All stories related to: Ask Ian

Jan 06 2014
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Ask Ian: Do you see lines or the whole letter?

carrier pigeon


We received this question from Ketume via Twitter: “@ianbrignell if I may,do you c letter’s as lines or jst plain letters when designing?”

Here’s Ian Brignell’s response:

Hi Ketume:

Thanks for your question, and the answer actually encompasses both aspects of what you asked.
When drawing letters, I start with the big picture, which means I look at the overall structure of the word. I consider the shape, weight, character and energy of the letters, as well as the specific interaction that takes place between each letter and it’s companions.
Once the overall feel and balance are right, I then look very closely at the details of the curves that make up the letters. I want to make sure that the transitions are as smooth as possible. You could say that I’m looking at these fine details as lines or even segments of lines. In order to make sure they work, though, I then have to zoom back out and look again at the word as a whole. I zoom in and out of the details like this until I’m happy with the smoothness and harmony of the piece.
I hope that this makes sense, and good luck with your endeavors.



Dec 20 2013
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Ask Ian: About his Creative Process

carrier pigeon


A number of you have written in to ask about Ian’s creative process. The following is part of Ian’s response to the question as posed by A.M., a graphic design student at Humber College.

How do you go about your creative process?


The brief is my guide on any project, and is the starting point for ideas. One of the first questions I ask a client is “Why do you want to change this logo?” and “What do you think is wrong with it?” I should point out here that virtually all of my clients are design studios or ad agencies, so I’m always dealing with creative directors who are able to explain in visual terms what they’re after. I almost never work directly with the end client, so I depend on the creative director to filter the clients’ needs accurately.
Many clients also send me references of work that they like and think is appropriate for the project we’re working on, as a way of kick-starting the process. If they send me a lot of these references, I like to have a chat with them on the phone to narrow down the range, since sometimes they send examples that ultimately aren’t applicable.
Once I feel that I know exactly what the client wants to express with their logo, I’ll usually sketch some loose ideas with pen or pencil in order to work out the basic structure of the piece, as well as the relationships between the letters. Then I’ll usually do some larger sketches that explore the detail of the letters, and work toward a cohesive style. (Sometimes I’ll only do a few of the trickier letters in sketch form, because it’s faster to draw the simpler letters on the computer.) Once I’m happy with the larger sketches, I’ll scan them and convert them into outlines that I can manipulate in Adobe Illustrator.
Everything I send my clients is in vector format (as Adobe Illustrator files), since they always want to drop my work into a layout or package design, and need to manipulate colour etc.



Dec 16 2013
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Ask Ian

carrier pigeonToday, we are introducing a new feature called “ASK IAN”. Send me an email with your question and I post both the query and Ian Brignell’s response.

I’m pretty sure that the above illustration (by Ian Brignell, of course) is a dove but for this Ask Ian feature, I’m going to squint my eyes, just a little, so that I can think of it as a carrier pigeon. Get it?