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Logo Design: Melding Sketches With Electronic Artwork

Wed, Jan 10, 2007

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I recently designed a vector logo for a Melbourne based band, buy The Kultivators, sildenafil who needed an image of a skeleton on a combine harvester in an Ed Roth style of illustration.

The first step was to research Ed Roth (I googled him) and draw some conclusions about the style I was to emulate. This style included lots of line art, medical flies, exaggerated features and comic style colours. The next step was to “draw” the combine harvester and other elements in Illustrator CS (in my opinion the best software for designing vector artwork). I googled “combine harvester”, chose a photo of a harvester with a good angle and placed it in Layer #1 in Illustrator. I then used pen and path tools to draw an outline of the harvester on Layer #2 and selected shades of grey to show light and dark sides of basic parts of the harvester.

To create the skeleton, I used a clipart skeleton to get the head, then traced over that to obtain the paths and lines I needed (the clipart had solid blocks, rather than lines). I used another clipart skeleton to trace the ribs and arms/hands and manipulated these to form the body in the right shape. After adding a black cloak (with Ed Roth edges) I felt that even though the head and body were different in use of shading, they fitted well together and would be suitable as is.

After placing the skeleton onto the harvester, I created some exaggerated wheels with flames. I felt the wheels needed gradients to make them appear more exciting and to give the logo more detail and depth than could be obtained by line art. The flames were drawn in an Ed Roth style and coloured with red, orange and yellow to suit the logo.

On Layer #12 I drew the text from scratch in order to make “The Kultivators” a unique font and to get the letters a bit crooked, as suited the logo style. On Layer #13 I drew hundreds of lines using the pencil tool to show motion and to emulate the Ed Roth line art. Last of all, I added the flies, exhaust clouds, crows, wheat and scythe.

To finish the logo, I checked all colours were CMYK and that all black was a “rich black” (30% cyan, 100% black). I did this by selecting elements as “same fill colour” and “same stroke colour” to check the colours. The gradient black was left at 100% black in case of printer misregistration, so there wouldn’t be any blue contained in the wheels.

As is common in such detailed artwork, I scrawled a small signature in one of the exhaust clouds…but it would take an A3 poster to even make it out!

Creating this logo was lots of fun and a bit time consuming, but I am very proud of the result. It brought out my creativity and was a challenge to do and I especially enjoyed adding the line art and putting all the elements together. The Kultivators were very happy with their logo and commissioned me to complete a CD cover for them as well. Look out for their CD…they sure have some cool music!

Fig 1. The image I used of the combine harvester

Fig 2. Clipart I used for the skeleton head

Fig 3. Clipart I used for the skeleton ribs, arms and hands


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