How I Created My Personal Logo as an Amateur Designer
It’s Saturday morning. I’m putting the finishing touches on my recently launched new personal website: conordewey.com (shameless plug). This is all very exciting stuff considering the past couple days have been dedicated towards completing this tedious, frustrating, but ultimately extremely rewarding task.
That’s when I saw it. I look up to the tab of my page on google chrome and saw this dark blue, grid heavy, bordered box just sitting there.
I looked into the backend of my website and saw a place for the user to upload a ‘logo’ of some sort to fill this void. Recently, I have developed an interest in design and have been on the lookout for opportunities to develop this skillset further so I came to the only sensible solution: create my own logo with little to no design experience at my disposal. So off we go.
So yeah, I am fairly new to the design process (been working my way through Hack Design over the past week). Because of this, I set out to do a bit of research on the design process. This lead me to notice that designers, whether they are UI, UX, product, etc. all have one thing in common: they all have some sort of go-to visual brainstorming tool.
My understanding is that there are many of these tools out there, however we have to ultimately find out what works best for us. With that in mind, I undertook a few different practices in order to sift through and develop all my ideas.
Exercise #1: Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a tool that I utilize fairly often whenever I am brainstorming, trying to solve a problem, outlining an essay, or simply trying to understand a concept better. It’s extremely helpful, especially if you are more of a ‘right-brain’ type of person.
Personally, my application of choice to mind map is MindNode. It’s a very intuitive user interface, there are easy to use shortcuts to map things faster, and lastly it’s just flat out visually appealing.
In this mind mapping exercise, I had to think about the problem at hand. I needed to find a way to most effectively represent myself and my goals in a several hundred pixel square. In order to do this, I broke down myself into four branches: skills, qualities, mission, and values. By doing this, I was better equipped to truly understand where my priorities lie and what aspects of myself I should hone in when it’s time to start designing.
Exercise #2: High Leverage Word Clusters & Sketching
In this exercise, I was really embracing the ‘throw everything against a wall and see what sticks’ mindset. I just wanted to focus on condensing a fairly elaborate mind map into a few key terms that I believe represent myself and my aspirations moving forward.
I made the choice to develop the logo in Sketch. If you aren’t using Sketch and you are new to design, I highly recommend it. A lot of the more complex tools out there can be intimidating but Sketch is very intuitive and easy to use for beginners.
First, I picked out a few icons using iconfinder based on my key term analysis and starting playing around with them. Here was the results of my first attempt.
While my overall impression with this logo was fairly positive, it did not perform well whatsoever on the tab of my website. It got cut off and without a dark background it looked semi-weak to me. On to the next one with this in mind.
With this iteration, I first wanted to make sure I included a black or dark colored backdrop in order to improve the functional appearance. Aside from this, I kept a lot of the key elements from the first go around. Check it out.
As you can see, the outcome was a bit better than round one. However it seemed far too busy to me. The numbers within the lightbulb were an intriguing concept but you can’t really notice them when the logo is so small. This makes them nothing more than a distraction and ultimately creates a less minimalistic look (which I’m told is ‘in’ these days).
So onward to what would end up being my third and final iteration (for now). My key focus here was to simplify things and create a more appealing logo in the context of the tab, where it would be primarily used for now. Here’s how it went down.
So the third logo it is. This choice represents a lot of the key points I wanted to hit on. It has the lightbulb representing innovation and creativity, the bar plot for statistics and data science, and even an upward trend to speak to the motivation and drive I wanted to capture.
This will likely not be the final draft of my logo, after all, everything is a prototype. However, I can still say that I’m pretty satisfied with a good morning’s work. Most importantly, I can say that this endeavor made me reach a little bit out of my comfort zone and ultimately, become a slightly better designer.
So logo number three got a little old for me after a couple days. Here’s the most recent changes.