Logo Design Basics: Your Name Here

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, February 10, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • Graphic Design

Subject Area

  • Arts

Lesson Time

Four sessions


This lesson is an introduction to graphic design with a focus on logo design. Students will become familiar with the fundamentals of developing a logo through font, color and image choices. Students will use their written name as a starting point to design two logos: one that represents an aspect of their personality and another that represents their interests.

National Standards

Common Core English Language Arts Strand Speaking and Listening Grade 3-5 SL.3-5.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled) with diverse partners on grade topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. SL.3-5.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. Visual Arts Level II (Grade K-4) Standard 1. Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts Benchmark 3. Knows how different media (e.g., oil, watercolor, stone, metal), techniques, and processes are used to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories Standard 2. Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art Benchmark 1. Knows the differences among visual characteristics (e.g., color, texture) and purposes of art (e.g., to convey ideas) Benchmark 2. Understands how different compositional, expressive features (e.g., evoking joy, sadness, anger), and organizational principles (e.g., repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast, unity) cause different responses Benchmark 3. Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas Standard 3: Knows a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts Benchmark 2. Knows how subject matter, symbols, and ideas are used to communicate meaning Standard 5: Understands the characteristics and merits of one's own artwork and the artwork of others Benchmark 3. Understands that specific artworks can elicit different responses  


Students will:
  • understand that graphic design is all around them
  • understand  logos and their purpose
  • learn how font, color and image can have specific meanings
  • translate verbal ideas into visual images
  • develop final logo designs
  • learn how to articulate their design solutions
  • have the ability to compare and contrast two distinct logo designs


  • computers
  • graphic design software
  • printer/scanner


  • 8 ½” x 11” white paper
  • pencils
  • other art supplies depending on the students' projects (markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.)


  • graphic design: the practice or profession of creating or developing  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.)


SESSION ONE – INTRODUCTION 1.  What is graphic design?  Show your students several different examples graphic design.  Explain that all books, magazines, posters, websites, etc. are designed by someone called a graphic designer.  They decide how these look and sometimes work.  For an example, show them the cover of an interesting book, an example of food packaging, or a poster and explain how the design of these objects reflects their purpose or content. 2.  Explain to your students that they will be graphic designers for a day.  Today they will be designing logos. They will design a way to write their own name that reflects who they are. 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. Note how a logo's font, color and image reflects the audience of the product. 5. Notes for Slide #17: Toys R Us might have chosen this font because it reflects fun and play.  The History Channel, which shows programs about historical events, chose a bold font that can be interpreted as writing ancient Romans used. 6.  Give the class a few minutes to individually brainstorm words that describe their personalities (bold, funny, shy, etc.) and interests (music, sports, technology, etc.).  When time is up, ask each student to choose one personality trait and one interest from their list. These two descriptive words will be the foundation of their logo designs. SESSION TWO – DEVELOPING LOGOS FURTHER Keeping in mind the personality trait the students identified in the prior session, complete the process below (students will develop a logo for their interest in another session): 1.  Font choice. Give each student a few sheets of 8 ½” x 11” white paper and a pencil.  Ask students to experiment writing their names in different ways (they can choose to write their first name, full name, a nickname, or initials) that represents their personality trait. Remind them that the way they write their name should reflect the word they chose to describe their personality.  They should experiment with some of the different writing styles seen in the presentation. 2. Choosing color(s).  Based on the personality trait the students identified, have them choose an appropriate color(s) for their logo (no more than three colors). 3. Choosing and simplifying an image. Ask students to think of an animal, object, symbol, etc. that represents the qualities of their personality trait. They can brainstorm a few ideas.  Remind them of the Blockbuster and Apple logos. 4. Once a final image has been identified, ask students to think about how they might simplify that image or choose a part of that image to make the association stronger. 5.  Now that the students have identified their font, color and image, allow them time to put all of these pieces together to make a final logo. Give them more paper to sketch. Ask them to think about several combinations of font, color and image use and also ask them to play with scale. SESSION THREE – EVALUATION AND FINALIZING LOGO DESIGN 1. Ask each student to present a few of their logo designs to the class. Remind the presenting student to articulate how their logo designs address their goals through font, color, and image choices.  Allow a few other students to respond with their feedback; encourage students to describe why or why not they like the designs and how they would improve them. 2. Ask students to finalize the chosen logo design, addressing any of the suggestions they feel were valuable in the class discussion. SESSION FOUR – COMPARE AND CONTRAST 1. With the knowledge and skills the students acquired in this lesson, ask your students to repeat the process by designing a logo based on the interest they identified in the first part of this lesson. 2. Repeat the design process above with the students. 3. Have the students compare and contrast how each logo represents both ideas differently through the choice of font, color, and image.


Students should be assessed by their involvement in the entire process:
  • Did the student follow each step of the process?
  • Did the student help fellow classmates by participating in critiques and providing thoughtful feedback?
  • Was the student open to changing and developing ideas?
  • Were they able to make appropriate and distinct design choices of font, color and image based on their goals for the two logos?

Enrichment Extension Activities

Differentiation for Middle and High School: See the Logo Design Basics: School ID lesson plan.

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