3D printing is trending and some of my clients are asking for logo design be done ready in 3D with CAD blueprints. Meaning when I do my regular 2D logo design, I have to make sure it can be re-created in a manner, not by export and importing the path of the logo mark from the design file, but by drawing on a blank blueprint with clear instructions/dimensions/constraints.

I find it hard to use Adobe Illustrator to create accurate logo design where I need drawings mathematically perfectly aligned e.g. in tangent to a curve or to mark a curve with curvature. Smart-guide and snapping in AI wont help me to find the tangent of a line against a circle or to lock multiple shapes with constraints.

I resolve by working my design on Fusion 360 or FreeCAD. I am fine with them but I am not sure if they are the right tools everyone else are using for the same tasks. Or, are there better alternative to create CAD drawing in logo design?

And a futher question here: is Affinity Designer better or worse than Adobe Illustrator in doing this?

Here are some famous logos that were done in technical drawings:

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1 Answer 1


Both Illustrator and Affinity Designer are capable vector art and design tools, and either can accomplish the design work of creating a logo or lettermark.

The technical drawing part can also be done in either of these, but is more commonly done after the design effort is completed, in either a CADD tool or a 3D DCC tool, both because you can create the relevant 3D information more easily and because, absent plugins, the basic vector art / design apps don't handle scale and dimensioning in a CADD-like manner; FreeCAD, OnShape, DraftSight and even AutoCad can handle all these tasks with ease - but I wouldn't DESIGN my logo there - with my personal workflow, I'd design in Affinity Designer, and develop the 3D in my 3D DCC Tool-of-choice (Modo) or directly in OnShape.

I'd be most likely to dimension and annotate in my CADD tool-of-choice, and then save those files as .dwg, .dxf, .stl, .obj, .fbx as needed.

To be clear: the "logos" you're showing were designed as logos, in whatever art medium the designers chose; the images you have up there are of signage technical drawings / construction documents (of which I've personally produced a fair few, having worked in architecture) and are a wholly separate effort and field.

You may find this previous question to be of help, BTW:

Why are precise measurements frequently included in brand identities?

Hope all of this helps.

  • 1
    thx for the reply. I too work my design on AI and then make exact measurements on CAD tools. However sometimes i have to revise the design based on more precise measurements and constraints i did in CAD tools, so there's a bit running back and forth, especially when some logos required drastic changes if it has to meet exact golden ratio. So what i usually do is that the design is first created in AI as concept, redraw and calibrated in CAD, and import back into AI as more precise paths. This sounds okay?
    – adrian li
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 10:17
  • Sounds spot-on and very familiar... though TBH - once I move into serious constructability & efficiency efforts at the CDs level, I don't stick too hard to exact proportions - that's probably due to the manner in which architecture is practised here in the US - material unit-of-sale measures drive modularity of proportion very strongly - and not just in bricks - also gyp, sheathing and lumber - so once you're out of conceptual design and getting hard-nosed and practical about constructability & cost, perfection of proportion drops away pretty completely! Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 15:18

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