Create Logos with Meaning: Type as Shape | Tanner Puzio | Skillshare

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Create Logos with Meaning: Type as Shape

teacher avatar Tanner Puzio, Graphic Design / Hand Lettering

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Researching & Concepting

    • 3. Finding Type That Works

    • 4. Practicing with Random Nouns

    • 5. Seeing Hidden Meanings

    • 6. Bonus: Creating a Logo in 10 Minutes

    • 7. Conclusion

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About This Class

Learn how to transform your logo into clever, double meaning designs by incorporating typography. In this class, you'll learn how to manipulate type to create logo designs that are loaded with meaning. Learn how companies like FedEx, Goodwill, and many others have learned to think about design, and begin finding innovative ways to create logos. Through learning how to correctly research and brief a client, and changing how you think of type, you'll have another great resource in your designer toolbelt.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tanner Puzio

Graphic Design / Hand Lettering


Hi there! I'm Tanner Puzio, a lettering and graphic designer living in Chicago. My interest in design stems from my father, who taught me everything I know. I took those years of conversations and lessons and applied them to my work. I have gained experience through working in worldwide agencies, small studios, and freelancing.

As I continue to grow and find new techniques and tricks in design, I want to share them with you. Let's explore design together and create something amazing.

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Dinner Puccio, designer in Chicago. And in this class, I'm gonna show you how to utilize type as shaped to create logos. The concepts taught in the classroom to be great for designers of any school. I've had experience including logos for a while now, and I want to show you what I've learned freelancing and working in a few different agencies today. We're gonna go over researching companies, finding type that works and how to manipulate it. And a few examples of how I use this in almost every local I create. I'm really excited to start, and I hope you are too. I'll see you in class. Let's get popping. Ready to go shares. 2. Researching & Concepting: In this first video, you were talking about researching companies. And basically, why we're doing this is to find out what is important to the company. The thing that makes type of shape so great for logo design is that it feels like it connects the logo a bit more to the company. Being able to show what a company is idealistically about or what they're producing and connecting that with the letter that their company starts with can really be a great way to personalize a logo for a company. So what we're gonna do first is research a company. What you're looking for in this stage is to find out what the company does, who they do it for their audience, how they're doing this. You also want to find out their goals and where they want to be. Even a location can highly influenced your design. So one thing that I always do for my clients is I send them a quick little local design survey. This survey is filled with a bunch of questions about the company about the logo. This really helps me find more about the company, and it allows me to create a local design that's a bit more personal to them. Some of the questions here are how they would describe the company, what some of their long term goals are. Who are their main competitors? What's the age range? All these things can affect your logo design in the end, so it's important to be able to have this information. A local design that I had done a few years ago was for a guidance depart. Now, I wanted to use this technique in that local design. So what I did was I broke down. What a guidance department waas. And we're gonna go over this in a later video as well. I got into department to me meant raising up the Children in this school, showing them away. So images of paths and arrows pointing upward. These are all things that jumped into my head and things that I wanted to incorporate into the logo. By combining these images with a G or PG and E. D. It would make the logo so much more personal to the company, and that's really what we're using type of shape is all about. If you look at a company like goodwill, you can see a logo that was designed in 1968 but still work so perfectly today. It utilizes the letter G in a simple line and dot to creative smiley face. And this is great because it really shows what the company is about. Goodwill's Website. Their first little tagline is We help people earn a living, improving their lives and strengthening their families and their communities. And so they're about the people. And so having a person in their logo is the perfect way to show that having that be illustrated simply through using the letter G is a perfect way to do it. Sometimes how you can cleverly use type as shape isn't so obvious. The best way to be able to experiment with all these different ideas that you might or might not have is to sketch. It doesn't matter whether you're sketching for five minutes or you're sketching for 30 minutes. As long as you're getting your ideas out. A lot of people try to jump right onto the computer, and where that's gonna hurt you is it's not as easy to create a bunch of different ideas, quickly sketching you can just throw down a couple pencil strokes and you can move on to the next idea. Once you go and you look back at these ideas later, you're gonna have a lot more things to run with than if you had done this all in the computer, because you're gonna feel like you need to finalize everything. So that's why sketching is great. If you're not quite sure where to begin, there's a couple sites listed down in the description with that will help you get started and find a couple ideas. There's plenty good examples of clever logo designs using typography Some of the sites that I like to go to her up north. They have a great selection of lower designs, and they're great for any kind of design that you're ever doing. They have so many different categories, but for this specifically, they have a lot of great stuff on Pinterest. I'm gonna put together a board so that you can see kind of what I'm thinking of in terms of type of shape, and it might help you get a few ideas for your own stuff. And I think even just looking up double meaning logos or like clever logo designs gonna find a lot of different things that use this technique already. When I do this, I see a logo that says pencil, and it is so simple. But it's exactly what we're going for. So even doing this is a great way to find some inspiration. So when you get to your sketchbook, you're gonna write down the name of the company for this example. I'm going to use the guidance department again. So I'm looking at the letters G and D, and I'm looking about how I can use these letters to create a shape. Now you might. You trying to put these letters together, create a monogram? It doesn't matter as long as your understanding the shape of the letter, you want to be able to figure out how these letters can play together If they can combine. If they're similar when their flipped, can you take parts away that you don't need? All these things are gonna help you. In the end, there's endless possibilities for great logo, so continue to sketch and continue to come up with different ideas. The greatest ideas air simple. But that doesn't mean that they're simple to come across. And what I mean by that is, sometimes you really have to work to find the simplest solution. I sketched four weeks and weeks to try and find the guns department solution, and it's such a simple solution that I wish I had found earlier. But sometimes it just takes a little bit longer. So don't worry. If it's taking long, just continue to come up with different ideas. Listing out the different symbols that are associated with the company or client that you're working with is a great way to start conceptualizing your different ideas. So if I were doing, say, a theater company, I would be thinking about the sheep of lights. Maybe using circles like a spotlight masks, curtains, things like that. If I'm working for a school, obviously you're thinking of education. So you're thinking of graduation Capture thinking of, Ah, school bell. All these different symbols that are associate ID socially through these different companies are gonna be a huge advantage to you. Take a few minutes to sketch and figure out everything as you try to combine these different images with your type in your sketchbook. Remember that different fonts are going to be able to give you different ideas, so sure to look a different fonts, and that's exactly what we're gonna do right now. 3. Finding Type That Works: some places that I always look for thoughts from our the legal movable type. Creative market has a lot of different funds, and I even have fonds on there, so kind of biased. But free design Resource is has a bunch of fonds pixel Buddha font bundles. There's a whole list in the project section, so please go and check that out. All these phones are free to use, at least personally, and some are even free to use commercially, I would highly suggest in spending a bit of money to get fonts in the future. But if you're just getting them for this exercise and this class, then don't feel like you need to spend any money. There's plenty of great free funds out there. Finding the right font is crucial in creating a logo based around typography. You want a font that is going toe, have characters that are easy to move and are malleable. And what I mean by this is that you can easily change using the anchor point tool in illustrator. Anything that you can use the pen tool to add to or are just made up of simple shapes are probably gonna be some of your best bets because you're gonna be able to change these the most now. Like I said earlier, you want to be familiar with the letters that you're working. You want to know all the different shapes, and you want to know what part of the letters are necessary in which are not. 4. Practicing with Random Nouns: while ago I had a client that was a jeweler, and there company name was conned Ellis. I wanted to use the sea from Candela and create a piece of jewelry with it. The first thing that I did was I looked at the letter C for a while. And if you go into illustrator and you just type out a letter, see, you can see that basically all it is is a circle with part of it missing. And I was able to use that concept to come up with something that resembled more of a necklace, he said. What I did was I used the rectangle tool, and I drew out long rectangle, rounded the corners, change that to a stroke. I just pumped a stroke up a bit. And then, after outlining this path by going toe object path outlined stroke, I was able to cut out piece of this to create a C. Then, by just adding small dot down here, this sea is able to look like a necklace, and after changing it up a little bit and kind of refining things, you're able to get something that reads more clearly. But the main idea is there, and that's something that you can easily run with. And that's what type of shape is all about. It's about making very small tweaks to these letters so that you're able to push them a little bit further in creating a very personal logo for these brands. So if you're not currently working with a client or a company, you can easily do this still, by just using a noun. I went to a noun generator website, and the first now that I got was astronomy. So what I'm gonna do is create a logo about astronomy using the letter A. And you can do this with any now that you come up with. So if I go into illustrator and type out the word astronomy, don't know any of that types. Looks like my father's huge. All right, so the word astronomy. We're going to use the letter A. And when I look at a letter A. I see that it is made up of two slants and this crossbar here now, when I think of astronomy, when I'm thinking of is orbits and planets revolving around things and that is often on a circle. But I know that if we use a little bit more dimension, we could easily replace the crossbar with this orbit. So that's the idea that I think I'm gonna run with. And now, of course, if you spend more time on that, you're able to come up with something better. Of course, sketching is always good as well to help you come up with these things. But just for a quick exercise, I'm gonna take this type, and I'm actually gonna create outlines by going to type and create outline. And now I'm going to zoom in to this day here, and I'm gonna double click to enter this layer using the pencil. I'm going to draw a shape over this crossbar. And what this is going to allow me to do is ultimately cut out the crossbar from this. A. So we're just left with the outside of it. I'm gonna move this over just a little bit, Okay? So now we have a that we can easily work with. So if I zoom in here, I know that I want to make an orbit. So I'm gonna use this ellipse. I'm gonna place it right here. And if you started drawing out a shape and you don't like where it began. You can always hold the space bar, and you're able to move it. So once I get this about where I want it, I'm going to switch it to a stroke and I'm gonna make this stroke. Definitely not that thick, a little thinner than the A itself, Just so it doesn't draw too much attention because it's already a big thing within this out a little bit. And the idea of astronomy is already getting shown just that. Simply, we can further push this idea if we use an ellipse, and we just place it on here as if it were a planet. Create only a fill, maybe something like that. And already we have astronomy simply shown using the letter A. And that's really what type as shape is all about. It's using what you have in the letters and the letter forms to create this customized symbol. So please feel free to go think of any noun or goto a noun generator and create a couple logos based off of what that now is using pronouns First letter. And if you guys want to post those in the project section, I would love to see him 5. Seeing Hidden Meanings: next. I want to show you how I came up with the logo that I designed for guidance to part like I discussed earlier. The people in the guidance department are trying to lead these students. So I'm thinking about pathways and roads and arrows Progress All these things that I'm trying to symbolize while still using the letter g nd. So I typed out the word guns department in a bunch of different fonts and why I'm doing this is so I can see the letter G and D in a couple different variations. So I'm not stopping any creativity here. So when I go through and I look at a Gina de, there's something that continually pops out at me and if I go and zoom into this G, you can see that there's kind of already an arrow in the G, and that was one of the symbols that I was looking to use so we can take that G and further push it. So what I did was I tried to use this arrow a couple different ways, and these are all some of my first attempt. So this doesn't just happen the first time unless you get really lucky, but it takes a lot of different trial and error until you get to something that you like. I tried to use the A to show guidance. I thought it would be a nice letter to do this since it was basically right in the middle. And then eventually I started to just use the cross of the G itself to create an era. And so this is the first rial version of this logo. And now this isn't the end result of the logo, but it helped to show me. Hey, there is an arrow in here. This can be done in a very simple way using Onley what the letter G has. So far, there hasn't been any added shapes or anything. This is what the letter G has always looked like. I took one part out and you can easily see an Arab. Adding a little bit of color to this makes it a bit easier to see. And so what I did was I took this simple design and I moved it into this. I kept this part of the arrow together, but then cut it over here to help show more movement. Instead of just showing an arrow pointing upward, this arrow shows a movement more of that path idea that I was going for earlier, moving from one place to another, becoming someone being guided. So this logo I took then and I kind of expanded upon it. And by using different colors and cutting the G and the arrow in different spots, I was able to get a few different ideas developing. So this is a super simple way of using a G and the idea of being guided to create a logo that only uses what the G had to offer. And I thought this was nice and I wanted to try something using the letter G and the letter T because it's the guidance department and they're not just called guidance there called the Guidance Department. And so I really thought if I could use a G and A D and still have the idea of guiding someone with this arrow, it could be a phenomenal logo. So what I did was I sketched for a bit, and then I came up with something that looked like this. Now, at first glance, this logo is an arrow inside of a circle. But this line, this white line that runs through the logo, allows you to see on this side, not change the color so you can see it. The letter G very simply using what we know about the G, the roundness of the outside, and then the part that cuts into it. Using this, I can create a G, and on the other side, I can create a D. And what we know about the D is that it's round on the outside and then it's missing part over here, and I don't need an extra line on the outside through here to show that it's a d. I don't need that part. So I took it out and was able to find the arrow within. After that, I was able to use color to differentiate the two letters so that instead of just seeing an arrow sitting in a pointless circle, everything in this logo has a meaning. The arrow is not just a narrow, but it's what allows the user to see the G and the D and the G in the D. R. What allows you to see the arrow? There was a bit more complicated to create and a bit more complicated to conceptualize once it's there. It's a simple, easy to understand design in. It is no different in the way that this design uses Onley. What the letter has to offer. These are two different approaches to the exact same idea. There's so many different ways to use a letter, whether it's a G or any other letter, there's so many different parts of it and the important part and the main part that this logo design brings up is when we look at the letter G, we're looking at the colored aspect of it, its shape. But the shape is Justus much built out of the negative space. This space inside of the G that isn't being used in the space around the G we can is easily manipulate that as artists in order to create something stunning. I was able to place an arrow inside of this circle and see the letter G and the letter D and then after tweaking for a bit, I could make those pot more. But I never affected the actual shape of the letter G. I affected the negative space within so That's a great place toe look for kind of expanding your designs. The negative space presents so many opportunities for clever design, so use it to your advantage any time that you get. 6. Bonus: Creating a Logo in 10 Minutes: What I want to do now is trying to build a quick example off the top of money. I'm gonna pick one of the businesses that I had listed down in the description for you guys to work with and try and see how I would approach this. So I'm going to pick one now. And I think what I'm gonna go with after looking at some of them is for maybe after looking at this list, I think what I'm gonna pick is Andy's grocer. Because once again, I just want to go with something very simple here. And, uh, since and because of our previous example, I feel like I understand the letter A well, so we're gonna type out Andy's Grocery three store. Let's do that. And let's change that to Zona Pro once again. And I'm going to you set up a quick little type treatment here. Someone center this and I'm gonna cut out Andy's for now. Scale that down a bit. And I'll add Andy's back up here and I'll make and ease. Yeah, really fat font. And we'll place this over grocery store now. This isn't a very traditional approach to a grocery store logo. But for the purposes of fine being logos inside letters, this is what we can use. So I will get rid of this. Now we'll move this up just in case we need again, and I will option drank that to create a copy. I go to type and Cree outlines. And now we have shapes that we can work with using the direct selection tool. I'm able to select any part of these shapes to kind of drag around. And so this allows me a little bit more freedom in working with these letters, because now I'm not just stuck with the font that I'm using. I can manipulate thes as if they were shapes. So I am mostly concerned right now, I think with the A what I'm looking to do, I think, is use maybe a leaf or like a stem, cause I'm trying to think about a grocery store. And when I think about a grocery store, I'm thinking about food. I'm thinking about fresh produce, and so I want to show this freshness by using nature by using a leaf, and I think that I can put a leaf simply on the inside of this A to cover this negative space. If I just roughly like in here, that's about as rough as it gets right there. If I put something right there, what is this color? If I put something right here, then I would be able to maybe show freshness and produce simply The other spot that I'm also looking at is the D. It's straight in the center of the logo. Great potential to use this negative space. It could really be anything, so that's also a possibility. But I think I'm going to stick with the A for now and see how that goes. So we're going to go into this layer by double clicking it, and now we can just have the A And what I'm gonna do it actually cut it from the logo and press command shift V to pace that in place. So now we don't work inside of a light. So I zoom into this layer here. I'm going to begin how I begin the last one, which is by cutting out this part of the 80 cross bar here. I'm gonna do this kind of quickly, just in order to show you guys how you might approach this. I'm gonna cut that out. And once again, we have how we started the astronomy logo design. Now I know that I want to put a leaf in here, So the first thing I'm gonna have to do is create this leaf that I'm going to end up punching out of the A And you know what? I'm just gonna create instead of the outside of the A, I'm going to do the whole A into one shapes that once we punch that leaves out, will be able to see the A a little bit more and then we'll know where to go from there. So first I have to create this leaf. And I think what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start with the base of a leaf using this whole lips here, and in the end, I kind of wanted to be rotated a little bit and such, So I'm going to build it straight up first, and then I'll rotate it after that. So if we move this year and I want to have a nice shape using the pen tool here can draw out how this leaf is going to sit. Maybe it's something like that. That's never mind. It's definitely not like that. We could pull this out a little bit more and I'm moving these points by using the direct selection tool. Would you get by pressing a on the keyboard right next to the normal selection tool? I think I want around this out just a bit to make that a little bit more friendly. And I can bring this down and around and that looks enough like a leaf to me. I'm gonna combine all these shapes by going to the Pathfinder, which you confined in window and then Pathfinder. And I'm gonna use the Unite Tool like like that and all those become one shape now that I can edit together, it's like this one point and just kind of smooth that out. If you don't have adobe CC and using Adobe CS six, you can still use round corners or you can use another shape to cut that shape into it. So you're not limited by your software at all. Now I want to kind of draw the veins of a leaf per se, and I think I'm going to do this in a very simple way. Instead of trying to draw all of it out, I'm just going to draw one through the center. That's not what I wanted to do. It all right through here and I can grab this year. And if we color this white, I'll be able to see a little bit better about what we're working with. Yeah, that's that's definitely starting to look like a leaf. Now I can select this one point and just move it around a little bit. Now. Relief has a stem as well, and I'm kind of thinking about using this stem as a way to separate the cross bar or where the crossbar the A would be and the leaf designs. So I think I'm also going to use the inside of the stem as a shadow and just draw a stem from in here like this, and I'll be kind of quick with that. It doesn't look like a stem yet for a leaf, but if I add another point, we can move that around and I added a point, by the way, by going to the pen tool and if you open this pencil up, you can use the add anchor Point tool. Another way to do it is by pressing P to go to the pencil and just hovering over a shape you already have selected. It's going to bring up this plus sign next to the pencil and you're able to just click on the shape and at a point. So then, once I use the direct selection tool again, I can move that point around and get it exactly where I wanted to be. If you find that you trying to move just one curve and it's moving the entire thing, if you only want to move one, hold the option key. I'm gonna move this point around a little bit. Do we have something that resembles a stem just a bit more? That's still not really where I would like it to be, but I think I can work with that from now. I'm gonna go down here to this point and just round it to kind of match. The rest of this leaf tonight is like this white part of the leaf and using the minus front in the Pathfinder, I can punch it out from the shape in the back, and now I can select both of the black parts and combine them using Unite. And I'll go into here and I'll just around this corner to make it a bit softer. And around this corner appears well. Now we have a leaf to add into our A. So by drag that over, scaled down a bit and color it white, we're gonna be able to see it. And now I want to be able to rotate it. Actually, it's probably okay where it was, and I will scale this up and you can begin to see how the simple leaf is giving us the inside shape that we know the a toe have, which is that that triangular white space. So the leaf is acting as that trying to a white space. And so when I zoom out and you see this while it's not a letter A it's a triangle with a leaf inside, you're still able to see the word Andy, So the design is still readable. You're using the letter. You're using this custom shape that you built in order to design a logo that is unique to the company. Now, of course, this is just a quick exercise and you can finesse the leaf inside of the A little bit more . You can design it so that it looks a bit more like in A than it does currently. But the idea is there, and that's what's important. They're always able to expand on that idea and make it better. But it has to be strong to begin with. And if I were to continue to work on this, maybe I would go back and sketch more. Now that I have this down, I can easily see, though, how I could create something clever and intriguing by using this concept in this design. So please go and take a look at some of the companies that I have placed in the project section of this video and try and make one of those into a logo. There is enough information there for you to be able to create a logo. There is what they are doing, which is either. It's a record company, film company, clothing, and you can kind of come up with a motivation and their audience and all of that based on how you want to design it. And then, of course, the name of the company I named with things that are very descriptive, so tasty produce. You can easily use the tea from that, and you get kind of a sense of how this logo might be made. Andy's grocery store is in that list, so if you have a better idea, please do something great with that. And I would love to see it posted in the project section. I'll be sure to take a look at all of those, and once again if you did that type exercise earlier, where we took a noun and created something using that first letter. Police post that, too, because I would love to see that. As always, there are textures, fonts, different sites for inspiration, all listed in the project section. So check those out if you are stuck anywhere, or if you need any kind of resource for your logo design. I can't wait to see what you guys made 7. Conclusion: Now you know how to manipulate, type and get the most out of your logos. Please use what you've learned here in the future, and if you have any questions, leave them in the discussion down below. I'll be sure to answer. And even if you have a current company or client that you're working with, try this technique outpost in the project section. If you don't currently have a low you're working on, there's a list of fake companies in the project description. You can use any of those three alone. Feel free to even post a letter exercise I showed in one of the earlier classes. Please leave a review and let me know of any classes you want to see in the future. Thanks for taking this class and I'll see you in the next one.