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A logo redesign case study

Logo redesign key visual

A in-depth look at the logo design process.

Recently I redesigned the logo for Alt Dente Studio, a small award-winning photo studio based in Montreal, Canada. This blog post will give you a profound insight of the steps involved in creating an effective lettering logo.

Challenge

Sébastien Dubé, co-owner of Alt Dente Studio, reached out to me regarding a rebranding. After hiring two lettering artists with no luck – these two were creating a style Alt Dente Studio liked visually, but not something that suited their brand or spoked to their clients. Hoping for third time luck they reached out to me. Their old logo felt outdated and they wanted a fresh and creative lettering version that would still stand the test of time.

Photography by Alt Dente Studio.

Award-winning photography by Alt Dente Studio. © Alt Dente Studio.

Start & research

We started the dialogue and realized that we had a very similar approach to client projects and a similar design process as well. After agreement on timeline and pricing, the process started. In order to succeed with the new logo for Alt Dente Studio I needed to know as much about them as possible. So I started with interviewing Sébastien about their brand, history, clients and competitors. This is some of the information that I gathered:

  1. Sébastien and his wife Annie started Alt Dente Studio to combine the two things they love most: creativity and food.
  2. Alt Dente Studio´s core values are quality, fun, audacity (i.e. boldness) and friendly.
  3. Their customers are in the food, wine and liquor industry. The customers care about quality and the ”saliva” factor – meaning that you must get a desire to eat the food when you see the image.
  4. 
Currently Alt Dente Studio is doing 50% food photography and 50% food branding, but in the future they are aiming to increase the photography part.
  5. The work they do are characterized by lots of ideas and creativity.
  6. They see themselves as a sort of a punk alternative to their larger competitors more slick approach.
  7. Their competitors´ branding are in fact more strict. None of the competitors have a dynamic lettering logo.
  8. The most important use of the logo will be on their website. The logo will also be used on business cards, studio door and wall, promotion stuff as t-shirts, etc.

Brainstorm & inspiration

After the research part was over I started brainstorming. Mind mapping is a great method to come up with new ideas and connect thoughts. After the research part I have a sort of mental compass with suitable styles for the logo. This makes it easy to gather inspiration from different assets – I already have a clear feeling of what fits or not.

Logo design mind-map.

Mind-mapping.

Logo design inspiration.

Some of the inspiration.

Exploring options with sketches

On to the next step, sketching. This is were it finally gets visual. I usually start with really rough small sketches. This gives me a freedom to explore and still get a sense of the sketch is worth taking further or not. Sometimes I just sketch one or two of the initial characters to get started.

Rough initial sketches.

Some of the rough initial sketches.

Refined sketches

After doing lots of sketches I evaluate the ones that I find worth saving. From the rough small sketches I re-draw larger refined ones with more details. One approach I have found to be effective is to scan the small sketch, up-scale it in Adobe Photoshop and then print the large version. I then use my light table to trace it.

Refined initial sketches.

Refined initial sketches.

The one concept

Time to narrowing it down. I do not lock myself to the one concept approach, i.e. to only present one option to the client. Sometimes I have a couple of alternatives that equally good matches the brief. But in most cases I only present one concept to the client. I believe that it is my job as a professional logo designer to know which visual solution that is best for the project. This is the option sent to the client. I usually take the time to ink the sketch too. By converting the sketch to black and white the contrast gets higher and that makes it easy to spot flaws like different strokes widths, bad kerning, etc.

Refined chosen sketch.

Refined chosen pencil sketch.

Inking chosen sketch.

In the process of inking the pencil sketch.

From pencil to vector

Time to scan the chosen option onto the iMac. I then re-draw the sketch in Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes when you want that rough hand-drawn feeling I just trace it. But for this project I wanted clean crisp vector lines.

Revisions

After feedback I re-work some parts of the vector design. I also try the logo out in different sizes. In this project, as always for logo projects, the readability in small sizes were very important. The logo is used in a web site mockup and printed in really small sizes to detect possible flaws. Small corrections can really make a big difference.

Six different versions of the logo.

Six printed slightly different versions of the logo.

Test print of the logo in small size.

Double-checking the logo in tiny sizes.

Approved version

After getting approval its done, right? Well, almost. I still need to double-check all the tiny details to ensure that the logo is looking perfect in both tiny and very large sizes. God is in the details right?

Logo design vector close-up.

Time to polish the details in Adobe Illustrator.

Logo design vector small details.

I usually go for the 0/45/90 degrees technique when handling beizer curves – but no rule without exceptions.

Logo design vector corners.

Adding some slightly rounded corners to the sans serif characters to better fit the lettering.

I then create the necessary files for final delivery. Usually I deliver the logo in the vector file format .eps, for print and .jpg and/or .png for digital use.

Final version

This is how it turned out. The client is happy. I am happy. Great results are more likely to come from a good collaboration like this. And also, a good knowledge about the brand of course. Alt Dente Studio knew who they are, who their customers are and who the competitors are. A effective logo can only be created if you know this factors. Alt Dente Studio are at the moment printing the logo on different promotion stuff. I am really looking forward to see it in print. Glad to have a client that understands the importance of time as a factor to create quality work. Thanks Seb and Annie!

Logo design final.

Happy reading?

I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you thought of it by either comment here or through the contact page. I plan to write regularly around subjects on the value of lettering, effective logo design and results-driven branding. Interested in further reading? Sometime soon there will be a newsletter. You can email me right now to make sure you do not miss any of my future blog posts.

Have you missed my previous blog post? Read my 10 steps on how to grow your Instagram account here. Or have a look at the portfolio project for the Alt Dente Logotype.

All the best,
Björn Berglund,
Creative Director and Founder of Björn Berglund Creative Studio

1 Comment

  1. December 1, 2015

    Great article! Looking forward to reading your informative newsletter!