How To Create A Business Name & Logo & How I Designed Mine
Oct 18, 2018 | By: Refurbished Gentleman
I get asked this question a lot, "who designed your logo"? Well, the simple answer is me :) My background, going back as far as high school is graphic design. After middle school I realized drawing cartoon characters and comic book super heroes wasn't gonna pay the bills as a job... or at least I thought at the time. So I ventured off into graphic design to hone my artistic skills into something I thought would be useful and lead to a job or a good college after High School. So I went to a vocational school half of my school day in 11th and 12th grade to learn more and more about graphic design. I realized I REALLY loved it and wasn't too bad at it. Taking an idea from pencil and paper and making a digital graphic was fun. And back then, it was when Photoshop was in it's infancy, and even graphic design work was done quite a bit different then it is today. But I made it through those two years and thought for sure it's what I'd do in college. Then I realized, well... we didn't have the money for me to go to college and the military was my ticket to higher education and possibly a job in graphic design right out of high school. So I followed my brother into the Air Force hoping to get a job doing something in that field. But... when it came time to pick jobs, well... lets just say, graphic design was NOT a job I had to choose from. It was one of those situations where my recruiter said one thing and what I actually was able to do was another... BUMMER! So I ended up doing something completely different, and never had that opportunity to learn or get a higher education in the arts. But all throughout my career in the military I found ways to use what little skills I'd learned in my vocational college to design logos for military events, coins and lots of flyers for all sorts of things. I still loved the feeling of taking a pencil and paper and making something from my head, and then making it into something specific and usable, military coins were always my favorite! Well, fast forward through my 20 year career and two years after retiring and I decide to paint furniture (that's another whole story) and I knew from my past experiences that a logo and branding would be a great way to start my new little business. So I sat down, just as I'd done many times before, and started with paper and pencil. And this is where we begin... How to design a business logo, with how I designed mine ;)
First things first… You gotta have a name. For me, being a male in a predominantly female business I wanted to use something uniquely male. But first I wrote down all the words I could think of that would be related to what I was doing. I simply listed a bunch out and started from there. Then I added some words that were for a man, I guess... Now this took me a bit longer then you’d think… Lots of Thesaurus.com and Google searching for ideas that night.
Then I started piecing them together. Deciding what ones to use and how to put them together to get a cool name, that also represented me and what my business is. That part is totally up to you, do you want a name that represents what your business is, or something unique and meaningful to you. Either way, the idea is to make something memorable. I sat there and made my list, finally getting to the final two. Refurbished Gentleman & Gentleman Refurbishing. I obviously chose the first and ran with it. Then once I had a name… I needed a really cool logo. This is where anyone... yes anyone... can start, whether you can draw or not.
These were my first sketches. For this I simply Googled the words I used and went to “Images” and flipped through for inspiration. I knew I wanted a piece of furniture in it somehow. When I searched for “Gentleman”, I found all kinds of really cool stuff. Hats, like Frank Sinatra, ties and of course mustaches. For me having the big ole beard I kinda started there. After a few sketches I really liked the one that looked like a sign you'd see on an office wall. But the beard... wasn't sure if that's the way to go just yet.
From that first final sketch I knew I liked the idea, but the dresser still looked off a little. I felt like it needed to fit more with the mustache (decided on mustache instead of beard) idea. So after staring at it for a while… I saw the dresser kinda resemble a hat… So from my first findings about “Gentleman” stuff, I had the Frank Sinatra hat. I thought, hey, lets make the dresser hat shaped… So that started to take shape. I knew this was going to be a big part of the logo so I took it to a separate piece of paper.
Once I had the Dresser/Hat part down I started piecing the whole thing together. Then of course, I was second guessing myself and sketching other stuff all the while… But once I was happy with the final, I started to think about a smaller logo or watermark. I thought using the initials would be cool. Then I simply narrowed it down to what I thought looked best utilizing the those initials. I thought the main logo was good, but a little big, so I have a main logo and a smaller one for watermarking and what-not. From here… well, that’s where you need a professional. You need someone to take your brainstorms, sketches, and rough ideas and make them a digital reality. But at least you have a start and something you can say, you designed, that had what you really wanted in it. So a little, time, patience and research can get you a logo just how you want it.
If you happened to have a friend who’s well versed in Adobe Illustrator, you may get lucky and ask them to make your sketches into digital files for you for free. But if not, look local, find a graphic artist and have them do it. Having it done professionally will ensure you get exactly what you want. So take the time to do the leg work that anyone can do, as I’ve walked through here and take that to a Graphic Artist and it’ll not only be easier for that person, but it may just make it a little cheaper too.
I just thought it’d be fun to share how I got to my final logo, since so many folks ask about it. It's really amazing to me where things are today, how far my business has come. Thinking back to that night sitting on the couch sketching ideas, never once thinking I'd be where I am now. But it’s really neat to have these sketches to look back on now and be able to share a lil bit of history into how it all got started.
And of course a special thanks needs to written and shared to my amazing wife. She has and always is such a great partner in all this, starting from that very first night I truly made this a real business. She sat there next to me on that couch, and helped me pick the name and design the logo. Her help has been integral to everything along the way, from this first logo design to telling me I should name my finishes, to still today, pushing me to continue to grow things and follow my dream. So thanks my love for being there from the start!