Rummaging through some old folders, I came across the Nintendo Papercraft logo I made in 2009.
It's a very simple logo, but I still like it, and here are the steps I took to develop it (which will work for pretty much any design assignment ;o)STEP 1: ANALYZE THE ASSIGNMENT
The first step in any design assignment is to analyze the assignment. You need to know what you're supposed to do of course, but it also gets the creative juices flowing and inspires you while you're thinking about the subject at hand.
In this case, the assignment was very simple and clear ("make a new logo for the Nintendopapercraft.com website!") but if you're not familiar with the subject, this step can involve quite a lot of research first of course.
It's an important step, though, because it will provide the basis for your ideas. Without a good basis, the design will likely feel like a cluttered mesh of ideas, with really nothing holding it together...STEP 2: COME UP WITH AN IDEA
With a good analysis of the assignment, coming up with an idea will be easy: with your added knowledge of the assignment and the subject, you will likely already have lots of inspiration!
In this case, my idea was as simple as the assignment: it's a logo for a site about Nintendo papercraft models, so the logo should make that clear at one glance.
On one hand, the logo should clearly express the "papercraft" part, but also the "Nintendo" part of course. And more importantly for me: it should be about *anything*
Nintendo, so no specific characters like Link or Mario or other references to specific Nintendo games or series.STEP 3: DEVELOP A CONCEPT
A concept is not the same as an idea. A concept is the way how
you want to give substance to your idea to make the end product that was asked for in the assignment.
So in this case: how can I create a logo that expresses both "papercraft" and "this is about all things Nintendo, not just Zelda or Mario"?
"The" basic papercraft logo for me is a pair of scissors cutting a piece of paper. Even on japanese websites
, when you see that logo, you know that's where you need to go to find the print & crafts section. ;o)
And because I didn't want to use any specific Nintendo characters or references to specific games or series, I chose to use the Nintendo logo itself: if anything says "this is about all kinds of Nintendo related stuff and not just about any specific series", the Nintendo logo is it. ;o)
So with these two ideas, I came up with the concept to "clothe" the generic papercraft logo into a Nintendo jacket, by letting the scissors cut out the Nintendo logo.STEP 4: GO AND DO!
Pretty self-explanatory I think: take your concept, and create your logo!
The great thing about taking the time to develop your ideas first, is that if during drafting you come up with new points you might have overlooked earlier (which often happens on big assignments...) you don't have start all over again.
Simply test any problems that may arise against your concept, and you'll be able to come up with an answer that will automatically fit in with the rest of your ideas.
That way, it won't feel like it was just "added later on in lack of a better idea" because that's usually when designs go awry...STEP 5: FEEDBACK, RINSE, REPEAT
Especially on more serious assignments, you will get feedback on your work.
Sometimes it's only about something very small (in this case, people asked me to change the "Nintendo" part in the logo to "Npapercraft" so I made the second and third versions, although in the end they decided to use the first version anyway).
But sometimes there are more comments on your work asking for much bigger changes: not everybody has the same taste, of course, so don't be surprised
If you did your work well, though, you should be able to convince people that your concept fits their assignment.
And even if they don't like the way you gave it substance, that's something you can talk about of course (on more serious assignments, you will probably have made several variations already yourself to show them).
I think most people and especially designers already automatically follow these steps, although normally not this explicitly perhaps.
Especially with good designers, it might look as if they regularly skip a few steps, but that's usually just because they're able to take them so quickly, drawing from their experience of course.
Still, it's good to understand the steps you take, I think. If you ever got stuck during an assignment, it's always good to check if you didn't miss a step or work it out a little better. ;o)
Most importantly, though: have fun!