Known to StockLogos members and clients as Molumen, Mourad recently took time out from his work as a Moscow-based Senior Creative Director to respond to our questions. It's interesting to note that he shares an aspect of the logo design process with Adrian Szejn, who we profiled earlier — they both begin with good old pencil and paper.
Could you please tell us about your background and how you got into logo design? What design and illustration qualifications and skills do you have?
I began my career as a photographer in the late 90s, but I gradually switched to graphic design because I was very interested in computer graphics; photography was rapidly moving into the digital era, the computer (and Photoshop) became an important instrument, and more and more job opportunities in the field of graphic design were emerging, so I jumped into studying vector drawing software, prepress technologies, graphic design, webdesign, typography, and so on. My love for logotype design came after I graduated in graphic design in 2004. I realized that logotypes are a very “condensed” way to express a company's image and it's a very interesting field of graphic design. It takes a lot of work and preparation to create a seemingly simple logotype that has to represent a whole company. It's very challenging, because in contrast with any other field of graphic design, a logotype designer has a lot of limitations: a logo must work well at a small size, in limited colors and on a multitude of supports (paper, screen, outdoor, objects, etc.).
How long have you been active in freelance logo design work?
It has been more than four years since I first sold a stock logo online. Before that most of my logotype designs were made at the companies I used to work for, not in freelance.
Minininja - Sold
Do you supplement your design income from StockLogos with other design work? If so, please tell us a bit about it.
The money I make from selling logotypes on StockLogos (and a couple of other sites) is a nice small supplement to my monthly income, but I rarely use it on myself. I generally donate some money to support open source software development or donate it to charity, such as last year's Japan disaster.
What tools do you use for your logo creations?
Almost every logotype that I create begins as a few sketches on paper. When I find a sketch interesting I scan it and transfer the work into a vector drawing application. I am very fond of CorelDRAW. Of course I can use Adobe Illustrator but I find DRAW's vector Shape tool very intuitive and user friendly for node editing. In DRAW I can work on the logo design process without thinking about the software. It's probably a simple question of habit, since I know designers that hate DRAW and work in Illustrator. It's all the same to me.
Does your logo work have a unique look to it? How would you describe your design style?
People that know me and my logo work say that they can distinguish my creations among many others. So I probably have a style of my own, although I try to diversify what I do. I love to experiment. I like to create funny logos and I also love minimalistic logotypes.
Do you have particular sources for inspiration, such as the work of other designers, or general sources?
Everything around me can become a source of inspiration: a cup of coffee, a colorful shopping bag, a great painting, a leaf... Of course I also look at the work of other designers and I find inspiration there, too. It's always interesting to see what others come up with and what styles and combinations they use.
Monstros - Sold
Of your own logos, which is your favorite? Why?
I don't really have a distinct favorite logo. Generally the latest logo is my favorite until a new one is born. I'm always experimenting. Sometimes I am very happy with the results, so a logo stays in my mind longer than others and can become my source of inspiration to create a whole series of logos in the same style. Sometimes my experiments are not so great, so I move on and try something else.
Berry - Sold
Do you have a favorite part of the logo design process?
Yes. I really enjoy creating the very first sketches. It's the first step in the design process and is where the whole concept of the logo is born.
Without a client brief to work from, what are the secrets to creating a logo that sells in the public marketplace? How do you anticipate the needs of customers in this case?
I simply look around me and think of the possibilities. For example, if I see a car, I can think of a multitude of businesses around this object: repair shop, car wash, car rental, electric car seller, delivery service, taxi service and so on. And I can create a logo for each of these businesses. Also, a stock logotype has more chance of selling if it's easily adaptable to several different needs. Creating logotypes that are too specialized can result in a veeeery long sale.
Union - Sold
Are your sales on StockLogos all from the public marketplace?
Yes, the vast majority of sales come from the public marketplace. Only a few sales were made in briefs.
If you are also participating in design briefs posted on the site, how does your process of logo creation for this differ from logos created for the marketplace?
Creating a logo for a brief is IMO not as much fun as creating one for the marketplace — you have to follow the rules established by the client, post revisions based on client's feedback and compete with others. For me, it takes away some of the fun and freedom from logo designing. I create logotypes based on briefs several times a month at work (I work as a Senior Creative Director), so when I create logos for posting at StockLogos, I am not very interested in briefs. Also, if a brief logotype isn't purchased, it is hard to redesign it for the public marketplace, since it is generally a very specialized logotype that fits the needs of the one client that posted the brief.
Happy Dentist - Sold
How important is the choice of font for the text element of the logo?
The text element is undeniably very important to the success of the logo. A badly chosen font can destroy the whole logotype.
How do you determine what price to charge for a logo?
It's a matter that has been discussed many times on the forum at StockLogos and it's a question that every freelance designer has asked at least once in his career. Personally, I always try to figure out a logo's price based on the time I spend creating it. The more sweat it took to draw, the more money it'll cost you.
Is it common for those buying your logos on StockLogos to request changes? And what do these changes typically consist of?
Eight out of ten clients buying my logos request small changes. Generally they want slightly different colors and almost always they want the name changed.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of creating logos for sale on StockLogos? Should they begin by participating in the design briefs or submit their work to the public marketplace first?
I'd go for submitting to the marketplace first — it provides more freedom and fun. Also, it's a great way to build up a nice logo collection and see what gets purchased and what doesn't. If you see that you're selling well in the marketplace, then you can try your skills in the brief section.
How do you manage the different demands of work, life and play?
I really love my job. Being a graphic designer today means always moving forward, discovering new tools, new styles, tendencies and trends. There is no real border between my work and my life — I always carry a pencil/sketchbook or a tablet with me so I can take notes and sketch things on the move.
Nerd - Sold
Should we look for anything new in the future affecting your work, such as new design tools or the use of different design logo styles?
A little more than a year ago I moved to Moscow, where I began working for Russian companies and clients. It's very challenging and interesting (and sometimes very difficult, too). I'm discovering new logo design trends here and lots of very talented, great people. It's a challenging and inspiring experience that will surely influence what I do.
More of Mourad's work can be seen in his StockLogos member area.