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Creating Logos With Students - Understanding Visual Metaphor And Symbolic Meaning

Source: DesignMantic (click for full-size image)
Logos are short-hand, visual cues that companies use to evoke their brands. Effective logos represent automatic associations between a corporation and a customer. They connect a unique icon with an emotional reaction.

This type of tidy pictorial design can also be employed to winning effect in the classroom. Students can use logos to study visual metaphors and symbolic meanings. They can experiment with thesis and synthesis, in boiling down a range of meanings into a concise, original image.

Source: ASIDE 2015
History students, for example, can sketch logos to embody specific presidents or time periods. We had our U.S. history classes brainstorm logos for the era of the Great Depression. The designs featured in this post range from a juxtaposition of the Empire State Building going up while the stock market goes down, to a financial Dust Bowl of lost dollars.

In studying literature, learners can similarly design logos to accompany a book or a character. It's no surprise that the Hunger Games mockingjay pin became so popular among fans. Science students can draft logos for key principles or elements, or global thinkers can draw emblems to capture current events.

Source: ASIDE 2015
By translating their understanding into self-created icons, students can climb a level in their comprehension, from decoding to encoding. They can capture the essential significance or recurring tropes via clever designs that will in turn help educate their peers.

Steps for creating logos with students:
  1. Begin by having learners identify logos and brands from current media. We use these sheets of letters and symbols as games to get students excited and to introduce the range of possibilities.
  2. Invite students to rank their favorite logos and explain why some stand out in their minds. For example, we had children rate the logos of presidential candidates in 2012.
  3. Introduce some tips for contemporary design. DesignMantic has a helpful infographic of the "10 Commandments Of Logo Design." FastPrint also offers a terrific infographic about "How To Design The Perfect Logo."
  4. Ask them to brainstorm the key characters, themes, or takeaways that they would want a logo to evoke.
  5. Finally, give them a range of tools to use, from hands-on pen and paper to visual apps like Pencil by FiftyThree.
Source: FastPrint
Above all, a logo should present a clear, somewhat unexpected relationship between picture and subject. The video below, "49 Years Of Super Bowl Logos," reveals how images can evolve with the times to add layers of significance.

For further ideas, we recommend: