“Start in the subconscious,” says Steve Powers, an artist who gives free workshops on logo making. You might need what Powers calls a personal moniker for a letterhead, thank-you notes, to sign artwork or legal documents. Powers says the emblem should represent an aspect of yourself that goes back to a childlike state, something that is a simple visual extension of who you are. “Let your 3-year-old inner self take the wheel and draw something,” Powers says. “You can get into this mind-set by drawing right when you’re out of a nap.” He recommends a midday nap for which you take off your socks, get under the covers and fall into a good deep sleep — “then when you’re out, you’re ready.” A nap helps you free associate without questioning the designing you do.
Grab any kind of marking implement — a pencil or crayon or even a feather or avocado pit. “It’s important not to think at first, but to just start with the things you immediately know about yourself,” Powers says. These could be your name or initials or an image, like an animal silhouette or a slice of pizza. “Think about what you love,” he says. “What animates you? What gets you feeling excited and feeling good?” Simple actions and clear lines are best.
A logo shouldn’t be complicated; you want your mark to be easily recognizable. Powers uses the example of a recent workshop attendee — a young child named Kiki: “She instinctually wrote a backward K and a forward K, then what would have been the straight line of each of those Ks was a single line that they shared. It was a very clever visualization of the name ‘Kiki.’” Powers, who goes by Espo, has refined his personal symbol to be a simple cursive signature that ends in a bird.
Once your symbol is out of your head and on paper, draw and redraw it. “Refine it, reduce it, expand it and memorize it — you want it to be something that just becomes an extension of who you are, and that happens with repetition,” Powers says. Once you’ve done this, consider making a rubber stamp or digital file of it. “Integrate it in small and large ways throughout your life,” he says.