Arts & Entertainment, Design & Style

Developing a Logo

David Carson

Lesson time 10:19 min

David talks through what makes logos successful and demonstrates how he iterates on different logo directions from his home studio.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Case Study: Make It Recognizable • Case Study: Logos Can Humanize • Show a Lot of Ideas


[MUSIC PLAYING] - A logo is an image, just like a word is an image. And a logo is something we want to recognize, I think, from a distance, that people want to put on their hats, on their T-shirts, and certainly their website, and maybe their expensive car too. But it's knowing something about the company, their audience, and then going in and representing it in a way that people notice, people remember. That it separates them from their competition. Are they experimental? Are they conservative? Are they, you know, whatever it is. And without getting too literal. I think the more literal the logo gets, the less interesting it is. If you're a coffee shop, and you show kind of a faraway, nice shot of a coffee cup, well, that's okay. That's probably what a lot of them do. But maybe there's a more interesting angle. What does the coffee cup see? Maybe that's a cool angle. What do you see if you're looking down at the coffee cup? What do you see if you come inside to it? What does the coffee machine see? And then in doing that, you can hint that, hey, this coffee shop's kind of different, or this is worth checking out, or this is not your typical blah, blah, blah. It can send a message that there's a-- that, hopefully, is then followed through when you go into the store, when you go on their site. But you can hint at that. You can intrigue people. You can give them a good feeling about that brand. This particular company didn't want something too crazy or too out there. And to be honest, like a lot of them, they didn't really know what they wanted. And they wanted just some ideas. At some point, playing with this particular logo, I realized, well, the magicseaweed, so the W, I could just use the M and turn it around so it helps give some continuity to the logo. And then the S, something as simple as just turning it on its side, to me, emphasized a bit of the motion of surfing or waves. There's just something there, and it stayed very readable. One of their requirements is they needed the name on there because people weren't sure if it's two words or three words. But I think it works as part of the whole logo. If you took any of that away, it wouldn't work quite as well. So the word is actually touching the letters. It's just clean. It's simple. It's a nice font. I think it works. And it's held up pretty well. In terms of ways of working, I often still think, okay, are people going to want this on their shirt, on their T-shirt, on their coffee mug? And if they do, you've probably stumbled upon a pretty good logo. So with the C-Skins logo, I knew that it's a crowded field. And these wetsuits that they're often on are traditionally black, and there's a lot of them, and they're maybe far away in the ocean, or a foggy day, or whatever. And how can you get yours to stand out? You know, simplicity is hard to do sometimes with real impact. But it's a great way to work if you can accomplish it. I did a pol...

About the Instructor

From Ray Gun and Transworld Skateboarding magazines to surfboards and potato chip bags, David Carson changed the trajectory of graphic design by never following the rules or sticking to the grid. Now the pioneering designer is sharing his intuitive approach so you can send a message with boundary-breaking work. Explore typography, photography, logo design, and more as you learn how to make an impact and trust your gut.

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David Carson

Pioneering graphic designer David Carson teaches you his intuitive approach to creating work that breaks rules and makes an impact.

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