With state-of-the-art design software and digital tablets replacing messy inks and paper, it’s easy to forget that logo design was originally a hand-drawn practice. In fact, many of the celebrated logos of the 60s, 70s and 80s were made without computers at all. Considering how long they’ve stuck around, there might just be something to the idea of ditching your fancy stylus pen (for the first few drafts, at least!).
Digital tools have since streamlined the design process, but designers are still drawn (pardon the pun) to handmade logos—not only for their evocation of the early days of graphic design, but for the nuanced brand values these logos, and the time and attention that goes into them, communicate.
The examples gathered here represent a handful of these brand values, and if you pay attention, they might just lend you a helping hand (last pun, promise) to your next logo idea.
Cursive and hand-lettered logos
Hand-lettered wordmarks and monograms are as classic as branding can get. They function similarly to a personal signature, except for a business. Because no two signatures are alike, this style is a great way to guarantee a unique logo.
Additionally, the connection to personal signatures lets your brand feel more human and friendly. It’s a style that can work great for selling natural soaps, small coffee shops or healing practices—businesses that interact directly with customers or want to give their own stamp of approval on their handmade products.
Another approach to handmade logos is to incorporate a sketch of an object, scene or idea. Take for example the furniture store logo above which depicts a table and chair. The shapes are loosely formed and somewhat open to interpretation. It has an almost abstract appearance that is atmospheric, calm and whimsical.
A sketch-style logo is a great choice if your business is aiming to create a free and floating atmosphere–good for businesses relating to experiential products or environments like coffee shops, furniture stores, or even agricultural businesses that might want to suggest to customers the open and breezy nature of their farm.
Rustic and down-to-earth
You’ve probably noticed that many of the examples so far feel tangible and organic. It turns out this is just an essential trait of hand-drawn designs. If you take the time to put love and care into a hand-crafted design, it’s going to feel pretty down-to-earth. Additionally, a touch of imperfection infuses logos with a natural, human appearance as opposed to a machine-made, mathematically precise look.
The designs featured above reflect this feeling with gentle illustrations, imperfect decorative patterns and quaint concepts. If an organic or rustic feel is a focal point of your business, consider this style of logo design.
Fun and playful handmade elements
Creating anything by hand can also be really fun–cooking, playing music, painting and that’s right, graphic design too! The examples above capture the fun of making hand-drawn design—such as painting with bright hues, incorporating children’s drawings or using organic patterns with colors that pop. Any business that values fun should consider a hand-made logo. Think dog walking, vacation, education or daycare businesses.
Artisanal and craft logos
On the slightly more formal side, the old-fashioned nature of hand-drawn design can give logos a vintage, artisanal look. This is an approach you should consider if you are trying to express dedication to a craft. Think beer brewing, coffee roasting or even plant nurseries. This type of design often features detailed illustrations with ornate decoration which take time and skill to create (just like for your product!).
A great choice, hands down
If you feel like your brand could use a human touch and doesn’t mind going a little old school to do it, a hand-drawn logo design is great choice. Whether it’s a personal signature, down-to-earth illustration or detailed labor of love, your design will capture your own unique and timeless message.