Anatomy of a Logo
So aside from the fun comic book sequentials and covers and the illustration projects I take on there’s the occasion when I am asked to do a logo or brand a corporate identity. I finished this project up a couple of months ago but hadn’t gotten around to posting it yest since I knew it would be a lengthy post requiring more time and focus than I’d been willing to sink in up until just now haha. Anyway, this project started out as one of those occasions where the project seemed exciting enough to work on so I decided to take it on, but it then took on a life of its own and sprawled a little bit. Otherwise I was glad for learning some stuff I got to try out along the way. I’m going to post all parts of the process in which I worked with a restaurant owner from Long Island to come up with what he wanted for the logo of his restaurant which was his personal take on a Southwestern Fusion joint.
So the client had some ideas they had in mind for colors and some themes but didn’t have any background in design or vocabulary to really express their ideas so I started with some thumbnails that got refined into a starting point.
Because the client was having a hard time getting an idea of what a finished design could look like from my roughs I decided to work up a more finished level piece for them to work from. This would be the first of many versions of this guy which was refined down to a finish over the course of a few days and quite a few interactions in emails and phone calls.
The client really didn’t much care for the mustache and really wanted a face that they felt would be playful yet mischievous. Also decided to go with a big pepper to sell that Southwestern vibe.
Client wasn’t really into that face, he thought it felt a little evil with the red eyes and all, but this was shaping up to be more of a project where I had to show him what he didn’t like before he could articulate what the next step would be. We decided to leave behind a lot of the Arachnid features I had been trying to keep in order to sell the visuals of the scorpion.
So here I took the basic design we’d been working with all along and at the request of the client, changed out the scorpion pinchers for gloved cartoon hands and instead of the segmented face with the little non threatening mandibles it was now a goofier happy-go-lucky party smile. There were a few other variations in mouth and glasses arrangements, but this was the derivation that got to go onto the next round of changes along with the addition of a peace sign that was asked for.
The next bunch of changes here consisted of some apprehension by the client which sent the project back to the drawing board based on a lack of effective communication which really just turned into a wild goose chase with lots of variations on a theme and different heads and body positioning where in the end we went back to the original scorpion tail and layout anyway. Here’s a few of the surviving highpoints from that venture though, mostly hippie scorpion with cowboy boots throwing a peace sign.
All right now we were about to be getting somewhere and a decision was finally made and a concept that had been lost all along finally found its way into the right words which got results. The idea was forward facing. Up until this point I’d been working in a 3 quarters styled face, when the client really wanted it facing forward. So I tried out a few variations in eyes and mouths and face sizes before we came to a settlement.
So the wider face was chosen with the open mouth and sunglasses on. All that was left now was a type treatment and I’d had an idea for that since about halfway through the process.
At this point the clients apprehension was gone and he went from being wishy washy with the design we’d been back and forth so many times on to being excited that his logo was really something he was excited about. There was just a small font change left to do as a final change before shipping it off.
There were quite a few concessions made with design along the way but in the end I was excited with what ended up becoming the finished logo. I learned a bunch of work arounds and new ways to handle certain Adobe Illustrator commands while working on this project so for that I was happy as well as to have a client that was excited to get his logo exactly as he wanted it despite the challenge of a limited vocabulary for art and design.