David Hassan
David Hassan
David Hassan
Chuck Peterson
Rich Dombey
Rich Dombey
Rich Dombey

Make the logo into an emblem

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

There’s something interesting and appealing about the look of an emblem. It looks permanent, official and powerful. It makes a strong statement and can deliver a lot of visual appeal.

Design software makes it easy to create the look of embossed metal and turn an otherwise flat design into a high impact emblem. These truck door graphics by David Hassan of Hassan Sign Co. are a great example of this effect in action.

“This customer was driving a new Dodge Ram pickup,” says David, “and the emblem on the truck gave me the idea. I did the original design in SignLab, then exported it as a JPEG. I opened that in Photoshop and set up all the layers for shading, texture and dimensionality. It was a lot of fun. I’m no Photoshop expert, but I can still do a lot with it. It’s really powerful.”

David used a similar approach on the logo for Ironman Towing. The emblem effect gave him the look of strength and power that the client wanted. It was fun to put together.

“This is really effective for the right job,” David says. “The Jersey truck lettering people are great at this sort of thing and have used it for years. Brian Schofield is a terrific example. Back before any of us were using Photoshop, he was doing this sort of thing on truck doors with an airbrush. He’s amazing.”
The emblem look was and still is popular in Jersey-style truck lettering, inspired decades ago by rock-and-roll album cover graphics.

Chuck Peterson of Chuck Peterson Designs used the effect when he designed this logo for a SWAT team that appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of SignCraft magazine. He wanted to create the effect of it being “cast from steel” and it was just what the client wanted.

The key to a successful emblem is starting with a design that is a cohesive unit. You’ll probably want to use panels to hold the design together, then the visual effects—dimension, texture and metallic effects—can do their magic.

Even without the effects, though, this approach still can be used to create a design that is a strong visual unit. You can see that at work in this carved sign by David Hassan and these vehicle lettering jobs of Rich Dombey of Rich Designs.