26 August 2008

[design] Designing a Logo In Illustrator


(via the Yahoo Graphic Design Interest Group) Here's a couple of tutorials about how to use Illustrator to create logos.

Between the dynamic creative duo of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, the preferred tool to create logos is Illustrator. The reason is scalability. Photoshop, being a pixel editor, gives you images that may scale down fine and may look great at the native resolution, but if scaled up becomes jaggedy and looks bad. Illustrator uses vectors, and vectors and their effects can scale up and down endlessly – and logos need to look great at every size. With vectors, you can create one design and scale it to any size. With pixels, you need to create a separate file for every resolution.

So, Illustrator it is. But how to use the basics? Arriving at the meat of the thing, we find two good tutorials for the beginner to the intermediate.

In this tutorial, hosted by Vectordiary.com, the author starts from a thumbnail sketch to create the design you see here. We learn about importing sketches, turning them into template layers, and tracing over the templates. We also visit clipping paths (mad useful), warp effects, and using shapes to clip out other shapes. The Pathfinder palette is also explored, in as much as using it to create new objects from shapes go.

The only critique I could offer this is that it reads strangely. The logo was initially envisioned as "Honey Farm", but it reads "Farm Honey", proving that not every unorthodox reading direction can be reinforced by hierarchy. The use of colors to unify and impart a hierarchy, though, are well done. And that font ... no complaints there.

The next one, hosted by how.todesignyour.com,  is a video tute that describes how to create a logo that uses all of the above and the gradient tool to create dramatic effect. This is a bit more of a complex logo, and some of the parts get individual attention, but again the skills used here are basic and essential Illustrator practices:

The video technique itself seems a little rough around the edges: particularly distracting was the way the narrator would spell out the keys he used (such as saying "see-tee-ar-ell-see" instead of simply "copy" ... I think even the most basic Illustrator user should be sufficiently conversant with keyboard shortcuts that all you should have to say is "Copy" and the keysequence "CMD-C" should come to automatically to mind for the Mac user, "CTRL-C" should come similarly to the PC user), with a staccato that sometimes made it hard to understand what he was saying. But the video is perfectly followable and very solid.

To be a bit pedantic about it, the tutorials are really about creating your logo in Illustrator, not designing. Designing includes sketching, talking to the client, getting to know the client and the values. Some design thought was going on during the video tute, which is perfectly fine given that the narrator was just picking out a concept to design to. But, remember, if you're designing in your program, you're designing a little too late.

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