Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

GDS 110 Typography I
Project 2: Wordmark & Branding

Instructor: Paul Young


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To communicate ideas visually and verbally. To explore typography styles. To develop systems of visual organization.

Secondary objectives

To utilize Illustrator as a layout and production tool.


Design a wordmark (or "logotype") for a company, group, organization or service. This wordmark must be typographic in nature (only minimal illustrative elements are allowed). The finished wordmark must be reproducible as small as one-inch tall and as large as a billboard. It must work in black and white as well as in color. Apply this wordmark to a business stationery system and other applications.

Some of the most well-known or unique logos are wordmarks (see examples). You will choose your own client for whom you'd like to design a wordmark. People often use the words "logo," "logotype" and "wordmark" interchangeably, but usually a wordmark is a logo that does not include a pictorial element.

Required business applications:

  • Business card (3.5 x 2 inches)
  • Letterhead (8.5 x 11 inches)
  • No. 10 Envelope (9.5 x 4.125 inches)

Required information for the business card:

  • Name of an executive, his or her title
  • Address of business or organization
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Organization's web address

Required applications (choose one or more):

  • Advertising (print, outdoor, direct mail, online, etc.)
  • Promotion (posters, brochure covers, displays, T-shirts, etc.)
  • Identity (signage, vehicles, packaging, etc.)
  • Publications (brochure cover, newsletter cover, catalog cover, etc.)
  • Tip: look for unusual applications of graphic design

Per our syllabus, you may ONLY use the standard "core" fonts installed in D019 for your assignments unless you obtain prior approval from the instructor (see Parkland's Core Fonts Specimen Sheet). Please talk to your instructor if you need to use a non-standard font from the Adobe Font Folio collection.


1. Research: Create a Pinterest board titled "GDS 110 Project 2: Wordmarks" (see example). Find 10+ samples of wordmarks and 10+ samples of business stationery systems that inspire you (at least 20 samples total). Search both online and offline (see Library Resources) for creative inspiration to pin to your new Pinterest board. With each pin, note the designer (if known) and why you chose it as inspiration. Link the URL of your board to your personal Process Page for grading. Share your research by re-pinning your best pins to the group board for this project (follow this board to receive an invite). Also print select research samples for your Process Book.

2. Develop the concept: In your sketchbook (journal) begin to conceptualize wordmark (logotype) ideas for this project (see examples of sketches). Make at least 10 sketches of all possible directions you might take this project. Edit your concepts down to your best three ideas and redraw them on 8.5 x 11 white paper using a felt tip pen. Scan (scale/crop in Photoshop: no wider than 1000 pixels), increase the contrast (see tutorial) and publish your concepts on your personal Process Page for critique. Also print your sketches for your Process Book.

3. B&W wordmark proof: Based on the critique of the above, use Adobe Illustrator to execute at least two versions of your best wordmark idea in b&w (present at least one proof with an alternate font choice). Publish a low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Also print a proof for your Process Book.

4. Color wordmark proof: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed). Then add color (use only PMS colors as discussed in class). Create at least 10 color studies of you final wordmark design. Publish one multi-page low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Also print color proofs for your Process Book.

5. Applications proof: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed). Apply one color wordmark of your choice to the required applications. Publish one multi-page low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Also print color proofs for your Process Book.

6. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed), then print final proofs for critique (see printing tips). Prepare a presentation to justify your design decisions. Also publish a multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page.

7. Grading: Based on the critique above, refine your design (if needed). Submit two copies of your final proofs printed on the paper stock of your choice. One proof will be returned to you after grading. File the graded proof in your Process Book for individual review along with all the preliminary work you did for the project (research, sketches, preliminary proofs, final proofs). Also submit a high-res PDF (instructions) via Cobra's dropbox. You will not receive full credit for this project if any of the above elements are missing.

8. Portfolio presentation: If you are happy with the results of this project, consider including it in your portfolio. If necessary, continue to make refinements until you are 100% satisfied with the project. Be sure to save all your files for future editing.

9. Extra credit: Submit your project into the annual student show by printing an art gallery quality proof and mounting it on foam board. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG of either just the logo and/or a composite of select applications (see example) (1000px wide, no larger than 200K). Submit your project using the online entry form at Your project may win a cash prize and be published in a showcase of student work on Parkland's website.

Last updated: 2/7/18 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young