Logo, Take 2!

Backstory

In last week’s post, I shared a walk-through of our latest assignment: create a draft of a logo in Adobe Illustrator. Easier said than done!

I knew I wanted to make an icon for my work as a writer, and originally planned to make one based on my self-identification as an Explorer brand archetype. As I sat down to begin the task, I noticed that the slit and breather hole of a pen nib, and item always found on my workspaces, looks like the letter “i” in my name. Cue inspiration.

The draft parts came together quickly. I sketched out a few designs and knew I wanted my first and last name in different fonts to reflect my handwriting styles and that I wanted to use negative space for the “i” in erin. After selecting two different fonts, I typed each of my names, used kerning to space the font for “erin” and added a white space for the “i”.

Next came the pen nib, the biggest challenge. After more than one tutorial, I used the Pen and Ellipses tools to create shapes and the Shape Builder tool to eliminate excess and connect the resulting pieces into one, pen nib.

Lastly, I experimented with color, trying to create imagery that would look effective in both black-and-white and color print.

Boom. Rough Draft Complete.

Feedback

My coursemates are always so supportive and kind. What helps is that we are all in this boat together, learning by doing, and can share tidbits and ideas that are helpful.

Overall, they liked the shapes in the design and found the image balanced. This was important to me because I liked that the pen nib is off-centered but wanted to make sure the rest of the design fit. They challenged me to play around with the typography to see if a serifed font would better fit the top text. Additionally, while I love the color orange, to people that were not me, the color seemed off. Additionally, our instructor challenged me to experiment more with gradients and creating more of a 3D look to the design.

Polishing

From the feedback shared, I set two main goals: I wanted to personalize the look of the words and I wanted to make the imagery have more depth. This meant a new hunt for videos– I especially liked this one and this one, each of which gave many options for working with type.

First, I searched for a serif font that better matched my handwriting and the theme of fountain pens and chose American Typewriter, a font I’d used in my graphics project for the same reasons. I applied this to the “erin” in the design. 

Next, I opened the Glyphs menu for Fairwater Script to choose a different cursive “l” and “r” to create more opportunities for personality and movement in that word. I liked the potential for customization afforded by the loops in those two letters.

Then, I selected the word “lark” and used the Expand option under Object. After using the Direct Selection Tool to create anchor points along the letters, I stretched points near the same position on each letter to create a similar, ribbony  structure in each letter’s lower half. I learned the names for parts of typography which inspired me to design my own swash for the “l” and the terminal in the “k” in my name.

Next, I experimented with the Gradient tool for the pen nib, with the gradient centered on the nib. As my coursemates suggested, I tried blues and purples. Blues, while broadly appealing and positive in messaging, felt too corporate or mainstream in this design, while purple spoke to mystery and intrigue. This was more appealing as I am writing a mystery series. I slid a lighter and a darker purple to customize the gradient and applied it to the nib.

Lastly, I used the Drop Shadow Effect to give dimension to the shapes in my design. While I wanted my design to be clean and easily transferable between uses, the drop shadow gave just enough shape to make it stand out in print but not too detailed to be messy.

Like our last project, I’m not sure I’ll ever feel 100% satisfied with a final design, the curse of artistry (similar to how I feel when editing books). That said, I will submit my final draft for this assignment in anticipation of the next.

Take a look and let me know what you think:

The logo image created by the author.

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