Logo Design Basics: School ID
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, February 10, 2009
- Middle School
- Graphic Design
Seven sessions (or more if time allows)
This is an introduction to graphic design with a focus on the fundamentals of logo design. Students will become familiar with the objectives and needs of a client and develop logo designs based on those goals. The lesson is divided into two parts. Part one takes the students through the process of logo design. They are challenged to design a new school logo. Part two asks the students to take their new school logo and apply a theme. This lesson focuses on school logo design; however the lesson may be applied to any logo design challenge.
Common Core English Language Arts
Strand Speaking and Listening
SL.6.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.6.4. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
SL.6.5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.Visual Arts Level III (Grade 5-8) Standard 1: Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts Benchmark 1. Understands what makes different art media, techniques, and processes effective (or ineffective) in communicating various ideas Benchmark 2. Knows how the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes can be used to enhance communication of experiences and ideas Standard 2: Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art Benchmark 1. Knows some of the effects of various visual structures (e.g., design elements such as line, color, shape; principles such as repetition, rhythm, balance) and functions of art Benchmark 2. Understands what makes various organizational structures effective (or ineffective) in the communication of ideas Benchmark 3. Knows how the qualities of structures and functions of art are used to improve communication of one’s ideas Standard 3: Knows a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts Benchmark 1. Knows how visual, spatial, and temporal concepts integrate with content to communicate intended meaning in one’s artworks Benchmark 2. Knows different subjects, themes, and symbols (through context, value, and aesthetics) which convey intended meaning in artworks
- learn the fundamental differences between fine art and design
- learn how to listen to a client’s goals and aid the client in fulfilling their goals
- understand the basic design process and objectives of logo design
- translate verbal ideas into visual images
- develop and refine logo designs
- learn how to articulate their design solution to their client
- Logo Design Basics presentations
- examples of different logo designs (as diverse as possible)
- Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or other graphic design software
- 8 ½” x 11” white paper
- other art supplies depending on the student’s project (markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.)
- graphic design: the practice or profession of creating print or electronic forms of visual information for areas such as publications, advertisement, packaging or websites.
- client: a purchaser of a service or product; a client looks for a designer to act as the translator between their voice/idea and their audience.
- logo: an identifying symbol (as seen in media formats such as print, television, business cards, etc.).
- serif font: serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface that has serifs is called a serif typeface. (Example: Times New Roman font)
- sans serif font: a sans-serif typeface is one that does not have the small features called serifs at the end of strokes. The term comes from the Latin word “sans”, meaning "without." (Example: Arial font)
PART ONE: SESSION ONE – INTRODUCTION 1. Start a conversation about the differences between fine art and design. Many students are not familiar with the fundamental differences between fine art and design and will need to be reminded that design is about serving a client, getting their ideas across to others, and not strictly self-expression but, rather, resolving a problem. While their experiences as students and their personal style will be extremely valuable as they design a new school logo, they must remember that they are designing to meet the needs of their client (their school). Consider showing examples of fine art works and design side by side and ask the class to speak about their different approaches, purposes, goals and audiences. 2. What is graphic design? Ask your students to identify different examples of graphic design: websites, logos, printed materials, t-shirts, etc. Leading questions: What purpose does graphic design serve? Does graphic design affect consumer choices? If so, how? 3. Show the attached Logo Design Basics presentation (slides 1-18). This presentation will show your students several examples of various logos. The presentation addresses the basics of logo design such as font, color, subject matter, scale, etc. 4. Review with your students the ways that logos are used to represent a specific organization, product, or brand. Successful logos may inspire trust, recognition, and respect for what they represent. 5. Present students with their challenge: Design a new logo for your school. 6. Each student will be asked to create a logo that fits these specifications:
- Designs must reflect the school’s mission
- The logo must incorporate the name of the school and mascot (a new mascot could be proposed)
- Final presentations should include one copy of the logo in color, one in black and white and one scaled down to 20% of the original size
- Digital files should be at 300 dpi resolution (print quality)
- Interview school leaders (have the class come up with a list of questions)
- Research the school’s history and previous identities
- Review the school’s mission
- Identify the school’s audience
- Identify the school’s future goals
- go for quantity
- one person speaks at a time
- defer judgment - there are no good or bad ideas
- encourage wild ideas
- build on the ideas of others
- Does the logo satisfy the client’s goals?
- Does the logo clearly represent your school’s brand?
- Does the logo work in a large and small scale?
- Does the logo work in color and black and white?
- A. primary color logo
- B. black and white logo
- C. Logo in a large scale
- D. Logo in a small scale (20% of original).
Students should be assessed by their involvement in the entire process:
- Did the student follow each step of the process?
- Did they help their fellow classmates by participating in critiques and providing thoughtful feedback?
- Were they open to changing and developing their ideas?
- Did they adhere to needs of the client and audience?
Enrichment Extension Activities
Differentiation for Elementary School:
- As a class, look at different school logos (local schools, other elementary schools, universities, etc.). Ask students to describe what they notice about each logo and what they think different elements in the logos might symbolize.
- Brainstorm together what different symbols they might use in their school's logo.
- Type out the school's name and initials, in caps and lower case, and in a variety of fonts. Hand out copies to students. They can choose the font that fits their vision best and collage it into their logo design.
- Also see Logo Design Basics: Your Name Here lesson plan.
- High school students may be considering graphic design as a future career. Invite a local graphic designer to the classroom. Have him or her describe their design process while showing examples of recent work, from their brainstorming sketches to their final design.
- Invite the graphic designer back to the classroom to offer critique during the evaluation/articulation session.
- After final presentations, students can vote for the most successful logo. Ask school administrators if it can be included in a special event or the yearbook.