A look inside a designers sketchbook

Logo designers sketchbook

Every designer has their own design process, but paper and pen is the first place to start for most. You can quickly sketch and explore ideas with no limitations.

Some designers may choose to work directly on the computer, but personally I find that designs can feel refined and perfected far too quickly without any real experimentation. Sketching on paper allows slight variants to be explored very quickly, and often small mistakes and scribbles can actually form the basis of better ideas. I spend most of my time on the computer anyway, so drawing in a sketchbook is a welcoming break.

The beauty of drawing ideas on paper is that you can scribble without worry. Nobody is going to see your work. You can scribble and doodle for as long as you want. Sometimes an idea might be rubbish, but who cares? Free your mind of those crazy ideas, and doodle until the perfect idea comes together. You don’t need to draw perfectly or be an artist as long as you can produce the final piece. All that’s being put on paper at this stage is the underlying idea, and its for your reference only.

Its rare to see inside a designers sketchbook, but for the purpose of inspiring others to learn logo design I am showing a few pages from my own, as well as contributions from other designers around the world.


A look inside my sketchbook(s)

I’m a big fan of sketchbooks, and I believe every identity designer should have at least one of them. Personally I have several for different purposes. Lets take a look…

The pocket sketchbook

I like to keep a sketchbook with me as much as possible, and having a small pocket sized version allows me to sketch on the move. I’m able to keep it in my bag so at random times though the day when an idea comes along I can sketch it down. When working on long-term projects I’m known to even keep it by my bedside so when I wake up with an awesome idea I can scribble it down and carry on sleeping.

The below photo show sketches for a personal project, an iPhone game called GooHoo. After several years its exciting to know its coming out this month (click here for more information)

Pocket Sketchbook

The A4 sketchbook

I have an A4 sketchbook which is great for use anywhere I want to spend my time. It’s a nice size to use when working on logo design work at the desk, but also practical to take with me when on the move. Below are a few examples from recent projects; Geek Eyewear, AngloForma and Proofread My English.

Sketches for Geek Eyewear Logo Design

Sketches for Geek Eyewear Logo Design

Sketches for Anglo Fora Logo Design

Sketches for Anglo Forma Logo Design

Sketchbook - Proofread My English Logo Design

Sketches for Proofread My English Logo Design

My other sketchbooks

I have a slight obsession with sketchbooks, so have quite a few! As you can see from the photo below I also use an A3 pad, and a nice A5 pad too. I use them when its convenient.

Sketchbook - A3 Version

This image shows a word-map created for ‘Proofread My English’ logo design project


A look inside other logo designers sketchbooks

I have asked other designers from around the world, at different stages of their career to kindly contribute photos from their sketchbooks for this blog. You will notice how everyone works differently.

Identity designer: David Airey

A personal idol of mine, David Airey kindly contributed the below sketches. For more on his design work take a look at www.davidairey.com or www.logodesignlove.com. Make sure to check out his books too as I’d highly recommend them.

Sketches from David Airey for Clemente Logo Design

Sketches from David Airey for Clemente Logo Design

Sketchbook photo from identity designer David Airey

Sketchbook photo from identity designer David Airey

Graphic Designer: Jacob Cass

Jacob offers some amazing advice for logo designers through his website justcreative.com. If you don’t know his website, make sure to browse and learn from the great advice given. He has kindly contributed the below sketch.

Sketchbook photo from graphic designer, Jacob Cass

Sketchbook photo from graphic designer, Jacob Cass

Illustrative Designer: Von Glitschka

Von is an illustrative designer, but doesn’t use a sketchbook as such, but instead scraps of paper. Here’s what he had to say:

I don’t like the confines of a sketchbook, I find it too constricting. I wish I could, I admire those who have a nice row of filled sketchbooks on a shelf. So all my sketches take place on pretty much anything around me at the moment of inspiration. These usually make it into my physical project folder and I than tend to isolate the specific directions I’ll take and refine them again through more drawing. I have folders upon folders of sketches though. A whole flat file drawer is home to over a thousand sketched projects that I than created in digital form. I love logo design, and I love drawing because it’s designs best friend.

Von has kindly contributed the below photos, showing his sketches for Filthy Look Films, Australia. For more on Vons illustration and logo design work visit Glitschka Studios at www.vonglitschka.com

Von Glitschka Logo Design Sketches 01 Von Glitschka Logo Design Sketches 02 Von Glitschka Logo Design Sketches 03 Von Glitschka Logo Design for Filthy Look Films

Graphic Design Student: Kyle Funk

Kyle is a graphic design student at Central Michigan University, and he has kindly contributed the below photo from his sketchbook. You can follow him through twitter @KyleFunkDesign

Logo design sketches from Kyle Funk for Foxhound

Logo design sketches from Kyle Funk for Foxhound

Graphic Designer: Amy Pinney

Amy is a graphic designer based in Birmingham UK. She kindly sent over a number of great sketchbook photos. My personal favorite was her sketches for the Magic City Brewfest. A few examples from her sketchbook are below. For more information on Amy, visit her website www.apinneysaved.com

Amy Pinney - Magic City Brewfest sketchbook scans

Logo design ideas for Magic City Brewfest by Amy Pinney

Logo Designer: Andy Bratton

Andy is a freelance logo designer working under the name of Escalator73. He kindly contributed a number of great sketches. For more information on Andy and his work visit www.escalator73.com

Andy Bratton Sketchbook Photo Andy Bratton Sketchbook Photo Andy Bratton Sketchbook Photo Andy Bratton Sketchbook Photo

Logo Designer: Jim Gott

Jim is a graphic designer, and art director for Flipp.ca. He has kindly contributed the below sketches for Knuckles Industries.

Logo design sketches by Jim Gott for Knuckles Industries

Logo design sketches by Jim Gott for Knuckles Industries

Web Designer: Laura Kalbag

Laura is a freelance designer based in Brighton, England. She has kindly sent over sketches from her projects for Turbine (turbinehq.com) and Indie Phone (indiephone.eu). You can find out more about Laura and her work at her website www.laurakalbag.com

Laura Kalbag Sketches - Indie Project 01 Laura Kalbag Sketches - Indie Project 02 Laura Kalbag Sketches - Turbinet 01 Laura Kalbag Sketches - Turbinet 02

Graphic Artist: Sherwin Schwartzrock

Sherwin Schwartzrock is a graphic artist from Minneapolis in the US where he works with a team of talented crew of illustrators and designers creating commercial art for larger creative agencies. He has kindly contributed some amazing images from his sketchbook showing logo design work for Mitt Romney. You can find out more about Sherwin and his creative firm at his website www.schwartzrock.com

Sherwin Schwartzrock sketchbook work for Mitt Romney

Hopefully the examples shown here will inspire you to start to learn logo design.

Share your thoughts on the use of  sketchbook below.


  1. Rachel Busby 11/05/2015 Reply

    I just stumbled across your blog and am THRILLED that people actually create logos the old school way. I am a 40 year old graphic designer that went to college when there was no internet, we actually still used a card catalog at SCAD when I went there. Anyway, it was fun to peruse this work as I am starting a new project. Thanks, Rach

  2. Nishant Bazzad 29/05/2015 Reply

    Hi Ian,
    It’s great to see the logo design process of so many creative artists from across the globe. Some of them are inspiration for me. Can you suggest a good sketchbook for me?

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