Case Study | Hand Lettered Logo - I Feel Pretty Makeup Artistry

The client describes her ethos towards clients as such: "I am here to make you look like your most beautiful self (not a Kardashian) and want to make you feel amazing." Ultimately, I want to make people feel confident, beautiful, and happy: it just happens that I do that via makeup. So that is really what I want my logo and my name to communicate to people - my approach to makeup artistry."

When the client first approached me, she said that she wanted a logo to represent her makeup business and beauty blog. Her goal was for the logo to look classy, girly, soft, inspiring and inviting. And as she'll conduct your business in a very professional manner, she wanted the logo to reflect this element of her philosophy.

I started out by sketching some rough ideas. We had discussed that 'I Feel Pretty' would be the most prominent part of the logo, with 'Makeup Artistry' being more of an explanatory addition. From the initial sketches, I knew that I wanted to set 'I Feel Pretty' in script lettering, and incorporate some swirls into the 'I Feel Pretty' lettering to ensure the overall effect was classic, feminine and girly. I also wanted the letters to vary in their heights and widths, to convey a sense of softness. Along these lines, I also was certain that 'I Feel Pretty' would be done with a brush, not with a pen. For 'Makeup Artistry', I would use a web font, to give the client the flexibility of using that font on her website if she so desired. (The font I ended up using is Lato, set in a Light weight. It's a rounded, sans serif type which is quite beautiful in a subtle way).

First page of sketches

After I'd narrowed down the general styles of lettering, I set about refining the layout. My aim was to strike the perfect balance between professional, girly, inspiring, and inviting… I went through pages and pages of layouts that just didn't feel quite right. An early direction was to slope the lettering upwards to the right, because when people look at lines going in this direction, they feel happy. However, the underline that I needed to add to make the slope look intentional had the unwanted side effect of making the logo look very structured instead of free-flowing and swirly.

Sloping upwards drafts

So I opted for a more traditional horizontal layout. This layout 'clicked' straight away and I just felt better about it. But the overall layout of the logo still proved elusive. So I decided to concentrate instead on the lettering of 'I Feel Pretty'. Being fairly certain in my mind about the look of this lettering, I made a good copy - the result of countless drafts, enlargements, and adjustments, and traced over it with a brush pen several times.

Script lettering drafts

I digitised these copies, piecing the most lovely pieces of lettering together to give a beautiful result. Once digitised, I began to play with different layout and colour options. This was a fairly frustrating process - I couldn't find that sweet spot of layout or colour! At my wits end, I was left with a logo that was professional and strong, but not soft or girly enough to represent her business well.

Frustrated in Photoshop

Almost but not quite

Feeling discouraged, I began browsing Pinterest for inspiration. I came across a logo that Laura James had created for a makeup artist. She'd used a watercolour mark in the background, which had the dual effects of adding colour and life to the logo, and also lending a little structure to the layout. It was exactly the sort of thing I'd been trying to achieve by adding lines to the layout, but executed in a manner so much better suited to the logo. I figured it couldn't hurt to try a similar idea, so I got out a watercolour brush and filled a page with strokes. I digitised them, and entwined three of the nicest together to make one curved, organic-looking but still refined watercolour mark. And it worked!

Almost but not quite

The next step was to play with colour. You'll use this logo on business cards, social media, and business documents such as invoices. Because of this wide variety of usage cases, I wanted to make sure the logo colours would be versatile enough to perform well across these varied mediums, while still retaining a unique and memorable aesthetic. I achieved this by keeping the palette very simple and soft. For the words, I used two grey shades, rather than black. This had a much softer effect than using black, while still retaining a more professional and readable look than, say, using a colour for the text.

The client had mentioned that she would like soft pink and gold to be some of the main branding colours. So in order to maintain a professional and consistent look on screen and in print, I chose a soft dusky pink for the watercolour element, taken from the Monique Lhuillier dress below (image taken by Melanie Duerkopp), the vibe of which I felt certain you would love. I also set the opacity of the watercolour mark to 85% - a subtle difference from 100%, but it helps the 'I Feel Pretty' text to stand out that little bit better. If need be, the logo can be printed in black and white and will still look effective.

Colours preview - dress, black and white preview, colour

I printed it out, looked at it from every angle and on every device I owned, set it as a website header and Facebook picture, and basically tested it out in every circumstance the client had mentioned to me. I wanted to make sure that it would be clear, easy to read, and beautiful. In the process, I discovered that this elongated horizontal layout looked great on things like invoices and as a website header, but left a little something to be desired as an Instagram or Facebook image. So I made an alternate layout, which can be used in these situations where a more upright, rounded layout is needed.

Alternate layout

A final adjustment was to make the pink a warmer-toned hue, in order to match in with any golden elements used in the branding.