Jackie Hurd
Graphic Designer & Illustrator


Located in Southern Pines, NC, Jackie is an Illustrator and graphic designer. Subscribe to this blog to learn more about Jackie, her experiences in creativity and helpful tips for fellow creatives.

Dia De Los Muertos style logo

I designed this logo a few months ago for the Dia De Los Muertos 24 Hour Endurance Challenge. The inspiration of course came from the classic sugar skulls that usually surface everywhere around Halloween. They have become quite trendy here in the U.S. but digging into their origins, the sugar skull actually has a very unique history. They first surfaced in 17th century Mexico when Italian missionaries brought the art of sugar molds to the country. Sugar skulls are exactly what the name is, skulls made from sugar created out of clay molds. These hand-crafted skulls come from a cultural holiday celebrated in Mexico with Aztec origins, Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The holiday is one that commemorates and celebrates the deceased. The skulls are created to represent departed souls, with their names on the foreheads. They are elaborately decorated with happy designs and bright colors. 

As with everything, I started my process for this design on paper. I printed out a basic skull and traced the form. I filled it in with different flowers, swirls, and whatever random elements flowed through my pencil and onto my paper. I then traced over everything with a Pigma Micron pen. I do this so for two reasons, one is that I can get a better idea of how the final product will look and the second is when I bring the design into Adobe Illustrator and vectorize it, all the lines can be found by the software. For simple logo concepts this process usually works well and provides a good foundation for the next step but with this one I wasn’t satisfied with the conversion so I ended up tracing over almost all of the elements once they were vectorized and recreating them with the pen tool. To save on time and maintain consistency throughout the design, I also created a few custom brushes for this project. Once I had everything created on the right side, I copied and flipped the elements over to the left side so that everything would be symmetrical. 

Brushes created for this project

The beginning. Tracing over my pencil drawing with a pen. 

Working it into a vector drawing. 

Working it into a vector drawing. 

The final result was exactly what I had envisioned, I'm really happy with how it turned out. Another local artist that I frequently collaborate with for detailed woodwork and other engraving products, Lawrence (Itslaser engraving), used the logo to create these awesome candle holders that will be used as finisher’s prizes for the race. He engraved the artwork onto the glass. Turned out awesome!

Photo and engraving by Lawrence Covain