HOW TO: Create an Elegant Hair Salon Logo

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In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I went about producing an elegant logo for an Australian hair salon. Origin Hair Salon advertised on DesignCrowd for a logo update, and this piece was the winning submission.

Let’s start with the client’s brief, which is simple and straightfoward.

Creative Brief

“We are looking for a trendy modern design for our hair salon close to the Perth CBD called Origin Hair. Our clients are predominantly female between 25-40 years old.”

This is the whole brief — there is nothing more to go on. Sometimes it’s a great thing when designers have fewer guidelines to restrict the creative direction as it allows us to spread our wings and explore avenues we might not have otherwise been able to take.

The logo needs to appeal to women between 25 and 40, so it shouldn’t look to funky and childish (as if we were targeting teenage girls, for example) — it’ll need to use elegance and femininity to appeal to this set of women.

The Concept

After playing around with different ideas, the concept I chose to proceed with is the O from Origin blended with curled hair. For this particular project, coming up with a concept wasn’t the hardest part. Making it work in execution was.

Visualization in Software

Let’s jump into the software, and as always, I’m using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create the logo. The first thing I do is to scan in the sketch from the concept and place it into Photoshop. I then opened up the Character panel and chose a suitable font to start with. Using the Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T), I adjusted the corners of the sketch to fit the character O.

Once you’ve done this in Photoshop, import the sketch into Illustrator and start drawing the path along the sketch’s major outlines.

Now that the overall shape has been outlined, the next step is to trace the hairs themselves.

Use the Width Tool from the toolbar to adjust the shape of the path to make the hairlines looks more dynamic. This tool is awesome — just rollover the path and drag it left or right to make it thicker or thinner.

After adjusting the width of the inner hairlines, start on the outer hairlines — these hairs should be made thicker.

When all the hairlines have been drawn and sized, move on to the coloring and shading. The first step is to choose a lighter gray for outer hair, and a darker color for inner hair.

Using the Mesh Tool from the toolbar, click on the shape and generate several anchor points. Select the middle point and use the Eyedropper to choose a lighter gray, leaving the ends with a darker shade.

This shading technique has now visually created the negative space and given the logo a little bit of depth.

Using the same technique, finish off the other parts of the hair. The logo mark is pretty much done, so we can move on to the text.

In order to work with the elegant and feminine logo mark, we’re looking for a font with a classic feel, and we’ll give it a slight wave, like the hair. Serif fonts are an appropriate choice here, and I’ve chosen Americana LT Bold. The shape of this font is already great, so I’m not going to modify it. Instead we’ll concentrate on the text effect. The first step is draw a wave line above the text.

Close the wave line path and then select both it and the text. The text should be outlined. Copy one set of text and place it on top of the original text. Go to the Pathfinder panel and crop out the wave text.

Now the text appears in two layers. Select the bottom one and apply the gradients. Because the wave moves up and down, the gradients should be adjusted individually in every character.

And there we have it: our finished hair salon logo!

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