Doncaster hackspace needed a stylised logo, suggesting speed, going places and local engineering. So we decided to base it on the LNER Mallard and made one.
Easy to say it that way but the method is straightforward enough if you know how. First we needed a picture because were not that great at freehand drawing or arty. It turned out that the Science Museums Doncaster Works Collection had a profile picture of the LNER Mallard that we could use as the basis for our logo.
We used inkscape for the actual task but other drawing packages are equally good especially if you know them already. Which ever you use avoid doing this in a bitmap, paint or photo editor. Use a vector or drawing package. You need the flexibility of being able to rework your lines and drawing many times over and for it to scale smoothly. The procedure went something like this:-
- Import the chosen base image into your drawing package. Make sure you put this image on a layer that is at the bottom and you can pile your tracing and drawing layers on top of it.
- Create a new layer to draw on and switch to it.
- Using the bezier curve and straight line tool, roughly trace out the outline of the object and any features you want to capture to flesh out the stylized item. In this case there were a few curves and the rails.
- Create a new layer to draw the lettering on and switch to it.
- Search the internet for an open source or creative commons stencil font that suits the feel you want to achieve.
- Install/import the font to your OS so that the drawing package can see it and use it
- Add the letters for your organisation to the lettering layer.
- Create a new layer to draw the wheels on and switch to it.
- Create the wheels and size them by trial an error laying them over the image to get the sizing correct. Inkscape as a plug-in that generates gears from a few parameters, But you could equally use some creative commons clip-art to achieve similar results.
- Set the stroke colour to one you want and make the lines thick enough to work in a lower resolution take of your logo. There is no rule for this it is a case of fiddle with it till you like it.
- Adjust your tracing and other traced features iteratively until you get a final result that you like. This is usual done with the edit paths and nodes tools. Adding nodes and pulling the lines and bezier handles about till all the tracing fits snugly over the drawing. Like the image above.
- While you are doing 11, 10, 7 and 3 you can lock the other layers to stop the select tool picking them up and from moving things around.
- You will also find it useful to selectively hide the other layers by turning of their visibility in the layer toolbox to see how the end result is coming along. It can often be difficult to get a feel for the state of the progress on the logo when you are distracted by the base image, or lettering, or similar.
- Finally when you are happy save your work (you have been doing this often as you went along, right……)
- Hide the base image by turning off visibility of the layer it is on. Then export your logo in a range of sizes (resolutions) and bitmap formats.
A word or two about the stencil font mentioned at 7. We wanted to create a logo that could be stencilled onto stuff, laser cut and or maybe plasma cut. Many fonts look great but when you actually try to cut out the letters when cutting a stencil you quickly find that the centre of the “O” drops out or the “A” has a bit that wont stay in and the lovely effect you were looking for was ruined. If you pick a font that is intended to be stencilled these things are already take care of.
And we are done, this Logo was then added to our web pages, favicon etc.