What is brand design?
Brand design is the use of icons, images, typography, color to communicate the message of a brand which engages users to build trust and interest.
What are some of the different aspects of brand design?
Common topics you may come across in brand design.
What are the tools/software used in visual design?
Adobe Creative Cloud(Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, XD)
What kind of jobs or titles are in visual design?
What are the skills needed?
In general, a visual designer should have:
A solid foundation in typography, layout and design.
Strong problem-solving skills.
Experience with transitions, animation, motion design and dynamic interaction.
Excellent visual, written and verbal communication skills, along with presentation and negotiation skills.
A penchant for details and organization, including the ability to prioritize tasks, communicate progress and meet deadlines.
The ability to effectively take direction and work both collaboratively and autonomously
Digital design skills.
Proficiency in principles of design.
Proficiency in design software.
What to do after studying brand design?
Find a job
Visual designer salary benchmarks
According to The Creative Group 2020 Salary Guide, the midpoint starting salary for visual designers is $81,250.
The portfolio is a way to demonstrate the skills and talent of the designers to potential clients and also create a name and brand for the designer. Check out my portfolio.
You might have heard of graphic design but not visual design. These two are often used interchangeably. Visual design aims to shape and improve the user experience through considering the effects of illustrations, photography, typography, space, layouts, and color on the usability of products and on their aesthetic appeal. Graphic design focuses more on print projects while visual design focuses on all the aspects of a project as it relates to how users are going to interact with the project, the thought process, graphic design and how users are going to experience the project. So many things go into visual designing as mentioned above such as logo design,brand identity design, color psychology, typography and so much more. Since this is the basics of brand design, I will focus more on logo designing.
Let's get started!
In designing a logo, there are so many factors to consider. Firstly, let’s make some points clear. A brand is not a logo. It is the total perceptions the customers or clients and potential customers or clients have towards an individual or an organisation and its products or services. However every brand is recognized by a logo.
Logos come in three different forms:
An image that represents the brand.
A brand name in a styled font.
Both a logo mark and a logo type.
A logo design has to be strategic. It is a process and to have an outstanding logo it is important to go through this process. But before we delve into the design process, let us understand certain aspects of the logo design. A logo is the graphic representation of a company name, designed to be unique, memorable and impactful. It is created with the objective of getting a business noticed. The logo has to speak for the brand that is why it is important to consider the choice of colour and typography. Let’s get into that.
On the color wheel, there are 12 colors; 3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors and 6 tertiary colors.
Yellow, red and blue.
Green (Blue + Yellow), Orange (Red + Yellow) and Purple( Blue + Red).
These colors are formed by combining 1 primary color and an adjacent secondary color. For example; Red + Orange = Red-orange. The colors are: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple and red-purple.
Always begin with the primary color.
Every color has its own personality, tone and mood. For example we have warm colors such as red, yellow and orange. They are mostly used to represent warm, energetic, vivid, cheerful and invigorating brands. They are bold in nature.
We also have cool colors which are blue, green and purple. They evoke a crisp or chilly feeling. They are used to represent calm, soothing, refreshing and peaceful brands.
Always use cool colors as background.
A color in its purest state for example; blue, green, red, purple and orange.
Adding white to a color gives it a lighter tint. Example; blue + white = sky-blue.
Adding black to a color gives it a darker shade of that color. Example; blue + black= navy blue.
Adding grey gives it a muted tone. Example; blue + grey = steel blue.
It is the relative darkness or lightness of a color.
The intensity or richness of a color. Strong, pure colors have a high saturation while dull, washed out colors have a low saturation.
This is a combination of colors that sets a particular mood, theme or tone.
It depicts all of the colors of a single base hue plus its hints, shades and tones.
These are 3 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel such as yellow-orange (secondary), yellow (primary) and yellow-green (secondary). They are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.
These are 2 colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example; yellow and purple. They are vibrant and attention-grabbing.
These are 3 colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel. Example; red, yellow and blue or orange, green and purple. They are vibrant and eye-catching.
Additive color model
This uses light to display color. For example; colors on your computer monitor(web colors). In all anything with a screen because they all emit light. The most common is RGB color model. This is usually written in hexadecimal color values(hex codes for short) starting with a hashtag(#) followed by 6 letters or numbers(or a mix of both). #RRGGBB (RR = % of red, GG = % of green, BB = % of blue). Each color is indicated by a 2-digit code from 00 to FF. Example; #FFFFFF = White, #000000 = Black and #FF0000 = Red.
F means each color is turned on to 100%.
Subtractive color model
These are print colors and they use printing inks to mix colors. The most common is CMYK color model. C= cyan, M= magenta, Y= yellow, K= black.
Choosing the right colors for your brand
Bold, passion, strength, action, attention, love, exciting, aggressive. Red usually works well on white and black.
Happy, energetic, sociable, friendly, affordable, enthusiastic, sunny. Orange is thought to stimulate appetite.
Logical, optimistic, progressive, confident, playful, creative. Yellow is too bright to stand on its own and will require a secondary background or bordering color.
Nature, wealth, fresh, life, harmony, environment, growth, new. It is used frequently to represent eco-friendly companies and products. It’s thought to be a calming color.
Trusted, conservative, dependable, honesty, calm, secure, cool. It is the most popular corporate color. It evokes trust so used they are used frequently for online businesses and financial institutions.
Royalty, mystery, ceremony, creative, unique, majesty. It is the most expensive color to reproduce.
Sophisticated, luxurious, formality, style, elegance, expensive, authority. It is often used by high-end brands either as main or paired corporate color. Black is sober and serious.
Most logos are designed in black and white first.
Fun, easy-going, child-like, internet, multi-disciplinary, authority.
Find some colors that are best for your personal brand. Take into consideration the target audience, message, values and personality of the brand. In your submission, explain how and why you chose these colors. You may send your completed assignment to me for review via my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Typography is the art of arranging letters and text in a way that makes the copy legible, clear, and visually appealing to the reader.
The design of a collection of letter forms.
The digital file that contains the typeface and displays it on your screen.
Georgia, Helvetica = typeface
Montserrat Italic 12 pt = font
They have serifs(feet) at the edges of the letter. They are elegant, refined and have a scholarly tone. They are mostly used on blogs, newspapers, books, eBooks and anywhere you find big block of text.
They have no feet at edges of the letters, are modern-looking, clean, geometric, easy to read, playful and more casual. They are mostly used for headlines, captions and short
descriptive texts just like these texts.
They look like they are hand written and are made of swoops, loops and curls. They are elegant, feminine and ornate. They are not good for body copy. They are usually used on logos and headlines. For example: Scripts.
They have lots of personality and are in variations. They can be silly, scary, fanciful and very serious. They are usually used as headlines or short emphasized text.
Key typographic terms
This is how you group your text with other elements to keep them together. You align element left, center, right or justified.
The color difference between your text and background colors. The bigger the contrast, the easier your text is to read.
The points in which your text is in, for example this text is in 15 pts. Your points should be no smaller than 15 pts.
The thickness or thinness of a font.
The order of importance you assign to different pieces of your text based on size, weight, color, position and contrast.
The space between the individual letters of your text.
The height of your text line.(a minimum of 3/2 times your font size).
How easy your text is to read.
The uniform spacing over your entire text line.
The art of pairing fonts
Find some great fonts online.
Set the right tone that is decide what you want to communicate with your design.
Select maximum legibility.
Keep it simple: when starting out, avoid pairing a serif with another serif font. Try serif + sans-serif, display + sans-serif, script + sans-serif.
Make it interesting by taking into consideration variety and hierarchy.
Choosing the right typography for your logo design
The logo must convey the right mood and tone relevant and practical in the context of your designs.
It should be interesting and distinctive enough to be identified and remembered.
It should be easy to read and understand at a glance regardless of where it is placed.
It should have various weights and styles that can be used on different platforms and occasions.
It should fit the demographics and expectations of your target audience.
Find some typography or fonts that is best for your personal brand. Take into consideration the target audience, message, values and personality of the
In your submission, explain how and why you chose (a) particular font(s). You may send your competed assignment to me for review via my email address: email@example.com.
Features of an effective logo
In designing a logo, it should be effective which means it captures attention, engages customers and can even turn customers into legal fans.
Straightforward and uncomplicated logos are easy to recognize and remember. For example: Nike
Make a meaningful first impression and spring to mind often especially if you have a positive association with it. Example: Disney
There is nothing wrong with thinking outside the box but relying on solid design principles is the best way to make sure your logo withstands the test of time. Example: BMW
The best logos work well across a variety of platforms and allow for variations in color, size and texture. Example: Twitter.
How you position your logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose and audience. Example: Nickelodeon
Features of a standout logo
Also it is important to note that a logo needs to standout and for that to happen, it should be:
It should make an impact and evoke a response that motivates people to think and talk about it. For example it can be funny, daring or well-designed.
This can be harder to achieve but can be like striking gold. Something outside the box.
It should be strongly rooted in the brand’s message and image showing that a brand and its mark are intrinsically connected.
When a logo speaks for the brand, complementing its tone and image, then it has a strong voice. The louder the voice, the more memorable the logo.
It should be a piece of a larger whole not a solitary figure doing all the work representing the brand. A logo that’s visually linked to its other identity designs is the key to a standout identity system.
Tools for designing a logo
There are so many apps and software that can be used to design a logo and below are a few of them.
Adobe Illustrator(the most used: you can get the software by downloading the Adobe Creative Cloud at a cost)
All these tools can be used to design a logo but I will show you how to design a logo with Adobe Illustrator which is used by many designers. You can learn to use the others by running a search online.
How to design an effective logo
Let’s take a look at the process of designing a logo. To design an effective logo you need to go through the process which makes the final designing of the logo easier.
Brainstorm some keywords.
You also want to know the attributes of the brand you are designing for; that is what they do, their mission statement and the message they want to put across through the logo.
Group your keywords together into 3 to 5 larger categories. Notice which categories have lots of similar keywords. The larger the category, the more weight it should hold in your design.
Find an image or graphic that represents each of your categories.
Grab some paper and start sketching any ideas that come to mind. Remember a logo can be a symbol, text or a combination of both.
Review your sketches and choose one that represents your logo concept (sketching your logo before designing it in illustrator helps make your designing easier; that is, most of the work is already done on paper).
Design your logo in your preferred tool.
Present a black and white version of each of your logos to the client for feedback and any revisions necessary to be made.(it is advisable to have about 2 or 3 different logos presented to the client and with each logo explain the concept
Make necessary refinements and if approved, present it in color for final approval.
Prepare and package your files for delivery (it is best to send them over mail or drop box to retain the quality).
Adobe Illustrator keeps evolving every year or so. Therefore I thought it wise to give you a resource where you can learn how to use it properly. Here's the link:
I will also advise that you search for other YouTube videos if this is not comprehensive enough for you. During your career, you would have to do a lot of research as technology constantly changes to keep yourself updated and be relevant in the industry.
Design a logo for yourself. Take these points into consideration:
How do you want to appear to your potential clients or employers
You can send it to my email for review: firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful links to help you learn how to design a logo.
For color palettes
To find typographies/fonts
For mockups, vectors and graphics.
Anthony Boyd graphics
The mockup club
Websites you offer your services to potential clients.
Wordpress(this is for building your own website)
Squarespace(for building your own website)
Wix(for building your own website)
I am glad you made it this far. You are a champion for taking this step to learn visual design. I have provided so many resources above to help you learn further. The tech industry is one which changes so fast and also a very high-in-demand industry, so you have to learn constantly to stay abreast with the trends and also stand out.
I will share with you some inspirational quotes to keep you going.
“I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.“ -Steve Irwin
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.“ -Benjamin Franklin
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude” -Oprah Winfrey
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman
Enjoy your new-found passion and happy learning!
Check out some of my work here