Level Up Your Logos

Graphic designers design logos. It’s one of the biggest things we’re known for. For that reason, we spend a lot of time looking at other people’s logos and trying to improve our logo design skills. One amazing logo design exercise is one you can do, simply, by combining random words and turning them into imagery. Here’s how to do it.

What To Do

Take two random words, or a word and a letter, and make a representational or abstract icon from their combination.

How To Do It

Use a word generator or choose your own words. You can use the one at Randomwordgenerator.com to get started.

Choose 2 words from the drop down menu, and hit Generate Random Words. Some of the combos are a bit too random, so keep going until you get two words that would work. Or, choose only one of the words and combine it with the first letter of the other word.

Random Word Generator

Why Do It

This is a great exercise to improve your logo design skills, specifically in the actual execution of your ideas. Much of what we do as designers is try to get a concept across in the simplest way possible. This exercise forces us to think about all the ways this can be done without the constraints of working with an actual client.


  • Use grid paper, dot grid paper, or a mix of different types of grids. The grids guide the creation of your shapes, and new ideas can come entirely from the grid system you’re using.
  • Don’t filter yourself. Put everything down. You won’t know if an idea is great or terrible unless you do. Even terrible ideas can spawn new ideas that are awesome.
  • Create your logos in a single colour first. (Ideally, pencil or black marker to start) A logo that works in one colour will work once multiple colours are added.
  • Explore the dimensions of each letter or shape you create. Try using negative space, thick outlines, geometric or rounded edges, etc. If you’re using a letter, think about all the different styles your typeface can be. Really play will each shape as much as possible.

My Attempt

Here are some sketched ideas I made for the Carbon/Thirsty logo idea. These were drawn in Procreate (iPad) using a grid and pencil brush. My idea was to use the C as the main letter since on the periodic table, carbon is C. Incorporating the thirty part was tricky. Thirsty doesn’t necessarily mean water or wet, but it could. It could also mean absence of water. I tried incorporating tiny droplets into the C idea, since a lack of water could be symbolized as ‘only one drop left’.

Now, the question is whether any of these are good enough to take further. Or maybe I should start again with two new words.

Carbon Thirsty Logo Sketches

Logo Design Exercise: In Conclusion

I love this kind of design exercise because it really makes you think about what different kinds of shapes and symbols communicate to a viewer. It also gives you a few, simple constraints to follow to help improve your logo design skills without a deadline. So go nuts.

Do you like this logo design exercise? Are there other design exercises you like better? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Photo Credits