Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische | Jessica Hische | Skillshare

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Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische

teacher avatar Jessica Hische, Letterer and Illustrator

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.

      The Magic of Logotypes


    • 3.

      The Checklist: The Big Picture


    • 4.

      The Checklist: Evaluating Letterforms


    • 5.

      Case Studies: Evaluating Logotypes


    • 6.

      Evaluating Jeni's Logotype


    • 7.

      Evaluating Jeni's Letterforms


    • 8.

      Sketching Jeni's New Logo


    • 9.

      Vectorizing Jeni's New Logo


    • 10.

      Making Small Scale Adjustments


    • 11.



    • 12.

      Bonus: Skillshare Short with Jessica Hische


    • 13.

      More Design Classes on Skillshare


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About This Class

Take your logos from good to great in this in-depth logotype masterclass with award-winning designer and letterer, Jessica Hische!

Join Jessica for an inside look at her start-to-finish process for refreshing type-based logos. Whether you’re looking to improve an existing project or starting from scratch, you’ll learn to use Jessica’s methodical approach to improve individual letterforms and overall designs. Packed with inspiration, resources, and her iconic lettering style, the lessons include:

  • A checklist for “big picture” design qualities, like hierarchy and scale
  • How to hone your eye for detail and consistency
  • Polishing vector logos in Adobe Illustrator
  • Tips for making the most of freelance & client work

From beginner letterers to seasoned designers, all are invited to learn Jessica’s unique method for making spectacular work. After taking this class, you’ll see logos and lettering through Jessica’s eyes and be able to spot issues and improve your work with the checklist Jessica uses in her own work every day.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jessica Hische

Letterer and Illustrator


Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, and self-described "avid internetter." After graduating with a degree in Graphic and Interactive Design from Tyler School of Art, she worked for Headcase Design in Philadelphia before taking a position as Senior Designer at Louise Fili Ltd. While working for Louise, Jessica also maintained a busy freelance career, and, after two and a half years of little sleep and a lot of lettering, she left to further her freelance career and embark on several personal projects.

Jessica has become as well known for her side projects as she has for her client work. While she doesn't consider herself a web designer, many of her personal projects are web-centric. Her project Daily Drop Cap is probably the reason you first stumbled across her work, and sh... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Look at that beautiful logo type, it's totally done. Absolutely not, there's lots of work to do. Hi, my name is Jessica Hische. I'm a lettering artist and author and crazy Internet person living in San Francisco. One thing that's really important as a freelancer is recognizing who's going to hire you to do the work that you want to do. So, as a lettering artist, I'm always thinking where could my work end up? Who do I want to work with? What kind of projects can I work on? One of the things that I knew that I wanted to always do is logotypes, but one of the things that I'm very aware of as a designer is that branding is far more than just the logo. What I wanted to do is use the skills that I have that are the most specialized to help people in the most specifically possible. So, doing brand refresh work has become a real specialty that I have that subspecialty within lettering. In this class, we're going to walk through literally every single typographic thing that I consider before I ship off a logo type to a client. There's going to be stuff that we talk about like big brand vision stuff, what does it communicate, what audiences it for? Then, deep diving into the details, like how do I make everything that's inconsistent consistent? What should I look for when it comes to inconsistencies? Then last, looking at the vector drafting and actually making sure it's well-drawn so that people don't look at it and say, ''This looks great for a vector logo.'' It should just look great as a logo. What I really want you guys to get out of this class, the biggest takeaway, is actually how to move forward when you feel stuck with your work. When you have a deadline and you have a client that you're working with and you just need to get it done and you need to move past that self-doubt, having a formalized process really make sense. I want you to feel empowered to actually just work on your own to be able to feel and trust your work, and that you can walk into a critique actually feeling like an expert in the work that you're doing and feeling confident that what you're showing them is the best work that you can do. So, to make this easy for you guys, as a part of the class, I'm including a worksheet that you guys can go through and actually read through every step along the way of this checklist. Not all of them are going to apply to every project, but you'll be able to take the ones that do apply to the work that you're working on and use that as a base point for critiquing your work. So, I'm super excited to get started and let's get going. 2. The Magic of Logotypes: So, the word logotype is only different from logo because it implies the typographic part of a logo. So, sometimes logos have a typed part and an icon, or sometimes they're just the name of the company in a typeface or, drawn in lettering. So, when I use the word logotype, that's what I mean. I mean the words of the logo. So, over time, the thing that is amazing and terrible and wonderful and awful about becoming a graphic designer that has a lot of knowledge about typographic stuff, is that you can spot all of the errors in the world when people are working with typefaces wrong, when there's upside-down Ms, and all that kind of stuff. But the thing is, if you went around in the world and noticed it all the time, and had your laser-focus on that stuff all the time, it would drive you completely insane. What I'm hoping that you guys get out of this class is the ability to turn that ability on when you want, but not necessarily for you to have it on all the time. I'm very much treated like a cyclops from X-Men, where I have these glasses on that allow me to like exist in the world as a normal human. But then when I really want to laser-focus on something, I can flip up my glasses and turn that ability on, and just destroy everything with my criticism power. So, a really good logotype just serves the company super well. It gives you a preview of what you're going to expect when you think about working with that company, when you think about downloading that app, when you think about using that service. The logo is really sort of like the face of the company that you first encounter, and you can get a lot from that first impression. That's something that I think is really important that sort of separates just commercial lettering from logotype work is that you really have to leave your ego at the door when it comes to logotypes. You have to know that like the main thing that you're trying to do is communicate. The main thing you're trying to do is make something that is as idea-proof, future-proof, layout-proof as possible, and really just quietly and perfectly communicates what that client really wants to say. So, when you're talking about logotypes, I mean a logotype could really just use an existing typeface or a custom typeface, and have it be written out. The main thing is that you want the visual identity of the company to match the personality and the branding and the vision of the company. It's just about creating something that's ownable for the company. That's something that you'll hear a lot from different logo clients is that, they want something that's ownable, something that feels specific to them, something that feels bespoke, something that feels like it has details that are so recognizable that when someone just glances upon the logo momentarily, they'll be able to recognize that it's from that brand. Those can be like broad strokes style choices, or they can be like very, very specific details within the letterforms, like a certain ligature between two letterforms that you wouldn't see elsewhere. Those become so recognizable that then they can't be separated from the company itself. So, when I'm working on lettering work, there's a lot more freedom that I can have. I can go crazy with swatches. I can add lots of decoration. I can sort of layer upon layer upon layer of these different cool lighting effects or decorative effects. When it comes to logotypes, you don't really have that freedom all the time. It's very, very rare that you're working on a logo that the only place is going to be seen is giant on a T-shirt or giant on the side of a building. So, you have to be able to make something that doesn't rely on all the swatches, on all the fancy stuff in order to be beautiful. I think that's one of the things that I love the most about logotypes is that, it's a celebration of just simple letterforms with maybe like a few extra details, rather than it being a celebration of flourishes or it being a celebration of illustration. You really have to love those basic letterforms and get those precisely right in order to make something that's going to be a great logo, whereas, you can really hide terrible type in a lot of decoration when it comes to lettering projects. So, for me making a great logo within these brand refreshes, is really just about making a logo that is less painful to work with. I work with a lot of different designers, a lot of in-house designers when it comes to doing these brand refreshes. What I really listen to are the times that they really just struggle to design around the logo, where they feel limited in the kind of fonts that they can use, where they feel limited in the layouts that they could use. I really wanted to just make it so that they feel empowered by the logo that they're working with, to make creative decisions and to make their work just overall better. It's really just about how do I make their job easier by giving them an asset that is just super simple and clean and easy to work with. So, just as a quick overall of what my process looks like for when I do these brand refreshes. First I get the file from the client, they send me their existing logo and any assets that they have that I might want to look at. They send me mood boards of things that they're interested in or I'm creating mood boards of things that are within the same world that they are looking to push the logo into. We have a great conversation in which we go over all the details, the goals things like that. But then when I actually dive into the work, what I'm doing is, I print out the logo as it is and I put it on the wall and give it a critique. I pretend like I'm an art school again and I you know go through and write down all the things that I see, all the things that I a change, all the errors that I see within the drafting of the letterforms, all the things that I see within the drafting of the vector art, and just sort of give myself a task list of all these things that I want to update. It's when I have that task list that I can actually dive in deep and start making those changes. Logotype refresh work is just all about iterating, and you want to make sure that you have a record of that iterating. That's why I actually think it's really important to print out your work as you're working. So, that you can see things next to each other on the wall, you can see where it's been and where it's going and where you want to take it in the future. You might be asking yourself why do I need to have this list of things to go through? Why do I need to go into this kind of detail? Why do I need to have a checklist to go through? You can absolutely just sit down and design a better logo. You can do stuff intuitively. But I am kind of a believer that intuition is actually just the ability to subconsciously access facts in your head. So, some people are really good at that. Some people can work incredibly intuitively and cannot forget things along the way and somehow are able to make it all work. I am definitely stretched a little thin sometimes and actually having like a list of everything I'm trying to accomplish can make sure that I don't leave anything at the table. It can make sure that something that's so important as a logo, I don't forget anything along the way, and it actually also helps if I'm looking at something and I know that it can be improved upon but I'm not quite sure how it can be improved upon, I can use this list as a way to move forward and as a way to sort of double check my work when I am not totally happy with it yet. But I don't really know what to do next. So, I have two options for a call to action for you. You can either go out into the world and find a business that you really care about that has a terrible logo. Do not tell them they have a terrible logo. Do this privately in your own space. Reach out to that local coffee shop or that local nonprofit and try to take their logo that they might love and make it just a little bit better and then share that in the gallery space. The other thing that you can do is look at the work that you created a few years ago. No one is proud of the work that they did three plus years ago, and take one of those pieces and critique it as if it's someone else's. Critique it with a fresh set of eyes as if you're about to rebrand this work that actually is not yours. I think that's actually a great way to move forward because it's something that, you can take these new skills that you have and apply them to your previous work and see just how much you've grown over the course of the last couple of years and even maybe over the last few hours in this class. 3. The Checklist: The Big Picture: It can be really easy to be focused on the little details of all the work that you're doing, especially if you're doing the kind of work that I'm doing which is taking an existing brand and refining it. But if you don't actually step back to analyze why you're doing it and the reasons behind it, you're essentially just adding a costume on top of something that's not all that great to begin with. I think we can get into these cycles where we just are so laser-focused on a very tiny zoomed in part of a logotype that by the time we step back, we didn't realize that there were these major things that needed to be adjusted before all that work went in. So, it's really important to zoom out as much as you can in the beginning, whether that's about actually zooming out so far that you get to talk through the brand vision with the client or whether that's just about zooming out to understand some more like basic legibility stuff, some scale stuff, some of these really larger problems to resolve before you get into the hyper detailed what the serifs look like situation, so then when you actually do focus on the details, the biggest problems had actually already been resolved. So, the first step in any logo refresh is actually looking at the big picture. What does it communicate? What audience are we trying to reach? What are its current shortcomings and what are we hoping to accomplish through doing this brand revise? It's really important at this stage to listen to all these buzzwords that the client is going to use. They're going to use words like, "We want it to feel more modern, or more clean, or more gender neutral." and each of those things is going to be really important as you move forward with the design. Another thing that I really always try to consider and around that I build in is this sensitivity gut check. What you definitely don't want is to ship a logo into the world and suddenly everyone out there discovers the like hidden male anatomical parts that were not in there that you did not intend to be in there. So, when you're actually looking at a logotype, ask yourself like, "Is this sensitive to women, to different races? Is this accidentally, overly, stereotypical of any particular group?" There's a lot of symbols for different hate groups and stuff that can accidentally migrate their way into it through without your knowledge at all, just through the intersection of two lines together, and it's important to understand what those symbols are in the world so you can make sure that you absolutely do not have them be a part of your work. So, one of the other more bigger picture things to consider is the type hierarchy. Is this reading how I want it to read? When it comes to logotypes, it needs to be a fast read. You have no idea how people are going to encounter that logo, whether they're going to see it really quick on the side of a bus or whether they're going to see it in a magazine where they can actually spend time with it. So, weird games that I've always played with myself when it comes to figuring out type hierarchy is to read words at the volume that they are typeset. So, if you see a word and it's typeset really tiny, whisper it, and if you see where it's typeset really big, say it loudly. That will really help you just straight off the bat establish what are the more important words to highlight in the course of a typographic hierarchy. So, if you see something where it says like the countdown, but the word 'the' is larger than countdown, you would read it as the countdown. So, obviously, 'the' is not the word that you would not want to emphasize in that hierarchy, and it's a really good way to just really quickly figure out which words should be emphasized and which shouldn't. Another thing to consider that's another big picture design item when it comes to logotypes is the overall shape of the logo. So, the shape of the logo is basically the logo plus the surrounding white space. So, take your logo and draw a box around it. Are there a lot of weird, awkward, disproportionate white space areas? Are there A centers and D centers that are way long and making it so that any type that you set around it or within the layout is going to have to really be pushed far away from it? This is the kind of stuff that's going to make a logo that you're creating or that you're adjusting something that's way more workable and usable for the client. There's going to be a lot of times where the logo isn't just like centered on a white sheet of paper where it's crammed into the corner or it's list alongside of the logos, and you want to make sure that it feels like it can exist as its own unit without needing a ton of space around it to balance out that white space. The next thing that I look at and something that's incredibly important for logotypes is the legibility. Some of the things to look out initially are, are there letterforms that could be confused as other letterforms? Are there weird ligatures, which are the pairings between multiple letterforms that essentially turn it into a third letterform that doesn't exist? Are there some like loops and open spaces within letters that could affect legibility? Try to look at it as if your the the person that's the critique ruiner. Walk into that and spot the errors that maybe only 0.1 percent of people will spot, but then have your argument about why you should or should not adjust that thing even though a very small subset of people would actually see that thing. One of the things that I always ask clients is to send me the two environments that are the extreme cases of the largest size the logo is going to be used and the smallest size the logo is going to be used. What that helps is that it really gives me this context of what are the things that I have to look out for as I'm drawing this logo because at the smallest size, this certain thing is not going to be legible. Or what's the thing that I have to look out for because at the largest size, these adjustments that I have made might actually make the logo look a little bit heavy-handed at that scale. So, understanding the full spectrum of the logo's use is really important if you can. Sometimes clients don't actually know what the full spectrum is because maybe they'll love your logo so much they didn't anticipate putting it on the side of a building at the beginning of the project, and it's important just to have it be as well drafted as possible. But understanding those extreme cases can really inform your work. Now that we've asked all the questions and we've had the conversations and we've figured out what major mountains need to be moved before we can get in and do the hyper detailed typographic work, we can actually dive in and get the logo as close as we can to where we want it to be to move forward. 4. The Checklist: Evaluating Letterforms: So now, we're going to dive into the real detailed stuff. Here's what I'm going to give you a checklist, where you can actually go through these very, very specific typographic items to double check to make sure that everything is consistent within your letterforms. If it's inconsistent, that those inconsistencies feel purposeful. So, the first thing we're going to be looking at is the Letter Style. Are all these letters from the same alphabet? Sometimes, you'll see a letter and it feels like the drawing of the letter is a little bit different than the rest of them. Whether that's just because the rounded part of a letter is treated a little bit differently here than it would be in other parts of the letterforms that use a similar structure. Another thing to look for is serifs. If your typeface or the type that you're using has serifs included, are all the serifs of consistent style? You want to make sure that you're using the same set of logic to every single letterforms that it feels like it's drawn at the same time and from the same era. The next thing I'm going to examine is the Baseline. So, the baseline is the line on which all the letters sit. Sometimes, baselines are consistent. Most of the times they are. It's either straight, angled, arced, whatever. But sometimes, you'll have an inconsistent baseline on purpose. So, that'll be a meandering baseline. The real important thing is to make sure that all the letterforms look as if you can really draw a line that they're sitting on and that that line isn't jumping around so extremely that it's affecting legibility. The next thing that we'll look at is the Spacing. So, the spacing you can think about in a few different ways. There is the actual letter spacing, which is the space between the letters, all of the letters, whether it's tight, whether it's loose, those things are going to affect legibility. The other thing would be the kerning, which is the space between individual pairs of letters. It's always best when you're working with typefaces and with letterforms in general to address the overall spacing first, and then focus on the kerning second if it needs to happen at all. One of the things that you're going to want to think about is that spacing between letters can get tighter the larger a logo is used, but as they get smaller, the space needs to be a little bit more generous. The letters are going to look really slammed together when you scale that logo down if it's kerned too tightly or tracked too tightly overall. So, the next thing I look at is the Letter Width. So, there's a few different ways that the width of a letterform is treated alongside all of its cousins or sisters, however you want to consider it. So, very few typefaces are monowidth, which is the kind of thing that you think about when you think about computer data typing, where all the letterforms are exactly the same width. That's not actually how most typefaces are structured and not how most logo types are structured. We want to make sure that the letterforms feel like the width, each one relates to the other one in an appropriate way. Things that are that middle range width like the O and the N, and things like that are going to be at the right width and that the wider letterforms that are just wider because they have more anatomy to them like the M and the W. They have a little bit more width to them, but that they don't feel like an extended version of the same alphabet. So, the next thing to look at is the Height of the Letters. Do all the caps hit at the same height? Do all the lowercase letters at the same height or the X height? Then at those heights, are optical considerations taken into account like the overshoot for rounded letterforms? Overshoot means that if you have a letter O or any sort of rounded letter form rather than it fitting perfectly within that box, so say your X height is here and your baseline is here, rather than having it just butt right up against that X height and right against that baseline, it's actually going to extend a little bit beyond. The reason for that is because, if it just hit it, the letterform is barely making contact with that baseline. That's going to change how we optically perceive the letter form. It's going to make the letter form feel smaller even though it's the same height as everything else. So, you want to actually make sure that the letterform is making as much contact with the baseline and cap height as the other letterforms. So, the overshoot is generally pretty similar to the amount of contact that the letter is making, that the other letterforms with the same alphabet are making. One of the things to consider when making any logo type is what way the letter form should be. You're going to make this sort of big picture assessments over what way you want the logo type to be early on. But when it comes to assessing the weight of the letterforms in this section, it's more about finding a consistent weight between all the letterforms. Does one letterform have higher contrast than another? Does one feel heavier than another one? You want to go through and actually just blur your eyes and look at it and look for those dark spots or those light spots. This is actually one of those times we're having terrible vision is probably a real feature. You get to just flip your glasses off and look at it and say, "Where are the inky spots in this logo type and how can I go to fix that way?" The next thing that I'm going to look at is the Stroke Angle. This isn't just the case for script typefaces, it's the kind of the case for anything, especially anything that's italicised or on an angle. So, the angle that all the letters ascend from the baseline at might actually not be perfectly geometrically consistent throughout all the letterforms in a purposeful way. Basically, the farther away you get from the X height, if it follows that same angle, the more tilted over it's going to appear. So, you actually have to make little optical adjustments by kind of leaning that back in the other direction so it doesn't look like it's falling off a cliff. Another thing that I take into consideration is Pen Influence. That's not just for stuff that's very calligraphic, it can be for anything. Essentially, even though the world is our oyster, we're designing on computers and we can literally do whatever we want when it comes to letterform drafting, you still want to make sure that the letters that you're drawing look like they were drawn with the same tool. Of course, they were drawn with the same tool because you drew them on the computer or did whatever you were going to do with them. But, the actual design of the letterforms might be influenced by a pen in some way. So, if you're working with something that's a broad nib pen, all of the letterforms have to follow that the rules of the broad nib pen. If you're working with something that's meant to be influenced by a pointed pen, all other the letterforms have to follow the rules of that pointed pen. This is a really good way to argue with clients when they try to get you to add, fix strokes where they shouldn't be. Just tell them that the pen cannot make that mark and that the typographic nerds would get their pitchforks and yell at you for it. So, when we talked about shape, I talked a little bit about Ascenders or Descenders. So, ascenders at any time that the part of a letterform extends beyond the X height and descenders at anytime it extends below the baseline. Things like an H, and D and B, they all have ascenders. It's important to sort of look at these ascenders and assess them for a few different things. One, is their stroke angle consistent, which we already talked about? Two, are they so extreme that they're going to really impact how we're able to use this logo in the future? That's something that we'll talk about when I review the Jennies logo. So, one thing that clients are always looking for when they hire me to do letterforms work on their logo types, is to make something that feels really unique and ownable and one of the ways that you can make that happen is through ligatures. But one of the things that I really emphasize with clients is that I don't make ligatures that don't make sense. If you make a ligature that's a discretionary ligature, which means something that doesn't necessarily have to happen and it's really just there for fun, I will try to make sure that whatever that is, it's not impacting legibility in a negative way. So, when you're actually working with all these letterforms, look for ways that you can make interesting connections, where you can use the dot of an i connected to a swash. On California Sunday Magazine for instance, the way that I stacked it, I was able to create this really interesting ligature between two of the letterforms and everyone was like, "That's genius, how'd you think of it." It was just a happy accident. So, I think that's how a lot of the best ligatures happen is that you look at actually what's in front of you and you say, "What can I do to scoot this over just the tiniest bit to make this connection more interesting?" Those are the ones that feel like the genius moves when really it was just you were dealt a great hand of cards when it came to the letterforms that you're working with. Not all logo types have swashes on them, but when they do, you have to just make sure that the swashes that you're working with don't impact legibility negatively. I try to make sure that if there are swashes that they're not reading before the letterforms themselves. So, what you don't want is for a swash negatively affect the legibility of the letters or to somehow generate a third letter that just doesn't exist out of combining these two shapes together. So, if there are Ornaments and Icons, that's something that I look at next. The icon would be an image that's associated with the logo type. The thing that I'm really looking for when it comes to marrying icons and logo types are, "Do these feel like they're from the same consistent style?" If I'm dealing with an icon that is extremely monowidth and thin and very modern, I'm probably going to try to incorporate some of that style into the logo type. If I'm dealing with an icon that has a lot of shape to it and feels really juicy and heavy, I'm going to try to incorporate some of that into the logo type. One of the last things I'll ask myself is, "Does the type need a little bit more decorative elements to it? Does it need a little bit more ornamentation?" The answer should usually be "No," but sometimes, if you're working with a certain brand where they're really going for like a very vintage vibe or they really want it to feel like this Victorian style, you're going to actually need to add a lot more detail to the logo type itself assuming that they're going to use it at a larger size. I'm a little bit of a decoration junkie, so I have to always be willing myself back and I always make sure that if you're adding decoration to stuff that you cover all the other bases first. It shouldn't be a Band-Aid that helps fix the problems that you didn't feel like resolving in that moment. Now that I've done this health analysis of the logo or the work that I'm looking at and I'm able to fully critique it, run through my entire list, if it was just my work and I was just looking for a way to critique it better, I would just be hitting the computer or hitting my sketchbook and moving forward and making those changes. But if it was for a client, what I would love to do is actually combine all of this feedback into one presentation and walk them through everything that I'm hoping to address in the first round of work. What that really does is sort of outline my goals and it gives them room to give feedback on other goals that they might have for the logo. 5. Case Studies: Evaluating Logotypes: Now, I'll show you how I actually put this checklist into practice by showing you a bunch of the befores of a lot of the logos that I worked on and walking through the critique process of how I analyzed the letterforms and all the things that I want to adjust as I start changing them. As far as basic legibility, there's definitely room for improvement. When I think about the legibility, I'm thinking about how letterforms are drafted and if the drafting makes sense. One of the areas that I noticed in this is actually the lowercase a which is drawn a little bit funkily. So, there's a few ways that you can draw As. This is what I would call a stab join where there's two separate distinct letter form parts. The A is actually made up of a left side and a right side, two separate strokes, whereas in most scripts, which is what this is, it's meant to be emulating a brush script, you would create that with one single stroke which would actually mean that this connection here doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense if you wanted to treat it more as a brush script. So, this is an area that I would address when it comes to legibility because I think that drawing the A the way that the pen would actually naturally draw that A will make that more legible in this point. As far as letter height, when I drew the baseline, I also drew the x height and things seemed relatively consistent along the lower case letterforms. The upper case is a little bit different. The M is definitely taller than the N and not just including this swash area. It feels like the letterform itself does have a little bit extra height. So, I'm going to look at the R, M, and N as a part of this and just make sure that those feel like they're from the same alphabet, that they have a consistent weight, and that they also are generally the same height. As far as ligatures on this, the letters are connected to each other so those in themselves are ligatures as far as things that I'm going to address in terms of making the letters lock together a little bit better which isn't really the definition of a ligature, but it's something that people look for when they're thinking about logo types. They're thinking about what customizations can we make to make it clear that this was drawn specifically for this use. What can we do with this that you can't do with type? There's going to be areas that I'm going to address. One of the things to look at are when you have letters tucked into other letters like this R to E, what can I do to change the way that this R is drawn where it feels like it hugs that E a little bit more naturally. Another thing is, like I said about this swash at the top of the N, we have this space above the E before the M. What can I do to make this swash really fill that space and really feel like it was crafted specifically for this place in the word. So, I talked about swashes a little bit. In the case of Retail Me Not, one of the things that I want to do is make sure that all the swashes feel consistent. So, I'm going to marry my ideas from pen influence and then add them to the swashes. So, right now, we have a few different kinds of swashes. We have this little baby arm swash which I've talked about, we have this big hulky fist swash here, we have a pretty refined one here on the R, and then another lumpy swash terminal over here. So, what I'm going to do is analyze which one works best for the letterforms that we have or maybe I draw something completely new and then I take that logic of the way that swash is drafted and apply it to all of them. For all logos, but for especially the MailChimp logos, spacing was certainly an issue that needed to get addressed. You can definitely tell just by looking that there are areas where there's tighter space than others. So, the space between the A, I, and L is actually quite even but the space between the L and the C is super tight. One of the things that they were after when they made this logo is actually like slamming these two words together so that you do read it without a space. But I think they overcompensated a little bit too much by tucking these guys a little bit too close together. One of the things, too, that I really wanted to address on the MailChimp logo was the fact that this C has a giant gaping hole in the center of it. I think that it just draws so much attention to it and it can impact legibility negatively especially when this gets shrunken down. So, I want to figure out how to make sure that that C feels nice and big because I think that if I try to make it smaller or try to make it too narrow, it's going to really change the character of this logo type. But I think there's ways that I can shrink down that white space a little bit so that it feels a little bit more even with the rest of the word. So, I always want to make sure that the base line feels considered because sometimes when letters jump around a little bit too much on the baseline, even if it's meant to be a meandering baseline, it can really impact legibility. When it comes to MailChimp, I can draw the baseline that these letters sit on which is relatively straight. But we do have a couple of moments where it jumps up a little bit too much. So, this H is something that I'm going to address. I really feel like there's ways for me to make this baseline feel a little bit more graceful and a little bit less incidental. There are definitely some legibility issues with the MailChimp logo that need to be addressed and corrected. I can just go from left to right and point out some of the stuff that bothers me that is probably going to be an issue in terms of how we read it. So, for one thing the way that this M is drawn, it's drawn as a hairpin script. So, a hairpin script means that the stroke itself goes up and down and you really articulate every aspect of it and that's the only time that we see it here. I do feel like it adds a lot of character to the logo type, so I don't want to lose it entirely but there's probably something in here that I can correct or address just to make it feel a little bit more specifically like an M and consistent with the rest of the style. I also think that we can probably address this A or at least take a peek at it to see if we want to separate this top here or add a moment at the top so it doesn't feel like an O that happened to be swashed down towards the baseline. The H, this part of the H kicks up a little bit too high and I think that starts affecting legibility negatively. Also, this area between the top and the bottom part of the H is really tight. So, I want to look about adding a little bit more breathing room into that zone. When Southern Living contacted me to redo their logo, some of the words they used to describe what they wanted were clean, modern, more refined, and those words translate to really specific things typographically. I certainly knew that we weren't going to completely overhaul it because one of the things they talked about was making sure that the revise didn't feel like a redo which is really my specialty and it's what people come for. So, when thinking about how to make this feel more refined, more modern, and updated, the first thing that came to mind was a higher contrast between the thins and the thicks is going to definitely make it feel more elegant. The logo as it existed was definitely low contrast. When you think about a low contrast typeface, you look at text type faces, ones that the thins don't actually get all that thin because it's meant to be used at a smaller size. This logo is not meant to be used at a smaller size, it's a magazine masthead, so we really have a lot of freedom to actually mess with the contrast between the thicks and thins, knowing that it's not going to affect legibility because this isn't going to scale down all that tiny. While the Southern Living logo mostly exists as the magazine masthead, they did need to use something at a small scale. So, what they end up doing is using the SNL as a monogram and they'll end stories with that and whatnot. They had a separate version of the SNL to be used for this. One of the things that I'm definitely going to have to address as I move forward is that I won't be able to just use the SNL from the masthead as that small scale SL monogram. It just isn't going to work in a tiny size if we're talking about making our thins a lot thinner and we're talking about really refining these serifs. Those thins are just going to disappear at a tiny size. So, as I'm moving forward, what I'm going to end up doing is making an SL monogram specifically for use at a small size. For EatingWell, when it came to the stroke angle, there's actually a really, really subtle thing that makes a really big difference in this logotype. All the letters feel really upright and vertical. It's a sans serif typeface, of course, it's going to be. But this G is customized for the masthead. There's something about this g that really makes it feel like it's leaning forward. The bottom part of this bowl is really tucked in. It feels like it's stacked exactly on top of the top part which you'd think would make it feel extremely vertical. But actually, optically, that makes it feel like it's leaning forward. So, what I'm going to do as I move forward is I'll look at this bottom bowl and think about widening it a little bit to the right which is going to help eat up some of this white space and it's also going to really help make that G feel like it's sitting more prominently and more upright. So, the EatingWell logo has some really interesting letter style stuff going on. Most of the letterforms are pretty straightforward like the A, the T, and the N, they don't feel like anything out of the ordinary. But this G is totally funky and I think that this is one of those instances where if I actually mess with that G too much, we would totally miniaturize this logo. So, I think that this is really the thing that sets this logo apart and I'm going to have to figure out a way to refine this G without really changing the core character of it. The EatingWell logo is a really narrow logo and what's really great about using narrow letterforms on something like a magazine masthead is it means that it can exist a lot bigger on the page. So, the wider your letters are, the smaller the logo is going to end up having to be to fit within a horizontal space. So, one thing that I don't want to do is I don't want to lose that width of the letters as I move forward because all of a sudden, the logo type is going to have to shrink down in size and that's going to be something that no one at the magazine is happy about. These practical concerns are something they keep in check. If a logo is already being used at a certain size, no one's going to okay you shrinking down the logo on the cover most likely, unless there's some major, major design changes happening. But one of the things I do want to address when it comes to the letter width on this logo is that I think that some of the letters, rather than feeling narrow, they feel compressed. So, there's a real difference between a narrow letter form and something that feels like it's squished and I think it's most noticeable on the E. The E because it feels like an exact oval rather than this puffed out logo or puffed out oval. It feels like as if you took a wide E and just squished it on the sides. What I can do to resolve that actually is to actually just round out those sides a little bit more. I'll do a little bit drawing here so that you understand what I'm talking about. If you take an oval shape and you draw a box around it, what you want to do is almost make it feel like that oval is trying to reach towards these outer edges a little bit more. So, in what you can do with that when we start talking about our vector stuff is that I basically just extend the bezier handlebars a little bit on either side so that it makes a more rounded rectangle shape and this is a really extreme drawing of it. But somewhere in between this and this. 6. Evaluating Jeni's Logotype: So one of the more recent rebrand projects I was able to work on is actually for Jeni's ice cream. If you haven't had their ice cream, it is spectacular. They are at Columbus Ohio, and when they approached me, they had actually already worked with another branding company trying to rebrand a little while ago, and just weren't happy with the results. So they reached out to me saying, "Hey we know we've got something here. I don't know why the other brand experts that we did didn't hit the mark, but I feel like maybe there's something that you can do to help us out." So I actually did a broader exploration for them, working with their original logo, and doing tweaks to it, but also tried a few other different things which you'll be able to see as we walk through it. But it made for a really perfect refresh where we got to attack some really basic stuff and go through the checklist for sure. So as far as the overall look and feel, this has a really fun vibe to it, and it really matches with the personality that Jeni's tries to communicate. So one of the things that I definitely always try to do is that I don't want to erase all of the personality of something by improving it. That's something that I think that you have to be conscious of when you're like making things better is are you making it too perfect to the point where you lose all of the personality. So I needed to make sure that the core personality of Jeni's remained. As far as this logo, really some of the things that make the personality stand out is the fact that it does feel so hand drawn, it feels like it's written with a really casual hand. So that's something that I wanted to keep moving forward. There's some cool incidental overlaps with the way the pen works that we'll talk about as I talked about pen influence, and that's something that I wanted to keep and address. But overall the main goal that I wanted to have was just to make sure that I didn't sort of iron out all the personality of it as I move forward. So a big concern when Jeni's hired me to rebrand was that both the designer and the CEO were really worried that Jeni's was misreading occasionally as a certain male body part. I guess they had gotten feedback from consumers in that way. So it's something that I really thought about when addressing the refresh. So initially my first thoughts were, what are the things that I can do to make sure that it does not misread as that word which I think you know what word it is without me saying it out loud. I feel like there's some sort of like punch buggy thing that would happen if I actually say it on camera. But the two things that came to mind immediately were the fact that while this is really a fun cute way to address working with the apostrophe, I do feel like it is a little bit of a risky move in terms of legibility to have a punctuation mark replace another part of a letter. I know why they did it, it's because having a dot of an eye and an apostrophe so close to each other could feel like really weird and like you have a semicolon in the middle of your word, but it's something that I felt like I could definitely address, and could probably solve that would really resolve this issue. So making the apostrophe an apostrophe, and the dot on the I dot on the I. The other part that I thought could really be impacting this is the entrance and exit strokes on the word. They're really nice for actually framing the word and making it feel like this really loose nice pen drawing, and I feel like there's a real symmetry to it that is nice. But this really heavy entrance stroke to the J combined with this downstroke to the J, this descender make this J potentially read as the left side of a P. So that's something I really wanted to look at as well. Also, just the size of the dot of the J is actually like a little bit too small for what it should be. Like if you look at the weight of the letter, this dot is just it's very small and out scaled comparatively, and if we actually raised the size of that dot, it could actually just make a J read a lot faster. As far as type hierarchy, the main concern for me was let's address the logotype first knowing that there a secondary line that needs to work with it. So it was about how can I make it so that the logotype works on its own, and also has a clear area where we can insert the two subheads which were ice cream and splendid ice creams. One thing about the shape of this logo, when you see it on a page, and it's not surrounded by anything you might think oh it's just like five letters next to each other, it makes a straight line, that's the shape of the logo. But if you actually draw a box around this whole thing, you start to see that there are some pretty big differences in white space around these letterforms. So on the top of the word here, is very little space, and on the bottom is an enormous amount of space. This might not be an issue for everyone, but when it comes to logo's having this out balanced white space on the top and bottom more left and right sides, can mean it feels really impossible to center a logo in a layout. If you were thinking about using this on a business card, you'd actually probably have to use the logo quite small in order for it for it to feel like the space around it is generous enough that it feels like you can actually center it. Whereas if we work to rebalance this space on the top and the bottom, the logo is a lot more useful and a lot more different context. So this was actually one of the primary things I wanted to address for Jeni's, was just to balance that spacing out, and balance that upper and bottom space out so that it can be more usable in different layouts. As far as basic legibility, clearly our sensitivity got check pointed out some pain points and things that we needed to correct. There's a few things that I want to talk about whether or not they're worth keeping if they affect legibility negatively. There are these really fun little loops that are a part of the word, but I also feel like they're maybe emphasized a little bit too heavily, and maybe there's a way to keep them without them becoming their own shape, without it potentially becoming a P or potentially becoming another letter. Same thing on this I here, this loop gives it a lot of personality, but actually even the way that it's drafted, the loop is not continuous. So it also it becomes an area where you question whether or not it's it's a new shape or something. The place where it actually does sort of make sense to keep that is on the n. If I was going to keep one of these closed loops, this would be an area where it would be more natural to see it, whereas on the I, not many people write their I's that way. When you think about how you write an I it's usually just as a stroke like that, whereas an n having a loop to it does make a little bit more sense. Another thing that affects legibility in a big way is how these e's are drafted, and how they connect with other letters. So there's two ways that you can do this. People are really hung up on having it be a continuous line where it looks like the stroke comes up into the letter like that, but it's actually can still be a continuous line if you do break it. So if it comes up breaks and goes like that, it's just a little bit of a slower way to write, and but you can still consider that a continuous line and that can really help legibility on a letter like an e. Another area that I feel like is a big legibility issue is actually this s, and part of it is just we'll talk about letter width soon, but the width of this letter is extremely wide, and the white space here is forming this disconnect between the left side of the letter and the right side of the letter. So actually closing that out to make sure that the s reads as a singular unit instead of as these two separate components, I think is going to help legibility definitely. So for scale for the Jeni's logo, the main thing is let's try and see what it looks like when it's really small, and see what it looks like when it's really big and does it break at any of those points. Thankfully, we actually have a relatively generously spaced logotype here, so it's not extremely compact and tight, which really helps with legibility, and also helps with scalability. But one of the things I'll address is is the weight right. If the weight is too light or too heavy, that will make it less capable of scaling. The only way to really try that out is to actually see it as small scale and see if it holds up. All right. So now that's most of the big picture stuff. Next, we're going to zero in on the little details that really make a big difference in legibility and actually just the personality overall of the type. 7. Evaluating Jeni's Letterforms: So, next I'm going to examine the letter style and make sure that all of our letterforms feel like they're from the same alphabet. So this is where it gets a little murky in terms of talking about the width and the weight and that kind of stuff because that does play a big part into talking about like whether or not letters match up against each other. In this case, it definitely feels like all the letters were drawn with the same pen which makes them feel a little bit more united, but there is some definite discrepancies between the different letterforms that we're going to probably talk more about when I talk about width when I talk about pen influence and that kind of thing. So the baseline for the Jeni's logo is relatively straight. We have the s dipping down a little bit below the baseline, but that's actually not really a terrible thing. I actually think that if we dip the s below the baseline even more, so it's more noticeable, we might be able to balance out this super huge descender on the J with the other side of the wordmark. So one of the things that I already talked to you about is how lovely it is to have these entrance exit strokes on either side, they really help bookend it and they really make it feel symmetrical and there's just something nice and special about it. I want to figure out ways to add a little bit more symmetry into the mark because right now it's very, very much driven towards the left because of this giant descender on the J. So the spacing on the Jeni's logo definitely needs a little bit of work. If you look between the n and the i and the i and the s, you can see just how much space is given here versus here, and actually, I think the biggest problem with this logo is not actually the space between the letters, but the space within the letters versus outside of the letters. If you look at the s, the s just has a ton of internal white space which is really messing with the legibility. Same with this n here, we see so much space in the n in the center, but then it's super tight right here with the e to the end, so I'm going to definitely work to even out the space between the letterforms and then also make sure that our internal letter space isn't outrageously huge compared to our external face. So, the letter width on the Jeni's logo is also something that needs to get addressed. If you look at the e, the e is extremely narrow. It definitely feels compressed compared to the other letterforms especially the n and the s, it feels like the n and the s come from the same width and the e and the i come from the same width, but we need to figure out a way to marry those together. So, what I'm going to end up doing is sort of trying to find a right width that works for the entire wordmark and then getting each of the letterforms to fit within that width structure. As far as letter height, the letters are somewhat uniform the e feels a little tall compared to some of the other letters because it has a little bit too much overshoot and the s has this really nice overshoot moment at the top that's really reminiscent of how you would write an s in cursive. But I do feel like there's something that we can do to address this to make it feel like the top of the letter doesn't overshoot the x height so much, so we actually just need to figure out how to pull this weight down a little bit so that it feels not quite as high compared to our x height. As far as the weight of Jeni's, I really don't mind the overall weight of the logo type, I tend to try to find something that feels very purposeful and decisive and making sure that the weight that we choose doesn't feel indecisive and I think that this could really work. I think that keeping the weight consistent from the beginning logo to the end logo could be something that really lets people that are used to seeing the logo know that it's the same thing. If we shift the weight really dramatically, it's going to look like a very different logo. But one of the things I definitely need to address when working on this is making sure that we even that weight out and that the weight is happening in the right places. So in this case, on this end for instance, it's a little bit too narrow. The weight goes down a little bit too small on this downstroke on the end. This is not where we would see a thicker stroke, you'd actually always see the thicker stroke on this downstroke instead of this upstroke unless we were dealing with inverted stress. So, inverted stress is when you just decide like I'm going to take all the fix and put the more the fins would be, and it can be super cool, I really love inverted stress scripts, they look really funky in 70s and psychedelic, but in the case of this, this is really the only place that we're seeing that. So I'm going to try to make that correction and then another thing that I'm going to do to even out the weight is that you can see where these strokes overlap, for one thing the strokes aren't working continuously, they're broken. So this is not actually how your pen would work. Right now the J is drawn like this. I want to work on getting this to be a continuous stroke, and then where these overlaps happen, I might have to subtract a little bit of weight just because whenever components overlap with one another, it can add a little bit of extra optical weight so you have to adjust for that depending. So as far as the stroke angle, the stroke angle jumps around quite a bit on this, but I actually feel like because it is so different for every single letter form and also because this is meant to be a very casual handwritten style like written with a ballpoint pen or written with a brush pen. I don't want to formalize the stroke angle a little bit too much, I think it'll actually take away from the incidental nature of these letterforms. So right now, if I just draw the axis of these letters, what's kind of nice is it, it feels like it radiates from this central point, and that's something that we can really emphasize when I'm working on this, I just want to make sure that if I keep that stroke angle like that it can add to that symmetry again, sort of make it look like it's on an art baseline even if it's not. So, that's just something where you don't always have to have a consistent stroke angle, but if it's inconsistent it has to really feel like a decision and not like a mistake. For the pen influence for this guy, it feels like it was drawn with a pen that has been through the ringer, it definitely has some bleeding moments in which you might have maybe let your pen float on the page for a little bit too long or maybe the ink wasn't flowing extremely consistently, and that can be really charming if it's done in the right way. In this case, I feel like because the vectorization doesn't exactly follow what the pen would be doing, it feels a little bit more like mistake's than it does feel like a purposeful like, oh, we just let the pen hang out and bleed a little bit onto the page. So, I'm going to think about keeping some of these things like these little inky blot moments that they're meant to be like a loop like this that had closed up because the ink filled it in, but when it affects legibility I might have to kill it. So, we'll see. So as far as ascenders and descenders, that's where this logo really needs a ton of work. So if you can see this right here, this J has an enormous descender, which could be totally a feature if there was more of them. I think actually because Jeni's just has one descender and no ascenders, that's where we run into trouble. If I had a logo type and there were five ascenders and descenders, they could just be as long as can be and it wouldn't matter because then the overall shape of the logo would be really impacted by the descenders and ascenders it would just create a box around it. But in this case, we create a box in a negative way because we get this giant area of negative space underneath that then becomes like dead space that we can't really do anything and even though we have to run that sublet is that subhead in there at one point. So one thing that I'm definitely going to do is I'm going to decrease the size of this descender, and another thing that I'm going to do which I talked about a little bit is I'm going to look at seeing if I can make this s drop below the baseline which will make it like a descender, but it'll really work to balance that space out and I think we'll be able to do it while keeping the s legible. When it comes to ligatures, really like scripts connected scripts are just one big ligature if you really think about it, all the waters are connected to one another. So, I will be looking at those connections and making sure all the connections make sense and feel like they're well drafted and that you can tell the difference between the connecting stroke and the letter that's following it, and the original logo has this apostrophe in place of the dot of the i which is the ligature of some sort, it's more of a replacement. But like I said, we're going to talk about whether or not that's necessary if it affects legibility negatively. I'm going to look and see if there's any way that I can deal with swashes and maybe like add some interesting moments, but we only have five letters to deal with here. Usually, you get some more interesting opportunities for ligatures when you have a more worthy logo mark. Adding additional swatches to this might not necessarily be the best idea, but I'm going to count these two strokes as swashes here even though they end in ball terminals. So, I'm definitely going to look at these guys and figure out what I can do to make sure they feel special, but they also don't impact legibility negatively. Right now, the way that they're drawn is a little bit different from side to side. So one of the things that I'm going to do is try to basically make them look like they match a little bit more. This terminal over here, they both end in ball terminals, but this one has a little bit extra time to loop around, and this one cuts off a lot faster. So, what I'll probably end up doing is giving this guy a little extra room so that we can really see that ball terminal instead of just looking like there's a ball stuck on the end of a stroke. When it comes to ornaments and icons for the Jeni's logo, they actually do have an icon that they use quite a bit which we're going to have to address as we move forward. It's a circular shape that they call their scoop, which is like a funky circle that's meant to look like an ice cream scoop and then logo exists within it. So once we have our finalized logo, I'm going to have to make a new scoop that's going to work with a new brand. When it comes to ornamentation, I don't actually feel like it's right for this logo. The designers of Jeni's do a really amazing job using all sorts of custom illustration and all kinds of stuff and weird typefaces. So I don't want the logo to be so ornamented that it limits their ability to have fun with other typefaces in illustration. Type decoration isn't appropriate for this logo type just because we are going for this casual hand script and I feel like it does come into play a little bit more when you have a more simple style. Say this was just like a sensor of type a's on an angle or something like that. It might feel a little straight forward, it might feel a little "fonty" if it was just a straightforward thing, and then I might look into doing something like a drop shed or a drop line or something like that. But I don't really think it's necessary right now, and I think we're already dealing with some legibility issues so it's better to just let this be as it is and maybe try some funky stuff later if we feel like it. So now that I have all my thoughts gathered and I have a plan of action of what I want to do with this logo, I'm going to put that together into a tight decks that I can show Jeni's and include as a part of my first round PDF just that they really know where my head's at and all the things that I'm addressing and the versions of the logos that I'm going to be sending them. 8. Sketching Jeni's New Logo: Now that I've reviewed the logo and I figured out most of the changes that I'm going to make, there are a couple of ways that I can go about actually in making those changes. If the tweaks that I was going to be doing were really, really minor, I might actually just jump right on the computer, retrace this because I want it to be like my perfect vector drawing instead of the funky like outline vector drawing that it is, and then just really start making those changes as tiny vector tweaks. But because there's a lot of work to be done and because I want to do a lot more exploration in terms of like what the logo could become. I'm going to jump to sketches instead of trying to jump to vector first. When you do sketches, I mean sketch however you feel the most comfortable. Like, I work on an iPad now just because I'm like excited about this new fancy machine, but I feel just as comfortable sketching just on a pencil, with pencil and paper as I do sketching on the iPad. So don't feel like you need technology in order to make amazing sketches. Another thing too, is I like to have, you know make sure that the original is in my sight as I'm working on it but maybe that I'm not actually tracing directly on top of it. If I trace directly on top of this guy, I'm probably going to follow like a lot of the exact structure, and we already talked about how I'm going to actually make some pretty significant structure changes. So I'm going to look at it, so they make sure that I have the basic letter forms the same and that I don't totally mix things up, but I'm going to actually create something brand new here. So we talked about whether or not I'm going to lose this loop here. I'm going to start by not having the loop, because I actually feel like on the j. This is the part where the legibility can be like really significantly affected. So let's simplify it for now and then if we missed it, we can always add it back in. This loop however I still really like, so let's figure out how to keep that as a part of our sketch. So here we go. We've got a really skeletal sketch going on here and I had talked about wanting to eliminate this apostrophe as the i. So, I added a little bit more space between the i and the s so we can make that happen. One of the things I'm going to think about is, if I do this sort of apostrophe, one that's a dot with the little tail on it, it might feel a little bit too similar to this dot on the i. So what I might do, is actually think about restructuring it, either making it a lot longer or making it actually have this sort of shape where it doesn't actually feel like it's an exact sort of cousin, and this won't feel like a semicolon on the letter form. So, let's start by just sort of like getting the basics in there and then know that I can actually adjust that shape later. Another thing that I had talked about was actually dropping this s down and here I dropped it a little bit, but I might try to drop that even more and we can play with the depth of that once I actually get on the computer and figure out what makes sense to make sure it's legible and still reading as an s. So one of the things that I want to think about when it comes to this Jeni's logo is, how can I figure out a way to have it really have that fun, incidental personality to it, that makes it feel like someone just quickly jotted it down, and I think one of the things that I run the risk of with this, because there's so few letter forms is that, if I make the x height too regular or the baseline too regular, it's going to really just lose a lot of its fun personality. So one of the ways that I can sort of address that, is to think about dropping this, the shoulder of the n down a little bit, and if I drop that down, I think we'll still be able to read the n as an n. But we'll be able to sort of make this feel a little bit more bouncy and a little bit more fun as we go from end to end on the letter. So when I do sketches, I start with a pencil even on the iPad which is totally silly and then I go in and refine it afterwards, adding weight by switching to a different tool. In this case, I can get with a technical pen and I want to get my sketch kind of as close as I can this round because one of the things that you'll realize as a designer and just as an artist in general is that, the work has to happen at some point, whether it's up front or in the end. If you can actually address a lot of the issues that you want to work on in your sketch it just saves you a lot of headache later on when you're working digitally. So I really like to be able to like make changes and make adjustments and refine things at every stage of the game. But this sketch stage is really when a lot of the mental heavy lifting happens, when I'm making the bigger decisions about how things are going to end up looking. So like I said earlier, one of the things that bothers me about the Jeni's logo is actually the fact that this stroke here is broken. It's not a continuous stroke. So that's definitely something that I want to make sure as a part of my sketch. So I could open this loop up and an open loop would look like this. But the thing is, if we want to keep this a size that it is, it would actually get too tight in here. So I'm just going to fill it in and we can adjust that and decide whether or not we need to open it up or actually make this even less wide as we go on. Please ignore my horrible pencil holding ergonomic situation. I have never learned how to hold a pencil properly and I'm sure there are plenty of you out there that have the same issues as me. But it really limits the amount of sketching that I can do because my thumb goes numb after a couple of hours. So I should correct it at some point but I'm currently in my 30's and I feel like I've lost my opportunity to do so. As you can see, I'm not like the world's most perfect draftsman too. Like these sketches, with logo clients, I don't often show them sketches just because I do feel I like to present a little bit more of a buttoned up presentation, and sometimes clients really get bent about certain things showing up in sketches, like if I have something in a sketch, they'll expect to see it in the final because maybe they fell in love with that weird little mistake that I made, that I actually didn't intend to make. So I try to make sure that when I work with logo clients, I'm showing them the sketches as little as possible and if I am showing them, I'm showing them you know in addition to creating the more finalized looking artwork just so that they can see it just for context to see what my exploration looks like. So another thing that I talked about was making this dot on the j a little bit bigger. I'm actually going to, probably play with the shape of them too because for whatever reason, clients get real hung up on having dots on letter forms be exact perfect circles all the time and I feel like that's, it just looks kind of lazy because like typographically, you hardly ever see that because you'd only see a perfect circle dot on a perfectly geometric typeface. So this one, these letter forms are actually like a little on the narrow side. So I want to actually have that be reflected in the dots that I'm drawing. So when it comes to the apostrophe, let's start with this one and if we decide we hate it, we can always switch to a different form. I also want to make sure it's a significant enough size. One of the things that you see people do, is that they make all punctuation way too tiny. So I want to give this punctuation enough space to actually exist so we don't just think it's like a weird inkblot on the page when this logo shrinks down. All right, now, I'm going to blur my eyes and sort of look for where my weight and consistencies are. I can see that this is a little heavy here and it's a little heavy here and a little light over here. So I'm going to look and see if I can just add a little bit more weight into here. This is also the stuff that I can correct once I'm working in vector but again, like if I can just make a few those decisions up front, it's just going to save me time in the long run. So if I was working by hand and I wanted to iterate, one of the ways that I could do that is by putting tracing paper on top of this and just adding different versions or tracing this and then making the adjustments that I want to make, but because this is digital, I can duplicate. So I'm going to make a version that actually does include these loops just to see how I feel about it. I think I like the more simplified version more, but I might work up a digital version to show the client and see what they think too. When I work on this brand refreshes or really when I work on any sort of logo projects. What I try to do is make sure that I'm showing at least three to five options to the client in the first round, because you want to make sure they have enough to look at, that they really feel like there's been a broad enough exploration but not so much that they feel like paralysis of choice, where there's just way too much to look at. I think a lot of designers like to show a billion different options but for me, what I like to do is just, you know really lump these options into these really distinct, different versions and then if I want to make tweaks within those, I can do it. For example with Jeni's. One of the things that I want to look at is whether or not we should make the j upper case and what are the different ways that we can handle the s. So maybe for each one of these that I've sketched up. I might actually do alternate j versions but I would still count that as one version with alternates within it, rather than saying I have 20 different versions of the logos that I'm presenting. You know I think that this sketch is good enough where I can take it to the computer and start digitizing it. Because that's really where a lot of the little refinements are going to happen. 9. Vectorizing Jeni's New Logo: So, now that I have all of my sketches done, the next step is to actually take those sketches and get them onto my computer so that I can start vectorizing them for my first presentation. So, you don't have to do vector if you want to tighten up your sketches. But ultimately, most logos end up being drawn in Adobe Illustrator as vector files because they're going to be endlessly scalable for clients. So, if you're not comfortable in vector yet and you want to keep tightening up in your sketch, you're more than welcome to. You can use whatever medium that you want to do. Ultimately knowing that maybe you'll live trace it or maybe you'll figure out another way to get them to be vector files. Really vectorizing anything could be a class unto itself and there's so much to learn. So, if you feel like you're super new person at it, don't be too intimidated. Know that there's other classes that you can take to really catch you up. But for all the people that have at one point, opened up Adobe Illustrator before, the tips that I'm going to talk about in here are hopefully going to be useful to you. So, I'm going to start by taking my sketch which I got off of my iPad. If I wasn't drawing on my iPad, I would scan it and bring it to the computer. I'm just going to drop it onto an artboard in Adobe Illustrator. So, I'll scale this down just so that I can make sure it actually fits on my artboard because once I have my first vector done, I'm going to want to print this out and put it up on the wall. So I can really get a good look at it from both far away and close up. So, I've dropped my sketch in. What I want to do first is turn down the opacity so that I can vectorize on top of it without it being too distracting. If my sketch was more loose, I might not trace it precisely. But since we spent that extra time tightening up our sketch, I'm going to actually trace it pretty close to the sketched art that I made. Right now, I'm locking that sketch down its own layer because I just don't want to be moving it around while I'm drawing. On a new layer is where I'm going actually start doing my vector drawing. So, in Illustrator, really, the tool that you're going to be the most familiar with is the pen tool. If you can master the pen tool in Illustrator, you have mastered the Illustrator. It's a really simple, but a really, really powerful tool. I tend to use a mouse. You can use a track pad, you can use wacom tablet. I find that whatever's going to be the best for actually making you relax your hands, you don't get crazy hand cramps, and also give yourself the most precision that you can is the best. So, just use whatever feels most comfortable to you. One of the things that I did that's a super weird trick that I can tell you about if you feel like doing it because you use Illustrator a lot is because the two tools that I use the most in Illustrator are direct select and the pen tool, I actually changed my keyboard commands so that instead of the pen tool being the P, which is all the way on the right side of the keyboard, I made it into the S, which is right next to my direct select, which is actually A. So, the S used to be the scale tool, which I pretty much found myself never using. So, replacing the scale tool with the S means that I can just oscillate between these two fingers when I'm switching back and forth between direct select and the pen tool, which saves me a lot of random arm movements as I'm working. It just makes it a more relaxing thing to do. One of the things to keep in mind while you're doing vector drawings is you want to keep the minimum amount of points necessary especially at first. Another thing that I'm doing here and this is an interesting other-type designer trick is rather than having this trace it exactly the same. I'm going to continue this stroke beyond where it actually meets the other part of the letter form, so that I can make this little carrot up here. What this carrot is used for, I'll show you after I'm done drawing. Is it actually makes it really easy to edit your artwork because you can scoot over a whole portion of the letter instead of having to make lots of teeny-tiny adjustments. So, while I'm trying to keep my points on the extreme, there's definitely times in which that's not going to be possible. I'm just aware of that and I know that I'll adjust those later. So, I'm going to take a break from that and come back over here. Here's another little carrot. That'll help me later. Even if I want this to be rounded, right now I'm just going to make it straight and I can add those rounded curves later. If you do want to make sure that your breezer handlebars are exactly vertical or exactly horizontal, you just hold down the shift tool while you click and drag. As you can see too, I'm not being extremely precise about the way that I'm tracing over this, because I know that as long as my points are in the right place, editing it later is going to be pretty straightforward. So, actually having my first round be a little bit funky and not focusing on the complete perfect details of it, is completely fine. What you want to do with our critique, is make sure that all your big picture stuff is solved first and then you can address the mini issue later. As you can tell, this goes pretty quickly if I'm not focusing too hard core on trying to make it perfect. That's great because the sooner I can make this into a shape that I can actually think about it in a physical space, the better. I think about vectorizing stuff and working in the way that I do as treating the artwork as if it's a block of clay that you're carving away at, rather than needing to 3D print it onto the screen in a super precise way. So, let's scoot that and we'll connect that there. Look at that beautiful logo type. It's totally done. Absolutely not, there's a lot of work to do. Okay. So, all these shapes are pretty funky. What I'm going to do is before I print this out, I'm going to actually go in and spend a good amount of time refining it. I can make this back to outline again if I do want to follow my original sketch more precisely, or, if I felt my sketch was still a little funky, what I would do is just turn my sketch off and just pretend it never existed and only reference it if I feel like I've lost the personality that I really liked in that original sketch. In this case, my sketch was really tight. So, I'm actually going to use it as I refine to make sure that I'm getting these edges right. Then once all of my refinements are done, that's when I'll be able to actually flip this and turn it into a shape again. Then, figure out what changes need to be made to adjust the weight and to adjust some of the things that we talk about in our critique before I feel comfortable printing it out as if it were artwork that I would send to the client. I've said this like a million times in Conference COT talks, but there's a famous quote by Matthew Carter that is, "Watching a type designer draw letters is like watching a refrigerator make ice." I've always really loved that quote because, to me, one of the things that I really love about lettering and type design and logo-type work is that the end result can be so sexy and the work that goes into it is so incredibly tedious. So, you have to be a person that loves TDM in order to really want to do this full time. I am definitely that person. If you ever need someone to just rearrange your software for you, I am that person. I could sit around the house all day and make refinements, and feel I've won the Olympic gold medal because I arranged my kitchen to be slightly more efficient next time I want to cook. You have to be a little OCD. But I actually feel if you're too focused on micro detail and if you obsess about it in the same way I talk about having the Cyclops vision, you have to be able to disable it. If you are too obsessive all the time, it's going to just make you miserable and it's going to make it so that you never feel comfortable shipping stuff to clients. So, to me, I really give myself permission to just be, "This is good enough for now." Then that allows me to move on, to show stuff. Then, I'm only really giving myself a hard time about how refined and perfect it is right before those final files are about to go out the door because I definitely want to make sure whatever I send to the client is as good as it can be. But when we're still in this somewhat early decision-making phase of the project, I want to make sure that I'm not so focused on the details that I spend 50 hours working on the lower bowl of the J on a version that's not actually going to get used. All right. So, now, we can see where we nutted out. Much better. So, there's definitely some refining that needs to happen here. I still haven't addressed the apostrophe and things like that, but I think this is definitely in a place where we can start getting into the nitty-gritty critique before we send it off to the client. So, the reason why these little carrots are drawn is because I traced the edges exactly. This is what you would end up with. I wouldn't have any of those overlaps, everything would come to a little point right here. But the issue is, say I decided that I wanted to really change the weight of this. Maybe I really like this version, but maybe I also want to do a version that the contrast is really extreme, where our fix are really thick. If I have everything be outlined like this, for me to make this side of the letter thick, I have to make a lot of adjustments like this. I have to adjust individual parts of the letter, I have to make sure that everything lines up. It's just really frustrating and you're never going to get it right. That's how you actually get some of the problems that we saw in the original logo, where the stroke didn't look like a continuous stroke because somebody was working with it in total outline instead of having this continuous stroke within their vector drawing. Whereas, with the way that I draw, having these overlaps, making sure that your strokes do continue, I can actually just make a change here and it is going to continue up to the very top, which makes it really fast, even faster when I have less points. So then, this can get really thick and juicy very quickly. Same thing with this I. I can scoot this whole section over and then all of a sudden, it's thick in there, and with this E as well. So, if I hadn't continued that, it would take me a million moves to make this thicker rather than just moving over that whole side of the letter. It's super noticeable on things. This is almost the shape of an A. So, if you think about this as being an A and this is the downstroke of the A, if I wanted to make that A heavier, I could just select all those points and scoot them over like that. But if this had stopped here, I would be able to scoot over part of the letter and then I'd be endlessly noodling that little point right there instead of just being able to treat it as one big unit that gets to merge over. If you're 100 percent happy with your sketch and you just want to vectorize it really quickly, you don't have to do this stuff. But what this does is it actually just makes it easier because I don't think I've ever worked on something where there weren't revisions in the future. Whether they came from me, or whether they came from a client, even if it's not really revisions as much, a client wants you to explore a different way just to try it out because they can't get it out of their head or something like that. If you don't take that into account, making it as editable as possible, you're just making more work for yourself later. So, actually, while it seems like it's more work now, it's really not that much extra work for the benefit that you get from it. 10. Making Small Scale Adjustments: So after a lot of rounds of work, what we ended up was actually with two different versions of the logo. There's this version that has the dropdown s under which we can put ice creams and then we have the other version which doesn't have a dropdown s, which gives us a little bit more room so we can put splendid ice cream underneath here. What I really wanted was to make sure that the designers had flexibility, that they had versions that would work in any sort of circumstance. Then the very last thing that we have to address actually is the scoop logo. So the scoop is used in a few different ways. Sometimes it's used on signage, sometimes it's used as a small version of the logo. It's definitely used as a social avatar. They have this really cool, amorphous outline scoop shape. I went ahead and edited it a little bit, just to make it a little bit thinner so it wouldn't be so hard to marry our new logo type with the scoop shape. But when I pop our final logo right in here, it still does feel a little bit light. So there's a couple things that I want to address to actually make it work better within the scoop, which is I'm going to thicken the weight a little bit which is going to help it. I had small sizes anyway, because it's probably going to look a little thin when I shrink down. I'm also going to look at these swatches and see if I can just take them in a little bit, just so that the logo can scale up. Because even a tiny bit of scale can make a really big difference in terms legibility. So one of the quickest ways that you can adjust the weight of something, if you just want to try some stuff out, is actually you just add a stroke around it. You have to be really careful about this and it definitely is not something that always works perfectly. But I start by being a little bit conservative and just kind of upping it as I go. One of the things about that is now that I have this extra weight, there's going to be areas that start closing in that didn't close in when it was thinner. So I can't just add the weight. Now, I have to go in and make some adjustments. So first, I'll go ahead and adjust these entrance and exit strokes just to make them a little bit shorter so we can scale the logo up. Because like I said, even just a little bit of scale can make a big difference. I might also make this side even a little bit shorter just so that I can center the jeni's logo a little bit more within this space. All right, the last thing that I'm going to do is actually just look for areas that I might need to open up a little bit more, just because they did get a little too inky or because I think they're going to close up at a small size. So the place that I foresee that being the biggest issue is right here in the s. So I'm just going to open this up and add a little bit more space between these two parts of the s, which I think is going to make a big difference when we scale this down. It doesn't have to be a lot, just a little bit. Something just to make it look like that won't crash as we shrink it down. Now, if this got a lot thicker, I might make some different decisions around how this matches up. You can actually, I'll show you even though that's not something that we're going to do for this guy. But you can actually sort of pinch this in a little bit to subtract a little bit of weight out from these zones, and same goes for here. I might decrease the weight a little bit by scooting this over. But that's more for the extreme cases rather than something like this. I don't really feel like we needed to do that in order to subtract the weight out, but it's just something to keep in mind that type designers and other logo type designers actually make a lot of little tiny adjustments that help even weight out when it comes to logo type and lettering design. All right, I can tweak forever, but I'm pretty happy with this. So now it's time to print it out and probably show the client, make sure that they like it too. So as you can see here, the difference between our original final logo and the logo that ended up inside the scoop is actually super minute. Actually, even the weight difference isn't that extreme, but that's sort of what we're after. We don't want it to look like a brand new logo. We just want it to scale better. So even this, the spacing between this part of the s and this part of the s, it feels pretty much the same as here, and that's just because we had to scoot that whole section over just to make sure that we had that openness left in there. So it's not necessarily something that we have to talk about in terms of the jeni's logo. I can tell you some of the things that you're always going to have to like at least consider when you're working on a really small scale for logos. For one thing, you're going to want to make sure that the spacing within the letterforms and from letter to letter is generous enough. So if you have a logo type that's really tightly spaced, you're going to need to open that space up when you get down to a small size. Another thing that you're going to have to consider is if it has a really low x height, which means that the height of the lower case letters is a lot lower than the cap height, you might want to scale that up a little bit just that the logo can read a little bit better and not be as small seeming. Another thing that you're going to want to consider is that a lot of the details that you have within your type, say this had a lot of loops within it or a lot of like minute detail, you're going to want a pair that detail down for smaller size versions of the logos because you're going to lose it anyway and it might actually distract from legibility. So if this, for instance, if I had an extra loop in this j, I would lose that extra loop. If this end was open in the larger version, I would close it for the smaller version because it would probably close up on itself anyway. So one of the really cool things about having these printouts in between rounds is that, at the end of the project, you can actually throw it all up on the wall and see how far you've come. Or when you're feeling stuck about a project and you're getting to that finalizing stage, being able to see the transition that happened might actually give you ideas of how you can go back and revisit stuff if you feel like you've ironed out a little bit too much of the personality. For the scoop, we can see the original one here. This one is with the first version of logo plunked in and here's the final version here with that altered small scale version of the logo in place. Here are two final versions here. You can see how much the end changed after we really had to adjust that so it didn't feel like an M, and I think it made a really big difference in legibility. I can't wait to show this to them because I really feel like having the two different versions of the s too is just going to make this logo really, really usable for them, and really like I said before, the biggest joy that I can have in a project is just making a logo that the designers want to work with instead of one that is painful for them to work with. So end of project, excited. 11. Conclusion: Well, it was a total pleasure giving you a peek into how I make these logo projects happen, and I hope that you guys don't feel too intimidated by just how much goes into the process, and how much micro revisions happen. Really, the thing that I hope that you walk away with this from, is that you can actually like take a piece that you've created already in real life or a piece that you're hoping to recreate, and have a really clear list of ways to go about critiquing it, and ways to go about adjusting it. Just remember that any time that you're stuck, go through that list. Think about all the things that you can sort of ask yourself, all the questions that you can ask yourself that you can address one by one, and that at least gets you started. Because I know that the hardest thing about any project is actually getting the ball rolling and getting started, and formalizing that criticism process, is just going to make your work better and just going to make your life easier. So, I can't wait to see the work that you guys make. I really hope that you do post it to the project gallery whether it's just seeing the before and after or putting together a big proper deck as if we're a big name client that's going to give you a proper critique. But, either way it's going to be so awesome seeing how you take these different ways that you can work and apply them to your own work. 12. Bonus: Skillshare Short with Jessica Hische: Mostly, I think what I love is that letters are these sort of bare bone structures that can be anything. It's about like thousands of small decisions that you make that impacts what this thing can be. I just think it's so fascinating that you can start with a thing that like everyone recognizes, but there is millions of different paths that you can take to make that thing into a final piece of artwork. My name is Jessica Hische and I'm a lettering artist, an author, and illustrator living here in Oakland. Ever since I moved to Oakland, I have been still working at the studio in San Francisco but I'm not there every day. I pretty much go into the studio four days a week though it's going to change a little bit now that my daughter is in preschool. I'm a weirdo that has always been super into commuting because I feel like it allows me to start my day with some like chill brain time rather than immediately having to like be at my office and dive right into it. That person was like the most polite California driver ever because usually people speed up as soon as you put your turn signal on. I went to school in Philadelphia and all of the designers that I graduated with, a lot of people left. People left to go to New York or they left to go to LA and so around me wasn't actually a lot of my classmates that were designers. It was actually all the freelance illustrators that lived in Philly which I think really shifted what I wanted to get out of my career just because I saw this model of what work could be, which was to work on things that you wanted to work on at any given point to maybe have a studio to maybe work from your house. I saw people planning their families and doing things like that and just that flexibility just seemed so romantic to me. So when I was thinking about the future, I was like I think I'm going to be a freelance illustrator. This was my very first business card that I made which I printed as three color letterpress. It was a very fancy business card. So I've done a ton of private cards and these are one of the things that when you see them in person they are a lot more impressive than when you see the digital files. They always go like way crazier on effects than I ever would. Like this one is really cool because it's very much just based on Daily Drop Cap. When Daily Drop Cap launched, my freelance work hadn't totally transitioned to being lettering work yet. So I started Daily Drop Cap as a way to make sure that every day I was still exercising this muscle that every day I got to show up at my office and make letters even if I wasn't getting paid to do it. It ended up getting pushed to the far corners of the Internet, much farther than I thought it would ever get pushed. Which for something that's like so specific is crazy, I started getting interviewed a lot for it, which then translated into, would you want to come speak at our conference and talk about this? Then once I was on the conference stage, then that opened up my work to a lot of different people too. So ever since that project has launched, I've gotten a ton of work because people will reference it. Here we go. So much has come from that, something that started as just like an exercise, a way for me to just make something every day became this thing that launched my career really. Do you see how many layers the cake has? One, two, three. Yeah, three layers. What kind of cake do you like? Chocolate. Chocolate cake? Is that your favorite kind of cake? Yes. When I had my daughter, I feel like I did need a creative wake up call. I ended up taking on a lot of work that was work that was really well paying, that was like pretty exciting but not stuff that was necessarily like these smaller passion projects. Then I became so conscious of my time especially once I had my daughter, where like any time that I was working I was like I need to be doing work that makes money. When money is a concern, and this happens when people have really high student loan debt and stuff like that too, is that you might just make really safe choices and you feel like you can't experiment and that you can't do stuff that's crazy and that you can't just like mess around on a given Wednesday on some piece that you might not even turn into anything. But I was like no wonder I feel this weird tension with my work because I'm not putting myself out there and making stuff. You have plates. I am excited. Looks good to me. All right. Thanks again. Suddenly, I had this like, oh my god, I need to make time to make work, and right at that moment is when I actually bought this letterpress that I now have at my home studio. So in buying this press, even though it was like outrageously expensive, it made the friction to me making personal work that I just like felt like making so much lower. Then any time that I got an idea for like, oh, that phrase is just stuck in my head. I'm going to make a piece of art on that on my iPad this morning. Then I'm going to send that art away to get made into a plate this afternoon, and I'm going to pick up that plate tomorrow and I'm going to print it tomorrow night. Suddenly, it became so easy to do something that felt so hard. So I think it's really important when you are feeling kind of stuck to like look for what is getting you stuck and try to like grease that wheel just to get you working again. Looks pretty good. Ever since I feel like all of a sudden, I didn't feel victimized by my position as a parent or by wanting to keep up financially, and it became like, no, I can do what I want because really like that's what got me here in the first place is actually just making work that I was interested in. If I just try to like put on my soundproof headphones and just don't listen to what people are asking me to do and listen to what I want to do, it's that work that ends up moving my career forward. My whole life, all I'm trying to do is make the time that I'm spending feel valuable to me. I want to make sure that I'm enjoying every moment and it's less about what the end result is and more just about what the individual moments are that you can stitch together over time. Robot. Yeah, robot. I said robot. I have been told by people that that's kind of how Zen works. So all successes are a happy accident that happened just because you're doing your thing, and if you love doing your thing, then you've lived a good life. 13. More Design Classes on Skillshare: way.