One of my favorite things in the world (besides, pizza, beer, and the Avengers movie) is typography.  I’m one of those graphic-designer/nerdy types that will stop and really, REALLY try to understand the font choice for a box of cereal at the supermarket.  Why did they use a serif font?  Did the angle add a dynamic flow to the product name?  Why was this created in UPPERCASE? Why Cap’n WHY?  It’s a bit of an obsession and I don’t often get to disseminate my questions to clients at work because they’ll just think I’m crazy or something.  So I keep this obsession in the closet, and I don’t often let it see the light…until now!

I’m creating my very own graphic novel, so I get to spend oodles of time obsessing over the design of its logo.  So let me start by explaining to you my process, or methodology, for creating a logo for THE BONESETTER.

Step 1: Get Inspired

I need inspiration for my logo designs.  This is a very important part of the process because I need to become passionate about the task at hand.  I’ll use Pinterest for ideas. I’m a visual person and this tool is a quick way for me to consume ideas at mass.  I created a board on Pinterest that let me pin magazine, TV and movie logos that I felt associated well with the type of graphic novel that THE BONESETTER will become.

I’ll also spend time looking at successful comic book logos that I personally love.  Recently I stumbled across this link where Todd Kline (Todd Kline is widely regarded as one of the greatest letterers in the history of comics.) chose 10 of the greatest comics logos of all time. Which logos have had the greatest impact, are instantly recognizable and have withstood the test of time.  In turn I agreed with 9 of his choices…just not Action Comics…I felt that logo was stuck in time. Sorry Todd.

THE BONESETTER RoughsStep 2: Rough Sketches

Now that I’m inspired I start sketching.  I sketch on anything and everything.  paper, sticky notes, TP, whatever is handy.  For THE BONESETTER I roughed out 39 logo sketches in under an hour.  This is the most critical part of the design process.  It is so important to get your ideas on paper.  You need to understand if the vision meets the fundamentals of form, structure and layout.

Step 3: Get Frustrated

So here is where I normally get frustrated with what I wanted to create.  I toss away all 39 logos, make a pot of coffee, walk my dog and start sketching again.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the “fun” part of the logo design.  THE BONESETTER logo will have a skull associated to it.  I had 39 logos that just focused on the skull and not the title of the book.  I had to go back to what mattered, and that was the typography.  The title had to work and represent the story before I could add the “fun” to the design of the logo.

THE BONESETTER: Early stage logo mock-upStep 4: Composition

I’m happy with my rough sketches, narrowed them down to 3 ideas.  Next I ask the wife what she likes (this is possibly the hardest part of the process because she usually right about most things) and then pick a winner.  Next step is tightening up the layout to watch it come to life.  Once this stage is complete I’m usually happy and excited to scan in my rough art.  Next I’ll bring the rough logo into Adobe Illustrator to finalize a vector design.Logo Bit's and Doodads THE BONESETTER Vector Logo Design In Progress

Step 5: Finished Line-Work

In Adobe Illustrator I spend the bulk of my time on the details of the logo.  I need to ensure that mechanics of the typography come together with all the additional details, skull, guns, grit and doodads.  At this point I want to see that the logo works as a positive and negative.  I need to ensure that it’s readable at a small size for digital devices like tablets and smart phones.  Most importantly this logo need to have shelf presence.  It needs to be able to stand out against hundreds of other comic books and graphic novels.

It may just be a logo at the end of the day, but it has great significance to what it carries.  This logo is the first thing a potential reader will see.  It represents all of the story and artwork that brought it to life.  Because it’s so important I created a little video of my logos creation.  Hope you enjoy it, love to hear your thoughts. BONESETTER Making the Logo Movie


  1. catherine says:

    Awesomesauce! Can’t wait to see this whole thing come to life. (You’re better than you think.)

  2. Kevin Manklow says:

    Thanks for the shared excitement Catherine. More work and rambling are on the way :)

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