How to make a logo, for free, in about 120 minutes

I was skimming through the article “Medium’s best design writing of 2016” when I stumbled upon this gem:

How to make a logo, for free, in about 5 minutes.

I’d been thinking about giving my site a bit of a refresh and I know that visual design is the weakest part of my UX repertoire, so I thought “I have five minutes to spare. Let’s do it!”

9:30- The article says I can use Sketch, Figma, or Illustrator. I briefly poke around the websites for each of those tools and got the best vibe from Figma. Download started.

9:34- Installed Figma

9:36- Figma onboarding

Onboarding is the way that apps show new users around. It’s tough to do well, partly because you don’t want to annoy experienced users by forcing them to click through a guided tour, but you don’t want to leave novice users out to dry by not teaching them anything.

I think Figma did a good job with onboarding- at least for me.

Figma’s onboarding process

They do the typical “feature tour”, as you can see in the Constraints window on the left, which is nice because it briefly shows you what it can do. Also, they provide a few examples of finished Figma projects- you can see an overview of Google’s Material Design framework in the middle. Lastly, and most interestingly, on the right they have a messaging session.

I think I like this. It feels welcoming. But it’s weird that this Jason character seemingly just wrote me a message, complete with “have a great holiday”, yet he was active 1h ago.

9:39- Finished the feature tour. I’m very curious about “Jason”- is he a chat bot? So I message him, asking about the length of the free trial, just to see if he’s actually there.

9:52- Still no word from Jason.

Finally following through the steps in the “five minute” article. Figma has a billion fonts, but I don’t see any of the “classic” fonts mentioned in the article, so I scroll through one at a time. Feeling dyslexic after staring at “Shane G” in dozens of different fonts. Chose a dozen or two.

50 shades of Shane

I’ll try to narrow my options a bit now.

10:02- Seriously. Really feeling dyslexic. Sometimes when I look, it says “Shnae” or SHENAG. I swear. I should ask Jason why Figma scrambles letters around like that. I think I’m getting somewhere though. Here are my slightly narrowed-down options of fonts.

13 shades of Shane

10:07- It’s like picking a favorite child!!! I want to be professional but interesting. How do I choooooose?!

6 shades of Shane

10:11- Ah screw professional. I’m going with the font called “Text me one”, even though I’m worried that it’s the new Comic Sans and I’ll be judged by all real designers for making this choice.

Okay, 41 minutes in and I’m done step one! So much for a five-minute logo.

10:12- Wow! Jason wrote back! With a detailed and thoughtful response. What a guy! He’s real! (I think.) Turns out they’re still quite new and they’re not charging until early 2017. So far, so good. What a great UX 🙂

10:20- Step two complete.

Stare at this for five minutes and the letters will start changing order. I swear.

10:31- Oh, I was supposed to play with more than just the spacing and capitalization? Okay. NOW step two complete.

All typesetting1x.png
I’m sort of starting to think outside the box a little now.

11:05- Man this stuff is addictive. I had a lot of fun with the logo step.

Initial logos
A few more logos

Time for color!

11:21- Okay, initial colors done!

Initial colors

10:40- After a bunch more experimenting, here’s what I came up with. I really like it, but I can’t say I love it quite yet. I guess that’s the difference between doing it yourself and hiring a pro.

My finished logo (for now!)

Anyway, I think it’s time to get some shut-eye… What do you think, Jason? …Jason?



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