Let’s talk about typographic logo design.
There is a common misconception that typographic logos are simply a pretty font that was typed out and saved as a logo. However, that can’t be further from the truth.
When designing a typographic logo you must select the typeface and then edit the tracking, kerning and individual letterforms in order to create a truly custom design. You’ll also want to sprinkle a little creativity in.
Today, I want to walk you through what that process looks like and how I use it for my clients.
Before we jump into how you can take a font and create a custom logo, we need to cover a few typography basics.
First, let’s quickly cover the differences between the four major typefaces.
Serif fonts are categorized by the lines included on each letterform. Insiders, which you now are, refer to these lines as feet. These fonts are considered more traditional, classic and formal.
The feet on each letterform make serif fonts more legible. That is why these fonts are more commonly seen in novels and newspapers.
Sans serif literally translates into “without serif”. That means there are no feet on each letterform. These fonts are considered modern.
Sans serif fonts are often used for websites and other digital platforms as they are considered less distracting to the reader.
Script fonts commonly resemble cursive or calligraphy style handwriting. Script fonts are more open to interpretations than serif or sans serif, so there style can vary from traditional to modern.
Display fonts, also known as decorative or novelty fonts, are meant to be eye-catching. They are more eccentric fonts and are best used in small doses. Similar to script these fonts can vary from traditional to modern.
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Next, let’s cover basic typography adjustments
Tracking is the consistent increase or decrease of space between letters. Basically, it’s when you tell your design program (read: Adobe Illustrator*) that you want all of your letters to have a degree of equal spacing between them.
For example, have you ever seen a script font where the letters aren’t connected? That is due to improper tracking.
You can see an example of this below:
Kerning is often confused with tracking as they are similar concepts. Kerning is the adjustment of space between individual letters. Basically, it’s when you have a font that is otherwise proportioned, but the individual letters require some adjustment in order to make them more legible.
There are sets of letters that are often seen together that may look strange without an adjustment to the kerning.
You can see an example of this being used below:
Now that you have made the basic and necessary adjustments to the logo’s typography, it’s time to create something truly custom.
Ideas for how to make a typographic logo custom
Let’s talk about a few ways you can take a basic typeface and turn it into a branded logo.
Utilize negative space
One of the most creative ways you can update your typographic logo, is to utilize the negative space. Negative space is any space around or between the subject.
In logo design, this is most famously utilized in FedEx’s logo. You can also see examples of this in USA Network and VAIO.
Another creative way to customize your typographic logos is to combine individual letterforms. When you combine individual letterforms you can create a truly unique experience.
In logo design, this is most famously utilized in Chanel’s logo. You can also see examples of this in Yves Saint Laurent and a few more modern logos.
One creative way to customize your typographic logos is the alter the shape, size, orientation of your letterforms. This can create a really unique look that is hard to forget.
In logo design, this is most famously utilized in Dell’s logo. You can also see examples of this in Staples and many other logo’s.
A typographic logo doesn’t always require changing just the typography to be unique. Using playful color variations can also make a logo stand out and be unique.
In logo design, this is most famously utilized in Baskin Robin’s logo. You can also see examples of this in Google and eBay.
Transform a letterform into an image or icon
One of the most playful ways to customize your typographic logo, is by changing your letters into images, icons or graphics.
In logo design, this is most famously utilized in LG’s logo. You can also see examples of this in Airbnb and Staples.
As you can see, typographic logos are so much more than just selecting a font. A true typographic logo takes time, consideration and creativity to create!
Do you still have questions about typographic logos? Leave them in the comments below!