Step by step design Thomas & Gray Logo

Just as important as the final design is the road it takes to get there. The best way to demonstrate this is by giving you a behind the scenes look at the proven design process that I and many other designers use. I hope it offers insights into the thinking as well as the work itself. I’ll kick things off with step by step design overview of the Thomas & Gray logo. A company that makes custom furniture.


The Brief

Thomas & Gray represents taking a step back from the over-consumption and overproduction of throwaway furniture. They return to the values of custom craftsmanship and quality. Thomas & Gray makes custom furniture that becomes a family heirloom.

Step 1 Research

I start the logo design process by researching the industry, scouring the internet to find as many competitor’s logos as possible. Then, I leverage my research and use it to inspire something unique and ownable. Below is a snap shot of some of the research I do. Volume is key.

step by step design

Step 2 Brain Storming

In this phase, I sketch out as many ideas as possible. I stay as far away as I can from a computer during this stage. I find that it inhibits my thought process. Below are some sketches that I thought were digitizing-worthy.

step by step design

Step 3 Digitizing & Refining

I chose the antique chair to represent the idea of a quality heirloom that lives for generations. The calligraphy-like form of the icon alludes to the handmade furniture and craftsmanship. The first version of the Thomas & Gray logo had too many pieces. It is not working well on a small scale, so I go back to the drawing board. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

step by step design

At this point, the logo starts to come together. I spend a considerable amount of time refining the logo. Up close, you can see some of the hard edges in the curves. The logo also has to look good when it’s printed in a large size.

step by step designoldShape3

Here is where I landed. Below are other samples of ideas that I digitized.

step by step designotherLogos

Step 4 Color Exploration

Thomas & Gray makes handcrafted furniture in today’s modern world. Warm and cool grays are the primary color palette. A secondary color palette of bright colors brings a contemporary relevance to the brand.


Step 5 Typography

To further capture the idea of handcrafted furniture in contemporary times, I set Trajan as the main font. Luxury, a San serif font, is used for the tag line.

thomas and gray logo


You can see the depth of a true, successful design process–one that captures a brand’s essence. Be cautious of cheap online resources that only charge a few hundred dollars for a logo. You always get what you pay for.