Designing a logo — Do’s and Don’t’s
Designing a logo for your comic can be surprisingly daunting. After all, many of us are either artists or we collaborate directly with artists. But designing a logo requires a slightly different skill set than designing a comic panel. So let’s talk about some DOs and DON’Ts that apply to good logo design.
DON’T use dialogue font
The dialogue font that you’re using for your word balloons is tailor-made for that purpose. It’s not intended to be used as display type — and that’s what you’re looking for in a logo. Beginners make this mistake often — both in logos and in book-cover design. Dialogue fonts don’t work very well in these instances.
DO understand the difference between serif and sans serif typography
Serifs are those little marks that are attached to the main letterform in some fonts — like Times. They’re there to aid readability in large masses of small text. Sans serif fonts, like Helvetica, do not have these little marks. (Sans is French for “without.”)
Serif typography tends to be very formal, and a little imposing — especially when it’s used in larger sizes (like a logo). Sans serif is usually more friendly and approachable. Thinking about the emotion you want your logo to convey will help you decide which is better for you.
DON’T work in raster
Your logo needs to be flexible. It needs to be able to be reduced to the size of a postage stamp, and it needs to be able to be enlarged enough to be displayed on the side of a building — and all without a loss in quality. Thaty means you’d be wise to work in a vector-based software like Adobe Illustrator. Working in a raster-based software (like Photoshop) is going to limit your re-sizing options.
DO emphasize contrast
Legibility is key to good logo design — and, in type, that means contrast. You may want to avoid gauzy images and blurry effects. And you’ll want your color choices to reinforce the contrast. If you’re not sure, convert the image to black and white (or print it out in grayscale). You should be able to tell immediately where your logo lacks the contrast necessary to be legible.
DON’T botch the kerning
Kerning is a typographic term that refers to the space between letters in a word. If you space the letters too loosely — or too tightly — you can end up with unintended results. Just ask the folks at Click Lovers…
Good kerning takes years to master. Thin letters — like lowercase l and i — tend to pull surrounding letters closer. Wide letters — like uppercase O and Q — may push surrounding letters away a little.
DO use professional fonts
Part of the joy of using a professionally-designed digital font is that an artisan who breathes typography has already programmed the kerning into the font. So don’t hesitate to purchase and use good fonts to create your logo. And if you want that hand-drawn look, take a digital font you like and trace it.
DON’T forget the border
If your logo is going to appear on top of a dark background, be sure to put a white border around it to help it from getting lost — or at the very least, prepare a version of your logo that features a white background.