brand aimed at kids to be using an abbreviation mark. This is a list of some popular types of logos with a short explanation and an image guide with some examples to help you recognize these types of logos.
- Abbreviation logos are pretty self-explanatory. They’re simply logos that are made up of an abbreviated company name. Examples would be the HBO logo, IBM, or CNN.
- Abstract logos
- Abstract logos are logos that feature an abstract mark. It’s a mark that doesn’t necessarily signify anything. A lot of car brands have an abstract mark logo because they often look good on the hood of a car. Some examples are Toyota, Mazda, and Renault.
- Wordmarks are one of the most used types of logos. They’ve gained a lot of popularity lately as more brands seem to be using this type of logo. It’s simply a logo where the whole logo is made up of the brand’s name. Examples include Google, Disney, Coca-Cola, and Sony.
- Emblem logos are logos that use an emblem or shield as part of their logo. This is often used by older brands that want to signify their heritage, brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Harvard.
- Mascots are often used by brands that want to be perceived as friendly or fun. This is why they’re often used by brands aimed at kids.
- Lettermarks are logos that only use a letter as their logo. The best example would probably be McDonald’s with their famous ‘M’-logo
- Symbols / Pictorial
- Symbols or pictorial marks are simply pictured objects that are used as a logo. Apple is a great example.
- Combination Marks
- Combination marks are logos that combine multiple types of logos in one. They could be using an abstract mark in combination with a wordmark for example.
Start Practicing Logo Design
Now that you know more about what a logo is and what it’s used for, you’ll have to start the most important part of the process that is learning logo design, you’ll need to start practicing. Because design is a creative field, practice is pretty much the only way to really get better at it and get a better feel for design. You can read all you want about techniques and the history of design but you likely won’t see any direct results in the execution of your work.
Learn By Doing
Learning and getting better at logo design isn’t like many other subjects as you can’t just learn it by reading about it and getting to know the techniques. You actually do most of the learning while you are designing logos and practicing. This is because much of the process of designing a logo is just like learning to ride a bike. Much of it is impossible to explain without you trying it out and practicing a lot. This can often be hard for beginners as you obviously can’t expect to have many clients while you’re still learning logo design. There are actually many different ways you can practice on logo design projects without working for a client. You can make up your own imaginary clients for example, or use an imaginary client prompt generator like FakeClients.com to generate prompts for you.
The Logo Design Process
The logo design process is something else you’ll have to keep in mind while beginning to design a logo. Just like many other parts of this post, this isn’t an absolute rule you’ll have to keep by to design a logo but it’s just a general explanation of what many logo designers do to create good logos.
Research is a very important part of the logo design process that often gets overlooked by beginning logo designers. Research is the first step in the logo design process as it is the basis of many fundamental decisions that have to do with the design of your logo. As was explained in the “Types of Logos”-section, you won’t expect a steel producing company to use a mascot logo, just like you wouldn’t expect a cereal brand aimed at kids to be using an abbreviation mark. That’s why research is so important. You have to know who you are designing a logo for and what their aims and demographics are.
Many beginning logo designers immediately start out by opening up Adobe Illustrator and creating some logo ideas. This isn’t the best way to do it as it’s hard to really get your ideas from your head onto a canvas. This is why most experienced logo designers start by sketching out their ideas and seeing what looks good. Sketching is a much freer and quicker way of creating the first concepts from your ideas.
Drafting & Execution
This is the main part of the logo design process. This is when you will turn your ideas and sketches into actual logo designs. If you like to do this digitally, simply scan your sketches to view them on your computer and import them into your favorite design software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Figma). You can also just take a picture with your phone and use that if you don’t have access to a scanner.
Feedback & Revisions
When you’re learning logo design and just designed a logo it’s always a good idea to ask for feedback from various people. Also, try to go beyond your friends and family and ask strangers what they think about your design. Strangers can often be a bit more honest about potential issues with the design. It’s very easy these days to ask for feedback from strangers on the internet for example. You can use FakeClients.com/Feedback or upload your work to Dribbble, Behance, or Instagram and ask for people’s feedback.
When you are working for a client you may also get revisions from your client, your client wanting you to change something about the design. It’s always important you state beforehand if you allow them to give revisions and the number of revisions they can give. If you don’t do this beforehand, some clients may keep asking for revisions when they don’t like it.
Build a Portfolio
If you are learning logo design, planning to work for clients in the future, a portfolio is incredibly important. A portfolio helps potential clients view your past work. This can help them see if you are fit for a job or see if your style fits with theirs. A good portfolio with a lot of projects can also show them that you have a certain level of experience which can help you get hired a lot faster.
Working on your own projects
A portfolio doesn’t have to be filled with client work. If you are a beginner it is unrealistic to expect that so it normal for beginners to list their own projects and designs in their portfolio. There are many ways you can create new logo designs to fill up your portfolio. You can think of your own projects to design logos for, create free logos for local businesses or non-profits in your area or you can design for imaginary clients. You can use a logo design brief generator like FakeClients.com, for example, to generate fake clients briefs for you to practice logo design with.
How to keep learning?
If you just started out as a logo designer and you have gained your first real clients, it’s often hard to keep yourself to keep learning new things and to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. This is why it is always important to keep practicing and learning. A great way to keep learning is to take design courses. These courses are often cheap and sometimes even free and are the perfect way to quickly learn more about specific topics and keep yourself up-to-date. Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning are great examples that can be used for free for one and two months respectively.