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.
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