The purification stage.
Once your finished drawing the first draft of your logo, you’ll most likely have some rough areas that need tweaking.
Perhaps there are some spacing issues, maybe it isn’t as symmetrical as you were hoping, or the kerning in your lettering doesn’t feel right and that’s ok. Your first draft isn’t meant to be your final, which is why your next step is refinement.
This stage can take some time because you’re working out the precise details, defining the path as you narrow down your direction to the final concept of the logo.
First, take a look at your first draft of the logo. Yes, the one you just finished drawing. Are you seeing all of the things you would like to change? You need to highlight those areas.
Get out your lead holder with red lead or other colored drawing tool – the colored medium allows you to easily see what you mark up. Now go to town on your first draft pointing out all of the corrections you need to make.
Don’t be afraid to go all out highlighting; no one has to see your marked-up first draft. Once you identified everything you want to change, it’s time to start making those revisions.
Now it’s time to fix all of those areas that need refinement. This can either be done by getting out a new sheet of paper, or by using tracing paper. If your first draft has a fairly decent composition that you can use for reference, use a sheet of tracing paper to trace over your first draft. This is going to allow you to have a foundation to work from instead of starting from scratch on a new sheet of paper.
As you’re tracing, incorporate the changes you highlighted previously. You’ll find that thanks to highlighting your corrections in colored medium, you easily see what you marked up through the tracing paper.
An alternative from tracing paper, is to use a light pad. It will allow you to use a regular sheet of paper and see the drawing underneath just like you would using tracing paper. Of course, you could use tracing paper with the light pad and your first draft would be even that much easier to see.
If your first draft doesn’t provide you with a good base to work from, you may wish to start on a fresh sheet of paper. That’s perfectly fine. You’ll just have to start from scratch instead of having something to build off of.
There shouldn’t be nearly as many things you want to change with your new draft compared to the first, but you might notice a few areas that you would like to tweak. For example, you might want to try a different texture or a different lettering style, or maybe it just needs some more refinement to get the perfect balance.
If there is a certain area that needs work, instead of burning your time drawing the whole logo over and over again, focus on the specific area you want to refine. Use your tracing paper and only draw out the part that you need to improve.
When you finally come to a solution, you can stack it over the sheet that has your whole logo drawn out and with a fresh sheet of paper, you can trace the entire logo with all of the desired pieces.
If you’re going to focus on a specific area without drawing the whole logo again, you’re going to need to have a way to align it with the sheets that have the rest of the drawing. The easiest (and quickest) way is to stack and align every sheet to a specific corner.
For example, as you’re drawing on separate sheets of paper, make every sheet that you stack on top of another align with the ones below it by its top left corner.
Once you have all of the pieces drawn out, you can easily stack the sheets aligning them by their top left corner and you will be able to see the logo in its entirety allowing you to trace with ease.
Once you finally have a complete version of your logo drawn out where you feel comfortable with the placement of every shape, letter, and the composition is solid, use your liner pens to go over the pencil to darken up your drawing. By doing this, you increase the contrast between your drawing and the paper so it’s easy for you to trace on the computer.
Now you’re ready to move on to the next step: vectorization, which I will cover in the next post.
Do you find the refinement stage time consuming or do you enjoy the iterative process?
Let me know below. I’m curious how you feel about it.