Logo Development with Alan Ariail

As well as taking the time to create a new logo, and do an interview for the site, Alan Ariail was kind enough to walk through each of major the steps that went into the development of the new logo up top, taking us from a rough sketch to a crisp vector graphic. So without further ado, here’s Alan…

What interested me in the opportunity to redesign the Typo Graphical logo was the complexity of the two words stacked and centered with  ascenders, descenders and very close spacing between each word. The challenge was how to make the words interlock in a visual appealing manner that was easy to read at any size or media. I contacted John and asked if he was interested in a new logo and got his approval to proceed.

As with all hand lettering I produce the initial step is sketching. My goal with sketching is not to make a technically perfect drawings. I opt for many quick sketches in multiple layers on translucent paper. One drawing on top of another to deal with flow of letterforms, contrast of positive negative space, ligatures, style and most important of all legibility issues. Every pencil mark on paper has value as all the marks eventually to lead a drawing I can scan and import to Adobe Illustrator for use as a template layer.

The first series of sketches are a progression from top left  to lower right which was used as the initial drawing template. I initially considered a Blackletter style and ended up with a flared serif.

I sent this image to John to show what I had in mind for the new logo. At the beginning of the vector phase I set up letter shapes to read the color of the logo. Basically a contrast study. At this point I decided to draw more sketches to find a better visual solution for both sides of the logo. I printed this image to use as an underlay for the next series of sketches.

For the next series of sketches I had to figure out a way to deal with negative space between the initial caps and beneath the baseline of the lowercase o. The flourishes required more thought. The lower right corner sketch became the new drawing template in Illustrator.

With a new drawing template in Illustrator I deleted my previous lettering attempt and started from scratch. The latest drawing was a big improvement. Setting up the flourishes was no longer a guessing game. The flourishes start as a single line path which is offset into a closed shape. The bezier points are pushed and pulled to shape the
flourish to the desired thicks and thins.

Once the vector drawing was complete I duplicated the logo to view at small size in reverse. At small scale I reached a conclusion the lowercase r, o and l needed more development with additional sketching. What looked good in the template sketch did not work with refined vector lettering. I had to improve the legibility.

The last sketch was nothing more than quick studies to simplify the letter shapes. This sketch was scanned and imported as a new template layer. I adjusted what was needed with the vector lettering and overall legibility of the logo improved. Separating the scroll lines from both lowercase p letters allowed for easy color scheme selection.

The TypoGraphical logo is currently displayed on a white background. A thick outline was added. The outline was copied and offset to the right. Both outline shapes were united as one compound shape with the pathfinder filter in Illustrator.

Even though I use a MAC computer and software to create hand lettering one of my most important tools is mechanical pencil. No matter what the project request is I can never rely on the computer alone to generate finished lettering. It takes a lot of trial and error sketching throughout the process to get from start to finish. I am always amazed at what a rough sketch eventually turns into.

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3 comments on “Logo Development with Alan Ariail
  1. What a fantastic design and article. Thank you for taking the time to document you process. I love seeing the progression of any art form, but this was especially enjoyable because I love lettering and graphic design but no little about the actual practice as a professional would. Very enlightening! Great final piece!

  2. Pingback: Custom Letters: Best of 2011

  3. Pingback: TYPO-GRAPHICAL | Typo Graphical Logo Tee

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