So, in this logo, we will apply the rules I set forth in my earlier post, Logo Appraisal #001 and build this bad boy out. MyShoDog.com came to me with the intent of skinning their portal site, built on an ASP Net 3.5 platform. An interesting project I was excited about, and then I saw the logo I had to work with.
Since the design of a effective, brand-extending website is intimately related to the brand identity, this was a deal breaker. Here is the original logo:
Without being too harsh, this logo has some serious issues. The 1999 ‘Santa Fe Curious Shop’ look, the unfortunate choice of a font – Copperplate – The less then appealing color pallet. Granted, it was a ‘favor’ and didn’t cost anything, but those are not the kind of favors that help people, especially those dreaming of creating the new and most advanced portal of its kind in the given market.
So, convincing the client of the need for a new brand identity was not that difficult. Here are the rules that guide my logo design:
1. THERE SHOULD BE A REASON FOR EVERYTHING.
2. EVERY ELEMENT EXISTS IN RELATION TO EVERY OTHER. THEY NEED TO BE CREATED WITHIN CONTEXT.
3. CREATE A SET OF RULES THAT GUIDE THE GENERATION OF EVERY LOGO. FOLLOW THEM PRECISELY.
4. IF THE RULES COMPROMISE THE EFFECTIVENESS OR READABILITY OF THE LOGO, CHANGE THE RULES.
Now, just to clarify, when we talk about elements, when we refer to rules – we are not just talking about visual relationships. Rules extend directly and quite literally into the market specific to the client in question. Their goals, their values, their target markets – all of these aspects are ‘elements’ and help to guide the rules and keep everything within context.
So, let’s begin with the font. We are talking about a web 2.0 portal site here being the main avenue through which the client will communicate with a wide variety of their customer base – breeders, kennels, competitive dog owners and dog enthusiasts.
After looking at the web presence of these various groups, I can most accurately say that they spend a lot more time with their dogs then they do designing websites. Even the biggest and most well respected breeders are about 10 years behind design-wise. This is great news, because it means that we can easily set the standard for this genre of websites in the future. We can, undoubtedly, create the most stunning website the world of dog owners has ever seen! So, we need to start with a logo and the logo needs to begin with a font choice.
After sending some portfolio samples to the client, it became pretty clear what styles appealed to them. In addition, I always ask for 3-5 words that described the values of the company. I try to express these values through the logos I create.
First, I start with a base font. In this case, that font was Avant Garde Book BT. A good starting point for the modern upscale look we are going for:
2. From there we apply some visual rules. The three key letters here that would form an Acronym “M”,”S”, and “D” do not occupy the same horizontal space. In addition the other letters are all over the place as well: the “o” and the “G” are the same width and height, but the “H” and the “Y” are different from one another as well as the “OG”.
TOO MUCH VARIATION OR NOT ENOUGH – this can throw off the balance of a logo.
And, lets add one more rule:
AXIOM #5: A FONT IS NOT A LOGO.
You have to commit to that if you ever hope to design compelling original marks.
Okay, So lets set some visual rules:
1. First word letters, the primary ones, will be normalized to occupy the same vertical and horizontal space.
2. Secondary letters with rounded tops and bottoms will occupy the same vertical and horizontal space.
3. Secondary letters not conforming to rule two will occupy the same vertical and horizontal space as one another.
So, in the first rendition of this logo I took the rule of the curved letters and applied it to the “S”, in the most literal way possible… and it is not that great…take a look:
Okay..we followed the rules, but again we cannot take this out of context. The “S’ looks too techie for this application…we are dealing with serious dog owners here, not people who have a dog character in some online gaming world. So lets try this again. Now we are in dangerous territory, because we are hand drawing letters to match an existing font. And curved letters, no less!
well, the “S” in not perfect yet, but we are definitely on the right track. Now, this is a DOG WEBSITE. Let’s use that to our advantage. lets also create some saturation variation.
Okay, the client is feeling this, I’m feeling this. this is the right direction. But this site is about SHOW DOGS. The ribbon idea, expressed in the original logo – that’s important. We need to bring that back some how.
So now, it’’s time to draw a prize ribbon. I’m not going to bore you with that whole process, but basically you find some samples on line, maybe even some free vector graphics, and you manipulate them to your needs. Since we need to create an icon of a ribbon and we are working with a pretty skinny, elegant letter type, we need to make sure that the line quality of the ribbon is in tune with that. Remember, everything must be taken within context.
So, here is the first rendition of the ribbon:
This is based on a prize ribbon from a dog show, so you can’t get better then that. Problem: we now have a ribbon and a dog icon… having two icons in one logo is distracting to me. There may be an application for it, but I haven’t found one yet, so we are going to bring them together.
In addition, the client is about to launch the beta version of there site, so whatever the final colors of the logo are, the initial colors need to be in tune with that beta site which, in this case, is orange.
Okay then… lets get these elements together and see where we are at:
So now, we are getting there! In this case, because of the qualities of the ribbon, we can replace an “O” with the ribbon for total integration. Nice. However… there is a tag line to consider and which “O” will be replaced by ribbon? the first “O”, replaced in the above graphic is near the center, but not centered… remember: TOO MUCH VARIATION OR NOT ENOUGH VARIATION… in this case, not enough. In addition, the word dog having a dog in it is, well, just meant to be. And we have that tag line to deal with. SO:
That’s nice! The “S’ needs a little work, but we are close… After conferring with the client, I came to find out that: The most prestigious award in the dog world is Red White and Blue and, maybe of greater importance, Dogs are assessed from their left side by the judges, meaning the dog is facing the wrong direction! Important information.
And now, we have arrived at the final logo! A few minor kerning adjustments in the tagline font, and we will be DONE.
And wait til you see how this plays out in the site design! Once the site goes live, I will show you this, applied, and how extending the brand exponentially increases the value of the mark.
Need a logo? Need advice on one you are creating? Visit me at: http://www.coggancreative.com