Last updated on March 18th, 2021
Good design is good business. A logo can represent its brand only if it looks aesthetically pleasing to its audience. The design must be well proportioned if it has to convey a brand message. This is where the logo grid and structure become essential for logo designers. They use the grid tool to create just perfect logos to their clients’ satisfaction. Expert graphic designer Artem Goubin advises on how to use a logo grid and structure the right way.
Impressive logos have one thing in common. They are all symmetrical designs. Each of their design elements is just perfectly created within that smaller space. Only such a logo can leave a lasting impression on the onlookers, especially on a target audience.
Remember that a logo must convey the core message of its brand in a precise manner. This means that any disproportionate use of the elements of line, shape, color, etc will ruin its very purpose. A graphic designer ensures the symmetry and geometry of a logo design using a logo grid tool.
However, not all designers know the right way to use a logo grid to their advantage. They repeatedly make mistakes instead of sticking to some basics.
To understand logo grid and structure, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, recently organized a webinar on this issue. The guest speaker was expert graphic designer Artem Goubin.
During the webinar, Artem showed how to ensure that a logo is properly aligned with its different elements and how to build a grid and set up an artboard. He gave a step-by-step process of logo designing using the grid.
About Artem Goubin
Artem Goubin is a brand identity designer and logo designer with a rich experience of working for different clients from all over the world. He is an expert on logo structure, geometrical shapes, and trendy color palettes.
In this post, we have shared the video as well as transcript (in the form of Q/A) where Artem shared everything you need to know while using a logo grid and structure to create logos. Have a look and learn from the expert in your preferable way.
Transcript (Q/A): Here Is What You Must Adhere To While Using A Logo Grid and Structure To Create Logo Designs
What is a local grid?
Artem Goubin: Let us start with the simple example of a local grid. A local grid is something that makes your logo work well after it is done. It consists of many things like it should have a safe area and a safe zone around the logo. Also, it should have a proper geometry and angle.
But, the most important thing is your optical perception of a logotype. You can design a mathematically perfect logo. But, all this mathematics just won’t work if it is not proportionally designed.
So, I call a logo grid some kind of a construction blueprint with elementary shapes used. It is about combining elementary shapes in the logo. To make it look the way you want it to be.
If you are struggling with how to make a logo look good, just focus on some basic elementary geometry. So, first, everyone should sketch sometimes. Some people sketch with their hands. I sketch in Adobe Illustrator doing it with my tablet or with my mouse.
Using Circle Grid
Here is a simple logo. As you can see, it has many circles with the same gap. Some things are cut off, and you can see the final result. How could I do this very thing without making a logo grid? These things should be arranged perfectly. As you can see these gaps are even. So, how can you achieve this? This is simple, let me switch to Adobe Illustrator first.
I could have never done this without making all these circles. It could look good, but it won’t look this good as it is right now without first using these circles.
The next example of a logo grid is, again, based on circles. With the same with even gaps. It’s probably even simpler than the previous one. But what I like about this one is how simple circles can be multiplied many times and they can make a good shape.
Use The Shape Builder Tool
This logo is simple again, but it was made using a Shape Builder tool. You can access the Shape Builder tool by selecting the shape on Adobe Illustrator. Or, you can select all the artboards, but I prefer to select the shape, then press Shift m on your PC or Mac. Then, you can just drag your mouse through the grid and you instantly get what you’re planning.
The Shape Builder tool is a useful tool that I use many times. It helps you to feel and play around with certain shapes and get the result you were persuading. All in all the logo was made using just these even equal shapes. I started with these random circles and then copied them with the same gap between each other. Then, I just fooled around and placed them.
These two parts this one and this one are symmetrical. Here you can see a simple grid yet you can build perfect shapes from even such simple grids.
So, our next step is my concept of a bat. This bat design was a quite popular post on Instagram. And people were asking me how I was arranging the grid system for this project? Well, the answer is still that simple. The thing that matters is optical perception. This example shows you that it doesn’t even have perfect circles, it doesn’t have the same circles.
I’m not talking about symmetry. This is because the left and the right part of the logo here are the same. But the grid of the logo is not that perfect as it could be if I wanted to use perfect circles or something like this. So the first thing I did was to sketch a small bat. The bat sketch was a rough one, using my pen tool. And then I caught it off one of the haves and the circles that I use here. They are not perfect circles.
They are like more of an egg shape. I just decided to make the circle shape that fits the result I was chasing. I didn’t want to use any Golden Ratio and perfect circle or some weird angles. I just wanted to make good cuts of each curve of these bats.
So this very slide shows you that you don’t have to use some perfectly measured things. The only thing that is important here is that the whole bat design is symmetrical. So this hall was just copied to the right in the Shape Builder tool, I created this bat. Now we’re moving forward to something more complex and interesting for all the fellow designers.
Here, I want to show you the simple logo concept on the first site. But I was working on it for several weeks, trying to master and make it as perfect as I was seeing it. So, the whole logo is constructed by perfect circles. But the great thing about this very project is this very concept.
So, let me switch to the straighter and so I could zoom it in even better. I want to stop on this very project a bit longer to explain all the things that I’ve done here. The whole logo consists of only a few circles. And yes, there is a small detail at the bottom with the angles explained.
Different Circle Sizes
But anyway, a great thing about this whole shape is it has only four different diameters and they are related to each other in this perfectly done way. So the circle has the size of three B circles. And, also, the same size three circles, and in a circle is a C circle plus d.
The big circle can contain three small circles, which are the sum of these two circles. Then all these circles are applied. I’m not showing how it was applied to the logo, but how all these circles were put in the grid before the shape was done.
It has three eight circles right here. It has a small B circle in the middle and C and D circles that are in here. And in a year and a small part at the bottom, I was made with a 60 degrees angle. I will get back to the angle system quite a bit later. The beauty of math is there in this very project and I like how it looks.
This project is interesting because it’s also created by using circles. And each circle here you can see there are only three views. The big one, the blue one, you can see it right here, the middle one, there are six of them. And the small ones, just to make a few if you smooth and rounded shapes have a mark. The great part about this one is a logo in here, this and then reflected two times horizontal and vertical. This is half the reverse top half is the bottom half. So I was designing only the top half.
Circles Connected With X
What is great about the grid system, and every single circle is connected to an X. As you can see, the whole project is based on the next measure. People are asking me or asking me about what is an x? Well, I’m not going to put you into math too far. But an x can be anything, it can be 10 pixels in vector graphics, if you’re following vector graphics, you understand that? It doesn’t matter, it can be a 10 pixel, it can be three meters it can be 15 inches.
What is important about this is that if this measure is an X, the two x is the same measure just doubled the four x is the same x multiplied four times that is it that simple. This is a necessity to work like this, and I like to work. So if it was not a four x, let me explain. If an x is 1010 pixels or whatever, this 10 the Forex is something the pixels.
Make It Mathematically Aligned
If it was 42 pixels, would it be great? Yes, it would. No one would even notice that it is not that terrific. But what is important but it is important to me. That is why I’m a maniac about proper alignment. If I want a logger to look properly and perfectly mathematically aligned. I just do what I do. The whole project is based on x measure. Every diameter here the small one is two x As you can see, this yellow one is two x, the red one is four x.
And the big blue one is six x. I have a group in here, if we put a two x circle, then we put a four x circle. As you can see the four x is two times two x. And of course, the six x is the same. As you can see, the whole beautifully designed letter S concept was made by measures and every average finding here is related to an X measure.
I haven’t even had an X measure, which is this one. Again, this is not a necessity. But this is something that I like about my work about what I do. And this is the result, perfectly shaped. This concept is great because it is an asymmetrical one, you can use whatever you want it to. Just great. Hope you like it as much as I do.
Designhill: What do you always use to create an awesome logo?
Artem Goubin: The only tool I work in is Adobe Illustrator. I also use Adobe stuff like Adobe Photoshop to put textures and all the post-production things on my logo presentation. You can find these on my Instagram page or the faded and grinds effects. I also use Adobe Lightroom for the color corrections and I also work in Adobe After Effects for logo animation for sound design.
For some of my logo presentations, you have probably seen some of my words on Instagram. There you have this 3d camera view of a longer presentation. If you haven’t seen it, go to my page, check this out, people, people like that.
Designhill: How do you come up with the initial concept for the grid?
Artem Goubin: While this is not an easy question, I can answer it because the process is something I do every single day for hours. And I can spend many hours just fooling around with the simple grid. I will show you after the presentation how I start fooling around with the grid system.
But basically, it’s a grid net with 15 horizontal strokes and 15 vertical strokes. Then, I just fooled around with this system. You have to start with something simple.
Designhill: How would we know what type of grid applies to our next logo?
Artem Goubin: You can never tell what type of grid you are going to use for the next logo. It may be that a project does not require a grid system. For some logos, if it involves hand lettering, for example, you will never use a grid system. It is a matter of concept. If the concept consists of circles and symmetrical things and lines and is very minimalistic, then you will have to work on the grid system. It is something happening in my head when I’m working on a certain concept.
So, we have a brief with a customer. And during this brief, I was thinking about all the versions of the logo, and what style of logos a client likes. But I wouldn’t worry about this before we start the project. Then, you will come to understand whether to use a grid system or not.
Designhill: When creating a logo, there are so many elements or ideas that describe the product. How to break down the idea and put it into a logo?
Artem Goubin: When I start working on every project, I browse the internet for all websites like Shutterstock for stocks. You can even Google for things like an IT company logo. And have a brief from your customer. But you have to understand that even in every field, there are tonnes of logos.
So, in every business, there are millions of logos. There are many shield logos in the security business. But you can have a bird logo if you can explain it to your customer in the security field. You can explain that this concept is greater than some regular and obvious stuff. This is what I like about certain clients if they are very open to all the new stuff.
I have opened the golden ratio logo read example, it is huge, it is a big field in logo design these days. But all the beginner designers do not get too involved in Golden Ratio, because it is extremely overestimated. If your logo is done in Golden Ratio, it doesn’t mean the logo will look great. Let me explain what I’m saying.
Designhill: What is a Golden Ratio?
Artem Goubin: The golden ratio is the relation in which several squares and circles are aligned with each other. Here I have a small formula but you don’t have to worry about it. Let me show you a quick way to make a golden ratio circle and Golden Ratio design.
But the very most important thing is that it is done this simple. That is a simple relation of different circle ups. So, all you have to do is this crap is you have to draw two circles. Then you have to draw another one on top of them. You draw another one inside of them then draw another one underneath. Then you draw another one and you can keep going as much as you want. Every bigger circle is its relation to the predecessor is 1.6. And it has a lot of numbers after this digit.
Random Use of Circles
So, people just do simple circles based on this golden ratio relation. And then they put it randomly wherever they want them to put it. What longer grades if it has this, a lot of these circles from left to right, making a weird shape No, but it will be done in Golden Ratio. So just don’t get too involved in this system. It has nothing important, just some kind of a method to show off. Like making a presentation to a customer, my logo is made using a golden ratio. But it is not that important. What would happen if the circle would be two pixels bigger, nothing, maybe the logo would look even better.
But, since people are asking how to work on the golden ratio. This is the way how you work with the golden ratio, just draw this simple square grid, and drag all the circles on your sketch on your draft, make final tweaks using a Shape Builder tool, and you’ll be good to go.
This is an example of a golden ratio, logo designed, but please do not be so passionate about this grid system. It is a good thing, a Golden Ratio grid system not as good as people think of it.
So, we are getting to the whole logo grid system, when you present it to your customer, how to work on it, how to align elements within this grid system. And I’m happy to share this one with you. Even though all these posts, all these files I am showing you today are available on my Instagram page.
Designhill: What is a grid system in a logo presentation?
Artem Goubin: In a complete logo presentation, the most important part is a safe zone, which is some space around the logo that makes the logo safe? If you have all the elements of the text around it, the safe zone determines what gives the customer an understanding of how to put things. I showed such things to the customer when the complete logo guideline is demanded.
So, it shows how all elements are aligned together with the safe zone around the logo. It also shows how to pick the proper amount of a safe zone and arrange all elements. The answer is first to align all elements optimally and make things how you would want them to be this is what I do.
Draw All Elements by Hand
I first draw every element and every gap between letters or kerning or spacings all by my hand. Every element is done by hand first, and only then after I’m happy with all the elements I draw a grid line, I draw a grid around all the elements. As you can see, everything is done by hand. It is nothing special and every single line is just a stroke.
After I draw it, for example, this square shape. So if you put or if you choose a square tool and draw a square, the logo mark is a square. So what I was doing, you have a square. So, what measure could work as a safe zone, let’s say, let’s cut it in half? Now, it is too big. I would just show you my workflow in my hand, let’s just cut it in four times perfectly.
You have to have a starting point, my starting point for this very project was a square. So, I just decided to make a smaller square, four times smaller than this square. Then, I put on angles on the sides of this logo. And then I was allowing every element of the logo one-fourth of the whole logo.
Let me explain this thing to you in this very image. So this one was for x and four x, this is four times smaller. This one, this part is two times smaller. This one is, again, even 16 times smaller. So again, everything is based on an X measure. I hope you understand what I’m saying. What I am saying is, again, four x four x, I just drew this square and may have made a smaller part of it four times smaller. And then the whole logo. I was again, I had the logo done, it was looking pretty much the same, then I was making agreement around it, according to the next measure.
Probably some of my elements were just a bit like this. So, it won’t be this big problem to make it smaller like this to align to every single measure. And this is how I work for every project, I have a few slides more to show you that these things are done in this way. So here is a similar project. But the difference is that we have an x measure, as you can see here, and we have a y measure.
The difference of x and y measures
What’s the difference between the x and y measures? The difference is I couldn’t get the proper alignment of all elements using an x measure. So, I just made up a new measure, I called it y. All the text parts are aligned using y measure, and all the logo and safe zones using an X measure.
So, everything is done both in two measures. The project is interesting because I didn’t use any premade font and typeface. So every letter was created from scratch.
Use of Angles
The important part of my presentation was about all the angles I used. Because people frequently ask me, I can’t go too much into trigonometry and focus on several angles, just what I do. Again, this is not a necessity. But this is what I do. As you can see, a perfect circle is 360 degrees. So half of a circle is 180 and half of this is 90, and I use all angles. With a 15 degrees step, it is 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90 degrees. I use it in 90% of my work, but sometimes I can work on weird angles like 36 degrees or something like that. This is how I use simple and great angles that work pretty much for any case.
Designhill: How to snap all the elements to a grid?
Here Are A Few Tips:
i. Create Random Greed
Artem Goubin: So, first of all, let’s create random greed. For example, we want two circles and we want them to be connected. But when you start using a Shape Builder tool, you may find that if your elements are not perfectly aligned. And in a very big project, you probably cannot pay enough attention to elements. When you start working on a building you’ll find weird things that happen all the time.
ii. Use Outline Preview
My advice is to first use an outline preview. The outline is done by common Y or Ctrl Y, on PC. So there you go outline preview, sell when your shapes are close enough but you’re not sure if they’re close enough.
So, you could use the Shape Builder to use an outline preview and connect them like this. This is the first piece of advice for doing this. I did not use it that much as many fellow designers use but it is a great tool. Use the press show grid and the whole big grid system appears. There are lots of green circles around the artboard and then just press map to grid cell n
Everything you start designing is perfectly snapped to all these circles inside the grid. I was working on an outline preview because I didn’t like mapping to anything. Outline preview snaps to grid show grid. This is very important to keep in mind. I have already shown you how the builder tool works.
iii. Brush Tool
The brush tool is very useful. You just press B and draw something that is in your mind. You can draw it on top of your lettering. I use it all the time, even with my mouse, if I am not sure what shape I am looking for, after making the grid.
Designhill: How do I make a grid when I start a project?
Artem Goubin: There is a wonderful rectangular grid tool. Then, just press Shift and drag, it will have a stroke of your choice. And you can start making your logo inside.
But, what I do is probably not the best solution. This is something I’m used to. I just draw a line and drag it using Alt, Option, and shift. And then you press this command D as many times as possible.
So, you have lots of lines when you drag it and rotate it. And there you go, you have read, I know this is a pain in the ass. But this is something weird about the work I usually do. My grid system starts with this. And I hate using grid building grid in Illustrator and I do not use a rectangular grid tool. They are good tools. But this is just something I don’t do.
Designhill: Can you give tips or advice for beginners on making a portfolio of logos or designs to present to our possible employers?
Artem Goubin: I am not the best guy to answer that question because I am a freelance designer and have no proper portfolio. My clients recommend me because they have their projects in HD with a proper presentation. I just do not have enough time to focus on Behance and Dribble presentations. People ask me to create a YouTube channel to teach others. I would love to but I have no time because some projects take so much time. I work on several projects for two or three months, and they keep coming.
Focus On What You Want
So, my advice is to focus on what you would like to see. This is what helped me when I started my Instagram account. I was just posting things that I would love to look at on Instagram.
So just don’t be too focused on the portfolio. You may have a wonderful super high-end portfolio made of hundreds of pages. But you will just waste a lot of your time making the portfolio. This is because, after a year, you will find that your portfolio sucks. Then, you will have to make another one and waste even more time. So just don’t focus too much on making a portfolio. I think Instagram is a great platform to share your works.
Designhill: What is the starting price range for logo design?
Artem Goubin: Well, it depends on your skills, the customer, and the amount of work you are going to do. In my first year in design, I was working for free for every project. And I was glad to have any project to show my skills.
Now, I don’t have any starting price for a logo design because it depends on a certain project. We discuss the project first with the customer, then we discuss all its aspects, the timeline, and the elements a customer wants. I do not design a logo and work on the brand identity cases that involve and include many aspects.
Designhill: Do you present this process including the file source to the client?
Artem Goubin: My presentations are showing the logo with its structure and its system. I always show it to a client even though I can understand that sometimes, it is not that necessary. But according to my experience, every client likes when their logo is presented professionally, even using Golden Ratio. Even though the golden ratio is quite useless. People like seeing how their logo was done. I usually share all the workflow processes with the client.
Designhill: Is it mandatory to follow Golden Ratio while designing?
Artem Goubin: Golden Ratio is not that important. It looks great. There are tonnes of images and logos using the golden ratio, even an apple logo or something. But they are lying, they are not using the golden ratio, it is just a trick. So don’t get involved in Golden Ratio. Please create and don’t get too comfy. You will get to that point when it is necessary when you have enough fields until you keep creating and keep practicing. I’m still learning from many designers.
So, these are the major considerations you should pay heed to while designing your logo using a logo grid and structure. You will learn the entire process gradually. But stick to the expert’s advice.
As a logo designer, you can practice your art by working on different clients’ projects. At Deisnghill, you will find plenty of new logo design projects launched by business owners.
Just start working on those projects and win prizes as well. Get started with this marketplace to practice what you learned while creating logos to win design contests.
Working with a logo grid and structure in a professional way helps logo designers create symmetrical designs. But the expert designer Artem Goubin advises to first draw sketches of the logo by hand and use the grid. He shows how to make use of many circles in the grid to create a symmetrical logo. Then, use Shape Builder and other tools to put the design to the desired shape.