Author: AndrewRolfe

Illustrator: Creating letter logos

Design ideas and design process

For this task, I  created three different letter logos made of my initials. I wanted to create three that were very distinct and unique, and to do this, I did a lot of sketches and rough drawings to help me brainstorm. I also played around with different ways of arranging the letters, as well as asking my family for their opinions, before settling on an official idea.

Initial sketches

Logo 1: From the beginning, I knew I wanted one of the logos to look classy and traditional, so when I sketches rough arrangements for my initials, I kept in mind that I wanted the letters to be a serif typeface. I first sketched a variety of different letter combinations for my initials, and the whole time I imagined them as having serifs and looking old and traditional. After this, I began to use illustrator to play around with my initials. I kept them in black and white however so that I was not distracted by colour. I then combined all of my experiments to decide which I liked most. After deciding on my favourite combination, I began to warp the text and explore different ways of presenting the thickness and length of parts of the letter. Eventually I found a shape I liked and stuck with it. I began to explore different colours and strokes, but stuck with a simple white fill and black background (final logo seen here Final logo 1)

Illustrator letter arrangement experiments
Logo 1 editing process










Logo 2: The process of creating me second logo was fairly similar to the first, where I simply continued to rearrange two letters on my screen. I also used my initial sketches for logo 1 as inspiration. Much like before, I combined all of my favourite arrangements on a page to help me decide which I liked the most (initial combinations left).  After deciding which was my favourite, I warped the text and thickened and thinned it in certain areas until I found a style which I liked. Once I decided on a shapes, I began experimenting with colour. After finally deciding on a colour combination, my logo was complete (final logo here logo 2)

Colour experiments
Arrangement experiments






Logo 3: For my third and final logo, I wanted to create a more soft and delicate logo which looked almost hand written. Partially inspired by the coke logo, I chose to make this logo using the pen tool so that I could add on lots of different twirls at the end of lines. After I decided on a rough shape for my letter lines to follow, I started exploring different colours and thicknesses. Finally, I ended up settling on a simple black design with thick and thin lines (final outcome here logo 3).

Logo 3 sketches
Logo 3 colour experiments






Software tutorials

As I am fairly new to illustrator, especially text related features on it, I found myself looking at quite a few tutorials to help me create my letter logos. I used the tutorials for a variety of reasons including to help me warp and edit letters, to help me add multiple strokes to letters, and to help me understand shortcuts and other basic functions such as how to create and delete anchor points. The first tutorial I looked at was an adobe article about how to edit and warp text available here, this helped me a lot and once I figured out how to warp my text, the rest of the task was far easier as I understood the basics. The article also helped me understand more about how the text tool in illustrator works and how I can use the features available.

Another extremely helpful tutorial I looked at was an article about how to remove part of a shapes outer stroke without the stroke rearranging itself (available here). The article was immensely helpful as I have always struggled with combining shapes and not being able to remove parts of the stroke. This was especially helpful with my first logo and I was struggling to combine the two letters to make them look like one shape as there was a stroke line connected to the R which separated the two letters. As you can see in ”logo 1 editing process’ above, the removal of a small amount of stroke made a huge difference in the look and authentic flow of my logo. This is an issue I have struggled with before as well, including during my week 5 task where I had to make a podcast cover for home going.

Finally, an article about different text styles available on illustrator helped inspire me to explore a varsity/high-school football colour scheme and style in my second logo. The article also showed me how to add layers of stroke to one letter. Available here.


Resources for research and inspiration

To help with my idea generation at the beginning of my logo designing, I briefly looked online at examples of letter logos. I wanted to look more at how the letters were arranged and their shape than their colour and texture. Later on when I had designed the shape of my second logo, I looked at different ways of filling and decorating text (link here). I also looked at company logos which looked hand drawn such as Coca Cola to help me get an idea on how to draw my third logo as I wanted it to look hand written. I really liked the free stroke style of Coca Cola as well as Unilever, Cadburys, and Disney. Serif based logos such as Gap, Rolex, and Vogue are what inspired me to create my traditional styled logo 1.

Illustrator podcast stickers

Design Ideas and Design Process

Sticker 1: For my first sticker, I decided to incorporate a modernist style using geometric shapes, lines, and bold writing. One of my postcards was what inspired me to create this sticker as I felt the modern traits helped draw attention to the text and I thought they made the overall design generally more eye-catching and interesting. Whilst I knew I wanted to create a modern sticker; I wasn’t entirely sure how to create it. To help gain ideas, I sketched out specific letters that I would include, and I illustrated around them until I found a look which I liked, and thought worked well for the overall style. I also experimented around on illustrator with font sizes and colours before finally settling on black, white, and grey tones. This design helped me a lot with regards to getting my bearings in illustrator, and learning about how it works generally speaking.

Sticker 2: For my second sticker, I chose to create it with a softer, more artistic and creative feeling. To achieve this, I planned on writing out the text and then adding illustrations such as soft shapes and patters which would flow from it. Whilst I wanted to stick with this plan fully, I ended up changing a few things along the way. Instead of leaving the inside of the sticker plain white to help draw attention to the illustrations merged with the text, I chose to fill in the sticker with a grey tone that gets darker the further away it gets from the centre. This made the sticker feel almost like a metal plaque. Whilst it didn’t go entirely to plan, I feel like this design was successful at helping me develop my skills and knowledge of illustrator. I also managed to add a boarder to it which helped make it look more like a sticker.

Sticker 3: My third sticker was easily my least favourite and successful. This was because my design didn’t go to plan at all and so much changed along the way. In the beginning I was planning on manually adding the text to the sticker using the brush tool as I wanted to make another artistic looking sticker, as well as wanting to explore the brush tool and what it has to offer to help me develop my skills. This proved unsuccessful as it was very hard to manually add the text without it looking messy and poorly made. To make up for this, I used a font called ‘sign painter- house script’. This looked like it had been painted as the letters seemed to flow more smoothly. I then used the paintbrush tool to add splashes of paint to the ends of letters, making them look like they had been messily painted on, without making the whole sticker look messy. The one issue I encountered however was that the whole sticker looked rather boring. To solve this issue, I added ink splatters in some of the empty areas. Whilst the design wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be, I think it definitely helped me develop my skills as I managed to explore the die cutting feature more, and I also got the chance to explore the brush options. Not only that but I also figured out how the edit the control panels, giving me the chance to add and subtract the more important tools which I needed.

Sticker 1: This screenshot shows me merging some of my shapes together so that I could add a boarder around the sticker.
Sticker 1: This screenshot shows me exploring the tools in the properties panel. I used this panel to edit the font, font size, and leading of the text.
Sticker 2: To make sure the brushstrokes I used to illustrate the text of my sticker, I used the properties panel to edit the stroke size.
Sticker 2: To make sure my illustrations looked neat and smooth, I used the paintbrush tool option panel to make the strokes as smooth as possible.
Sticker 2: In this screenshot, you can see me using the gradient tool to edit the way the grey tones fade from the outside into the centre of my sticker.
Sticker 3: Before making my third sticker, I decided to write out a few letters using the brush tool to see if my writing was neat enough to create an aesthetically pleasing text. This showed me that it looked quite messy and unprofessional.

Paint experiments

Sticker 3: This screenshot shows how I used the offset path tool to create a border around my sticker which matched the shape of it exactly.

Software Tutorials

Sticker 1: When creating my first sticker, I used a few software tutorials to help me figure out how to die cut my sticker. I also watched two YouTube tutorials to help me merge layers and shapes so that I could die-cut them. Whilst I was able to merge the layers together, the die-cutting was not as successful as the sticker was made of multiple shapes and even though I merged them, they were still seen as individual shapes when I tried creating a 0.5pt boarder.

The video I watched to help me merge shapes:

The video I watched to learn how to die cut:

Sticker 2: In order to successfully die-cut my second sticker, I used the same tutorial as I did for my last sticker. The die-cutting process was much more successful in this sticker than it was in the last one as the whole sticker was based on a single shape. I also watched a YouTube tutorial and looked at the adobe website when making this so that I could work out how to make my brush strokes smoother so that my illustrations appear more professionally done. Not only this but I also looked at the adobe website for help on how to create a gradient colour blur within my sticker.

Link to adobe website:

Sticker 3: Whilst my third sticker was definitely my least favourite and most unsuccessful, I gained quite a few new skills from it including how to find and change different brush settings, how to alter the control panels, and how to make a more effective looking die-cut border. To do this, I watched a YouTube tutorial explaining how to find the different brush settings and how to use them. I learned how to manipulate the control panels simply through experimenting and exploring illustrator. Finally, when it came to die-cutting, I simply watched the same video from before, and then experimented further.

Brush tool video:

Resources for Research and Inspiration

Sticker 1: Two large inspirations for my first sticker were the modernist movement and Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, specifically, his painting ‘Composition with Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, and Gray’. I loved the painting because of the bold colours and blocky modernist layout. Whilst I wanted to make a sticker like this, I also didn’t want colour to distract from the text as that is the most important part of it. Because of this, I chose to make all of the shapes black and white and grey. My second source of inspiration is hard to explain, however it was essentially the faded lines you see in architectural sketches that are used for accuracy. I liked how the lines made architectural sketches look technical and industrial, yet still creative. I chose to incorporate this into my text, as if the text is something which was designed and planned before being manufactured.

This image was taken from google images and is a simple example of the kind of architectural lines I was describing.

Sticker 2: When coming up with the design for my second sticker, I knew I wanted to create one which looked more artistic and creative, and I also knew I wanted to merge my text with illustrations. In order to gain inspiration on how to illustrate my text, I created a mood board featuring a variety of images of text and letters with patters and shapes and visuals flowing from them. Some images were of old or old styled letters and some were clearly contemporary. Whilst I originally liked the idea of my text being heavily mixed with lots of visuals, I ended up simply decorating it with shapes and patters which flower from it as I found it was quite difficult to create my idea on illustrator. It also ended up looking quite messy. After creating my text, I decided to fill in the whole sticker with grey and I chose to make the grey fade as you look towards the centre. This made my sticker look like a metallic plaque which I actually quite liked. In order to then expand on this idea, I smoothened out the edge of the sticker.

Illustrated letters mood board

Sticker 3: My third and final sticker was heavily inspired by what I wanted my second sticker to be like. I intended on it looking messy but in a controlled and intentional way to make it appear more creative and artistic. I wanted the text to look like it had been painted onto the sticker using oil paint. I was somewhat inspired by the logo for the show ‘art attack’ as it looks like the text has been splattered onto the logo. After this idea fell through, I decided to use ink platters instead in an attempt to bring back the artistic theme. This worked somewhat however the whole sticker looks messy.

This was the logo which I was partially inspired by. I wanted to make a sticker similar to this, except a bit more professional looking.