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Morphological Matrix

Designing a logo? Use the Morphological Matrix to help.

When I was studying for my degree in Advertising at Solent University, I studied under many fantastic lecturers, one of which was Nik Mahon. Nik taught creative and lateral thinking, and one of my favourite techniques for coming up with new ideas was something called the Morphological Matrix. Since moving more into digital design and web development, I have been tasked with creating logos on numerous occasions and the one thing that always helps me is this technique, it is ready made for Logo design in my opinion.

So what is this technique?

The Morphological Matrix is a great way for anyone to come up with ideas. It isn’t an exact science, but it will help you to see many different combinations of a logo and ensure that you break out of the first idea you have trap.

There are 6 steps to creating your perfect logo using the Morphological Matrix. Here goes… (we’ll be using Live Aid as an example, as they are one of the most famous case studies)

1. Define the problem. What are you trying to create? A logo for a world-wide music festival, based in Africa as a charitable event.

2. Break the task down into individual components on a grid-list. For a logo this could be things like: Words and Letters, Picture Elements for Intsruments, Pictures of Africa/Music, Pictures of Africa/map/globe, Pictures of African Symbols, Pictures of African animals, Pictures of African patterns – for your own problem, work out the combinations that work best. It may be more text than images, it might be several font variations… be creative!

3. Now make notes of all the various forms which these components could take.

4. Now sketch (roughly) a quick idea of what the element might look like on its own.

5. Now you can start trying to combine a few of the elements and see what fits together best.

6. Don’t just shuffle these ideas and wait for a miracle to happen. These combinations should just act as your fuel for the bigger ideas. This gives you the base to break away from that ‘first idea’ syndrome that we all suffer from.

And that is that – easy huh? Don’t expect a miracle immediately, you have to try this out and have a bit of faith with it. It really does work if you make sure you think YES to your ideas, let your mind move and run around – don’t nay-say any ideas without serious consideration first.

Here is the Live Aid Logo from the Morphological Matrix

Morphological Matrix for Web Design

Now go try and make a logo!