Congratulations to the Carolina Panthers for making it to the Super Bowl this year! Only one loss all season, and that to a team in their division with whom they split games… so basically they beat everyone on their schedule so far at least once. That, and the itch to draw, prompted me to recreate their official NFL team logo this week.
It is fun to design new logos, but I also enjoy recreating vector versions of logos that I like. Sometimes these things also sneak into comic strips or parodies that I do, so don’t be surprised if you see this pop up elsewhere now that I have a clean rendered version.
Remember, if you are interested in requesting my services as a Technical Illustrator, please use the Contact page and provide me with as much information as you can about your request.
Over the past year I have been doing a lot of cartooning and doodling, and generally trying to stretch my skills while letting my creativity flow a little more than I typically have in the professional world. The cartooning is fun, but I’ve made more money with Technical Illustration over the years, and I decided it was time to add some of that to my blog.
I’m kicking things off with something that will appeal to a wider audience than your usual technical drawing… a Dalek! Doctor Who has been running more or less since the 1960s, and there are several variations of Daleks at this point. For no particular reason other than I generally liked it, this drawing is based on a Dalek from the new series.
When I began this illustration, I intended to do a straight black and white (i.e. no shading or color) illustration. As I dove into it, however, I realized some parts were just not going to look as good without some shading… so I did a lot more shading and coloring than I originally intended. To balance what I originally envisioned with what I found myself doing, I decided to stick to grays for all the shading with the exception of that little dab of cyan in the eyestalk.
Please let me know what you think of this… and be on the lookout for more illustrations in this vein in the near future! Also, if you are interested in requesting my services as a Technical Illustrator, please use the Contact page and provide me with as much information as you can about your request.
Here are some of the most common logo design questions that I have been asked. If you have any questions not covered by this FAQ please leave a reply to this post and I will try to give you a timely response. If you are interested in requesting my services as a logo designer, please use the Contact page and provide me with as much information as you can about your request.
What should a professional logo design cost?
You have probably seen the ads for “$50 Logo Design” and wondered if it was too good to be true. The answer is a definitive maybe. Without disparaging any particular artist or agency, here are reasons why you might want to steer clear of such an offer:
- They might use public domain clip-art to develop your logo. It means they can come up with a clean design fast, and you are perfectly legal in using public domain clip-art in your logo, but you will not be able to trademark your logo design if it incorporates clip-art.
- They only allow a couple of review/correction cycles. If everything is absolutely perfect out of the gate and they follow your directions precisely, then you might be ok… but you might also reach the end of your allotted revisions and find you either have to pay for incomplete work or have to pay a lot more for further design work, which means the initial price quote was misleading.
- They provide a limited selection for final image file types, usually a bitmap-only form like TIFF, PNG, JPG. A bitmap format can be fine if it is higher resolution than you ever need it to be in the manner in which you intend to use your logo… but if you need your logo scaled larger or a different color combination, you typically have to pay more and again for each additional scaled version or color change.
Reasonable pricing for a logo design depends on several factors, including how much design is necessary (do you know what you want or are you looking for the logo designer to figure that out) and how you intend to use it. A good logo designer is going to come up with several designs for you to choose from, and will design variations to accommodate the varied uses for your logo. He will also research to try and ensure your logo stands out from others in your area of business, doesn’t infringe on other existing designs, and doesn’t contain any components that would prevent you from trademarking your logo.
Professional logo design can take a lot of time and work. Depending on the complexity of your logo, it might cost more than you think but not more than it’s worth. Professional logo designers typically charge anywhere from $30-$250 per hour depending on their skill level, experience, and size of their published portfolio. A single logo might cost anywhere from $300-$5,000. Most logo designers also factor in the size and budget of the business requesting the logo, so smaller companies or individuals can probably find something on the lower end of the scale more easily than a large corporation.
Before the sticker-shock scares you off…remember your logo design represents you. I have lost count of the number of times I have been approached by someone who has already paid once or twice to one of those cheaper design companies for logos they cannot or don’t want to use and are now shopping around for their third or fourth logo designer price quote. For the amount they already paid a few times over for poor or unwanted designs, they usually could have had one good professional design done right the first time.
How much time will it take to design my logo?
A lot depends on the status of your design when you come to the logo designer. Do you have a solid and well-researched design concept already and mostly just need a professional to draw and tweak it a little? Do you actually already have a final logo design completed by someone else but you just need a different file format and perhaps minor changes to the design? You could conceivably go through the whole design process in just a few days with a few revision cycles if you and the logo designer are available to connect and re-work changes quickly. Basically, you’ll save money and have your logo quicker the more work you put in yourself before contacting the logo designer.
If, however, you basically just know that you need a logo or perhaps have some vague concepts of what you might like… that’s a whole new ballgame. A professional logo designer will want to spend time researching your company or product as well as similar companies or products that already exist. Current and past trends as well as potential future-thinking designs are considered and he should come up with at least a few different ideas for you to choose from. Be prepared that you might like none of these initial ideas and send the designer back to the drawing board, so it could take a couple of tries to get an idea you like when you start with no ideas at all.
Anywhere from a few days to a few months could be reasonable time from start to finish for a professional logo design.
What file formats should I ask for?
Ultimately it depends on how you intend to use the logo design. For many uses, a high-resolution bitmap format might be more than sufficient. However, I recommend you work with someone who will do as much of your design in a vector format as possible and will provide the original source when you pay for your final logo design.
If most or all of your work is in a vector format, it will be much easier later to scale to larger sizes if your future needs change from what you anticipate today and you will not need to go back to a logo designer and pay to have this done. It will also be easier to make minor design changes or create other color combinations from the original source.
Bitmap formats typically are TIFF, PNG, JPG, etc. and are useful for Web design or other places where you don’t need higher resolution than the format provides and don’t need to scale larger.
Vector formats typically are EPS, PDF, or source files like AI (Adobe Illustrator) or CDR (Corel Draw) and are imminently more flexible for any future design changes or scaling you might decide to do later.
You might be able to make these minor future changes yourself… or if you built a rapport with your logo designer and use him for other work or recommend others to use him, you might find he is willing to do minor changes like color or scaling for you in the future when you need it to keep you as a customer.
In my opinion, a professional logo designer should at minimum provide you with the original source file (such as AI or CDR), a high-resolution bitmap format (such as 300dpi or higher TIFF), and at least discuss with you options for other formats, sizes, or color combinations when finalizing the project.