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Personal Symbol/Logo Lesson

Personal Symbol/Logo Lesson

Personal Symbol/Logo Extra Credit

(20 Points Extra Credit)

Design a personal emblem or symbol

Reference: Signs, Symbols, and Ciphers by Georges Jean (London: Thames and Hudson: 1999); also the Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002).

Symbol: something that stands for or represents something else, for instance a skull and crossbones representing poison or pirates, an "X" representing a crosswalk in traffic, a pumpkin for Halloween, or a longhorn steer standing for the University of Texas football team. This lesson is one example of the Expressing Yourself through the Arts practice, and provides students an opportunity to explore the world of symbols through developing a symbol that will stand for them. As we look around us, we see numerous symbols telling us about something, whether it is about a person in relation to something (a sorority, a school, a gang), or an instruction about how to do something (as in traffic signs). What symbols mean and how they work can be very powerful. 

What to Do:
Understanding and Finding Symbols
What You Need

  • Examples of symbols
  • 1 sheet of white 12”x18” paper per student (folded – personal logo on one side, examples of items with logo on it on the other panel)
  • Pencils
  • colored pencils and markers


  • Introduce the concept of symbols and how they function.
  • Have students collect or make a list of symbols they see in everyday life.
  • Tell students that they are going to have an opportunity to make symbols to represent themselves, but first they are going to learn more about symbols and what they represent.
  • Display examples that students have listed and talk about what they are used to represent

Developing Personal Symbols
What You Need

  • 1 sheet of 12"x18" folded white paper per student (or two 9"x12" papers. Students may also do this assignment on two pages in sketchbook)
  • Pencils
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Sample personal symbol that you have created to show students

Learning Goals:

  • Understand the nature of symbols and how they work
  • Be able to communicate complex ideas through the visual art medium
  • Have a better understanding of self

The teacher brings in (or has the student bring in) or shares from different ads for products with logos (Nike, etc.).
The teacher explains the term “logo” as an identifying symbol

Student is to design a personal logo; a unique symbol that stands for him or her- and draw it on the front of the folded 12"x18" paper. (Students may also complete this project on two sheets of sketchbook paper).
Next, the student designs and presents (on the inside of the folded paper) his or her logo on three items. For example, a t-shirt, a tote bag, board shorts, hoodie, notebook, jewelry, or shoes. They only have to choose three. It is recommended to sketch first in #2 pencil, then color with colored pencil, and outline in marker.


  • Show students common symbols and corporate logos explain their significance.
  • Have students brainstorm ideas for a unique symbol to represent their individual identities. Their symbol might represent:
    • Something that makes them happy or is a favorite item
    • Hobbies and other images that match their personality
    • An image that represents their values, interests, or heritage can be incorporated
  • Remind students that this image or artifact must remind other people of "who you are" each time they see it. 
  • Pencil sketching, then coloring in with colored pencil, and perhaps outlining with marker is recommended.
  • Have students sketch their ideas, refining as they go.
  • Once a final symbol design is developed, students can color the symbol and work with how the colors add to the richness of the symbolic qualities.
  • They then show how their symbol would look on three products or items.
  • Share personal symbols with the group or, for more fun, invite other participants to look at each symbol and try to guess who they represent.
  • Students can add symbols from heraldry project we just finished.

(Craftsmanship) 5 points

Originality (Creativity) 5 points
Ability to follow directions 5 points
Image reflects personality 5 points

Total: 20 Points Extra Credit

Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):

Student engagement in examining a wide variety of complex images and artifacts and demonstrating their understanding of the process of selection based on what makes meaning

  • Students' ability to analyze and describe how an image or artifact functions to bring up certain ideas or connotations 
  • Students' ability to create new combinations of images and artifacts that result in a deeper representation of meaning 
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