blogmakealogo1

The Golden Arches. The Swoosh. The Shell. You remember them all like you remember the lyrics to Ice-Ice Baby. It’s a company’s identity. Their logo. Their “tramp-stamp” if you will. A distinctive and unique icon or symbol of a company, object, publication, person, service or idea that best represents them and helps to convey its message to the customers in their market.

You’d think this would be simple and easy to make/design a logo, but it ain’t. Making a memorable logo that hits the mark is damn-near impossible unless you own a Mind Reader or, in fact, loose your own mind. So to help expedite the mind-reading process, we decided it would be wise to share our process in a logo design for our client, Resume Bear.

FUN & SERIOUS or COOL & SOPHISTICATED…

Depending on how you approach it, your logo design will create a mood. It will most likely have a hint of whimsy or perhaps a more serious tone. But what if your demographic or client wants to be a little bit of both?

There’s a serious danger heading off into one extreme over another when designing logos. This is the company tattoo and has a level of permanence. Sure, like the music of U2, a company will change its style by polishing the edges, adding a shadow, or giving it a new twist to stay on top of the times. But more often than not, the company will keep its image in order to stay connected to its long-standing customers and future customers. It’s the mood that will most likely never change. Does it make you smile? Does it make you cozy inside? Does it make you feel like they can be trusted? Or, does it do nothing for you?

That being said: Research is key.

First, you should ask your client a bazillion questions. This will clear the air, and through them answering question number 1,342 you might get a tid-bit of information that you didn’t even think to ask for that has become paramount in figuring out the plan of attack. It never hurts to ask a lot of questions. But it DOES hurt to hand over 15 logos and find out they hate all of them because it “just doesn’t feel right.”

Second, find out their taste. Ask them what logos they like and why? What is it about the arches that moves them? Some clients will have a lot to say on this subject and will help direct you in creating an understanding of what they expect. Some won’t have a clue why they like it, they-just-do. That tells you something about the client right there. My guess is that if you look around, find some logos that have the same style, look, feel and direction that you were planning on heading in and present those logos to the client, you might be able to shave off some time and save some brain power for the other stuff. No need in reinventing the wheel here. Think of this as a Rorschach Test – Hold up a logo and ask, “What do you see? How do you feel?”

BRANDING vs. JUST-A-LOGO…

That logo you designed is great, but – so what?! If you’re lucky enough to have a great logo it won’t get you very far if it sits in your closet with the door shut. So, it’s imperative to ask your client what they plan to do with their logo. Are they going to use it primarily as a stamp on their business cards, letterhead and website? Or, are they going to take it to another level and brand it by placing it on the side of their building, car, and t-shirts? What if they’re a Snowboard company? Chances are they’ll want that logo on their spiffy new snowboard designs and maybe even stitched into their hats and gloves.

In this case, Resume Bear wanted to not only have it on their website, letterhead, and business cards. But they wanted to get the logo on T-Shirts, pens and water bottles to hand them out to college students and the like to promote brand awareness. This tells us one thing for sure: The Logo Must Be Cool. Because if it’s not- kids won’t wear the Tee. And if they don’t wear the tee, the tee sits in the closet with the door shut.

It also tells us: The Logo Must Be Legible. And I don’t mean “textually”. If you’re gonna put a logo on a t-shirt and give out those t-shirts, chances are you’re gonna want a logo that says everything the company is at a glance. People do not read anymore these days unless it’s the new Harry Potter book. And I know what you’re thinking, “But Chris! It’s only one word, or sentence! How hard is it to read a name of a business?” People have more important things to waste their time with, especially students. To help them NOT waste their time on reading the words “Resume Bear” we have to either a] get their attention so that they WILL read the words, or b] do the work for them. Or, maybe both!

SEPARATION of BEAR and RESUME…

Resume Bear started out with a big, brown, passive bear holding a piece of paper in its mouth as if it just caught a trout. That wasn’t bad, really, but it wasn’t really cool either. More importantly, a big, brown, passive bear doesn’t spark any “job hunting and finding” memories in my mind. It just reminds me of a log cabin, green trees, snow on the ground, and campfires. It’s no different than calling it Resume Sparrow, or Resume Groundhog. A Bear, in and of itself, does not draw an immediate correlation to job-placement. And we’re not about to ask Resume Bear to “change your name, because this logo design stuff is really hard!”

An easy question to ask yourself, as a designer, is What’s The Focus? We’re not selling bears. And we’re not really selling resume’s either. But we ARE selling a service that involves resumes. So, RESUME then is the focus. And BEAR would then be the muscle behind it. What I meant to say is, “Resume” is the most important word to someone looking for a job and walking by this T-shirt. “Bear” is just the cool part of it all for that person walking by.

But how do you make a job seeker, or employer, who just reads the name of the company that Resume Bear is not about camping? How do you design a logo with focus on the “resume” part, but still have a bear be involved? Is it even possible?


SKETCH IT BEFORE YOU WRECK IT…

With my mind spinning on all these questions I took pencil to pad and braved the world of my imagination. I tried to imagine I was doing a logo for a snowboard company, a law firm, an apparel company, and more. I just drew whatever I could think of that involved resume first, then bear second. I also came up with a bunch of words that defined “resume” to me: Job. Job Hunt. Seeking. Employment. Paper. Suitcase. Suit. Text. Etc… Then I did the same with “bear”: Strong. Bold. Paws. Brown. Big. Claws. Slash. Hostile. Docile. etc.

And I sketched all that again.

blog.makealogo.sketches

Out of all the drawings I had, only a few stood out. And it made me realize – You can blend the two without losing clarity. Of course I loved the bear holding a suitcase [#1]. But does that stand the test of time? Does that really have elegance or is it too cartoony and fun? What has a professional edge, but still makes me smile?

Answer: The Origami Bear.

IS THIS SOLUTION THE BEST?

This is no doubt the hardest question to ask the client. But it’s even harder to convince yourself of this. And if you can convince yourself that this logo meets all the requirements you and the client have, then it should be easy to stand by your decision. Truth is, you can design logos all day, constantly coming up with more and more ideas every week. But no one can afford to pay you those kinds of hours, and no company can afford NOT having a steady, standard logo.

blog.makealogo.origamilogo

The logo we stand by is the origami bear because it did everything we thought it needed to do: It drives you away from “cozy”, “cuddly” bear; It doesn’t make you think of a log cabin and fire place or pine trees; It looks as though it’s made out of a folded resume, so it literally IS a Resume Bear; It’s charming because it reminds us of folding paper in class as kids to make those paper footballs, or fortune telling things; It doesn’t have an “angry” bear feel to it, so it doesn’t push an emotion on you [sometimes adding eyes or eyebrows to an animal or icon can give a “happy” feel like Carl’s Jr. Star, or an “angry” feel like the Bad Boy Club brand]; It’s professional AND charming at the same time.

At the end of the day you can only do your best without losing your marbles trying to read the minds of your clients. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research, do a lot of sketching, and design it out to see if it works. However, if you try to be as organic as possible and understand the breadth of clients business from the ground up, you will hit the mark – or come somewhere close!

Comments
  • Chuck Longanecker

    Great post Chris! The Resume Bear logo is my favorite to ever come out of dt.

  • mcgraw

    nice work, thats a sweet tutorial! super pro logo too! Your company is lucky to have you!

  • Dan

    Awesome post! It’s great to hear your process. It really shows that there is a lot more to making a logo than just making it “look cool.” Nice sketches too.

  • Simple, practical ideas here, very good!

  • Makua

    I really like the idea of that origami bear, even though I didn’t really know what to make of it (never heard of Resume Bear before), so there was no instant connection with a resume or job seeking service for me.
    But the article’s good nonetheless.

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  • John

    Awesome post man. Love the process and comps – clean, succinct and talented. Keep it up!

  • Jimmy Diggs

    I think the Bear Logo with tha Green background is great!!!
    Jimmy

  • Jason

    The process of coming up with a name and a logo seems to be very calculated….I think you came up with a good one.

  • Cynthia Ashton

    How clever and “fun”. What an amazing process. I clicked on the ResumeBear link to take a peek and find out where the logo was positioned on their site. The bear looks Right On!!

  • Nikki

    Great post, it’s interesting to see the process through the artists’s eyes. We logical types envy that kind of creativity.

  • I showed this to my daughter who has 2 degrees from the Columbus College of Art and Design.
    She (and I ) think it’s fantastic.
    Great work!

  • Bud

    Great article, I never really thought about all the work it takes to make an effective logo, now when I see one, I will look at it differently. By the way, I love the Resume Bear.

  • i love the theory behind the logo and how it was well thought out!

  • Bob W.

    This is a great article. I never knew so much went into creating and picking the right logo for a company. I guess this is why you get the best professionals you can afford to help. I love this logo and I did get it when I saw it.

  • i love the theory behind the logo! well thought out! let us accept this logo and move forward!

  • Gary

    Good article, cool logo.

  • Sean

    Great description of the logo-design process. Most of us want the logo perfectly designed and turned around in two days. Great reminder to build this design time into our business plan.

  • Bobbi

    Very in depth look at the process for creating a logo.

  • What a great idea, going behind the scenes of a company to see the thought processes of creating a truly work of art. I would never have thought so much went into creating a company logo. I know where to go when I am ready for a real logo.

  • Glen H

    I believe you have touched all the elements of a good and lasting Logo. One that will stand the elements of time! Branding of a product will follow with a Logo that is first class!

  • Tom

    As I am curently working on designing a logo for my new business I really appreciate the tips on the thought process needed to design an effective one. I’ll also suggest to my employee applicants to utilize this ‘Resume Bear’ site. It looks very practical.

  • It’s always interesting to see how others work. I too do the adjective breakdown before designing a logo.

  • Good article like the bear would like to see more deffinition of the folds in the paper.
    Consider use of “Track” , “Find” paw print trailing bear in the ilutration.

    Object is to have a logo that tells the story the bear is a tracking device that finds employment.

  • Diana

    Logo, branding, keywords, focus on the product….you hit on the most important facts to consider when launching a business that you want people to connect with and remember. I think what you have done with ResumeBear is brilliant. By the way, I like the green.

  • Mike

    Fascinating insight to the development process. Excellent result.

  • Great article guys. I look forward to seeing what you do for the ResumeBear.

  • Faye

    The trouble that I’m having, is with logos that deal with concepts, not anything that could be tangible. Nothing in it’s name really have any set visual representations I can spring off of. What’s to do in cases like that?

    Also, the creator is completely unhelpful and likes being vague on what he likes and dislikes in logos. ARGH.

  • > Nothing in it’s name really have any set visual representations
    > I can spring off of. What’s to do in cases like that?

    In my opinion – Anything you want! Realistically I would just kick back to RESEARCH the company and its demographic. Is the company a cell phone company? Is it a tech service? Do they sell hot dogs? Starting there and looking around the market to see what’s already been done will really help – it helps me.

    For instance, if I were to make a logo for a soda [soft drink] company… I’d google “Soda” and take a look around the image room. That guy over there is GREEN with bulbous text. That guy over there has cursive writing and a red label on the can. That guy over there has an in-your-face feel. A lot of them seem to have a CRISP look about them. Whatever the case may be you can get a general sense of the ENERGY that’s involved in the branding of that KIND of company by googling it.

    Half the work will already be done for you by checking out the competition. I mean, let’s face it – everyone is influenced by someone else to an extent. And if you’re not, then you didn’t read this blog anyway, you’re a genius, and you’re most likely living on a Tibetan mountain top with your computer tele-kinetically hovering above your lap. The rest of us have to do our homework.

    > he creator is completely unhelpful and likes being vague
    > on what he likes and dislikes in logos.

    That’s fine! This probably means he’d say something like, “Oh I don’t know exactly what I want… That’s why I hired YOU.” In this case – SWEET! Make whatever you want [as long as it has the same FEEL that his demographic is looking for] and present it in a way that lets him know it’s the best out there. Like I said, if you can’t convince yourself that this is the best logo for your client, then you can’t convince anyone.

    Otherwise, maybe he’s being vague because he hasn’t really found/seen anything he likes yet. Maybe he doesn’t really know what he wants because he hasn’t done his homework and maybe he doesn’t really care. All of that, in my mind, is actually good too. Even though you might feel like you’re being led by the blind, this is where you get to exercise your creative liberty.

    Let me clarify what I mean by “Feel”… I was in the grocery store one day and I was looking for pasta. Simple, normal, angel-hair pasta. I was looking around the isle and ran across all the usual suspects until BAM, a package design hit me square in the face. It was a white box with pastel colors on it and a pretty picture of the pasta, cooked with sauce on it. And I couldn’t tell you how unappetizing that looked.

    Why was I so grossed out by this box? Then it hit me- Every box or bag on that shelf lent itself to dark colors and earthy tones. All the pasta packaging on that shelf, other than this white one, had a recognizable feel. The packages were all supporting the roots of this pasta or its pre-established brand. Earthy greens, dark and heavy blues, LOTS of brown and LOTS of red. Some of the packages had land-scapes of Italy [or what I imagined to be Italy].

    But this white one? Ugh. Boring. Too sterile. It had no… FEELING. There’s nothing behind it that sparked my nostalgia. Your LOGO is that company’s package design, if-you-will. Yes, yes, you DO run that risk of becoming “unnoticed” and sure, SOME people DO love that boring, ugly white box with pastel ugliness on it for their pasta. But I’d rather play it safe than sorry.

    Another quick example: Cingular logo. What the HELL is that thing? No one knows, and no one knew. When it came out that they were a cell phone company, everyone understood, and no one walked away. Looking at it now, with company’s like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile… Cingular’s logo fits right in. It’s an odd little “Splat” but it works. Now what if Cingular had a logo that looked similar to the Puma logo- Complete with the kitty and all. Google it, I’ll wait….

    Yeah right. No WAY would that fly as a mobile logo. Puma’s text “Puma” could be a cool font/logo for a brand of TV or Recording Tape [like Maxwell]. But I couldn’t see this being a good Mobile logo.

    This is one of those things that happens to be very difficult to explain to most clients, or yourself. You just have to do the research, absorb what you can, and spit out something with that FEEL in order to be accepted among its peers. Making a logo that’s accepted but also stands out… THAT’s the tricky part.

    cCc

  • L. Drake

    As an educator, I found it very informative to experience the thought process that took place in the production of this particular logo.

  • Orcusdei

    show me how you do a graphic manual 😉 and how you put it on the pen on 1cm x 1cm resolution 😉

  • avisioncame

    Resume…bear…OH I get it.

    wait,do I?

  • Rob

    Really good stuff!

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  • Russ from Peacehaven

    It just goes to show you can’t be too careful.

  • The logo looks fantastic! Love it! Great work.

  • I really loved your sketches. The final logo is great too.

  • Thanks for sharing this process. This tells me I have some work to do in designing logos for some of my online stores! The Resume Bear logo came out outstanding.

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  • I’m new in the internet business field. I’m skilled in the graphics side, but I need info to learn about this business. I was going through your post and got a few pointers.

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  • Ian

    Interesting article, and a nice logo considering what you had to work with. But I wonder if there’s ever a time when you’d ask your client what on earth they were thinking about when they came up with such a poor name for their business.

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  • Hye, Thanks for share this information. It’s teach me how to make a professional logo.

  • Very very informative. This would help all graphic designers, the upstarts and even the experienced ones, get some ideas how to hasten up their work and come up with a logo in less than a week. Thanks for posting.

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  • I think you need to do it without the shadows. I think this has been done before. Can you actually fold paper like that? Is that just form an origami book?

    Just wondering.

    • Jamie Hamel-Smith

      Hi Frank,
      I’m not sue that the shape could actually be created out of origami. If it can be created then that’s awesome as well, but in this case it’s just a sketch.

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