I began this week’s draft logo project by thinking about what, exactly, I wanted my logo to represent. I decided on creating a logo to showcase my overall topic; “A Cause to Create”. It’s an idea that I feel very passionate about and I hope to, one day, make this project a reality.
My first step was to brainstorm imagery and to try and break down the symbolism of what I wanted my logo to express. I started by writing down some general words that I felt accurately portrayed or described my topic. Since the objective of “A Cause to Create” is to utilize art as a tool to help people, I wrote down themes like; “community”, “charity” and “art”. Next, I listed the objects that I felt most clearly portrayed and symbolized those concepts. The visual symbols I came up with included things like, open-palmed hands, heart shapes, colors, people in groups, and art tools like paint brushes and palettes. I also did a google search of existing logo designs and stock images like “charity”, “artists”, “community” and “helping”, in order to cross reference the image ideas and symbolism that I came up with.
While gathering reference points and searching for images that related to my theme, I noticed a few consistent similarities in the design elements of the logos. When it came to logos that represented charities and non-profits, they seemed to primarily utilize simple shapes and smooth, clean lines. Additionally, when it came to the font that was used, a sans-serif style, like Helvetica, was almost always chosen. Considering that design is never random, I suspect that those particular traits and characteristics were chosen to portray a welcoming sense of approachability. The clean lines of both the design and font are un-intimidating and less complex. Traits that would be ideal for a non-profit organization or charity logo. I made sure to try and incorporate similar characteristics in my logo design.
After sketching out a few rough ideas with a sharpie and some highlighters, I decided on a basic design concept. A classic paint brush with the bristles being portrayed as long multicolored hands. I chose the paint brush to symbolize art and the various colored hands to symbolize the idea of community, diversity and helping.
To begin my design in Illustrator, I chose the rectangle tool and created a long horizontal shape. I set the fill to a medium grey color, and set the stroke at 0.75 with a dark grey color. Next I chose the ellipse tool and drew a tall narrow oval to intersect perpendicularly with the bottom middle of the rectangle and set the color to a medium tan with a zero stroke. To create a triangle, I used the polygon tool, and deleted two of the anchors by selecting them with the direct select arrow and hitting delete. I moved the triangle into the left corner of the ellipse/rectangle and used the “add anchors” tool to place several additional anchors along the diagonal edge of the triangle. To transform the diagonal edge of the triangle into a smooth concave curve, I direct selected each anchor and shifted it into the desired shape. To achieve an exact symmetrical duplicate of the triangle on the other side of the ellipse, I selected the triangle and applied object-arrange-reflect. I then selected the ellipse and two triangles and grouped them together to make it easier to move them on the page.
To make the “metal” part of the paint brush look more realistic, I used the rounded rectangle tool, changed the corner radius to “3” and drew two small rectangles to place inside of the original one. To create a metallic look, I gave them each a “radial” gradient and selected a medium grey for the center and a dark grey for the outside, then lowered the opacity for a smoother blend. For the text, I wanted something interesting, but also simple and un-intimidating, so I chose “PT Sans.” I changed the font to Bold, and placed it along the “metal” part of the paint brush where the actual brush brand name would normally go.
To create the many colorful hands, I used a series of the shape tools. For the arms I used the rounded rectangle tool, and for the hands I used six ellipse shapes. One large round one for the palm, and five small narrow ones for the fingers. I used the direct select tool and added additional anchors to adjust and customize the fingers. After I created one hand, I used the “copy/paste” commands to clone them, and additional anchors and direct selection adjustments to make each look slightly different.
After positioning the arms and hands where I wanted them, I changed each to a bright color and followed a rainbow color palette from left to right. I selected each “arm” and applied a “linear” gradient to it using the primary hand color and a slightly darker version of the hand color for the spectrum. I then adjusted the angle position of the gradient to -105 so the bottom of the arms coming out of the paint brush would be darkest. The effect is subtle, but creates a nice extra dimension to the overall design.


4 thoughts on “Illustrator Draft Logo

  1. Hi Valerie –

    What an outstanding job of explaining your design process, inspiration, and research. I was totally captivated reading your thoughts and found myself excited to see what your finished product looked like. Well done with your writing!

    Then I saw your logo and immediately thought: “How do I critique this?” The idea is simple and brilliant. The multi-colored hands are such a great symbolism of diversity and helping and are a great use of repetition.

    If I must find something to critique, I will tell you one of the first things I noticed was the little bit of white space around the yellow arm, above the word ‘Cause’. It doesn’t lay as nice over the other colors bringing all the hands and arms together so that could be an area to touch up.

    The handle of the paint brush matches the yellow in one of the hands giving it consistency up through the brush. However, since diversity is a big part of your theme, I thought perhaps making the handle a light shade of brown or tan. That would add another color to your diverse theme.

    As I finished writing this feedback, it dawned on me how impressive your paint brush handle is that you created, Valerie. Very professional looking. I really love this logo.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Valerie –
    It was interesting reading the research and thought process behind your logo. I had never thought to look at logos for similar brands for ideas but that was a great strategy. I work for a non profit and our logo is (like you said) fairly simple with straight lines.
    Regarding your logo, I love it. I love the way you incorporated the hands — different lengths, different (vibrant) colors, all outstretched from the paint brush as if they’re calling for attention or volunteering to be part of something. Your logo does a great job of standing out and telling readers about your brand; knowing nothing about your blog I would have looked at your logo and immediately associated it with art and/or design.
    I also like the more subtle things you incorporated, such as the radial gradient in the gray stripes of the paint brush.
    I can only think of one thing that you could potentially do to this logo — shorten the paint brush. It looks great as it is, but if I had to choose something (which I guess I do) it would be to shorten the paint brush a little — just so it’s not taking up as much of your length as the cool hands at the top. You could also experiment with different fonts for “A Cause to Create” — I like what you used, but it’s something you could play around with to see if you find something you like even better.
    I look forward to seeing your final logo –
    P.S. Totally jealous of your Illustrator skills. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Valerie,

    I really like the overall concept of your design. I like that you used a variety of colors for the paintbrush, and I think turning the bristles into hands is really creative. I also liked seeing all of the sketches that you did during your planning process.

    With the hands being different lengths in the paintbrush it makes it seem like the green hand will be able to contribute more than the rest. Did you try a design where all of the hands reach out to the same length or at least more similar lengths?

    I think “A Cause to Create” gets a little lost in the design. In my mind, I think it would be a really memorable logo if you could have the paintbrush painting those words. That way your message could be bigger, and easier to recognize. I noticed your note on your sketch about fonts; I think you’re right that a lot of companies use san-serif in an attempt to not be distracting and be more approachable. However, your theme is all about being creative, so don’t be afraid to try something different. Maybe just try a creative font on the word “creative” and have the rest of it be san-serif?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I initially began the logo draft assignment, I found it particularly challenging to come up with a cohesive visual representation of the two elements that I was trying to combine; Art and Non-profit. I had a few hesitations about certain design aspects of my logo draft, and was eager to see the thoughts and feedback from my group. I found the feedback I received during the Photoshop assignment to be incredibly helpful, and I knew that I would receive the same honest and thoughtful suggestions during this assignment, as well.
    One element of my design that was mentioned was the font that I chose for “A Cause to Create”. After looking at it again, I agree with the suggestion that it may be too simple of a font. I think that experimenting with some more creative lettering, to go with the creative theme, could be a great improvement for the final logo. The length of the various hands could possibly be improved on, as well. It was suggested that they may work better if they are slightly closer together in length, instead of the green hand sticking out so prominently. I agree with the comment that it may come across as the green hand appearing to be “trying more” or “trying harder” than the others. It was also pointed out to me that there is a bit of accidental “negative space” in between the spacing of the yellow and green hand, something that can quickly and easily be fixed.
    I look forward to implementing some of these ideas into my final logo so I can, hopefully, produce a creative and unique final design.


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