Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free is a Verb logo, initial sketches

My wife and I were planning to go overseas for a year to do charitable work fighting human trafficking, and I think it was my Aunt Sarah, a graphic designer who astutely pointed out that we needed a brand to get people excited about our work, motivated to donate, and also to help us establish our work as part of something bigger. So we bounced some word associations around, looked at some fonts, and I got started sketching.

Since one of our main goals was not just to fight human trafficking ourselves, but to prompt others to do the same, I gravitated toward the phrase "free is a verb." And since human trafficking often involves physical transportation and literal tying up or handcuffs, the imagery focused on those areas as well. My initial sketches are below; in the following post we'll look at the finished version.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worth Aspiring to in 2010: Great Logos

I encountered this post (25 logos with hidden messages) a little while back, and am thoroughly impressed every time I look at it again. Each of these works in black and white, has multiple meanings (as the post points out), and is also simply memorable and appropriate for the client. If every company had a logo as good as one of these, the world would be a more interesting place.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jake Armerding, new business card layouts 2

My main beef with the old front layout was that the black box at the bottom (while helpful for setting off the type) arbitrarily broke up the layout, ruining any cohesion it might have. Secondly, the cream-colored letters didn't relate strongly enough to any element in the image, thereby missing out on repetition, one of the basic design principles and an easy way to create continuity in a layout.

For my first take on the front of the card, I kept the centered design, but zoomed in on the photo so we could eliminate the low-rent arbitrary box. Given the white windows and darker overall image, I thought white text would work best, but to make it easier to read I added a subtle brown gradient at the top and bottom of the photo:

I thought that option worked well, but wanted to give Jake another possibility for comparison, so I tried a flush-left layout as well. I liked this one even better, because as Matthew Frederick points out (note 52), asymmetrical balance is more interesting and advanced.

For the back of the card, the text was basically set so it was a question of bringing some simple graphical flourishes to make it less boring. After looking at various glyphs, I noticed that the bullet and dagger characters looked cross and nail-like, which was appropriate for a religious album, and the contrast of scale created a pleasing background without detracting from the text.

Given the more traditional arrangement of the music on the album, Jake ultimately went with the centered arrangement for the front, but still appreciated being given the choice. It was fun to work with a friend, and do a little to support a quality musician.

Jake Armerding, new business card layouts

This was a simple project; my friend, a musician, was getting some business cards printed to promote one of his new albums, but knew that the layout he cobbled together wasn't working. The typeface and image were set, based on the album cover, but what could I do rearranging these elements?

Here were the initial front and back card designs he came up with, for front:

and back:

In the next post I'll share my critiques, as well as my suggested solutions.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to Be Creative

On the topic of inspiration, this manifesto by Hugh McLeod is one of the best pieces I've ever read. I first encountered it several years ago, but reread it regularly because it's that good, and like a lot of other things in life, the more truth there is to it the harder it is to put into practice. Some of the points may be familiar from other sources, but he distills them with the concision of a veteran ad guy and the hard-won wisdom that can only come from having crawled through the tunnel and out the other side.

Here's the link to the pdf. (And incidentally, a lot of other worthwhile pieces on that site--definitely worth getting on the e-mail list.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Desktop Wallpaper

The quotation is from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, the best creative self-help book I've ever encountered--better than Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones, and so forth. Designed for my monitor, 1920x1200; if you want a different size, let me know.

1680x1050 by request:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Elemental Food, tweaked logo designs

The client and I were excited about going ahead with this direction, but there were still niggling questions about where exactly the lettering should sit inside the skillet, whether or not the script f should cross the border of the skillet or not, and also how the full name should nestle under the handle of the skillet. 

So after experimenting with a number of minor variations, I concluded that yes, the f crossing the border was a nice way of adding some dynamism and unexpected visual interest, as well as increasing legibility at smaller sizes. (The frustrating thing was that there wasn't much wiggle room to scale the EF, because then either they weren't centered in the skillet, or the F protruded too much and wasn't recognizable enough). 

The final choice though that I presented to the client though was regarding the related issues of the text overlap and skillet handle angle; I liked the jauntier 45-degree angle, but on the other hand thought the text overlap was better with the 15-degree angle, and we ended up going with that one. So next up, business card layouts!