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Discover the Logo in Your Name

Inside your name is a real logo—and finding it is as basic as one-two-three!

Boca Technology Group, Inc., is an engineering consulting firm whose products include esoteric computer peripheral products. Boca is a company of engineers whose first priority is not logo design. Its logo does not convey the sense of a cutting-edge company nor its employees, high-octane business brains.

But visual image should be part and parcel of a company’s name. Consider Coca-Cola’s swish and Nike’s swoosh: Who wouldn’t recognize these symbolic marks? Such imagery is important on a local scale, too, among engineers and the company’s clients. It can bestow on a viewer the sense that the company is stable, brainy, and can be trusted.

So how do you design a logo—especially when you have other work to do? How do you create an image that conveys a sense of discipline, excitement, and vision? What follows is a simple, effective way, using just type and a simple shape. Turn on your computer, select an ordinary typeface (these examples use Helvetica), and follow along.

1 Set and Kern Your Word

The goal in logo design is to change an ordinary word into a visual object. There are many ways to do this, but in every case you must pay attention to kerning. To kern means to adjust the space between pairs of letters for a better fit. As a rule, you’ll tighten a setting overall, then adjust the space between odd-fitting pairs.

Each of the styles on this page has characteristics that will be affected by the meaning of your word and the shape of its letters. Set as many as you can, then have a look—your unique name will acquire a character all its own.

2 Define Its Space

A word’s voice comes first from its style but then from its relationship to the space around it. The next step, therefore, is to draw a space—a simple shape—against which your word can interact. As you move it around, what you’ll see is a whole range of expressive characteristics. Here are eight common positions:

3 Add the Detail

If your name has another part of a descriptive subhead, its position relative to the main word will affect the rhythm and balance of your logo, as well as how the name is perceived. As a rule, this second part should be set much smaller; try one-sixth the size of the larger word. Where should it go? Watch primarily for edges and points of alignment.

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