The hardest assignment a graphic designer can take on is designing anything for his or her self. This is especially true when designing logos. For me, it was a long and painful process. I couldn’t commit to anything. I was very critical and, often times, it was one step forward and two steps back. I’d like to share some of things that worked as well as some of the mistakes I made. The next case study in the Step By Step Design Series is the ocondesign logo. As always, your feedback is encouraged and appreciated. Let me know what you think of the process and the final logo.

The Brief

The biggest mistake I made was not writing a brief. Because this project was for myself, I saw it as an unnecessary step. In reality, I did not have a clear definition of what the goals were. Who was I talking to? Or what should the tone of the logo be? I sat down and forced my self to answer these questions. After doing that, things started coming together. Here is what I came up with:
1. I was talking to potential employers like ad agencies and graphic design studios. I was also talking to the occasional freelance client.
2. The logo had to be professional. It had to convey a sense of reliability. I needed to come across as reputable and established.
3. The logo had to showcase my creative side and reflect my approach to design.

Step 1: Research

I started the logo design process by researching other logos in the graphic design industry. The key to this was casting a wide net. I included everyone from big international design firms to independent freelance graphic artists.


Step 2: Brainstorming

After sketching out as many ideas as possible, I boiled it down to these three logos.


1. The “O” talk bubble: This design was viable. Turning the “O” into a talk bubble speaks to the idea of communicating. It also played well into the idea of dialog and the fact that I have a blog.
2. The bulls-eye: This bulls-eye is made from combing the lowercase letters “o” and “d”. Together they make a bulls-eye type mark. This really highlights the idea of purposeful strategic design.
3. The negative space “O”: This logo mark uses negative space to form the letter O. Using negative space to carve out a positive representation of the letter O suggests a different perspective on design problems and solutions.
I ruled out the talk bubble because it’s something I’ve seen before. I was leaning towards the bulls eye until I came across a post on There you will find the 1971 Stadt Bruhl logo by Aton Stankowski. The bulls-eye logo is a mirror image of that one. No way that was going to fly.

Step 3: Color Exploration

The logo is very simple in form. I didn’t want color to complicate the logo in any way. So I chose 100% cyan and gray for a color scheme. Both are very corporate colors. This conveys a sense of reliability. It helps me come across as reputable and established. Below are some of the other colors I explored.


Step 5: Typography

I knew that I didn’t want a serif font. So I explored a wide range of san serif fonts. None of them were ownable enough. So I began to look at slab serif fonts and landed on Museo.


The thick block serifs complimented the bold forms in the logo mark. The font is friendly and doesn’t feel too corporate, which balances out the color scheme.


I then felt the yearn to kern and adjusted the spacing between the characters.


After some reader feed back here are the adjustments to the kerning.


Here is the final.


What’s Your Take?

I hope you found this helpful. As always, your feed back is encouraged and appreciated. What do you think of the process? Do you like the final logo? Is there anything that you would have done differently? Do you struggle when designing anything for yourself as well or am I alone on this one?