“Geometric Harmony” is perhaps the most important element of logo design, but it’s so often overlooked. Without prior experience, it’s almost impossible to know how integral the balance of shapes and lines is for your brand’s emblem. This is why a logo grid is so useful.
It acts as a reference point to start your design and helps when you have to scale the image to different sizes. Using a mathematical approach, you can create elements that are numerically proportional. By starting with a grid as a guideline, you ensure a professional-quality design that’s balanced and aesthetically pleasing.
Logo Grid 101
If you’ve never worked with logo grids before, they may seem overwhelming. Images of broken-down logos exist everywhere, and the mass of lines, equations, and angles would be enough to put anyone off. Getting back to the basics makes it easier to understand how logo grids work.
- Logo grids are used by designers. The lines on them are used to inspire shapes and can unlock the potential for geometric emblems that wouldn’t be possible using freehand.
- Logo grids are often squared (like traditional graph paper), but they can also be made up of other shapes, such as circles and triangles.
- Your logo doesn’t have to match the lines of the grid exactly; they’re there mainly for inspiration.
- Logo grids make the most of negative space, so designs don’t look cluttered.
- Designing with a logo grid means it’s easy to scale the logo design without sacrificing the original proportions.
- Logo grids mean several designers can work on a project at the same time, as it’s easy to modify and remain consistent using this format.
Once you understand the core elements using logo grids, it’s easier to appreciate their benefits.
Why Choose a Logo Grid?
Logo grids take time and energy to create, so are they really worth the effort? If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make a logo, you might not want to spend too much time with a ruler making lines that will be eventually erased anyway. However, forgoing the grid might actually make designing take longer, as their many benefits help you create a polished logo without the need for constant revisions. Here are just a few advantages of this design tactic.
Visual Art Rules
The human eye is known to react positively to certain visuals and patterns. In art, rules exist that will automatically heighten the aesthetic success of a piece of work. Think: the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, or the Fibonacci sequence. Using a grid makes it much easier to apply these features to your logo.
Symmetry, Accuracy, and Consistency
Professionalism is essential in logo design. Elements that communicate a high level of design include symmetry, accuracy, and consistency. These factors are almost impossible to ensure using freehand, but with a grid, they can be mathematically calculated to guarantee perfection.
One crucial benefit of using a logo grid is that it allows you to see designs that aren’t actually there yet. Instead of having to pull shapes and icons from your imagination, you can see them within the lines of the grid. This technique can elevate the creativity of your design significantly.
Breaking the Grid
Like any artistic rule, the true masters know that creating something unique means breaking out from convention. However, to successfully move beyond the grid format, you need first to understand it intrinsically. Only by mastering a technique can you truly learn to reshape the mold.
It’s also worth noting that logo grids are not always the answer. Some designers find that they actually stem their creativity, as they’re unable to see potential outside the set lines. However, it’s still worth pursuing this method, as the only way to understand if it’s restricting your design is via trial and error.
Common Logo Grid Examples
To understand how logo grids work, it helps to look at common examples. Many of the most famous emblems have been created in this way. If you reinstate the grid lines, you can see how the artist used the idea of shape and space to create the final image. Here are just a few examples of common logo grid styles, and design they’ve facilitated.
The most common logo grid uses squares. You start with a template that looks exactly like the graph paper used in school. As you can see from the examples below, the first step is to fill in the boxes that you want to be opaque. It’s important to note that the entirety of each square doesn’t need to be filled. For example, the “engadget” logo uses parts of the boxes to create a rounded font effect.
Similarly, once your design is complete, you can play with the angles and spacing of the boxes. As you can see in the “UBER” logo, editing some of the squares so they exist on a slant is an easy way to create a uniform italic style. As is evident, logos made from square grids can still use circles and other shapes; it’s just that the overall effect remains box-like.
Another popular logo grid uses circles. These rounded shapes are popular choices as, according to shape psychology, they communicate inclusivity, community, and sturdiness — all of which are desired brand identities. Unlike square grids, circles are more freeform and allow for greater creativity. One common example of this is the Twitter logo, which heavily relies on circles to influence the proportions of each element of the shape. Although the emblem may appear simple, the complexity of the grid speaks to work that’s gone into its creation. By constantly maintaining a balance of shapes, it’s way more visually pleasing than if it had been drawn freehand.
The golden ratio has been around almost as long as art and design. Developed by Greek mathematicians, it dictates the most “beautiful proportions” of shapes. Most will recognize the golden ratio as a spiral grid that’s applied to photography, painting and — you’ve guessed it — logo design. The grid comprises squares that gradually increase in size, which are placed in a specific way to create the spiral effect. By keeping within these proportions when developing your logo, you can ensure it will be aesthetically pleasing and retain a professional quality that’s essential for success.
This idea is exemplified by the logo below. The golden ratio has been used to dictate how the fox’s body is proportioned. Its back is perfectly aligned with the spiral, which, when taken away, gives the logo a sleek and attractive overall appearance.
Creating a Logo Using a Logo Grid
The first step is to understand what a logo grid is; the next step is to know how to actually use one. If you’re a small-business owner, you many not have the most design experience. Fortunately, several avenues exist that can make the process easier. Deciding the best one for you will depend on your skill as an artist.
Most professional designers use software, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Both of these programs allow you to create a logo grid before you input your design. This method is the best choice for those who have some digital experience but aren’t the best artists. You can input shapes, icons, fonts, and images around the grid to create your final design.
Pen and Paper
If you have more traditional artistic experience, there’s nothing wrong with the old pen and paper method. Start by using a ruler or compass to create your initial logo grid; then you’re free to experiment using the lines. The only downside to this is that there’s less room for error, as you’ll have to erase the grid if you make a mistake.
Hire a Designer
If you’re not confident as a designer, don’t worry! Plenty of online outlets exist that let you hire a designer to complete your logo. The best value for money is to use a crowdsourcing website. On platforms like crowdspring and HiretheWorld, you can set up a design contest and create a detailed design brief which will be sent to freelancers. Then they submit designs, and you pick for your favorite. You can specify the type of logo grid you’d like to use in the project description, as well as any other elements of your ideal emblem. To learn more about these platforms, read our crowdspring expert review , or our HiretheWorld expert review . Design contests are great options if you don’t have too good an idea of the design you’re after, and you’re open to exploring a variety of styles and ideas.
Another option, though perhaps a little more pricey, is to hire a professional designer directly. This is a great choice if you’re clear about your logo’s ideal design concept. Like crowdspring and HiretheWorld, 99designs is another crowdsourcing platform, but it also gives you the option to directly hire a designer that the platform’s quality-assurance team have personally screened themselves. To learn more, check out our 99designs expert review .
Create a Professional Quality Logo for Branding Success
It’s so easy to overlook the importance of a professional-quality logo. Many small businesses believe they can be successful without spending much time and effort on emblem design. However, studies have shown that it takes only ten seconds to form an impression of a logo. First impressions are crucial in creating customers who will return again and again. So, ensuring that your logo communicates the message you want is essential for success.