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Designer, My Profile
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How to Do a Great Lion Logo

Because of its regal appearance and strength, the lion is a popular image for companies looking for something to represent their brand. Because it is so popular, it is a challenge for the designer to make it look unique. It’s fine to be inspired by others’ work, but no designer should submit a logo that intentionally looks like another. This brings us to the first very important step.

Step 1. Do your research.
Make sure your work is unique, and do a search for the company’s name, as well as words like “royal” “pride” and, of course” lion”. You want to see what’s out there, so you can avoid plagiarizing another designer’s work. Look at the different ways to draw a mane, and notice common trends that you’ll want to avoid so your logo stands out. If your logo winds up looking like this, for example, start over from scratch, because there’s way too many logos like this. You would see this from a crowd-sourced design company, and you should strive to be better than that.

Step 2: Get inspired.
If you’re stuck for an idea of how to start, kick-start your imagination by researching OTHER animals. Search for “wolf”, for example, and analyze how they’re drawn. Symmetrical? Inside a crest? A drawing of a penguin or mole rat CAN make you think of a unique way to represent the lion. Look at how this buffalo is designed…it would make a beautiful lion.

Step 3: Start with hand drawings
To ensure that your design isn’t even accidentally like someone else’s, it’s a good idea to start with hand sketches. This lets your creativity really take over in a way that a mouse or stylus doesn’t. I can’t explain why, it just does. Sure, it’s easier to delete vectors, and anchor points are easier than erasing, but your designs will significantly improve if you pick up that pencil and experiment. You can see a great example of this here.

Step 4: Refine your drawing.
Start building it in vector and decide on colors. You may want to keep the hand-drawn feel, but having it in vector will make it useable in more ways than a JPG scan of your drawing. Experiment with effects, but don’t let the effects take over…the lion is a powerful image on its own. A designer who went by the online name Gal (who sadly passed away last year) was a master of making simple, one-color beautiful logos featuring animals that looked dynamic, unique and exciting. In the gallery below, there’s 3 examples of his work in this gallery…you’ll recognize his work instantly. Notice how he uses his same style through different animals, and that style makes the buffalo look regal and beautiful, even though it’s not the greatest looking animal in my opinion.

Here’s more examples of great lion-based logos. I’ve tried to include credit where I could. If your logo is shown, and you’re not credited, please let me know and I’ll get your credit up here quick.

If you need great custom art for your company, contact one of the pros at

Designer, My Profile
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Is the client always right?

I sat in a meeting recently where a client said, “I want our company logo to be as recognizable as the McDonald’s logo…but it has to be neon orange and green.” Clients are often unsure about what they want, but less often do I hear from clients who sabotage their own logos before the first designs are even produced.

The golden arches of McDonald’s are recognized by billions of people. They’re recognizable because McDonalds is a huge international company that serves millions of people burgers every minute. However, in this case, the client was an owner of a tiny company that nobody had ever heard of, in an even smaller niche industry. No matter what the logo design would end up being, a few seconds of simple, rational thought by the client would prove that his company’s logo would never be as recognizable as McDonald’s golden arches.

The client had the idea that a good-looking effective logo would be the key to his success; that his brand would BE his logo. He didn’t want to hear that the logo is a piece of his brand, and that the real key to building a large business like McDonald’s was a great product, not his logo.
And then there is the issue with the color: The company was so new and so tiny that they didn’t have a company color. The industry had no recognizable color either. It was more than a little surprising to hear that a client wanted orange and green colors for a logo, but could give no reason for it, other than a personal preference. Orange and green would be fine for a logo if there was something, ever so small, that made using neon orange and neon green a good choice.
In a world where client is king, this particular king would never be happy with whatever logo was produced for the very reasons that was used to describe what he wanted the logo “to be”. In this instance, don’t spend too much time trying to please the client. Come up with a few options and move onto a project where the client actually collaborates by listening to you. Every designer has had difficult clients, but the key is to pick out, early in the process, those clients that will never be pleased. It will save you time and your creative sanity if you begin to recognize the signs of crazy!

I will contrast this with another client we had in the early days of BusinessLogos. His brief had no preference on color, but preferred to see what we recommended. He knew his target audience, and he knew what “feel” he wanted; fun, modern, with a hint of classic nostalgia. He was a frozen yogurt shop that was opening in an area with small competition in that market, and he wanted to build his brand around a quality product with nutritious and handmade ingredients. The brownies people add to the yogurt are made right there in the kitchen, for example.

This man knew that his product had to be great, and that the logo would be his signature. We gave him a great set of concepts to choose from, and then we tweaked it a little to his satisfaction. We also did his stationery, website, and other marketing pieces.

Sales have exploded. He just opened his third store, and is opening his fourth soon. He is starting a mobile unit. He is treated like a business rock star by his customers and peers. They just had a wedding in one of their locations. I love talking to him and we continue to work with him to create an even better website and marketing pieces. This type of client experience is the reason I wanted to be a designer.

What are your clients stories?


Like these logos? I did all three of them in about an hour. The reason it was so easy is because none of the companies exist as far as I know. I just made the art, then added a company name that fits.

This has been something that’s been a slight pet peeve of mine. I see a lot of logos that look amazing, and fit the company name really well. I think, “How did they ever come up with that?”

Then I find out by doing a little research that the company doesn’t exist.

The designer showed a lot of imagination, but never had to deal with the client request to come up with something unique to brand the company.

We’ve all seen 99% of the time, the client will choose the logo that we would LEAST recommend. This makes logo portfolio sites a graveyard of discarded ideas. I’m fine with that, because at least the designer was working within the bounds of the client’s brief.

But I wonder what percentage of the logos you see in portfolios like Logopond or LogoLounge are for actual companies. I don’t know if that’s ethical or not…on the one hand, it’s a great way to build up a sweet portfolio. Young designers just starting out have a hard time getting a portfolio without experience, and this is an easy workaround for that.

But, on the other hand, it’s showing work that never had boundaries…it’s more like showing a piece of art, rather than design.

What do you all think?

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Logo Review-Krimson Kings

Today’s logo comes to us from Ernan. The company is called Krimson Kings. What does everyone think?

My opinion is that it’s a very nice, balanced logo. You could maybe add a simple crown above the diamond shape. I like the customization of the Ks. It’s simple, and it would look good on the front of a hat or t-shirt. Well done.