Lesson 6. Logos & Branding, Advanced Shape Editing

This lesson is intended to help you learn about logos and branding an identity. Illustrator is the perfect tool to create logos. We have discussed that vector files are resolution independent (sounds like a quiz question), meaning they scale well and print crisp and sharp @ almost any size.

A logo is not simply a “mark” or graphic, it should represent a business’s commercial brand through the use of shape, color, fonts and/ or appropriate graphics to the message. The logo should inspire trust, brand recognition and admiration for the company or product. It is our job as designers to create an identity that will do this job.

Consider that your logo will appear in print materials, websites, promotional materials, embroidered on clothing in various sizes. SIMPLIFY! I can’t stress this enough. We all know the KISS method, (keep it simple, stupid) – but many times designers (and myself) forget to apply it to logo design. Count your elements. If there are more than a few, you probably have too much going on. Remember that consumers will be doing everything from quickly glancing at your logo to staring at it during a red light – make sure that it’s simple enough to remember and decipher. This is not a photograph or an ad – it’s a logo. Lessons include:

  1. Understand using the Image Trace/Live Trace tool to create vectors from bitmaps
  2. Understand how a properly designed logo can create a memorable visual
  3. Using the design principles to enhance the impact of your logo work
  4. Advanced editing of paths and shapes
  5. Using the join, average and outline commands
  6. Compound paths - combining two or more shapes

Please note this assignment covers 2 weeks, with multiple deadlines. Logo roughs are due to be posted and the URL submitted first. I want to see your thought process and be sure you are on track. Both the final logo files and the week 7 assignments are due Friday, JUNE 29. Submit the logo finals under the week 6 category for grading. Submit the week 7 files under the week 7 category.

Points: 50 (+ 8.33 participation points)

Estimated assignment time: 8 hours

Due: Roughs due to be posted ONLINE ONLY Friday, June 22, 11:59P (submit only your rough layout URL); Final logo files due Friday, June 29, 11:59P

6.1 Converting Bitmap Images Into Vectors

Illustrator provides an awesome tool for converting pixel based bitmap images into editable vector shapes. In this lesson we review the Image Trace/Live Trace finction in Illustrator. Lessons include:

  • Using the Place command to get bitmap images into your IL document.
  • Using the preset conversions in Image Trace/Live Trace.
  • Best practices when using this tool.
There are several bitmap images available for download to follow along with the demos:

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

6.2 Creating Logos and Indentity Branding

In this portion of the lesson we concentrate on the creation of logo graphics.

Iconic logos are:
  • Describable
  • Memorable
  • Effective with or without color
  • Scalable i.e. work when just an inch in size
  • Relevant to the industry in question
Look at logos you like. What is it that catches your eye?


There are numerous sources online to view logo graphics. Check these out and be sure to
share your sources in the online community for participation points.

View 2018 trends in logo design here.
Another great resource on hidden meanings in logos may be viewed here. Some of my personal favorite logos make great use of negative space in their design. You may discover others which would be great to share with your classmates. See how other designers use negative space in their work here.

6.3 Consider The Use Of the Design Principles

Think about how you can create a focal point, a visually attractive logo graphic which will catch your intended audiences attention. Use the design principles:

  • Contrast.
  • Repetition.
  • Alignment.
  • Promimity.

6.4 Editing of Shapes in Illustrator

In this lesson, we discuss methods of closing and cutting up shapes. Lessons include:

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

6.5 Do It!
Logo Design

Practice on your own and experiment with the tools discussed so far. Create a self-promotional logo OR pick an existing logo and redo it. If you choose to redo an existing logo, include a copy of the original for comparison. This may be for a fictious, start-up, or existing company.

  • Post rough ideas to the Google+ learning community for feedback by Friday, 6/22 @ 11:59PM. These must be posted in a .jpg format. Along with your post, comment on your direction, choices, and consideration of the design principles. Visit the Google+ online community here. Once you have posted, copy the link from the Google+ site. Go the Learning For Life portal, and paste the link in the text field. You will submit twice for this project; once for your post to the learning community, and again next week to upload final .ai file.
  • You will create both black & white as well as color version of your final logo.
  • Show both of the above versions on different backgrounds. Show it on a black background, and a white background. Remember, your logo will appear in many different media and various sizes.
  • I will be most impressed with text only solutions, however if you can present appropriate graphics that support your theme or message, by all means incorporate them.
  • I would prefer the entire project be completed using only vector objects (i.e.- avoid bitmap, pixel-based imagery).
  • In your Illustrator file, convert all text to outlines before submitting.
  • Save your files as .ai to submit. Use as many art boards or Illustrator pages needed to fulfill the project requirements. Upload your FINAL files by Friday,6/29 @ 11:59PM.

Grading Criteria

50 points for the Illustrator file
  • 8 points.
    Letter size (vertical or horizontal), submitted correct file format, named with your name in filename, follow instructions.
  • 8 points.
    Multiple, labeled layers.
  • 8 points.
    Use of fonts and typography.
  • 8 points.
    Use and application of the four design principles.
  • 8 points.
    Complexity, originality of concept, creativity.
  • 10 points.
    Posting roughs to the Google+ community by Friday, 10/6.

Convert all fonts to outlines in this file (remember, I may not have the fonts you have chosen). Do a SAVE AS, select .ai format and name the file with your name.

Do ItPractice the lesson, then save your file.

6.6 Post an example of your work and comments to the Google+ online Community

After you have completed the assignment, visit the course's Google+ online community and post your comments about the assignment. I am also asking for you to post an image of your final logo on the Google+ site as well. Pick which version you feel best conveys your image and direction. The online community only accepts .jpg files. Along with your upload, discuss your direction and approach to the assignment. Visit the Google+ online community here. Once you have posted, copy the link from the Google+ site. Go the Learning For Life portal, and paste the link in the text field and attach your .ai file. Hit submit.

6.7 Review and Checklist for the Week's Lesson Assignment


Grading Check List

watch image trace/gradient mesh video
visit the two recommended logo design sites
visit the design trends site
visit the use of negative space site
consider how the design principles may be incorporated into your logo design
download and read the .pdf on editing shapes
watch three videos on editing shapes
post roughs to the Google+ community by 10/6 and submit your link
practice the tools discussed and create your logo
consider the use of the design principles in your .ai file
post final logo to the Google+ online community (be sure to upload a .jpg example) with your comments
submit your .ai file via the Learning For Life portal and provide the link to the post of your final logo
complete quiz 6 on Learning For Life portal


Testable Items

  • What tool is used to convert bitmap images to vectors?
  • What is the caveat to converting bitmaps to vectors ?
  • Does the join command create closed shapes?
  • What are the benefits to using layers?
  • How do you edit a built-in brush pattern applied to a shape?
  • Which tools create closed shapes when used to cut up shapes?
  • Which command discussed creates an open hole in an shape?
  • Why is versatility important when designing a logo?
  • What are some of the current trends in logo design?
  • Why is Illustrator the preferred software for creating logos?