cursive m logo

M, or m, is the thirteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin Writing cursive forms of M. Usage. Writing system, Latin script. Join me on this mission to keep cursive alive! I'm Younghae, a left handed calligrapher, mom of 3 active boys, and creative entrepreneur based in. Find out how the logo has got its famous “M” from the article below. black logotype in a title case of a custom cursive typeface.

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Easy Way To Draw a Monoline Logo Using Guides in Illustrator

Logos today err on the side of simplicity. Peoples state bank rhinelander wisconsin of Google, Airbnb, and Spotify’s sans-serif wordmarks and flat designs, and you can see that “less is more” is a popular branding approach.

It was a different story two decades ago. The 1990s were a time of bright colors, bold geometric patterns, and snazzy typography. From hit TV sitcoms to beloved candy brands, we’ve gathered 21 of our favorite 90s logos to jumpstart a trip down memory lane.

1. MTV

MTV’s iconic logo consisted of similar design elements seen in graffiti art. With shared concepts of freedom and rebellion geared towards youth, MTV did a great job appealing to its young audience.

The size and prominence of the “M” signified the network’s exclusive focus on music in its early days, living up to its name “Music Television.”

MTV logo from the 1990s.

2. Cartoon Network

The Cartoon Network’s seven-by-two-square grid with the company’s name was one of the most recognizable logos in the television space in the 90s (the squares have since been reduced to “CN”).

The alternating black and white blocks featured a playful yet strong custom typeface, reflecting the fun nature of the network.

Cartoon Network logo from the 90s.

3. Nickelodeon

With a target audience of children aged six to 17, Nickelodeon’s 90s logo featured an orange splat with the company’s name. The bright color depicts cheerfulness, youth, and energy.

A rounded, sans-serif custom typeface with character features (see the “O”) was the obvious choice, as a serif typeface would have been seen as too conventional.Orange Nickelodeon logo from the 90s.

4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air logo featured a graffiti-inspired typeface paired with a more traditional serif font. The wordmark is illuminated by a pink bleed, creating a spray-can effect.

The graffiti elements represent Will, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia; the serif font represents his well-off family members. The contrast reflects the differences between the two.Fresh Prince logo from the 90's.

5. Friends

The logo for the hit 90s sitcom consists of an all-caps wordmark, separated by six colored dots, believed to represent each of the six friends (these dots are also the color of the umbrellas the cast holds in the show’s title sequence).

The custom typeface looks as though it were handwritten with a permanent marker, reflecting the show’s playful personality and the friends’ lasting bond.

Friends logo from the 90s.

6. Seinfeld

The Seinfeld logo features a softly italicized serif font against a slanted yellow oval, representing the mature yet quirky nature of the show, following the comedic (and relatable) situations of young adults living in New York City.

The yellow oval signifies the spotlight on Jerry Seinfeld, who tells his stories to an audience in a comedy club.

Seinfeld logo from the 90s.

7. Saved by the Bell

Saved by the Bell followed the lives of six teenagers in the Pacific Palisades area. The circle logo consists of multiple typefaces in bright colors, communicating the cursive m logo nature of the show.

The word “Bell” is in yellow, resembling the gold of a handheld school bell. The letters are slanted towards the right in a jagged, overlapping arrangement to illustrate a ringing effect.

Saved By The Bell logo from the 90s.

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles followed the adventures of four anthropomorphic turtles named after Italian Renaissance artists. The green, muscular lettering mimics the look of the turtles.

This logo was used to illustrate the first mainstream TV appearance for the franchise. In contrast to other edgier logo variations that came afterward, this one best represented the essence of the Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles logo from the 90s.

9. Sweet Tarts

The Sweet Tarts candy logo is made up of a bubbly wordmark with the words “Sweet” and “Tarts” spliced together with a split-toned “T,” which emphasizes the sweet and tart flavor profiles of the Willy Wonka candy.

Above the wordmark sits the descriptor “tangy candy” in a lowercase typeface, with capital “N”s to show playfulness. The current version of this logo doesn’t include the descriptor, but the rest of the design has remained the same!Sweetarts logo from the 90s.

10. Bubble Tape

This Wrigley’s candy logo consisted of a bubbly typeface contained in a purple gradient bubble, with a funky typeface underneath. The extended “e” on the end of “Tape” wrapped around the logo, to mimic the length of the famous tape-like bubble gum.

Multiple bright colors were used to elicit youth and excitement, and the phrase, “It’s six feet of bubble gum–for you–not them” (“them” as in adults) helped appeal to their target audience.Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape logo from the 90s.

11. Baby Bottle Pop

The Baby Bottle Pop logo consisted of a bubbly neon typeface accompanied by a baby bottle cap, and the word “Baby” appropriately sized at a smaller scale. The wordmark is surrounded by a messy chalk-like line, as though drawn by a child, matching the interests of the brand’s target audience.

Baby Bottle Pop’s marketing communicated the playful, silly spirit of the candy’s “explosive experience.”Bottle Pop candy logo from the 90s.

12. Hot Wheels

The Hot Wheels logo has stayed relatively the same over the years, using red and yellow-orange to mimic a flame. In previous logo variations, “Hot Wheels” was displayed in plain white lettering, however, during the 90s, the logo featured a custom font in a horizontal gradient.

During this time, the company strayed away from a 3D appearance and opted for a flat design and a thin black outline. The parent company Mattel acts as a sub-logo within the overall design.Hot Wheels logo from the 90s.

13. Barbie

Barbie’s lighthearted logo has stayed consistent since its launch in 1959. The hot pink embraces the sweet, feminine, and innocent characteristics of the brand. Throughout the 90s, the wordmark logo featured a bold custom font with close-set letters, a mix of angular and curved edges, and an upwards slant.

Today’s Barbie logo remains the same shade of pink, written in cursive script.

Barbie logo from the 90s.

14. Toys R Us

The Toys R Us logo of the 1990s was as colorful and playful as it is today, suiting the nature of the brand and appealing to its young demographic. The backward “R” mimics young children’s writing and communicates the authenticity and youth of the brand.

Today’s logo is similar in layout, with alternate colors and the addition of a star in the bowl of the “R.”

Toys'r'us logo from the 90s.

15. Tamagotchi

The 90s Tamagotchi logo included a custom, scrawled typeface, appearing as though written by a child with chalk. The mix of both lowercase and uppercase letters signifies the brand’s uniqueness and innovation, as Tamagotchi was the breakthrough of the digital pet trend. The hot pink letters created excitement and a standout look for store shelves.Tamagotchi logo from the 90s.

16. Nerf

The Nerf logo featured a bright yellow wordmark sitting atop a blue circle and hot pink dot pattern. The logo itself is high energy, reflecting the nature of the product and the brand’s target demographic of children aged 8 to 17.

The all-caps typeface aligns with the brand’s bold personality, and the text leans to the right, evoking a sense of movement and forward-thinking.

Nerf logo from the 90s.

17. Walkman

Sony’s Walkman logo featured a custom typeface paired with an abstract shape resembling a “W.” All letters (minus the “L”) are joined, which signified the connection of people with music they could take anywhere.

And with a target demographic of teenagers, the detached “L” represented the freedom experienced when plugged into your Walkman (you can listen to whatever you want!).Sony Walkman logo from the 90s.

18. Microsoft Windows

The Windows Microsoft logo has had its fair share of changes throughout the years; however, the most memorable was the one they had in the 90s. With the instantly recognizable four colorful quadrants and pixelated elements, this logo was ahead of its time.

Microsoft Windows logo from the 90s.

19. Super Nintendo

Nintendo’s gaming system went through several changes over the years. During the 90s, Nintendo opted for a vibrant color scheme consisting of mostly primary colors. The company’s name was displayed in a bold red and italicized font, quickly grabbing consumer attention and standing out on its products.

Super Nintendo logo from the 90s.

20. ICQ

Derived from the phrase “I Seek You,” ICQ’s logo was simple, like the service it offered. The online chat platform went for a rounded sans-serif font in lowercase letters, accompanied by a flower just to the left of the wordmark.

Interestingly, the flower had green petals except for one, colored in red, which symbolized an ICQ chat notification.

ICQ logo from the 90s.

21. Apple

Today, Apple’s logo looks markedly different from what it was in the 90s. Two decades ago, the company sported a cheery, rainbow-colored logo, which stood out amongst many other brands in the industry.

Apple has since gone along the minimalist route with an all-black apple shape.Apple logo from the 90s.

Logo design in the 90s was fun and over-the-top, yet meaningful and authentic to the brands being represented. Bright colors and bold typography reigned supreme throughout the decade, differing from the more minimalist logo design trends today.

Though funkier than most logos we see now, logos of the 90s stayed true to their brands (and the times). They’ll always have a place in our hearts!

p.s. Looking for more modern design inspiration? Explore logo ideas on our industry pages, or check out our roundup of 80s logos for even more retro fun.

By Kim

Kim is a guest blogger for Looka. She’s fluent in fashion, a dedicated dancer, and lover of handwritten notes. Find her on Twitter @kimmarlena.


Logo and Brand Standards


The University of Maryland's colors are red, gold, white and black. Taken from the state flag, these colors reflect our role as Maryland's flagship university. The university requires use of these four colors:

Pantone Print Colors:

UMD Yellow

PMS 116

UMD Brown

PMS 4645

Thread Colors:


The university uses different typefaces depending on use in institutional or athletics messaging:

Institutional Font


bembo font display example


interstate font display example


terrafont font display example

All fonts are allowed on merchandise, as approved on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.

M Bar Logo

This mark must include the stylized capital “M” with a specific, horizontal Maryland-themed flag bar beneath it. Note the required double outline on the “M” and flag pattern in the bar.

On athletics merchandise, the M bar must adhere to the following color combinations or use a one-color logo, unless the Office of Trademarks and Licensing has granted special permission.

Logo Example

logo example

Allowed Examples

General merchandise can use various colors as long as it follows the one-color format above or has received special permission from the Office cursive m logo Trademarks and Licensing. The following are approved examples:

The “M” portion of the logo may be filled with patterns and textures, as approved by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing. Examples include:

Prohibited Examples

The M bar logo may not overlap with anything unless it is being used as pattern in the background or as a transparent mark in the background:

The Office of Trademarks and Licensing can approve alterations from these rules, under special circumstances.

Terrafont Bar Logos

This all-caps logo includes the word “Terrapins,” “Terps” or “Maryland” over a flag bar.

Logo Example

logo example

Prohibited Examples

The verbiage may not be altered, such as in these examples:

“Muscle Testudo” Mascot Logo

This logo features the cartoon version of the university’s mascot, Testudo, holding the letter “M.” No alterations in his stance or what he is holding or his facial expression are permitted without approval from the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.

Logo Example

logo example

Allowed Examples

Various colors are permitted on general merchandise as long as they follow the one-color format shown in the examples below or have received permission.

The logo may be filled with patterns and textures for special projects, as approved by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing. It may not overlap with anything unless it is being used as pattern in the background or as a transparent mark in the background.

Prohibited Examples

It may not be used on athletics-specific products or athletics-inspired items unless it is a youth product or has received special permission from the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.

Uniform Numbers

Official jerseys can bear only the number “1” and the academic year. Merchandise cannot use any current Terp athletes’ numbers.

Approved Examples


Caricatures of the live university’s mascot, Testudo, and the muscle Testudo mascot are permitted on a limited basis for special as approved by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.

Approved Examples

Fear the Turtle Mark

“Fear the Turtle” is a rallying cry at the University of Maryland, most closely associated with athletics, but the phrase can be applied anywhere.

Vendors must have a special license to use these marks. The Fear the Turtle license is at an elevated rate, and royalties from this license go into a special fund that supports student scholarships.

Logo Example

logo example

Shell Logo

The stylized turtle shell logo, honoring the university’s connection to the native diamondback terrapin, is used primarily as an institutional branding asset. It may not be used on athletics-specific or -inspired merchandise.

Nothing may overlap the shell unless it is in designated rectangle space created by Creative Strategies, a unit in the Office of Strategic Communications.

Logo Example

logo example

Allowed Examples

Various colors are permitted on general merchandise as long as they follow the one-color format, as shown in the example below, or have received permission.

Prohibited Examples

Nothing may fill the shell without permission from the Office of Trademarks and Licensing and Creative Strategies.

Institutional Logo

This logo consists of a wordmark—a text-only treatment of the university name—and a symbol—the illustration of a globe that incorporates the color and design of the Maryland state flag.

No alterations are permitted. The globe cannot be used on its own.

Logo Examples

logo example
logo example

Informal Seal

This adaptation of the symbol and university name may be substituted for the signature when space is limited.

No alterations are permitted.

Logo Example

logo example

Official Seal

The formal seal has been created to distinguish the University of Maryland from governmental and public agencies that use the Maryland state seal. The formal seal is reserved for ceremonies, presidential communications, diplomas and certificates.

No alterations are permitted.

Logo Example

logo example

Traditions Logo

These heritage marks have been used at different points in the university’s more than 150-year history.

Vendors must have a special license to use these marks. The “traditions” license is at an elevated rate, and approved products can be sold only at campus or local retailers such as the University Bookstore, University Shop and better department stores like Nordstrom and Macy's.

They may not be used with current cursive m logo. No alterations are permitted, except with colors. Student groups may not use traditions logos.

Approved Examples

The traditions “block M” is not permitted in yellow.

Restricted Examples

The Terps “script mark” is permitted only in special circumstances.

The M with the flag above it is permitted only in special circumstances.

Other Guidelines

Reference to Byrd Stadium is no longer permitted. The venue’s name is Maryland Stadium.

The permitted acronym for the university is UMD, not UM.

The creation of new or generic M logos is not permitted.

Prohibited Examples

The following mark is no longer permitted. Eventually, it will be added to the Traditions program.

Reference to Byrd Stadium is no longer permitted. The venue’s name is Maryland Stadium.

The permitted acronym for the university is UMD, not UM.

The creation of new or generic M logos is not permitted.

The following mark is no longer permitted. Eventually, it will be added to the Traditions program.


Athletics logos

The MAINE Bear logo and Bear head logo

The Maine Bear logo can stand alone. The Bear Head logo should be used along with ‘MAINE’ or the ‘Full Crest’ logo someplace on the product, but not overlapping the artwork. If using the bear head and ‘MAINE’ is placed above the head, the MAINE Bear logo should be used. The bear logo is registered and merchandise using it must be used with the ® symbol.

This is the only bear used to represent the University of Maine.

The MAINE Bear logo and the Bear Head logo are not allowed to be incorporated into another logo; they may not overlap other graphics; they can’t be deconstructed with pieces used in other graphics and they can’t be contained within an outlined shape like putting the logo inside a circle or shield.

Visit the logo guidelines page to see common logo mistakes.

When using any of the athletics logos below, note:

  • School spirit entails use of the bear logo specifically meant to represent the competitive or emotional connection felt for the Maine Black Bears
  • In circumstances that require a sense of school spirit and the identification of the University of Maine, the bear logo can be used in conjunction with the UMaine crest logo
  • Any instance related to the university’s overarching teaching, research and service mission that does not involve school spirit as defined above (e.g., academic events, research posters, name badges, commencement robes, etc.) requires the use of the UMaine crest logo as the primary identifier and not the bear logo

Maine bear logooutline Maine bear logoDark blue screen Maine bear logoDark blue Maine bear logoLight blue screen Maine bear logoLight blue Maine bear logo

grey Maine bear logoblack Maine bear logowhite Maine bear logoBear headoutline Bear head

Dark blue screen bear head logoDark blue bear head logoLight blue screen bear head logoLight blue bear head logoblack Bear headwhite Bear headbear paw left markbear paw swipe left markbear paw right markbear paw swipe right markdark blue Go Blue! logolight blue Go Blue! logoblack Go Blue! logowhite Go Blue! logoM wordmarkdark blue M wordmarklight blue M wordmarkblack M wordmarkwhite M wordmarkMaine wordmark block archeddark blue Maine wordmark block archedlight blue Maine wordmark block archedblack Maine wordmark block archedwhite Maine wordmark block archedMaine wordmark block straightdark blue Maine wordmark block straightlight blue Maine wordmark block straightcursive m logo src="" alt="black Maine wordmark block straight" width="250" height="250">white Maine wordmark block straightMaine wordmark scriptdark blue Maine wordmark scriptlight blue Maine wordmark scriptblack Maine wordmark scriptwhite Maine wordmark scriptUMaine wordmark block archeddark blue UMaine wordmark block archedlight blue UMaine wordmark block archedblack UMaine wordmark block archedwhite UMaine wordmark block archedUMaine wordmark block straightdark blue UMaine wordmark block straightlight blue UMaine wordmark block straightblack UMaine wordmark block straightwhite UMaine wordmark block straight


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Creating a hand-lettered logo design

A logo is the most important part of a brand’s image. This one asset is solely responsible for showing a business’s values, personality, and quality standards. So why are so many designers and agencies relying on typefaces alone to represent the tone of an entire company?

In my opinion, hand lettering is the ultimate technique for creating original and engaging logo designs.Twitter Logo Rather than selecting from an assortment of pre-existing fonts that are likely to have your logo looking ordinary, hand lettering is tailor-made to represent the value of a business.

“A logo is the most important part of a brand’s image.”

Twitter Logo

Fonts are made to be versatile and created to be purchased and used by several people for various reasons. That font wasn’t designed to be a logo—it was designed to support the general tone of a brand as cursive m logo supporting typography. So if you want to produce the absolute best branding for your clients and yourself, hand lettering is the best way to go if you want your branding to stand out.

This article is going to serve as the foundation on how to create a hand-lettered logo design that’s more meaningful and has more personality than a font ever could. Using my own process for creating the Letter Shoppe logo, I’m going to walk you through the steps to creating a business identity using hand lettering. This will include everything from understanding the psychology of type to how to digitize your artwork.

“Hand lettering is the best way to go if you want your branding to stand out.”

Twitter Logo

Step 1: Discover the meaning of the brand

Before you begin sketching concepts, you need to reveal the purpose behind what you’re creating. You need to understand what typography means and how to use it to evoke an emotional reactionTwitter Logo in your audience.

The most powerful tool a graphic designer has in creating logo design is typography. The typestyle you choose can have a strong effect on how your logo is perceived. You first need to understand the meaning of certain types of letters and how they can uniquely represent your company. This will help you decide which typography is best suited for your logo design.

“Understand what typography means and how to use it to evoke an emotional reaction.”

cursive m logo Logo">

Understanding the feelings behind typography

A serif is a small line, flourish or embellishment trailing from the main stroke of a letter. Aside from the decorative element, serifs were created to increase the legibility of letters.

Font psychology: Traditional, Professional, Elegant, Strong, and Universal.

Sans Serif
Sans-serif fonts do not have the small projecting features called “serifs” at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans (without).

Font psychology: Balanced, Modern, Clean, Simple, and Corporate.

Slab Serif
Slab Serif or Egyptian fonts resemble sans serifs in their simplicity but include boxy serifs on the end of each letter.

Font psychology: Authority, Heavy, Antiquity, Friendly, and American.

Script lettering, which is similar to cursive or calligraphy, is often created with fluid strokes using a brush or nib.

Font psychology: Classic, Romantic, Welcoming, Warm, and Soft.

Blackletter script features elaborate thick-to-thin strokes and serifs and is seen with long swirls ascending from diagonal serifs.

Font psychology: Masculet, Hard, Historic, Dramatic, and Cold.

Sign Painter
Sign painting is similar to Script, but the look needs to appear like it was made with a paint brush or brush pen for the desired hand-painted effect.

Font psychology: Vintage, Craftsmanship, Artistic, Playful, and Affordable.

Reveal the symbolism behind the company

Your logo is a visual representation of everything your company stands for. Far beyond a simple, pretty picture, a strong logo is filled with symbolism, both obvious and hidden. To help figure the symbolism behind the brand, focus on your message by writing ten words that illustrate a business’s key benefits. These words can be feelings, adjectives, objects or time periods.

Here are my 10 words: 1. Artistic 2. Valuable 3. Bold 4. Natural 5. Warm 6. Classic 7. Simple 8. Confident 9 Handmade 10. Welcoming.

Then, as a fun exercise, I want you to draw out your favorite word and illustrate its meaning through typography, decorations, and illustrations.

For example, I drew “bold” in a tall serif font with a stroke sunburst coming towards you. In my mind, this is what I envision when I think of the word “bold” as it pertains to my brand. Thanks to this exercise, I now know that this vintage serif style will be perfect for the supporting text in my logo design.

Inspiration and visual research

At this point in my process, I like to create a mood board so I can visualize the style I have in my head. By creating my Pinterest board for Letter Shoppe, you can tell that I’m gearing towards a vintage script style. I encourage you to develop a mood board of your own that consists of at least 20 images to help mold your style for the brand.

Hint: be careful when pursuing popular trends because usually that design can become stale very quickly once that trend fades from popularity. So no matter what style you’re thinking of, make sure it remains timeless and unique.

Break time!

Now it’s time to take a 1-day breather to really get your ideas to steep. Breaks allow your brain to gather outside information so you can build a larger set of references that will be at your mental disposal when you start the sketching process.

Step 2: Experiment through sketching

Whether you’re a seasoned hand-letterer or a graphic designer who usually sticks to a digital canvas, I encourage you to start sketching your logo concepts with an old-fashioned pencil and paper. Without looking at any of your references, start to develop various thumbnails so you can explore some ideas.

This is your opportunity to experiment and really go wild with as many concepts as you can imagine. I usually rough out anywhere from 10 to 20 thumbnails for a complete look at all the possible design solutions.

Hint: A good way to get started is to build the skeleton of your letters first by simply writing out the words. Then, as you continue to experiment, make your drawings more and more refined by adding thickness cursive m logo decorations.

As you get more comfortable drawing, allow yourself to break the rules and stir away from the most rigid forms of typography. Mix up upper- and lower-case letters, connect your marks, play with different sizes, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

Break time!

Alright, time for another break. Take anywhere from an hour to a day to go back to your sketches with fresh eyes.

Revisit your thumbs and choose a few of your favorites to experiment further. Enlarge each of your drawings by filling up an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper so you have room to play. Remember to start off using a light pencil. You can go darker and darker mbt online banking you build out the details.

At this point don’t be afraid to redraw your logo several times. Even the most talented hand lettering artists don’t get it on the first try.Twitter Logo Spend the time to trace over your lettering and play with the spacing, perfect your balance or try out various styles and details.

“Even the most talented hand lettering artists don’t get it on the first try.”

Twitter Logo

Once your outline is complete, you can ink your piece using thin and thick Sharpies or Micron pens. This will help you see the weight of your letters so you can make sure each of your letters are consistent.

Hint: Use a thin marker for the outline of your drawing first, and then color it in with a thicker marker to fill in. Whether you feel more comfortable going to the computer at this point or perfecting your hand-lettered solution is up to you. Keep in mind when you’re building a logo from scratch, the more work you do in the drawing process, the less effort it’ll take to digitalize your work.

Step 3: Digitalize your final concept

Whether you want a rough or clean look for your logo will determine your digital process. This next part is going to go over some design techniques for digitizing your logo and requires an intermediate knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Cleaning up in Photoshop

1. Scan your image at 600 DPI—and cursive m logo don’t just use your iPhone

2. Open up your scanned image of your sketch in Photoshop

3. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and pull in your whites and blacks so you can really see your lettering

Hit Command-R to pull up your rulers. Pull down some guides for your sketch to ensure all your letters rest on the same axis. You’ll want to place your guides on the base, descender, body, ascender and t line

Hint: Letters like C, S, O, capital Q and G rest slightly above and below your guides. This allows your letters to appear to be resting on the same plain.

5. Feel free to use your Lasso Tool to Select > Right Click > Cut out your letters to fix any alignment issues.

6. Now it’s time for a serious clean up. Zoom in close to add or remove anything else that may help to perfect your drawing.

Break time!

Hit Save. Now, step away from your drawing to take a break. Try not to go from screen to screen so you can give your eyes a proper rest.

7. After about an hour, go back to Photoshop and turn your drawing upside down. See any more imperfections? Maybe only some of your letters are straight while others are tilted, or your S’s and O’s look more oblong than round. Looking at your work from this perspective really helps in finalizing the details.

8. Turn your art board right-side up, hit Save, and you’re ready to vector!

Using Live Trace to vectorize your work

If you want a more natural look to your lettering, I recommend using Live Trace to vectorize your work. This will give your artwork a more organic, rough feel that looks more hand-drawn with tiny imperfections.

1. Open up Illustrator and place your PSD into your art board.

2. Select your piece and go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. Once your dialog box shows up, hit Preview and play with your settings until you get your desired result. I usually start off with the Black and White Logo preset and go from there.

Here’s a look at my settings for my Letter Shoppe logo. The reason we placed a .psd file rather than a static .JPG is that now you can review your traced logo and still make changes. Maybe you realize that your lines aren’t connecting, or you have additional scuff marks that need to be edited. Simply go to you .psd file, make the changes, and hit Save. Your changes will automatically update in your live traced art.

3. If everything is looking good, go to Object > Expand to flatten your image.

4. Feel free to edit your anchor points accordingly until your logo is exactly how you want it. I usually use the smooth tool under the Pencil Palette to smooth out any rough edges. Check out the amazing before and after below.

Creating a perfect vector logo

Thanks to an awesome article by AGCS, I have a completely new approach to clean vectors using 0 and 90-degree bezier handles. I’ll use my letter S as an example using this new method.

1. Open up Illustrator and Place a PSD of your sketch into Illustrator.

2. Select your image and lower the opacity of your sketch. Hit Command-2 to lock your layer.

3. Create a new layer Command-L and place your nodes strategically along the curves of your letter’s outermost point. Check out my diagram below illustrating where each of my anchor points lie.

4. Remember to hold Shift when dragging out your handles to snap them horizontally and vertically.

This will no doubt take some practice to perfect, but keeping your bezier handles straight will allow you to use fewer nodes and have an all around cleaner result. Yes, there will be times when perfect handles won’t work, and that’s fine. It’s more important that your vectors look good over anything else. Now, let’s check out that sexy S.

Adding textures to your lettering

For some added roughness, you can add subtle jagged lines on the outside of your letters so it appears to be more hand-lettered. The more subtle the lines, the bigger you’ll have to scale your artwork before adding the effect. Go to Effects > Distort & Transform > Roughen.

Feel free to play with the settings in order to get your desired result, and be sure to check Absolute.

Once it’s complete, go to Object > Expand Appearance to lock in the image.

Now for the icing on the cake: texture! I like to use this vector texture pack from Seanwes, but feel cursive m logo to create your own textures. Some people like to apply their textures directly into Photoshop and then live trace, but I’ll allow you to select your preference.

Adding just the right color

I always save color for last, but I usually have a general color palette in mind while I’m brainstorming and sketching.

A good way to choose a color palette is to base your selection on those words we came up with in the beginning. For example, some of my main words are “artistic” and “handmade,” so my plan was always to keep my logo design one color in either black or white. I’ve also chosen my supporting colors by placing my lettering on all-natural matte blacks, pearl whites, wood browns, and paper creams to help bring a clean artisan look to my hand-lettering portfolio.

“Do not exceed 3 colors in a logo design unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Twitter Logo

Hint: Do not exceed 3 colors unless it’s absolutely necessary! A 5-color logo could be gorgeous, but once it comes time to produce it, things can get pretty pricey to print.

Test for readability

A great logo looks great no matter what size it is.Twitter Logo It needs to have an interesting visual hook, accompanied by well-kerned typography. Make sure that your logo reads in seconds and is memorable. I usually test my logo at a business card size (3.5 x 2) to ensure its readability.

Get some outside feedback

Especially when you first start creating your logo design by hand, it’s important to get feedback from colleagues and other designers. This is where places like Instagram and Dribbble come in handy, not to mention just showing a friend who isn’t a designer.

“A great logo looks great no matter what size it is.”

Twitter Logo

It’s important to get the perspective of other people because they may see a flaw or improvement that you can’t. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize improvements or faults with a design when you’ve been focusing on the design too long.

I know: no one likes to get their work criticized, but it’s a necessary evil in our industry. Getting constructive criticism will enable you to improve your work.Twitter Logo Try to stay open-minded and experiment with the changes others suggest. It may result in an even better logo because even a little change can make all the difference.

This post was originally published at Letter Shoppe.

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