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

Why should a dentist get a logo?

Looking into my seven year olds mouth I see countless reasons why it was not a good idea to skip the yearly dentist appointment, or why it was very bad to rush the child to bed—as he finishes his last bite of ice cream.  (Brushing the teeth would have been another excruciating step.)

The scary reality is now I have to find a dentist that not only can save me and my son from this shame and his cavity-infected mouth BUT ALSO is someone I can trust.  It doesn’t sound too difficult.

But in American Fork, Utah there are over one hundred dentists all screaming out to me saying, “I’ll solve all your dental problems!”   So I set out on this journey in a sea of “qualified” dentists.

Where do I start?  Google Maps.  I type in American Fork Dentists.  Fifteen pop up.  I place my curser over their name and there is nothing that sets them apart but their last name.

Except for…. Wait a minute!? What do my eyes behold?? Color…. design…. could that be a LOGO? It’s a simple one really but one that catches my eye probably because the rest of dentists listed did not have one. It beckons me to click on it.

Click! I am on his home page…I see his family, his office and practice. In my mind I say with relief, “He is the one”. Why? Well, to most potential customers, and me, if he cared enough about his business to create a logo then he must care enough about my kid’s teeth. The other dentists, if they have a logo, didn’t take the time to use it properly, and incorporate it into Google Maps. This dentist, paid for a professionally designed logo and implemented it into Google Maps.

It may sound silly, but it’s true, if you are one fish in the very big sea of your profession you have to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What sets your business apart from the rest?
2. What will attract the most attention immediately?
3. What will cause a call to action?


Subliminal Messages in Logos

I hate to use the word “subliminal” with logos, because ALL logos should be affecting someone’s mind below the threshold of consciousness. A good logo should be manipulating you to be attracted to the company or products with a simple story.

However, some logos have graphics that have been “buried” in the logo. So buried that the viewer doesn’t recognize it until maybe the hundredth time they’ve seen the logo, and that nice little “a-ha!” moment makes the logo even more memorable to them.

I was indulging in my two favorite pastimes-eating fast food and analyzing logos-when I noticed the outside of the Wendy’s bag had a hidden message. Can you see it?










Wendy’s changed their entire brand in March of this year, and with the change came a loss of the old nostalgic feel that their previous branding had. They use a more modern typeface, their stores are slicker, and the drawing is updated to be clean and fresh.





The simple one-color illustration use on their bags makes the implied message a little clearer, though, since it doesn’t have the distracting colors. It’s a touch of nostalgia I think they wanted to evoke into their overall message of great food. And who did we count on for great food in our childhood?









Here’s some examples of hidden meanings in other famous logos. I won’t incude the obvious FedEx logo, because readers of this blog are probably sick of reading about that.

Hey, that’s a biker!









Nice illustration of analog and digital technology.







They have everything from A-Z.









“Don’t worry, we still have 31 flavors”









Can you think of some more examples?

Designer, My Profile

Does a designer need to know how to draw?

I would love some feedback from fellow designers on whether a graphic designer needs the ability to draw in order to be successful. A blog I’ve been reading has an infographic that says that almost all designers say “No”. This goes against everything I’ve seen in my experience.

The act of drawing forces you to think visually. Designing is solving visual problems.

I know a lot of excellent designers, and all of them have some drawing ability. What do you think? Since I started designing, my drawing skills have increased a lot. Both practices help the other.