Friday, April 8, 2011

Designing a Logo: Step 2 The Prelim Phase

Today were going over the next step in the process of logo design. The Prelim Phase. This is when I reveal my comps to the client. In this case it's Heather Fonseca, fashion and doll designer. I ended up showing her 4 comps because I was on the fence about it, but felt there might be something there. This has a chance of being a big mistake on my part, but this series of posts is all about keeping it real. ;)

So let's begin with a quick explanation of each comp, why I chose to go this route and later we'll read about what Heather and I discussed over the phone.

If you look back at the sketches of Step 1, you'll see this thumbnail. I was influenced by the Walt Disney logo. In case you didn't know, the logo is a stylized (rather than literal) version of Walt Disney's actual signature. I thought creating my own logotype for her logo could show the whimsical and stylish nature of Heather and her work. Whether the girl is based on Heather or her doll designs, it's up to the viewer to make up their mind. To me the face would make a great stand-alone mark as her brand develops (reminiscent of the new Starbucks logo).

Comp 2 is the simplest of the bunch. Not to say that simple was any easier to design than any of the other comps, I'm simply describing the aesthetic I'm going for. Keep in mind, that minimalist design can be more difficult to come to than something more elaborate. Think of it as a block of stone that your chipping away at slowly, so all that's left is the most essential. I went with a clean type treatment to contrast with the more personality driven mark of the 'HF'. This mark can also work as a signature on her blog posts or her comps when designing for her clients. It's a very practical and memorable icon that can serve her in multiple ways.

You can see the beginnings of this comp in the sketches as well. I had the most fun with this one because I wanted to take what I did in comp 1 and 2 and marry them. Not only is this whimsical, but it's also stylish and a bit sexy. Look at the expression on her face. She's confident and maybe a bit sassy. Good qualities to convey in your logo when someone is visiting her site or getting her business card without ever meeting Heather. Or even if they see this mark for the first time after meeting Heather, it will never be forgotten.

Like I said earlier, I was on the fence on this one. Usually I don't show this comp to a client, because if I'm not sure of it, then it shouldn't be considered. But because this logo will be representing a person as opposed to a company or product, I decided to take a chance. It has the qualities of the last 3 comps, but I'm still not sure of it.

The Recap
Before I get into this, let me just say that Heather has been a dream client. She trusts my judgment and let's me be the designer. This makes it a pleasure to work on her stuff and it reflects on the work.

Heather loved them all and was having a hard time making a decision, but when we spoke she revealed her favorites were comps 2 and 4. Mine were 1 and 3. Big difference. After explaining to her my reasoning, she told me how she felt about each comp. We decided comp 1 was off the table because it pegged her into a hole. I agreed with her thoughts on comp 2. It's clean and simple, plus it has an ambiguity that will allow Heather to be seen as a brand as opposed to just a doll designer or fashion designer. I'm still pulling for comp 3 because it has the same qualities as comp 2, but with a little more personality. Comp 4 is the one I regret showing her, because she loves it, but I've already cut the umbilical chord. She's taking the next few days to make a decision on which direction to go. Comp 2,3 or 4. If she goes with either 2 or 3, I'll be happy. I trust Heather's judgment as a creative professional.

Let me make a quick point about logos. In most cases "you are not your brand". This means that your preferences shouldn't be factors in creating your companies logo. It's about what is effective and works for the brand, not you. In this case, Heather is the brand, so the game changes. Join me next Tuesday when I reveal Heather's choice and we move into the revision phase and wrap this up.

Happy Designing,

Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)

If you're just joining us, please check out the post before where we started the logo design process. Comments are appreciated. Feel free to share on twitter and facebook.