Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Dawn who is launching her personal fitness business. Understanding the importance of business identity and branding for her success, she turned to Calypso Graphics. Understanding a client’s vision and motivation is important to me. It guides me in creating the business identity that is uniquely representative of that client’s business.
Our first meeting began with her vision and philosophy of her business. To get a more complete understanding of her business, we talked about where she’s been, where she’s going, and her new studio plans.
Then our discussion turned to color, and she perused the Pantone Color books to narrow and define “purple” and “teal”. Her eyes opened wide at the various definitions of “purple”. After selecting the colors that resonated with her, Dawn showed me her doodle sketches of what she wanted her logo to convey– energy, style, enthusiasm, and confidence.
Knowing that clients are often strongly attached to their sketches, the first layouts produced were very close to her original sketch.
Why would I spend valuable time recreating a sketch that broke all the rules of design? Working with clients and art directors over the years, I have learned they always want to be represented in the design, and to disrespect their ideas, is certain death. In my experience, they want to be able to say, “Yep, that accent over the ‘E’ was my idea” or “Those cute antenna? That was my idea”. No matter how small their contribution, it gives them a sense of pride to know it is partly their creation too! It is important for a good designer to recognize the client’s contribution.
The follow up comments on the initial design were lukewarm, but contained a glimmer of hope. While the design did not rock her world, the type elements strongly appealed to her. The sticking point seemed to be the butterfly working as the letter “E” in Élan. You can see from her original doodle, the whole logo pivoted on butterfly imagery, and how they morph themselves into a creature of style, energy and confidence, echoing her clients’ journey under her tutelage.
…developing a logo is much more than putting together pleasing shapes and colors. It is a collaboration of hearts, the composer’s [the client] and the musician’s [the graphic designer]. A gifted designer will take the composer’s vision, and selflessly lift it to new heights.
She apologized for her less than enthusiastic comments, and I assured her, developing a logo is a collaborative effort between the client and the artist. A composer will compose a beautiful piece of music, but it is the musician, the artist, that breathes life and color into the black and white notes from the page. She was relieved that her critique was taken with grace, and her e-mail was punctuated with smiley faces.
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing I had just been given license to explore other avenues and move out of her preconceived box without offense. To me, developing a logo is much more than putting together pleasing shapes and colors. It is tantamount to taking a client’s “child of the heart” and nurturing and polishing it to the highest expectation.
With an eye to the future, it is important to envision the various ways the logo may be used; T-shirts, promo items, print ads, and websites. With that in mind, during the next revisions, the logo began to gel. Of course, depending on budget and the vehicle, logo must continue business identity, whether appearing in one color, full color or black and white. The guiding factor, is that the final logo must hold up under all these applications.
Another round of refinements, with variations on the color themes as described above was submitted for approval. It seemed we had reached our final destination! She loves her logo, and I feel fulfilled that I was able to nurture and polish her “child of the heart” into a tangible identity for her new business.
Developing a logo is a collaboration of hearts, the composer’s [the client] and the musician’s [the graphic designer]. A gifted designer will take the composer’s vision, and selflessly lift it to new heights, sharing their beautiful music with the world — from our hearts!