Clifford Brown’s Logo Tutorial by James Martin

Hey there good people! hope all is dandy today… It’s James Martin here (@made.by.james on instagram) from the beautiful, rainy UK. This is the first tutorial I’ve done when it comes to showing how I design my logos, so I hope that you can get a lot out of it.

Before we get to the tutorial, I’ll give you a brief history of how I got into design in the first place.  When I was at college, i did an Art Foundation, which is basically where you study most of the disciplines of design. (sculpture, fine art, graphics.)

It was through the Art Foundation where I realised that I had a love for detailed drawing. From a very young age I would copy comic book drawings and any cool graffiti or tattoo artwork I could find; I have always liked telling stories through artwork and for me creating logos and brands is the perfect vessel.

I love what I do and the industry itself is full of so many epic and talented people. I think that the logo design industry is very unique in that perspective. People are always willing to share and collaborate with others, which is super cool…

Now onto the job at hand. Today, I’ll be presenting to you a logo that I created for a catering company that goes by the name of Clifford Browns. They opened their first brasserie about a year ago.

Meeting the client

My process always starts with a client meeting. Having worked with Clifford Browns before on their brasserie branding I already had a good idea of where I needed to take this logo direction, but still, I think it’s always worth meeting up with clients so that you can not only get a feel for their personality and vibe, but also get more info about what they are after.

After I meet the client, I will ping them an email or give them a call where I will ask them to scope the internet or look through a few books to find some examples of what it is they like and why they like it.

When this stage is done, I generally have a really good foundation to start sketching. I will now have an idea of the things they like, and what they don’t like. I will also have an idea of who they are as a business and their personality, which is always important when it comes to designing logos.

Image of the CB monogram in sketch form

Sketching on paper

After the meeting, I always start in my little notebook, which goes with me everywhere, doodling little sketches and concepts to get my brain ticking over.

A lot of designers will sketch up a few different directions, then present them to the client for approval on their favourite. I do it a bit differently…

I feel that through the client meeting and initial stages, I can gather a good knowledge of where to take it so I tend to go with the one direction and show it in it’s finished state… for me, seeing a bunch of sketches with no context doesn’t really bring the brand to life.

Context is important.

From there, I work with my client to develop the concept. I have a flat rate for logo creation so there is no extra payment for development and I don’t stop until I nail it.

At the end of the day, although I create the logo, the most important target is for my client to love it as much as I do. It will be theirs throughout the lifetime of their brand after all.

I find that annotating my work allows me to understand it… it allows me to critique the direction ‘out loud’ and it reminds me of what I was thinking when I drew it.

This particular logo for Clifford Brown’s was actually being embedded into an existing brand direction I had created a year or so ago and so I knew the colours that needed to be used etc…

It was more about creating something with the right vibe, something which spoke to their differing clientele both on the catering side of the business and their guests in the brasserie.

It was also important to not detriment their exiting brand ethos and direction.

Image of the clifford Brown's logo sketch

Once I had the visual down, it was about implementing the logo into the existing brand.

At this stage, it’s worth noting, I am still in the sketch book. Yes, it takes more time this way and a lot of people would be straight on Illustrator but I think you lose connection with the work by jumping into digital too quickly…

Get yourself some decent drawing weapons and enjoy sketching… long live the paper process, I say.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Illustrator, it’s a brilliant application and I use it every day but for me I just love to put pen to paper… it makes the whole process more enjoyable and tangible.

Image of a sketch of the CB logo design

Finalising the design in Illustrator

Finally when I am totally down with my chosen concept I will bring it into Illustrator to get it all vectored up…

once it is in here you can start to quickly play with colours and sizing to make it work with the design. As this logo was being implemented into an existing brand direction I had my colour palette down, it was just a matter of getting the sizing right and making sure everything else was hunky dory.

The logo as a whole is in keeping with the Clifford Brown’s brand, which is awesome, but  personally, over time I can see the emblem (CB.) will start to become synonymous with Clifford Brown’s Catering and is strong enough to stand alone.

Thanks for reading and stay boss.

Author: James Martin

James is a logo designer from the UK that creates some of the best logo concepts on Instagram. You can view his work @made.by.james

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