Lions Nation Case Study

I recently began a personal project using an existing font to create a custom type logo. The following is my design process and a walkthrough of how the final logo was created.


The original inspiration for the design came from an image that fellow designer Sean Tulgetske posted on Instagram. I loved the idea of a vintage Detroit emblem and decided to take a stab at my own concept.




I started out by sketching a few ideas for the logo. The original idea was to display Detroit in an industrial manner. I went in wanting to focus on the city of Detroit and thinking of the vintage feel of a metal sign for a hardware store or car parts manufacture. But once I began diving more into the process my focus shifted. I’m a huge fan of the NFL and the Detroit Lions and decided it would be fun to pursue that direction.


Digital Execution

Once in Illustrator, I found a font that I felt carried the industrial feel I wanted and began experimenting with the letter forms. Reusing letters like the I and T as extra pieces kept the whole piece consistent, instead of creating new pieces from scratch. I took the crossbar from the T and used it to add a small serif to the D. This not only brought consistency to the design but also paid homage to the Old English D which is synonymous with the city of Detroit.


Referencing my sketches, I then began to work on bringing the crossbar of the T across the entire design. By doing this, it allowed the letters to become one singular unit instead of separate pieces.



Now that the main focal point of the design was created I turned to working on the tagline. I played around with incorporating a lion icon along with the tagline but eventually opted to just allow the typographical elements to stand on their own.


After playing around with a few different font options for the tagline, I ended up selecting the font above. I wanted to use a san-serif font that would be able to hold the weight of the letter form above. When I initially laid out the tagline under the letter form the first thing I noticed was that the font was too tall. I subtly altered each letter in the tagline, making the entire thing about 1/3 shorter than the original font. This allowed me to keep it at a size that worked well with the design.


Finishing Touches

For the final touches I continued to use the crossbar in the T to add a baseline between the Detroit graphic and the tagline. I also skewed the entire graphic to give it some motion and appear less static.

Matt Simon