One of the most interesting projects that any graphics designer or artist can work on is designing a logo. It can be overwhelming and stressful...you have to consider the company's brand, mission and values, history, the goal; all on top of the principles of good design. Don't forget your aesthetics and the whims of a company and leadership team. If you can balance all the objectives and opinions, with talent, skill and tact you can achieve a successful logo....and that is extremely rewarding.
Through the years I've worked with corporate branding, logos and helped companies define themselves. With this experience I have a decent working knowledge of what a "brand" or "branding" is and how to discover and create successful elements. The biggest lesson I learned about logo design is that a company logo doesn't stand alone nor is it created in a vacuum but is part of the larger concept of "the brand". Check out this article for an easy explanation of branding and logos. Branding, Identity and Logo Design by Jacob Cass
That is where the story and history of my Blockhead logo began. I knew that I needed to start defining who I was, what was important and my professional promises and goals...along with sketches and notes full of ideas for the logo artwork. The process was deeply personal, resulting in a logo that truly represents ME at the core. I sure I've broken a few design or logo "rules" but I am incredibly proud of the work I've done defining and building this image for my business. I won't spend a lot of time on all the "whys", processes, tests and decisions, but will explain the basic concept.
I already knew I would name my business "Blockhead". As you may have guessed, it comes from the "Peanuts" comic strip, written by Charles Shultz. From childhood I have identified with Charlie Brown in life experiences, appearance (round head, little hair) and for other reasons that will become clear later. Then Microsoft developed and published support material for it's new user interface, then called Metro. I loved the simplicity; being "authentically digital" and the look of the start tiles in Windows Phone 7 and ultimately Windows 8. From there the idea of using four stacked "blocks", each representing a passion, direction or promise was formed. Although it may appear to be a duplication of the Microsoft logo, it was created independently and before Microsoft changed their logo.
The first block is fairly obvious given my affiliation with Charlie Brown, but the comic character and this block hold deeper meanings. It stands for persistence and tenacity, traits that I strive for. He attempts to kick the football every time Lucy asks and eventually yanks it away, tries to fly his kite when the "kite-eating" tree always snag it and leads his baseball team loss after loss. He fails but he never fails to try. Other character traits that admire include an honest self awareness, loyalty and sees the value and potential in others (that little Christmas tree just needed some love).
Next is a very simple representation of the Android "droid" from Google. It was with my first Android phone that my interest in iconography and UI design took hold as I rooted, hacked and replaced the entire operating system and eventually all the graphics files, creating my own UI. While Android is not my only interest in the tech world and I've moved on to other things; to me it still represents the importance of embracing new technologies and innovation. Yet also understanding that technology and the "newest, latest and greatest" isn't always the answer and it's time to stop managing our tech and devices. All this technology should help people manage our lives.
You may recognize the next one...a LEGO block. Again remembering my childhood and if I'm honest, last week as well. I still own a few large bins of LEGO bricks and occasionally let myself have some playtime. LEGO has always meant being creative, finding solutions and building whatever can be imagined. Here's some additional thoughts from a LEGO fan website:Traits of a Lego Block
. Each block...
- Knows the role it plays and does its part
- Knows every piece is important, from the base to the top
- Can be utilized in many different roles
- Interconnects with others and gains strength with every new connection
- Displays the diversity of types and talents that provide more opportunities
The last block started out as chocolate, something I consider to be one of the important food groups. An even earlier version had this block looking like the Adobe Illustrator logo since that is my tool of choice. I knew I wanted something that could communicate the role of artwork, both in my profession and personally. Thus the final block is a picture frame; representing art, graphics and the power of visual media.
There you have it. So far the logo has been adapted to various visual styles with relative ease and is still identifiable. My current favorite "look" is based on Google's Material Design guidelines. As you can also see above, the blocks can be re-ordered and positioned differently depending on what it's being used for.
But above all this...it's who I am and want to be and I love it. Just sayin' what I'm sayin.