Make a name for yourself with signature logo design.

Whether it’s a handwritten signature, a custom logo designed from a signature font, or a simple monogram, logos based on signatures can be the perfect way to get your name out there.

A storefront with a signature logo design

What is a signature logo?

A signature logo is a company logo made up primarily of the name of the brand written in cursive hand lettering or calligraphy-style typography. This type of logo design is a great option for companies named after a person or for brands who are going for a softer, more personal look. “Signature logos show up often in lifestyle brands and photography,” says designer Sarah Giffrow. “Brands that are marketed more toward female-identified folks are likely to go in this direction.”

A signature logo design for a fashion artist
A signature logo design

When to design signature logos.

“Be careful with this style,” says designer Ashley Lippard. More businesslike brands or larger companies might want to go another route. For example, a cursive lettering logo is great for a fashion boutique but might seem out of place on a sign for a corporate investment firm. “It makes sense for photographers because they are their own business. A motivational speaker would also be a good signature brand because it’s their identity they’re selling,” says Lippard.

 

Draw it by hand.

If you decide to go this route, Lippard doesn’t recommend falling back on fonts, online logo makers, or logo templates. “If it’s a signature, make it a real signature. Scan it in and trace it. If it’s in the style of a handwritten logo, do it yourself or find someone who has really beautiful hand lettering and scan it in,” says Lippard.

 

Make it your own.

Signature logos are common for many industries. Make yours stand out by doing things differently. “Use the signature logo in more unexpected ways. Make sure it’s memorable,” says Lippard. “Most signature logos are just a signature. Maybe try to add in some other elements. Maybe it bleeds off of the page or it cuts off. Find ways to put a spark to it.”

 

Keep it simple.

You might want to add an additional word or two to the logo to describe the business or perhaps create a version that includes the company tagline. Just be sure not to overdo it. “A lot of times, there’s enough going on with the scripty font that you don't want to go too crazy with other elements,” says Giffrow. “Often you’ll end up with simpler shapes or elements that embellish the signature but don’t compete with it.”

Multiple signature logo designs side by side

Create scalable versions.

For a professional signature logo to work well, you’ll need to make sure your design will be legible at different sizes. “A lot of times, a script font will look great at a larger size, but when you scale it down it looks like mush,” says Giffrow. “So make sure the readability is preserved in all of the different contexts it’s going to be used in.”

 

One way to improve scalability is to be sure your script is thick enough. Signatures can often be too thin. You may also need to create multiple versions. Graphic designers often create a few different logos in various orientations as well as a simpler logomark that can work for the smallest placements. Here’s an example of three versions you could make:

 

  • A wide option for website headers, letterhead, watermarks, and other banner-sized placements

  • A stacked logo for more square-shaped placements, like business cards

  • A small logomark for Instagram icons and other tiny placements
A signature design being created in Adobe Illustrator

Create a beautiful signature logo using Adobe Illustrator.

From thousands of fonts to automatic tracing, Illustrator has everything you need to make striking, high-resolution signature designs.

 

Customize fonts to create unique lettering.

For certain company logos, starting from an exceptional font and adjusting it from there might be just the ticket. And Adobe Fonts gives you access to more than 18,000 fonts with any Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Simply add text to your Illustrator file and then perform the convert type to outlines function, and Illustrator will turn the outlines of a font into an editable path.

 

“I’ll choose a font that works reasonably well. But sometimes there are too many loopy elements or aspects that I don’t love,” says Giffrow. “At that point, it becomes more about fine-tuning spacing between letters, fine-tuning the ends, smoothing out edges, or removing curlicues.”

 

Draw your own signature with Illustrator on the iPad.

Digital hand lettering is easier than ever with the iPad and Apple Pencil stylus. Draw your own signature or lettering from scratch using Illustrator on the iPad, and you’ll instantly have your own custom vector art to work with.

 

Transform someone else’s signature into a vector file.

If your goal is to mimic someone else’s handwriting, scan their paper signature into Illustrator and use the Image Trace feature to transform it into a vector file that you can edit. 

 

General checklist for creating a professional logo.

Follow these steps each time you are creating a new logo.

 

  1. Ask your client what they’re looking for and what they might enjoy.

  2. Research the client’s company and competitors.

  3. Create a moodboard for inspiration.

  4. Sketch out as many logo ideas as you can.

  5. Flesh out three to five ideas in black and white to show your client.

  6. Fine-tune the client’s favorite version and add color options.

  7. Send your client a logo package with various logo files: a grayscale logo, a color logo, a stacked (square) logo, a banner logo, and more. Most likely, your client will require a transparent PNG of each style.

 

No matter what type of custom logo design you create, aim to make one that’s dynamically useful, legible, and noteworthy. Explore signature logos on Behance to check out what others have created. Then brainstorm ways to make yours stand apart from the rest.

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