How to Create an Impressive Death Metal Logo?

death metal logo

Are you a death metal enthusiast who wants to create a killer logo for your band? Look no further! As an experienced logo designer with a passion for extreme music, I’ve got you covered. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the process of crafting a symmetrical, hand-rendered, vector death metal logo that will captivate your audience.

Step 1: Understanding Your Band

Before diving into the design process, it’s crucial to grasp the essence of your band. Familiarize yourself with their subgenre (e.g., technical death metal, progressive death metal, or old school death metal), their lyrical themes (e.g., politics, urban life, or religion), and the target audience they aim to attract (e.g., mainstream or underground).

Additionally, explore various death metal logos to gather inspiration. Don’t limit yourself to the genre; draw ideas from religious symbols, medieval art, occultism, and even non-metal logos. By infusing diverse influences, your logo will stand out from the rest.

For instance, when designing a logo for an old school death metal band with hardcore punk influences and politically driven lyrics, I drew inspiration from death metal logos, punk aesthetics, gothic architecture, the Book of Kells, Blackletter fonts, and ambigrams.

Step 2: Sketching the Logo

Armed with insights about your band and vivid inspiration, it’s time to put pen to paper. Begin by sketching the logo. Start by drawing the letters, taking care to pay attention to typography if it’s not your strong suit. Remember, your sketches will serve as the foundation for a remarkable logo, so invest time in creating three to four versions that truly resonate with you.

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Certain letters may pose challenges in maintaining symmetry. You can overcome this by using backward letters or pairing two thin letters with one wider letter. If legibility is crucial, consider keeping only the first and last letters symmetrical. Consistency in letter width is key and understanding the basics of typography can be immensely helpful.

To illustrate, refer to the provided examples where I had to make two letters symmetrical. The green areas indicate where the template was drawn from the other letter. Once you’ve traced around it, erase the template.

Scan your sketches and present them to the band for their input. Collaboration is essential for aligning the logo with their vision.

Step 3: Translating the Sketches to Illustrator

Open a new Illustrator document, adjusting the size and mode as needed. Import your sketches using the “Place” command. Enable rulers by going to “View” > “Rulers.” These will help you maintain alignment and create straight lines.

Step 4: Outlining the Logo

Lock the layer with the sketch and create a new layer. Set the fill color as transparent and choose a bright red stroke color. Utilize the Ellipse tool to draw circles wherever curves exist in the logo. An exhaustive approach yields smoother results.

Step 5: Outlining the Shapes

Open a new layer below the circle layer and lock the circle layer. With the pen tool selected, set the fill color as black and the stroke as transparent. Now, begin drawing the shapes, utilizing the circles and guidelines as aids. Focus on one shape at a time, prioritizing smoothness. Zoom in and refine the anchor points for optimal quality. If the sketch becomes difficult to see, adjust its transparency in the “Transparency” panel.

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Step 6: Perfecting the Letters

This stage is ideal for enhancing any letter parts that require improvement. Ensure symmetrical letters are flawlessly mirrored by drawing one side, duplicating it (alt+click), and flipping it using the selection tool.

Step 7: Completing the Logo

Create a new layer, copy and paste the letters onto it, set the fill as transparent, and the stroke as blue. Flip them to create a mirror image of the other half of the logo. Align each letter with its corresponding counterpart. Next, lock this layer and return to the main penning layer. Draw the remaining letters, referring to the blue outlines as a guide. Balancing symmetry and legibility may pose challenges, so be patient and find the sweet spot that pleases your eye.

Step 8: Achieving Consistency and Alignment

To ensure consistency in spacing and alignment, activate the grid by going to “View” > “Grid” and adjust the rulers accordingly. If everything meets your satisfaction, save the file and export it as a JPG for easier viewing outside of Illustrator. Make any necessary adjustments before proceeding.

Step 9: Adding Color and Texture

While your black and white vector logo is complete, bands often desire additional colors and textures. While it’s possible to achieve this in Illustrator, I recommend using Photoshop for its ease of use, even though it sacrifices scalability.

Select all the letters, shift+drag the logo to a size of at least 1000 pixels in width (about three times the width of an A4 page), and copy it. Open Photoshop, create a new document, and paste the logo as a Vector Smart Object. Experiment with textures from photos (try or utilize grunge brushes. Play around with layer styles until you achieve a look that both you and the band approve of.

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You now possess the knowledge to create an exceptional, symmetrical death metal logo. If your initial attempts don’t meet your expectations, keep practicing. By studying typography and paying attention to detail, your skills will flourish.

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