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Logos That Integrate Type and Icon

Logos can be created using only typography, or they can be designed to include an icon.

Type-plus-icon logos are the focus of this spread and the next. And since designers are very often asked to create logos like these, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your own strong and adaptable plan-of-action that you can go to whenever you’re asked to develop a set of designs for presentation. Got such a plan? If not, consider shaping the routine described here into a plan you can apply to upcoming projects.

Start by talking to your client and finding out as much as you can about their hopes and expectations for the project. Best to know these things right up front since information like this can guide you toward solutions that have a good chance of selling while also steering you away from ones that probably won’t.

Get to to know your target audience, too. Your final design will have little value if its target audience isn’t wowed by it—regardless of how much you and your client love it.

Next, brainstorm for both visual material and thematic inferences that might be at home in your logo. See pages 108–109 for more on this process.

Once your brainstorming has churned up some useful thumbnail sketches and given you a strong sense of direction, go to the computer to create your icons and to select just the right fonts for your designs.

From there, explore all kinds of different arrangements between the icons you’ve developed and the fonts you’ve selected. (Use the visuals and text on the next three pages to help you brainstorm for solutions during this stage of the project.)

Once you finalize your logo’s compositions, apply color and make any finishing touches needed to complete your designs.

Basic associations

Icon-over-type and icon-next-to-type associations between a logo’s elements may be commonplace, but they shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed for lack of originality. After all, logos built in this tried-and-true manner can look beautiful and function quite nicely.

The main thing to keep in mind when working with these kinds of arrangements—or any of the several others featured on the following two pages—is to make sure your icon and type aren’t fighting for attention. Establish visual hierarchy by making one larger, bolder, and/or more colorful than the other. That way, viewers’ eyes won’t have a hard time knowing which to go to first when they come across your design.

Considering options

Above, below, alongside, within, behind, or in front? Exactly where should my icon sit in relation to my logo’s type? Can my icon be used in place of a letter? Can it sit within a space between words? Should it be more colorful than the type? Should it appear faded and restrained?

Ask yourself questions like these whenever you’re developing a type-plus-icon logo. Use the computer extensively to put potential solutions in front of your eyes and to give your designer’s mind plenty of material to consider when picking favorites.*

Explore, explore, explore. What about wrapping your type all the way around the icon you’ve designed? How about framing your icon with type that arcs both above and below it? How about adding a backdrop panel to your design? And what about developing a more complex enclosure/emblem style of logo—something that might look especially attractive when silkscreened on a T-shirt or printed on vinyl as a vehicle graphic? (See pages 116–117 and 177–179 for more about emblem-style logos and word graphics.)

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