Student Resources: Q&A

preview of q&a

Q:  When you are creating your logos on the computer what size do you work with?  Do you work in 300 dpi mode…or rbg mode, or what do you recommend?  And what generally is the font size that the final logos are in?  

Great question. I tend to design on a 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, and design the logo to be about the quarter of the page.. that way I know that It can size smaller (which I am always sure to check) and also scale bigger. (Which I am always sure to check) That is the biggest challenge with logos, they must look good big & small, so that is one of the things I always check before sending them to a client. As far as size of type, it just really depends.. logos have to be universally ok at any size.. so you have to gage with the size and shape. I would just try looking at the logo on a business card size and then also a big poster size. How does it look?

Also, I always design it in illustrator as a vector, so the DPI doesn’t really matter.. (because it is vector it can scale) I also recommend working in CMYK mode, and giving them coordinating Pantone swatches.


Q:  When starting out do people work for free to build their portfolio?  How do you know you’re ready to start charging more and not cheat the industry as well?  And i’m not even sure what a good starting point is to charge at while i’m still growing myself.

Such a good question as well. It is such a challenge when you are first starting to work. I go over this a lot in the last week of my Identity class. But I will answer this question briefly here.

It’s all about starting somewhere. When I first started, I did do a few projects for free–but it was always for people who would appreciate it–a non profit organization, for example (which is a great one. I still do work a few times a year like that for free) or for a really good friend you know won’t take advantage of you. However, for everyone else, I charged. Maybe it was ridiculously low, but you have to start somewhere. Also, when you charge, you will take it more seriously, and so will your client. Do you know other people starting? Ask them! I know that when I first started (as in, when I was still in college) I charge $25-35 an hour. And that was scary to me! What do you want to make? What do you think is right for your skill level and time? I obviously don’t charge that starting rate anymore, because I have worked for years–my skill level, my speed on the job, and my training has made my rate worth more.. and now, I also charge per project as a flat fee.

A great chart about working for free is this chart by Jessica Hische. She also has some great writing about it here. It is a learning process for sure, but you have to just start, and believe in yourself. You can do it!


Q.  My typefaces are all messed up on my computer! I think in the typography class you mentioned you use font suitcase?  Is there a way to organize typefaces easier into serifs and san serifs, and cursives etc?  

A: I use to use font suitcase. It’s not too expensive, and it is really wonderful. The only reason I don’t use it now, is because I am completely obsessed with typography, and I know them all a little too well now . . I had it, and then realized I was never using it. But font suitcase is wonderful, it’s great, especially as you are getting started. You can organize typefaces into groups. So let’s say you want to choose a typeface for “weddings”. You could have already grouped the typefaces that you wanted into a “wedding group”. I highly recommend it, I used it for about 3 years until I got the hang of it.


Q.  What do you think about etsy accounts and premade logos?

A: I go over Etsy a lot in my web design class and my setting up shop class, but I think its a great platform. It just really depends on you (or your client) and what there needs are. Etsy is a great place to start because you can become part of a community, and don’t have to worry about advertising right away. You can know that your products are part of something–so its actually a great place to start until you are ready to start on your own (and then I would recommend Big Cartel, which is an inexpensive solution to creating a beautiful, simple easy shop.. and is actually easier to set up than Etsy).

As far as pre made logos- I am not a fan. I believe that your logo is your foundation, and is part of your brand, and tells clients and users who you are.. and so investing in a logo is pretty much investing in yourself. I really hate pre made logos, and any logo “contest” sites. (I think they discourage creativity and the true essence of logo creation)


Q.  Was there a point in your career where you wanted to design a logo for someone but weren’t sure how to create it in illustrator and so had to research and learn to develop your skills in illustrator?

A: Absolutely. Part of being a good designer is constantly pushing yourself. I am constantly trying to learn how to sharpen my tools, become better, and learn more about the programs I use. I am constantly trying new methods, whether it be just for fun, or to sharpen my skills.


Q: Where and how should I start collecting good fonts if you’re a beginner?

A: Great question! You just have to start somewhere.. Think of it as a wardrobe almost.. You need a few staples.. So you might want to invest in some really good serifs & sans serifs. I also recommend seeing what is on your Adobe system- The following typefaces are already on your platform when you upload illustrator and I would consider them good “staple” typefaces:

Caslon, Garamond, News Gothic, Franklin Gothic,  Gil Sans

Here are some other typefaces that I consider “staples” (and worth investing in! Be sure to check, because some of these may come in your adobe system)

Bodoni (great fashion typeface)

Didot (another classic serif)

Helvetica Neue (a staple, must have)

Avant Garde (Another staple and lovely wide font)

Museo Sans (a modern sans serif)

Baskerville ( A lovely, classic serif)


Some other typefaces that I also love and I view as “worth the investment” are:

Standard CT (a great condensed typeface which ALWAYS comes in handy)

Proxima Nova (similar to Gotham and really, really quite lovely)

Lubalin Graph (a beautiful modern slab serif typeface)

Pmn Caecilia (a popular one used often by Martha Stewart)


It is hard for me to limit myself to these typefaces.. I could go on and on (and if you have taken my typography class, you know that I have an undying love for typography. I want to name all of my pets these names.. Can’t you see a dog named Baskerville? Totally cool. (and nerdy!)

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