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Learn by Studying the Design Masters

An interview with
Melinda Livsey


Have you ever analysed a logo design in detail so that you can really understand why design decisions were made? What if you did that to logo designs from graphic design masters, such as Paul Rand? What could you learn by doing so?.

That’s exactly what Melinda Livsey does. She's the founder and Creative Director of her own branding agency Marks & Maker, and in this weeks podcast we find out why she studies logo designs from design legends, and what she has learned. We also discuss her design process and how she’s been able to reduce the time spent on projects by half whilst increasing her prices too, simply by implementing core strategy sessions (view the core strategy kit here) as part of her design services.

Melinda Livsey Interview Transcription

Melinda Livsey: Earlier this past year was when I started digging into Chris Do's content, I found ... I had seen him around a couple years ago online and I came across his content specifically about studying logos. I think he had posted on his future page on Facebook about studying logos, and getting better at logo design. And so he had ... I don't know if it's a 10 step process.

I don't think I finished it, whatever it was, but the first couple of steps he had posted on his Facebook page and it was first redraw or trace, I think it was, famous logos from the masters. So, he suggested Paul Rand, Saul Bass and the like. So, take their logos and just trace them as precisely as you possibly can.

That's what I started with and then he posted the following week that with those logos that you traced, then study them. And so start making notes on them, draw the grid over them. Just observe them and sit with them for a while and observe.

And so he posted a few of his, I believe the Bell logo I saw of his and there was another one. And after seeing his studies, I thought, "Oh, this is really interesting." I never learned how to study logos like that when I was in school or just learning logo design. And so I figured, "Well, I'm going to try this with the logos that I traced."