Sports Logo Design: Update process | Lindsey Meredith | Skillshare

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Sports Logo Design: Update process

teacher avatar Lindsey Meredith, Lover of immaculate linework

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Brainstorm Sketch


    • 4.

      Refine on Paper


    • 5.

      Vector Build


    • 6.

      Finalize Color


    • 7.



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About This Class

In this class I will be sharing my process of creating an updated logo design for a sports team. There are many sports team logos that haven't passed the test of time. These logos need an update while maintaining aspects that their fans have grown to love over the years.

I believe creating an updated design needs to involve very careful consideration as these teams have a very loyal fan base! We will learn how to identify key characteristics that should be maintained while making the new logo that is dynamic with an updated style.

For this class I chose to complete a concept update logo design for a minor league baseball team in my home town. The Dayton Dragons. Let's do our best to keep the fans happy!

The Original Dayton Dragons logo used as a visual reference  is Trade Mark of the Dayton Dragons.
All artwork created during this video is copyright Link Creative as was created for this lessons purposes.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lindsey Meredith

Lover of immaculate linework


Link represents the work of me, Lindsey Kellis Meredith. I am an independent designer and illustrator specializing in logo / identity design, custom lettering, and illustration.

My client list includes Nickelodeon, Disney, Hasbro, Leap Frog, Maple Leaf Sports & Enterainment (raptors, maple leafs) , as well as a few other collegient and professional sports teams and organizations. I have logo work featured in Logo Lounge books 8 and 9.

I am available for hire. Feel free to reach me HERE.

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1. Introduction: Hi, everybody. My name is Lindsay MEREDITH, and I'm with Link Creative. I'm an independent graphic designer, and I specialize in logo design, branding, custom watering and illustration. So for my skill share class, I want to talk about sports logo design. I'm not talking about designing a brand new logo for a new team or a new organization, but rather doing an update designed for an existing team, a team that has had a branding system in place for years and probably has a really strong fan base. That means we have a lot of fans to try to keep happy. Here's what I'll walk through. I'm gonna go through my process of my interpretation or my concept behind an update designed for a local minor league baseball team here in Dayton, Ohio, called the Dayton Dragons. This is what will cover doing thorough research as well as studying the current sports logo design. This is the big take home. An aspect of this class that is different than just any sports will go design. We're doing an update. That means we will learn to study the current logo, find key characteristics that we feel need to be maintained but designed them in a new way , completing plenty of rough sketch concepts. You will then choose two or three to move forward with taking those two options and refining them with tracing paper until we're ready to go to computer. Once two concepts or scanned in, we will move forward and begin to build the vector in Adobe Illustrator in a manner that is easily refine a ble, and there will be plenty of vector tips. Finally, we will clean up our vector and finalizing color. I know that one process is not gonna be a one size fits all that. This has been the process I have found most valuable when it comes to designing a sports logo design update. I hope you join me in class. I hope this class helps you develop your perfect process on. I hope we can all design sports logo design Update that troops, the fans. Happy seeing class. You 2. Research: Okay, let's go ahead and get started. So just like any design project, the key to success is doing your research. From the beginning, we have our work cut out for us a little bit here, which is kind of nice, because we're doing an update design of a sports logo, team or organization. There's gonna be a lot of history, culture, fan base. We know our audience. So what we need to do is immerse ourselves in these things. Here's the important part of our research for our sports logo design Update The visual study. We want to study the existing logo that we are updating. Find what works. What you feel are key characteristics for me in the dragon, it was his fin for sure, his eyes, um, certain aspects of the shapes making up his mouth. And I'm also aspects of the text that I know that I wanted to represent a new, more modern, streamlined way. This is our attempt at keeping the fans happy. There will still be some that are opposed to any kind of change, but we're fighting to let them know that we respected what has existed and brought it into a new existence. Finally, you also want to gather a few style references to ensure you're pushing for a strong, updated style if you need to get on, um, online and look through dribble. And again, I'm not looking at copying style, but I think we all know, as designers we pull were inspired by other people's work. Um, I'm inspired by other logo designers or sports logo designers and their styles, and we always have our own style that when we are references referencing these things, we just bring that in. Um, I usually put together myself a printed off sheet with all these things. I also like to reference things. I, um, that are not stylized. So for me, obviously, the dragon is a fictitious character. I printed off some pictures of a dragon and also wanted to pull some of those more detailed aspects of the dragon. And then I also wanted to look at some custom lettering styles. Um, for me, I'm going to go on to do a little bit more of it. What would be a straightforward update of their text? But I also wanted to explore some different styles 3. Brainstorm Sketch: Okay, so after you've done all of your good research, studied the existing brand and brought all that together in your mind, you are ready to do some serious brainstorming. Brainstorming could involve multiple things and looks different from each person to each project. Um, it can involve sketching mind mapping. I personally didn't find much of a need to do mind mapping for this project. My brainstorming was all through sketching, so that's what you're going to see. That's just kind of how I think through things. It's me kind of looking and getting out quick ideas and looking at the different options and combinations I can come up with. For me, one of the most challenging part of starting a new project is that white or blank page syndrome right where you're just kind of looking and you're intimidated, overwhelmed by all the options. And are you going to come up with the best idea? I always have to do something. Get myself out of that. And what I like to dio, um, is do a lot of very loose sketching. You'll see here. I'm doing some very loose sketching. Everything's really super scratchy, unrefined. It's me just kind of quickly thinking through. This is my brainstorming process on holding the pencil very loosely. I also like to get myself warmed up by purging what I already know is going to be a temptation for me, and that's going to be drawing to detailed of dragons. It sometimes doesn't matter how much I know I should avoid it. The illustrator and me wants to get to detailed, so I just let myself have a little quick fund and then I could work towards simplifying it from there. You can really never sketch too much. I wish I could say there's a magic number, but there isn't you sketch until you feel really good to move onto the next step. I knew going in that I wanted to narrow down to 2 to 3 ideas, one being the safer update design where all the elements are maintained most in all the key characteristics that I kind of looked up before and then maybe a bit more farther fetched idea where say I switch up the text to something totally different, um, than what they currently have. Maybe a script Scott style, and that is what I ended up doing I really do Just sketch as much as I can. Sometimes I have to walk away and take a break. Sometimes I have Teoh, um, go to where I refined things a little bit more naturally. But then sometimes I have to back up and get back into that kind of rough, rough sketch phase because I find myself getting a little bit too much tunnel vision on one idea or one style or getting too detailed or something like that. So just let it flow. I know this could be the really intimidating part, especially if maybe you aren't overly, naturally illustrative. Um, but you just keep sketching keeper finding. And then, um, you'll get to a point where you right now we're just getting the concept down. It's still pretty rough, but the next step, then, is going to be to refine. So as you can see, I got quite a few sketches going on here. I have ones that I didn't really managed to get myself recorded doing in the process, but I have some different options. I have ah, different dragon heads going on different text treatments. At this point, I'm kind of thinking through which ones. I want to go together. What direction I want to go for each one. There's some things I'm thinking through here that you can't really see on paper. Say, for example. I know that maybe one dragon. I think I will keep a little bit more traditional, but still streamline looking the other one, maybe a little bit more extreme. So I'm just kind of thinking through all of these things. And my goal is to position myself so that I am ready for the next step. I'm ready for grabbing some tracing paper. Yes, still, in paper, not to computer yet and put these things together to come up with two options that I feel solid about taking into the computer. 4. Refine on Paper: This next step is where things really come together. I take what I have sketched and thought through, and I use tracing paper to refine it even more. My goal with this step is not necessarily toe have a perfectly clean drawing at the end, but close enough that when I go into the computer, I'm simply executing an already well plotted out idea in line work. This is not to say that there will not be more fine tuning once in the computer, but I really try to eliminate as much as I can on paper before I do that. Some designers may think that I'm spending my wills, but for me, this is the most efficient way to work. I take advantage of my illustrations skills right off the bat. I could do the same thing if I wondered with a tablet or s antique. I would love that, but I don't have one for me. I'm avoiding spinning any wheels. If I get into the computer too quickly without a well executed set of lines to work with or trace over, that is when I find myself wasting time again. I'm using tracing paper. I'm tracing my own drawings. Sometimes I traced them multiple times. I may switch things up and explore different options. Different angles. I ripped the paper. I move it around. I go nuts. But with each sketch, things get a little bit cleaner lines get a little bit thicker and more intentional on how they flown. Connect. It's my absolute favorite part of the process, because I just feel like I have the most freedom to get the curves. Get the lines in the connections just the way I want them. You okay? So here you see a few of the options that I've been through, but not all of them. All these different layers of tracing paper I went through. And lo and behold, on the bottom, here are my two options. Two options that I worked through quite a bit on the top left. This is my a little bit more far fetched. Doing a different text treatment. My bottom right one here is the one I'm feeling probably most confident in. Its the one that's I feel a little bit more of a safer update to the existing dragons. Borgo. This is where I can honestly say I take a deep breath and I feel good about getting all the hard thinking work done. But it's time to scan in and there is a lot more work to be done on the computer, so let's get to executing. 5. Vector Build: to get started in the computer. First, we need to scan in our two chosen options. We're gonna be building in black and white first just to focus on form. So use whatever program you need in your computer to get your scans in. First we'll make a new document and illustrator name it appropriately. Size doesn't matter too much, but I would at least make it a letter size or better. Then you'll go to file place, locate your scans and bring them in. What I like to do is put them on the bottom layer, give it a name, start getting in the habit of you using layers right off the bat. I take down the transparency of the sketch a bit so that I'm not fighting when I'm building my vector and then I go ahead and set up a first few layers. Um, so I can start organizing things right off the bat. I also forgot to mention that it's good to lock that sketch layer. So initially here, we're just gonna be focusing on the one version that I have that I feel is a more safe or traditional update of the dragons logo. I'm setting up some guides. So because this is a sketch, um, I refined it as best I could, but we still could use some really regimented guidelines to help us keep things nice and clean. Expecially for the text. I also like when it comes to curves, and this is a very curve text treatment. Um, I make my own layer four guides, the regular guides and then my own guides that I use just using vector line that I'll lock up. I'll change it to a color so it's distinguishable from my actual drawing. Um, I think I change it to pink here in a second, and then I just lock everything up, but just kind of gives me a nice clean guide so we know exactly where to draw. This is my biggest tip when it comes to building vector and illustrator, and that's break things in two pieces. Strategic pieces. I'm starting here with the lettering, and it makes a lot of sense, especially with lettering. You feel notice? I'm breaking this d into two different pieces, and that is so I can easily move things around and edit it, and I'm not committed to one big giant piece yet, and I could just take advantage of down the road using the Pathfinder to combine it together when I'm ready. But for now, I'm keeping things in nice, clean, separate pieces again so that I could make easy adjustments. I should probably also mention, and I'm using the UMP Intell. That's the tool I feel has the most control. Even though it's a little bit more of a learning curve, it definitely has the most control. I'll slow down here a little bit on this end and talk a little bit about my line structure , how I manipulate my lines and, um, place my points. It's a little bit difficult to explain exactly what I'm doing, but everything about using the pencil was about point placement and taking advantage of key commands. Um, when I'm establishing new points, what you'll see here in a second when I start on the S. Um, a lot of times I'm holding down option, which allows me to pull out a handlebar and established the next curve, or how the next curve is going to flow. I almost always do that. I rarely just click and make a completely straight line um, This way I can have those handlebars at just about every corner. Um, so that I have complete control of how the curve goes. And if I don't get it right on the first try, I could go back and use those handle handlebars to adjust. You'll see here that I will also sometimes click back on a point again. I still have the pencil activated. I hold down option and click back on it. And, um, I can readjust my handle bars. Then at that point, um, if I don't like the way the curve went, I hit Command Z. I think we all know that that is undo. So that's a quick way to undo what you did. And any time I come back around to make these shapes, I always close up my paths. No speed things up so you can see things quicker because we have a lot to cover. Once I am happy with the outline version of my shapes making my letters, and I do that on purpose so that I can see and focus on the lines. I then reverse it so that's filled with black. And that is when things were really revealed. That's when I'll really be able to see any kind of inconsistencies or irregularities in the negative space between the letters. And then I'll use the directs like tool or the pin tool to add remove points, move points around and just get things in a much better shape. OK, now it's time to work on the dragon. So I've decided that I'm gonna use that approach of just using a line with a stroke. No, Phil, and then go back in with what's called the with tool to get my line weight variations. Um, with the scales here, I just drew shapes that are made up of a Phil, but you'll see I'm starting to use the with tool. We'll slow things down here in a minute and change the lines to Pink so that we can better see our sketch underneath and really mimic the line weight consistency that I thought through in my sketch. But first, I'm not worrying about the line way. I'm just getting that vector lying down again. It's just a stroke with no Phil. So now the with tool, which is key command, um, shift W you are able Teoh, click and established points that you can drag inner out on either side of the vector line and make parts thicker or thinner. And that's exactly what I'm doing here. I'm just looking at my sketch underneath and using the with tool to make it thick in areas where it's thick in the sketch and thin in areas that it's. Then, once I'm done with the with tool, I will go ahead and convert my line, wrote back to Black. It's still in that mode of being a stroke with no Phil, Um, and I'm gonna convert that. I'm gonna convert that convert that path so that it is a Phil. But before I do that, there's some shapes in here like his eye in some of these little details. And I'm gonna go ahead and just draw as a vector shapes that are a black fill with no stroke, um, and just kind of layer things up the way I want. So that's what I'm doing here with his I. Now it's time for me to convert. Thea stroked line work that I use the with two on two paths. I drug drug off a copy just to keep a copy for safekeeping. But what you do is you go up to object path outlines stroke, and as you'll see here, it converted all the line work to a, um, has a black fill with no stroke. But what I'm doing here is I went up to object path simplify. It gives you this dialog box because naturally, when you expand, um, or outlines stroke thes shapes, it gives you way too many points. So I like to use that feature the out or are these simplify feature under object? Teoh, Get it back down to a reasonable amount of points and paths. Um, and then I could go back in, And that's what I'm doing here with the pen tool, and I'm using the ah, the minus. So when you have the peat pin tool activated, you can hit the minus key on your keyboard, and that gives you a minus or the plus, plus Kiefer Plus, and you can add and remove points. Teoh. Any path an illustrator. So, um, I not only used the object path, simplify to get rid of some of these points and paths, but I'm using the pen tool manually to kind of clean things up and go through. Once I get the points to of the amount of my liking, I use the direct, select tool which is key command a and just kind of move things around, clean things up, play with Thea line weight consistency a little bit until I'm happy. Next step is to add the date and text of the logo. I'm going to be using a font. I went ahead and chose a handful of fonts that I thought may work. I made myself a curved line that was borrowed from the guideline I had made earlier. And what I'm gonna do is use the text to path tool, which most hopefully you're familiar with. And I played with different fonts on that line, Um, and got it centered up there perfectly in that negative space underneath the dragon's head . Um, obviously, I just played with the size, played with the tracking and the leading. Um, sorry, not letting, but just tracking and played with a different fonts until I got a, um a balance and feel that looked right to my eyes. Moving on. We're gonna add some shadows. I'm adding some dark shadows in a new layer. Keep in mind, um, below the line work. I always like to keep things on separate layers for easy editing. Um, I just felt like the dragon needed a little bit more depth and shadow, so I'm adding some really dark shadows. And then I will also start to add in some mid level shadows that obviously will eventually become colors. But again, Right now, I just like to focus in black and white gray scale and keep things clean. I had drawn these out in the sketch, so you can kind of see a little bit of faint lines there that I'm following. Um, those air. Another aspect of illustration. I like to think I had a time. I'm going to wrap things up by just showing this other concept. The reason being is I built the dragon head in a way that's a little bit different than before and building it out with solid shapes that will be filled in with, um, black and White Phil. So each piece will kind of stack on top of each other instead of using the with tool. I'm just actually building out the line, work myself. Um, right now, I have it in an outline so that I can see. But they will eventually be filled in shapes that are again either black or white. I did decide that I like this dragon had a little bit better, so I believe it will be integrated into the next version. 6. Finalize Color: OK, now it's time to finalize in color and bring everything together. As I mentioned in the previous video, I've decided to go with my second dragon head option. Um, the option that was originally you'll see here with e script text, but we're not going with the script text. We're going with the more traditional safe option of the other dragon text update. I'm going to switch out the dragon heads. I don't normally like to Frankenstein or what we call Frankenstein two concepts this way. But I did kind of build these knowing that I may do that since I was exploring different dragon style is ations. Ah, but I do need to carefully just make sure that these fit together nicely and make some adjustments so that they dio, um look at the way that the, uh, they connect to the letters. No need to readjust things so that the date and text still fits in there. So that's what I'm carefully doing here. But this gives me a perfect opportunity to explain exactly why I break things down in the way I do. I'm able to grab those individual pieces you'll see I'm doing right there and manipulate them. But now it is time to go ahead and start combining those shapes. We don't need to manipulate them anymore. So I open the Pathfinder and I'm going to start by working on the lettering, combining those individual shapes. That's gonna be the easiest. I mostly used the combined Pathfinder tool. That's what I'm doing with the letters here, but you'll see on the dragon tail here I have a little white piece that I need to knock out with minus front first. And then I combine it with the long part of the tail, the dragons a little bit more complicated. It's easy for me because I built it. I know exactly what order things air in, but it's a combination of begin using minus front in combined. I usually go through and combine all the pieces I can first that are on the very top and then, um, work on using. And sometimes I make copies of pieces just to use them for the sake of punching out of other pieces that are below. If you're familiar with illustrated all, hopefully you're following what I'm saying, but it's all, um, for the sake of just cleaning this piece up. I eventually want this dragon to be, um, just one nice, solid chunk of line work where I can individually color Peace is easily. Now it's time to make changes to the lettering. I wanted to have a thick outlines stroke. I dio a copy to back of the original dragon text that is white with no Phil. I give it a six stroke, Then I go to object path outlines stroke, and then I go through. And as you see, I kind of clean up how the letters connect. Um, now that that stroke behind my white text is a ah, an actual Phil, I have the ability to make those changes that I'm going to go through and select all of that outline and use the Pathfinder to combine them. Okay, I decided that I wanted to bring some dimension to the actual lettering. I kind of mocked it up here off to the right by just making a simple copied of front of the white text, making it gray and erasing away to see how it would look. But now I'm gonna do it. Um, in a cleaner version, what I'm gonna do is once again use the Pathfinder to split things up for the shadows. Um, obviously, I'm gonna use the same kind of light source reference that I did on the dragon where it's coming from the top. Right? So what I do here is I draw a line breaking up the letters into the shadows and how I would see that the light would hit it. I'm using a pink line for now so that I can see it. These lines that I'm drawing are actually going to cut through that copy to front of the lettering that I've made. That's why I'm making sure each line actually comes all the way out through into the black . Um, and I just kind of drawn where I see fit, make adjustments. I made it pink so that I could see it temporarily. And those lines are just gonna be used to cut be cutting anyway. And the ones I have a mole down. I go to Pathfinder divide and it divides everything up. I can delete the ones I don't need and then change the ones I want to the gray shadow. Finally, it's time for color. So as you'll see at the top left. I have color swatches. There's only four colors. It would be wise to put it in the color swatch panel, but I was lays balls and didn't do that. I like to use the eyedropper, especially when I just have small, small amounts of colors. So basically already had my shapes plotted out, I just need to color them. It's real simple at this point. I'm adding some detail here in his eye, Um, and just kind of manipulating that a little bit. The next step is going to be adding a green, larger stroke behind all of the text. Um, and I'm doing that in the same manner that I did with the Black outline. I do a copy to back, give it a green stroke and fill the stroke. Make larger, um, go to object path, create outlines. So it becomes a Phil. Um, I think at some point I had to delete the counters out of the the text here. Yeah, and then go back in and make some changes. I also needed add the shape behind Dayton. So that's what I'm adding there and then send it to back. If you don't know that you can change the order with key commands. And illustrator, if you hold down command um, left bracket right bracket, which is next to your peaky. Or, if you hold down command shift, that will send it to the top most or bottom most of the layer. I had to fix the edge of the D here. Any time you have a sharp design and you add a stroke, sometimes they'll go a little too crazy. So with ah creating an outline stroke, I can make that adjustments and clean that up nicely. So it's more balanced. All right, so here we have our completed logo. I'm making a copy of the art board because I also want to do a version. It's on black with most logo's, especially sports logos. There's gonna be a need for this. It's just a matter of changing up some colors to make sure it pops on that particular color with the dragon. I'm adding a stroke just like I did with my text surrounds his head so that he can stand out on a dark color like black. All right, we're all finished. Here's the final logo. I really do hope that you enjoyed following me through my process and learned a thing or two. Not just about designing a logo but designing an updated logo. Here's a side by side comparison of the two logos, the existing Dayton Dragons logo and then my interpretation of a more streamlined, updated version. The existing Dayton Dragons logo came out in 2000. I remember being in complete all of it, and I still am. I think it's an excellent illustration and I've enjoyed over the years I had total fund just doing my interpretation, Um, of what I would like it to look like for a modern version. Okay, so there's something else to be considered, and that is a secondary mark. The date and Dragons has a D that they use, um, on ball hats and such. I've always enjoyed it as well, so I decided to go and do my interpretation of what I would look have that to look like, um, to go along with my new logo I created. So here, that is, I also mocked up some apparel. Here's some jerseys, T shirt design and finally, the ever important ball hat 7. Conclusion: thanks again for enrolling in my class. I hope you enjoyed the process as much as I do. So in conclusion, the process is doing plenty of research, doing plenty of rough sketching, making sure you're getting out all the good ideas, quickly purging the bad refining on paper as much as possible, taking a well refined sketch into the computer and taking advantage of the features in key commands and illustrator to make it look great. So I encourage you. Teoh, pick out a sports logo design that you think needs an update. Maybe it's a team you're passionate about. Maybe it's one that you just think really needs an update. The thing about sports logo design is with the nature of the old straight of mascot. It's easy for it to get outdated after 10 to 20 years, so these updates are needed. So keep in mind everything about the culture in the history of the team and work through the process to make an awesome sports logo design. I hope to see your project in class, Thanks again