Designing a Family Logo

I don’t know when I first came up with the idea of a family logo but it probably wasn’t long after I decided we should have a family uniform. Let me clarify. By uniform, I mean a set of colour coordinated, similar looking clothing rather than a wardrobe of identical pieces, so banish those Von Trapp images now. Once we agreed on a uniform, it made sense that we include some kind of identifier or logo. I mean, why not? We’re going to have coordinated clothing, why not stamp it? Creating merch is a novelty and it also has the added benefit of being practical. It’s easy to explain/identify in the event things get lost. Plus, a uniform means fewer decisions which equals less stress and more fun. So, how did we come up with our logo design and what tips can we offer to those wanting to do the same?

What’s your why?

Any agency or marketer will tell you, the first thing you have to do in creating a brand identity is discover the why behind it. You’re not buying a Harley Davidson, you’re buying the chance to be yourself, to travel and live a life without rules. What’s your why? For our family, it’s about exploration, learning about ourselves, our world as well as our place in it so the inclusion of a compass makes sense. It’s such a powerful symbol, the ultimate explorer’s tool and nothing represents our “why” better than this. We’re all connected but at the same time, going on our separate journeys in life. We want our children to know that we’ll always be there for them, and hopefully they’ll be reminded of that each time they look at our logo.

Find a designer

I am a firm believer in outsourcing. By all means, learn new skills, but if you want something done right, go to a professional. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I use online freelance sites such as Freelancer and Fiverr all the time. For this project, I was keen on using a freelancer in Ukraine, our way of helping the cause, albeit indirectly. We finally found the very talented Olena and she came up with some brilliant design concepts based on our brief. Remember, it’s important to help narrow the focus for your designer and give them some practical ideas before they start, otherwise the iteration process will go on forever. In terms of price, a simple design should cost around $50-$100 (for a fixed number of iterations) on a freelance site. If that’s too much, you could also have a go at doing it yourself on platforms like Canva.

Write a brief

First things first; what are your brand colours? Do you want a tagline added? What about font? If you’ve read these first three points and have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s alright, a designer will. Essentially, what you need to do is come up with a design that best represents your family and your adventure and which is suitable to be used both in print and digital formats e.g. merchandise, social media, website, newsletter etc. You’ve really got to dig, brainstorm, work out your family’s personality. Are you modern or classic? Busy or minimalist? Understated or exaggerated? If that seems too abstract, look at different cars or animals. Are you horse or bear? Toyota station wagon or Lamborghini? In terms of design, look at different logos, what do you like or dislike about them? And what about your journey? Is it going to be carefree, book-on-the-run, wherever-we find-a-bed kind of adventure or is everything pre-planned? Your family logo can reflect that.

Try to come up with a design that best represents your family’s personality and your type of adventure

Know the rules

If you’re not a creative, it might seem that output is driven solely by imagination but there are design rules graphic designers follow. When coming up with a concept, you should make it simple/timeless/memorable. It should be versatile and scalable too. Always use a quality typeface (Times New Roman be gone) and be strategic with colour. Tip: make sure your logo also looks good in black and white.

Like any design process, it’s iterative in nature. You’re going to look at whole lot of concepts, even with a narrow design brief, before you come up with one you all like. Here are some of the ones that we had to choose from. In the end, we selected the one that ticked all of our boxes; compass design, FGY24 text included and featuring the letter “M”. Plus, it’s clean, minimalist and works well on clothing.

The Deliverables

Ok, this is important. The final deliverable need to contain several folders. You need the final version of the logo delivered in multiple file formats including JPEG, EPS, AI, PNG, PDF and SVG. Get it in both vertical and horizontal orientation. Ask your designer to provide your logo in each of your brand colours and get them to share both print and digital colour variations (CMYK plus RBG) so you can keep colour consistent. These are the basic deliverables and all you need to get started.