Mentor

brunel

New Member
Hello

I am looking for someone who can mentor me in graphic design, specifically logo design. I've emailed a few designers but had no responses. I'm new to the industry and have been teaching myself online with varying degrees of success. I struggle to come up with effective logo ideas and choosing the right kind of typography. Essentially I need some 1 to 1 guidance, either free or for a fee (I don't mind). Please can someone help? I don't feel like I am going anywhere fast.
 

sprout

Active Member
Hi

Every time I see a post like yours (they come in many guises), I am always left slightly flummoxed as to why wannabe designers seem to be so intent on logo design, instead of expressing an interest in becoming a designer and actually learning the craft, as a whole, before considering specialising. Moreover, this trend to pre-limit to such a narrow field exposes the very problem it creates.

Design is about finding solutions to problems in creative, intelligent ways and visually communicating these ideas to an intended audience, be it very wide, or very niche. It is definitely NOT about making pretty. Logo design, in and of itself, doesn’t – or rather, shouldn’t – exist. The design of a logo should be part of the brand – or identity – of a company or organisation. It is not about making a pretty adornment to sit at the top of a website or letterhead.

For me, the whole idea of just designing logos is a little bit ridiculous. It is like wanting to become an automotive designer by designing only the badge on a car without ever considering the design of the car it will sit on, Wishing to become a GP, but only wanting to learn about renal diseases. It does clients a disservice, in that they are paying money for something that is ultimately very unlikely to do its job.

So, you see, the way you phrase your desire to learn is going to put seasoned designers off even engaging with you. It makes me just roll my eyes and yawn a little. ‘Here we go again …’

My advice would be to take steps towards getting yourself an education from a good university. That way a number of things will happen. Firstly, the evaluation process will tell you if you have any sort of aptitude or ability. If you are any good, you’ll earn a place.

Secondly, you will gain an idea of what you need to learn. Right now, to my mind, you are still at a stage where you appear to not even know what you don’t know. If you are to have any chance at being successful and building the kind of long-term career that will allow you to pay your bills and build a life for yourself, whilst at the same time, giving you a sense of fulfilment, you need to gain a comprehensive understanding of what visual communication is all about.

Finally, you will then spend three or four years learning about how to do this in the right way. After that, you’ll need at least another three of four years working to understand the mechanics of the theory you spent the preceding years learning. Even then, it doesn’t end. I’m still learning after, well, let’s just say, a good few more years than that.

I am not trying to put you off. I am just trying to help you go down the right path to learn in the right way and make your efforts fruitful. Otherwise you will end up as one of the thousands of ‘logo designers’ out there fighting for work to do £20 logos on crowd sourced websites for unsuspecting clients, that will give them what they think they want, but definitely not what they need.

If you learn the right way, you can end up with a fulfilling career (despite the sometimes ridiculous deadlines) that can take you down paths you‘d never knew even existed, in doing work that truly is satisfying and, more importantly, design thangs that do their job and make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the bit where I get to design logos, but it is far, far more satisfying to work with a client, find out their needs and genuinely help them achieve their goals. That applies to every area of design, not just logos, or rather, branding.

Do you have a body of work that you could create a portfolio from to help you get a place at a university? If not, you could consider doing a foundation course at a local college. You never know, that my take you in directions you never thought of too.

That‘s my two penny’s worth, for what it’s worth.

Good luck.
 

Wardy

Well-Known Member
Further to what Sprout says, I would just say do not get disheartened at this early stage. A lot of us on here are of a certain age and have many years' experience, that's why we can
take one look at a logo or typography and see immediately what's wrong with it.

I can (just about) remember back to my college days when we had weeks to spend on one label design or whatever. We didn't know anything, we just had the tutor there in the background
to answer any questions or chip in from time to time to help us along. This would be difficult for someone to replicate in a mentoring role if you're at such an early stage, which is why further education is always best.
You may find some useful online courses and books of course and there's a myriad of stuff online that we never even dreamed of. You may find a local evening course doing A Levels.

The best thing about the graphics course I did was that it involved doing lots of different subjects and so some of us eventually branched off into other things - I became an illustrator and my mate
ended up being a photographer, some went into completely different areas. You may find your own little niche that you really enjoy doing. It's fun to do the odd logo design, but you can't base a career on it.
 

sprout

Active Member
Further to what Sprout says, I would just say do not get disheartened at this early stage.

I completely agree. My intention is not to be disheartening. It is – hopefully – to steer you in a direction you can build on. There are so many pitfalls around these days that weren’t necessarily there when I was starting out. There appears to be this idea that logo design is the new rock and roll and it’s a quick and dirty route to being a designer. Those people often fall by the wayside. Those who study type and understand it’s history; who understand Cartier-Bresson’s place in the history of photography, etc, etc, become equipped to be able to visually communicate ideas.

It is a massively rewarding career, but like anything worth having, it is only worth anything if you put the hard yards in – and of course, you’re running in the right direction.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Hey Brunel,

Welcome to the forums.

Personally, I'm not entirely sure a mentor is what you need right now, especially a paid one.
I don't know anything about your situation but if I were to advise someone starting out I'd say try to get on a foundation course or a college course in Graphic Design.
I don't mean a three year Uni degree, just something to give you a good understanding of the basics of design.

When I was young I kinda thought Graphic Designers designed logos all day which is one of the things that attracted me to it.
It isn't, although some of the well known internet/Youtube Design Guru's would make you think so.
There's WAY much more to it and it seems to be expanding every day.
Exploring design will help you find your niche and what you really enjoy doing and if that is branding then so be it.

I started out as a Graphic Designer but then got into illustration and now animation.
When I get asked to design a logo now my stomach sinks a little as unless it's something I'm really in to I don't really enjoy doing them.
To be perfectly honest, since crowdsourcing sites came along, the market for "logo design" has become saturated because everyone with a computer can say they're a Designer and make one.

Don't let any of that put you off!
If it's what you want to do and it floats your boat then go for it.
As you can see there are people on here who are happy to advise you although it can be a little blunt sometimes, it is always constructive and well meant.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to the forums.

Hit up Linkedin Learning and do their Logo design courses starting from the beginning. It's taught be world-renowned logo designer Nigel French.

You don't need a mentor - you need to learn. And you can only learn by studying and applying.
 

brunel

New Member
Thanks for the responses and advice. I have a full time job as a Civil Servant, which pays my mortgage and bills, so I can't really quit and do a full time degree. My workplace is relocating in a couple of years though, so I do need to have a plan of action, and hence wanting to learn a new skill. I could do some evening and online courses. I have been taking some courses online from The Futur, covering colour, typography and logo design. I need something a bit more in depth now. My reason for finding a mentor was to have someone already doing what I want to be doing guide me, provide encouragement.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for explaining more Brunel as that gives a better picture about where you are right now and I totally get where you want to go.

For learning the technical stuff I'd echo Hank on this.
Linkedin Learning (formerly Lynda.com) offer a one month free trial and there are literally shit loads of courses on there.
As long as you cancel before the month is up you don't pay a thing.

Skillshare do a two month trial in the same way but when you go to cancel they usually give you another free month....BONUS! :)
That's four months of unrestricted access and learning.

Both are pretty awesome and that's how I learned Illustrator and After Effects.
If you do one after the other and browse the courses and make a learning plan prior to the trial you can get a great deal out of it.
There are also courses on the other things like self promotion, building a portfolio, dealing with clients and the like that aren't just design based.

When I do a course project I try to think about what I can learn, how can I adapt it to make it mine and how I can use it (portfolio/promotion).
That way you can learn, build a portfolio and also get your work out there all in go.

Regarding design advice and opinions or critiques then you're welcome to post on here.
A lot of us have been around the block a few times and have picked a few things up over the years. ;)
(Especially Hank but shhhh!)

I wouldn't even bother considering Uni in your situation.
Personally, I think it's way overrated, expensive and time consuming in the field of design (that's just my opinion). ;)
Don't rule out doing even a short, part time college course as you will learn the ABC's as everything else is built on that foundation.

I honestly wish you all the best and you can totally do it if you put the work in.
 
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