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TeachNet Grant: The Art of Designing a Logo

Lisa Ferranti Ferranti

Voyages Preparatory High School
4510 94 Street
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Grade/Subject: 9-12: Visual Art and Design

About the Grant:

To the average person, the role of a graphic designer may seem fairly effortless. After all, all you have to do is select a color and a typeface and then throw it together in a design... right? Well, it's actually a bit more complicated than that. Many critical questions need to be addressed prior to even picking up a sketchbook or touching a computer. In this WebQuest unit, the students learn that there are meanings behind every color and typeface, and when a graphic designer crafts a logo, that person is creating an identity for the client or business. As the project title (The Art of Designing a Logo) implies, students will learn that it's all about choosing wisely. Then they will be able to effectively design a logo in Adobe Illustrator for their business.

Overall Value:

One of the best features of this unit is that it is a Web Quest. Consequently, students will be able to work at their own pace. Because I teach at a transfer school where the students are working at drastically different levels, all lessons must be differentiated. Those students who are finished prior to everyone else can continue on to create the rest of their stationary. Secondly, students will not get “lost” in the Internet because the links have been chosen for them. They edit, e-mail, and share their work in a few simple steps. Finally, they create their logo in Adobe Illustrator. Everything created in Illustrator is vector art. The final results can be reproduced at any size without pixilation.


Tips for the Teacher: 

This is a difficult unit for students to fully grasp and understand by lecture alone. Plenty of visuals and resources need to be provided. The Web Quest allows everyone to work at their own pace. Students can ask you or others for help and can review previous material. Teaching my students the Adobe Illustrator program was the only work I did prior to this unit. 

Project URL

The Art of Designing a Logo


1. Be able to walk themselves through a unit by utilizing the WebQuest that has been created for them. In this way, they can work and learn at their own pace.

2. Be able to realize that the little particulars they take advantage of during their daily routines have underlying meanings. (ie. Color choice, Font choice, etc.)

3. Understand that colors convey different moods and feelings toward the viewer.

4. Understand the different typeface categories and learn that each has a different effect on the way the viewer perceives it.

5. Create their very own identity in the form of a logo.

6. Understand one of the roles that a graphic designer may possess.                  

Websites Used

Exploring Palettes and Symbolism

This link describes the symbolism of color as well as colors that work well together. Students need this to understand the color wheel, color palettes, and color groups.


The Power of Colors

This is a link with a list of colors and their meanings. As mentioned above, the students need this to understand how colors work with and against each other.


It’s Not Just a Color

This is a slideshow presentation I created in Google docs. It’s simple and to the point, and assists students in learning the meanings and moods behind colors.


Choosing the Right Font For Your Logo

This is a link to a PDF document from Adobe educational lessons. It briefly describes the history of three typeface categories: Serif, Sans Serif, and Script. Students will learn that typeface choices can give off subliminal meanings to the viewer.


What’s the Right Font for your Graphic Design

Students will read and learn here that the context of a message is affected by font/typeface design and size changes.


Know the Meaning of your Font

The students will see that having a large number of fonts/typefaces increases the messages that can be conveyed. Careful typeface choice is the key here.


Essential Rules to Follow

This gives students twelve basic rules to follow when designing their logo. Where do they start? Where do they end? How do they get to that point?


Designing Successful Logos

This link discusses what goes into designing a logo. It also shows bits of inspiration and messages that can be put into a logo.


30 Processes Revealed

This is a collection of articles from various logo designers who share tips and tricks for creating logos. Some share their step-by-step process, which is crucial for students to see.


What To Ask Your Client

This provides a list of questions that designers may want/need to ask their client.



This is a link to offer a little inspiration for students to always think outside the box.


Breaking the Rules

This is link that shows students when it is okay to break the rules. 


This is a link to an article about the Nickelodeon and MTV logos, which were designed by the same company and went through constant changes over the years. There’s also a link to a blog by one of the creative directors. 

Standards Addressed:

Standard 1:

Students will actively engage in the process that constitute creation and performance in the arts and participate in the various roles in the arts.

Grade: 9-12



Standard 2:

Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 3:

Students will respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 4:

Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 5:

Students construct meanings about the world through art making, build upon experiences to express a personal vision, develop a global perspective, and recognize the power of art to communicate beliefs and values.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 6:

Students hone observation skills and discuss works of art; develop visual arts vocabulary to describe art making, the tools and techniques used to produce art, and the elements and principles of design; read and write about art to reinforce literacy skills; interpret artwork by providing evidence to support assertions; and reflect on the process of making art.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 7:

Students recognize the societal, cultural, and historical significance of art; connect the visual arts to other disciplines; and apply the skills and knowledge learned in visual arts to interpreting the world.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 8:


By working with a variety of school staff, students access primary resources in the community, the borough, and the city to extend their learning beyond the classroom.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 9:


Students gain an awareness of careers in visual arts; recognize personal, social, and professional goals; develop a career plan; learn to work independently and in teams; and gain an appreciation of art as a source of enjoyment and life-long learning.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 10:

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 11:

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 12:

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 13:

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems,
and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 14:

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology, and practice legal and ethical behavior.

Grade: 9-12


Standard 15:

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

Grade: 9-12


Lesson 1:

Since this unit is a Web Quest, students will be working at their own pace so individual and daily lessons are not available. Each lesson is carefully typed out throughout the Web Quest. Every part has its own assessment which will be e-mailed to me upon completion.

How It Works:

Students will be engaging in a WebQuest and will be walked through the meanings of colors and typeface categories via various web links. After browsing each, they will create a Color Meaning Chart and a Typeface Category Chart.


Color Meanings Chart


Typeface Category Chart

Typeface Category (Classification)

Typeface Examples

Typeface Meanings and Descriptions




3. Century Schoolbook

Formality, convention, tradition


1. Arial


3. Impact

Less formal, direct, more modern


1.Brush Script

2.Lucida Handwriting

3. Mistral

Elegance, luxury, high class


Then, to be certain they understand how typeface choices can help describe a word, they will copy and paste this list of words into Word. They will carefully choose fonts that are appropriate for the word.


Word List


Lesson 2:

Next, they will browse through some more web links on creating a successful logo for a business. They will fill out this 3-2-1: Successful Logos.

Lesson 3:

Finally, the students will make sketches and design their own logo using Adobe Illustrator.


Final Project/Product:

Lisa Ferranti is in her third year of teaching visual art and design to high school students. She currently teaches at Voyages Prep High School, a second-year transfer school in Elmhurst, Queens. She realizes the importance of using technology and interactive media in the classroom, as it keeps the students intrigued and engaged. Regardless of that, she encourages her students to begin every piece of art with a sketch. They are taught to use the computer and any of the Adobe Creative Suite programs as another tool in the art room.


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