Here was yet another memorable session with the creative badass himself (his own words), James Martin. He really is just that; with over 15 years' designing and specialising in brand and logo creation, there's not much this creative genius doesn't know about branding.

In this session, we learned how to build personalised presentations using fonts and got to see James' brand new font collection in action! I mean, does it get any better really?! We don't think so.

Session Resources

Check out the awesome resources used in this session!

Understand Consistency

As James describes it, it's not just the logo that makes people relate to his posts and remember them. It’s the type that plays a huge role. So whether it's on your website, Instagram posts, or case studies, get your handwriting or a specific set of fonts down. They act as brand guidelines.

For example, a number of designers might have different type on different platforms, which leads to inconsistency in their brand representation. The power of keeping that consistency across everything is what’s the most important aspect.

See images below for handmade examples:

How James Ensures Consistency

James created the Made by James chunky as shown in the image below. He showcases how he ensures consistency in his content on Instagram. First, he creates a handwritten version or doodles before beginning. He creates a consistent vibe that people still recognize with a type, his Made by James Font and his own handwriting.

James takes a picture of his sketch and combines the sketches with the final logo to showcase the process with his audience. He creates case studies to dig deeper, as shown below.

Logo Design Process

Sketch It Out

Sketch out ‘Level Organics’ on a piece of paper. See drawing as a way of creating ideas. It's an idea generation tool, it's not art. Avoid getting confused within the drawing side of the design, thinking that it has to be good. Just sketch it out without making corrections or fitting it properly.

Set the Canvas

Go to Illustrator and use the Made by James Font and type the word LEVEL to create this with a few tips and tricks along the way.

To test the font, choose between multiple hand-drawn letters with slightly different variations of each letter. It also includes capitals and small letters, so each letter has got two variations. For example, see the image below.

Duplicate the Letters

As soon as you see this word, you notice E L E L twice. Smash these out because you can duplicate these and reflect them. The best thing about type and being creative is that there are absolutely no rules. There are no wrong answers and wrong decisions. So when it comes to type, wherever you're in your sketchbook, do a review on your computer.

For example, when we're thinking about levels, create levels in the word level so it plays nicely on the word. This means you can reduce the size of the E and extend the length of the L.

Automatically, the V brings focus as a centerpiece. Give it a small stroke and buff it up. Using the Pathfinder, make a slightly raggedy edge. You can tidy this up later as well.

Align and Duplicate the Letters

Align the letters nicely next to each other. Get a gap between the V and the L as shown in the image below.

Once aligned, press Command + C and then Command + V to copy and paste it on the right side of the V. Drag it next to the V and align it in one line.

You can make tiny adjustments by expanding the words or making them smaller.

Add Elements

Since this is a food company we’re designing for, James decides to add some vegetables in the negative spaces. Draw a carrot and drop it into Photoshop. Click on image, adjustments, black and white. Play with the brightness and contrast to get a depth of whites and blacks, giving it character.

Then add it into Illustrator. Place it on the main composition. Use the Live Trace Tool and shrink it to a feasible size right above the V on Level. Add tiny details such as the lines on the carrot and add it to the V.

Use duplicate to make the lines thicker and proportionately add them on the inside of the V.

Pro tip: It is not essential to Live Trace, but when it is for an organic veg company such as this, use hand-drawn texture to your type. If it’s luxurious, then try and be clean using the Pen Tool.

Sometimes when you import from sketch, it becomes a pain to soften the lines. In such cases, use the path of Simplify to allow you to change every small detail. You can then also soften some of those edges a little bit faster.

Add a Subline

Add Organics as the subline right below Level, using the same font. Make sure to cover the length of the logo.

Pro tip: Instead of using multiple duplicators, use sketchbooks for iterations. Always keep the original on the side and then work on any duplications that you wish to work on so you can later make any changes.

This completes the logo for Level Organics.

Create a Presentation

Use handwritten fonts to create presentations. Use 16 x 9 shots and then crop the sides. To present all your work to the client, add all the sketches you have done so far to build the logo.

Then mock up while explaining the details of your idea, thoughts, and your idea generation to your clients. Some people have a beautiful and emotional attachment to things that feel hand-drawn and personally done. This adds a human touch to the presentation. 

Mock it Up

Using the Made by James Font, start to mock it up. Take a picture of the sketchbook in Illustrator. Use the background shots and rotate them. Use a consistent pattern such as paper, pens, little utensils, ruler etc. As James shares, when he also adds his hand, they can see his hand and know that it's his work.

So even if people try and steal, they can see his tattoos on the hand, his nails, pens etc creating consistency in vibe and style, whether it’s through his sketchbook work, mocking up on the carousels or motivational posts. They are always shot within the same style.

Pro tip: Consistency brings recognition. 

Add Text and Elements

Add text on slides such as, “Carrot represents the organic produce”, giving it logic and sense. See the image below for reference. This adds more authenticity to the presentation.

Add annotation elements, such as circles, and highlight what is important. This way the focus is being brought to the carrot.

Add text to outline why the design is as such. For example, the inverted L and E points towards the local produce for focus.

Pro tip: For a general process, start by mapping it out in the head. Then use sketches and draw them before finally putting them out on Photoshop or Illustrator, to begin with. Use as many sketches as needed for rough drawing.

Finally, add the vector on top of the sketch for mockup.

Use multiply to make it a little bit darker. Duplicate this background layer and then place that on top. Drop the hard light down to 25% and play with the textures. This adds extra depth to the idea. Edit and rasterize the layer. Use a pencil and go around the edges, deleting or adding more depth or shadow. Finally, flatten it.

Congratulations, you have successfully learned how to build personalized presentations using amazing tips and tricks.