Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Business of Logo Design and Commercial Illustration: An Interview with Stuart L. Crawford

Stuart Crawford is a freelance graphic designer based in Belfast, Ireland with ten years experience in logo design. We recently crossed paths on Twitter and for the purposes of this interview crossed an ocean via email.

EN: How did you come to be a logo designer?

Stuart L. Crawford: I made the decision early on in my design career that I wanted to narrow my focus and specialise in one area rather than be a jack-of-all-trades. I wanted to become a specialist, an expert in the field and initially working solely on designing logos really helped speed up the learning process. Although, today, my design services have allowed for a little breathing space into the wider areas of branding, the core service I offer is still custom logo design.

EN: What was your training and background?

SLC: I graduated in 2009 from the University of Dundee, Scotland, with a B.A. (Hons.) in illustration. I felt the freedom the illustration course allowed was slightly greater than something like Graphic Design or Visual Communications, as you were ‘expected’ to push projects towards a more ‘pure art’ basis, whilst tying final elements in with a designed form.

Before uni, I had done work experience in a Belfast design agency, and expected to try for a Design degree; but do not at all regret going down the illustration route. If anything, it means I stand out a bit more.

EN: How do you go about obtaining new business?

SLC: New business is 99% through my website. People will find me through logo galleries, Dribbble or Google, get to see my work, read the design blog to learn more about me and then get in touch.

EN: What is your process for designing a logo for a new client?

SLC: I actually have a blog post dedicated to the process of logo design. (Visit his Graphic Design Blog.)

EN: What do you read or do for stimulating ideas?

SLC: I follow a lot of other designer’s blogs, their social media streams and buy their books. My morning ritual usually involves opening up my RSS reader, skimming and opening interesting articles in new tabs for reading over coffee. Usually, when working, I listen to instrumental music, be it electronica or ambient to focus, alternatively watching documentaries in the background if I’m in an experimental mood.

EN: What other kind of work do you do besides logos?

SLC: I cover all forms of the branding, from stationery design to branded materials such as print media or promotional. Also, being an illustrator, I illustrate! (occasionally commercially).

EN: Is there anything especially unique in how you approach your work?

SLC: I really don’t think so. I’m a problem solver and the design process aims to find a solution through creativity and communication. My approach is most likely similar to other freelancers, although I hope the results are different.

EN: What are you working on now that has you jazzed?

SLC: Currently I’m rebranding a large manufacturing brand in Ireland whose image has become a little ‘dated’. Although my client base is international, it’s always enjoyable working with local businesses.

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Top right: logo design for DJ EDX

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