VA 301/302A TUTORIALS

 

An introduction to Logotype Design. This is a video of a powerpoint that was used as part of a class lecture. The pdf of this can be downloaded here.

 

This page has tutorials, class corrections and tips for my students who are expected to learn this material over two semesters. We start out by creating a logotype for an imaginary company or institution that they invent themselves at the very start of the course. Then this logotype becomes proliferated into a big visual identity that may also cover sub-categories, ranging from an initial stationery package all the way to product labels, logo applications to gift/promotional items, social media, a website, a brochure - all of which are brought together as the specimen pages of a branding identity manual at the end of the second semester.

FONTBASE _ A FONT MANAGEMENT TOOL WORTH GETTING TO KNOW

A very nice font manager that allows you to temporarily activate your fonts instead of installing them permanently. A great app, however one that does have its shortcomings (basically there is no "undo" feature) which is why I made this tutorial - to show you how to avoid the problems that you may encounter when you work with it. Download the installer here: https://fontba.se

 

SHORT TUTORIALS ABOUT WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN PICKING A FONT FOR A LOGOTYPE

 

ART DECO FONTS - STUDENTS BEWARE! ;-)

 

LOGOTYPES IN PROGRESS _ CLASS CORRECTIONS 

 

BRANDING: A VISUAL SYSTEM THAT REVOLVES AROUND A LOGOTYPE

According to the Branding Journal "Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by organizations to help people to quickly identify and experience their brand, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s, by clarifying what this particular brand is and is not."

During this course we will create a Visual Branding Identity for an imaginary company or institution that you will decide upon yourselves as a class. The logotype was the first step. It is the sun around which all the planets of the branding revolve. Now that you have completed that, let us proceed to put together the package.

Typically the logo will be placed into the following groupings:

  1. Standalone applications: In this configuration the logo is a standalone object that does not share hierarchy with other essential informational content. It is always and unequivocally number one, very often used solely by itself even. This grouping will always involve a stationery package consisting of letterhead, envelope, business card and folder, and you can read more about these on two pages from the old blog: 
    The Visual elements: https://va301.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/visual-elements/ 
    Paper Things: https://va301.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/paper-things/

    In addition to the stationery package which every company has, there are many other items such as promotional material (t-shirts, mugs, gift items, shopping bags, etc.) in which the logo can also be used as a standalone element, and will certainly be doing that as part of the class.

     

  2. Product applications in which the logo may share hierarchy with other informational / text based material: This category involves packaging, or rather more specifically labels, in which a lot of textual / informational content may end up getting placed in very close proximity to the logo. In this course we will do a range of these, also through creating sub-categories for the umbrella branding. 
     

  3. Editorial Material: When it comes to printed material such as brochures, catalogs, reports, the logo will usually be placed on the cover of the publication, and sometimes also in a manner that can be unobtrusive, relinquishing space to the titles and headlines. However, when we come to websites, the logo is almost always placed on the header, and usually quite obtrusively. In this course we will make a website, a brochure and the branding identity manual.
     

  4. Advertising: Here the logo is almost always placed very prominently. Advertising is done over many different media, both print and motion, which can range from full scale TV style advertising clips to smaller scaled animation projects. When it comes to print media we talk about editorial advertising as well as brochures, flyers, direct mail, posters and billboards. Added to these are internet advertising which also involves promotional posts that are distributed over social media. (Note: We will not go into advertising during this course, except when it comes to social media promotional material into which we will go to a certain extent.)

CREATING SUB-CATEGORIES WITHIN AN IDENTITY

While some companies have only one function, or are concentrated only one type of product, many companies will have different areas of enterprise. So, to take this year's class company choices, "Natura", as a company that is focused on natural products, could very easily be involved in food products (café, market, catering, food items), beauty products (cosmetics, body products, spa), health and fitness (vitamins, gym), clothing, accessories, and much more. Same also goes for "Umumi Karga" which alongside being a bar could be involved in many areas that cater to a youthful clientele, such as again, food products, beauty products, clothing, and even potentially things like travel.  

On the right is a chart that shows the different sub-categories that my imaginary cat dry goods seller who is seemingly becoming modernized could set up in order to  become a diversified company. You should do the same and think about sub-categories for your branding project so that you can proceed in a much more organized fashion.

tekir-sub-categories.jpg
 
 

All of the above will probably already have given you a good idea that, while the logo is indeed the sun around which everything else revolves, that "everything else" will need to be picked wisely, with an eye to the fact that these visual elements will be used over and over again, in many different combinations and for many different purposes. So, below are some tips that will come in useful.

PICKING FONTS

The fonts I am talking about now are not the font(s) that you used in your logotype. Instead I am talking about your branding identity fonts with which everything from addresses to product labels, from social media posts to brochures will be written. So, the fonts you choose have to be highly versatile since they will be used over and over again in many many different ways, together with many different visual elements. You can have more than one of these (such as one serif and one sans) but certainly no more than three, and preferably two. The important thing when picking identity fonts is to pay attention to:

  1. Picking adaptable fonts that can be used in many different contexts.

  2. As important is picking fonts that have large families with lots of weights, especially lights, thins and even hairlines.

  3. Picking fonts that have semi-condensed or condensed versions since you will be needing those for paragraph typesetting. Watch this tutorial video to find out why condensed fonts are more suitable for this task.

  4. And finally the fonts you choose should be legible

I have made a number of videos about picking fonts for the VA333 class. The same principles apply to what we are doing in this project. Therefore, please view the entire set in the video gallery below:

 
 

PICKING COLORS AND THE 60/30/10 RULE

Again, when choosing a color palette always keep in mind that these colors and combinations will be used over and over again, in many different ways, together with many different visual elements. A very good strategy is to always remember that black white and grey are your best friends in all design fields, and therefore you will use a lot of these neutrals. So, pick colors that will create good offsets to these, that will stand out against them. Your palette could be highly saturated, could be pastel, or even a combination. What matters is that the colors (hues) are chosen by the rules of the color wheel and then all the tones that you derive from saturation and lightness changes can become incorporated into those, as and where needed.

PICKING VISUAL ELEMENTS

Obviously a branding identity will need more visual material than just the logotype icon.

  1. These will be vector elements such as shapes, lines and strokes, background planes, illustrations, and symbols.

  2. And then there will be bitmap material such as photographs, videos, backgrounds, clipart and illustrations that are not vector generated.

When you work in a real life professional setting most of this material will be ordered to external content creators such as illustrators, photographers and artists. In our case the resources are the online portals such as freepik for pretty much all of your needs, the noun project for symbols and icons, and the various high resolution photography and video sites that offer very good and free, creative commons licensed material.

tekir-moodboard.jpg

So, you need to put together a collection of visual elements that form the basis of your identity. These should create a good relationship with your logotype. But please do not mistake this for "they have to look like your icon". Things can be in very different styles and techniques and still create a good relationship, also by creating contrasts. You will be assembling most of this as you go along, as you are putting together the different items of the identity. However, be aware that you are in fact in search of this material - keep an eye out! Collect things whenever you come across them. You never know when something may fit perfectly at some later point in the project.

A good way to do this is to make a moodboard where you paste the visuals that you are thinking about, together with your color scheme swatches, your fonts and your logo. There are apps out there that help you do that, like the one that Canva has. However, I would just do it in photoshop.  Which is in fact, exactly what I did for good old Tekir Efendi, as you can see above.

 

CREATING THE SYSTEM: FONTS, COLORS, VISUAL ELEMENTS - AND A "STORY"

An overview of how a visual identity is put together. First, choose your fonts wisely: Big families, lots of weights, legible and adaptable enough to use over and over within lots of contexts and for lots of products. Second, colors - again, choose for a wide range of applications. Third, other visual elements. 

And then, fourth - invent a client "brief", which will mean inventing a tale of the company or institution. Who are they? Who are their current customers? Who are the customers that they wish to reach out to? What do they sell? Only products or a whole life-style? What is their concept? What is their "story"? Once you have that figured out, things will become very easy when it comes to identity creation.

 

STANDALONE LOGO APPLICATION: PAPER THINGS

In the series of video tutorials below you will go step by step from setting up a letter head, to placing a design that combines the logotype with typography on such a document. We will look at creating a design that is centered and several that are left aligned. Time will be spent on text formatting - looking at selecting appropriate, adaptable fonts that are suited to body texts, which the address information on a stationery package ultimately is, of course. We will look at how such text pieces should be spaced, both in terms of kerning as well as leading; and most importantly how they should be aligned. And before we conclude the letterhead part of this big tutorial we will also talk about color.

We will then go to the all important part which is the setting up of a design system that involves multiple objects - in the case of a stationery package these are the letterhead itself (out of which the design of the others is generated), the envelope, the business card and the company folder. 

The tutorial will conclude with a demonstration of how all of these bits and pieces are presented as a mockup.

 

DESIGN TUTORIALS

Before we proceed here are a series of tutorials in which we will look at composition and layout and the elements that we use to bring these together, such as shapes, images, surfaces and space. The first video goes into the Golden Ratio principle and how we can apply the abstract mathematics of this to the design of a company folder and a letterhead. The second tutorial is about photographs, where to find them, how to select good ones and how to apply them to design surfaces, also through the usage of the Golden Ratio proportions and overlay background elements. In the third tutorial we take a look at how logotypes can be placed in different ways on full cover photographs.