Back to branding…

Like a good girl, I finished up my homework from The Art of Branding Part One and assembled a long list of adjectives from friends and family and compared it with my own list (practical, fast/efficient, easy-going) while thinking about how these might relate to a logo.

  • “Creative” was the most popular one on the list. After some confused introspection, I concluded internally that perhaps “creative” was one way of describing “quality,” in that these people thought that I did “good stuff.” Quality brought to mind some additional words and symbols — a gold star, shiny, bright (which happened to be another adjective on the list).
  • “Easy-going,” “good-natured,” and “silly” made me think about my standard smiley-face avatar and general enjoyment of quick little cartoony drawings. My little cartoons are casual, like me (i.e., I never want to work somewhere where high heels and skirts are required), and I draw them with the intent of putting a smile on someone’s face (including my own). More symbols and words — smiley face, cartoon/illustration, simple lines, light.
  • “Practical,” “non-frivolous,” “genuine,” and “efficient” are pretty accurate ways to describe me (at least, I usually try to be efficient even though sometimes I am not!). With this in mind, I want my logo to be clean and uncluttered; more simple than complex.

Moving on to part two, I tried to think of animals, companies, slogans, tv shows, movies, etc. that I liked or that I thought were like me, jotting down adjectives as I did so. Here is a sampling:

  • Animals:
    • Dog – loyal.
    • Cat – lazy (efficient?).
    • Bee – busy.
  • Companies:
    • 37signals – practical, clean.
    • Amazon – cheap/inexpensive, convenient.
    • Common Grounds [a local coffee shop with the most comfortable chairs and couches I have ever sat on] – friendly, comfortable.
  • Movies/TV:
    • While You Were Sleeping – casual, funny, friendly
    • Pride and Prejudice (2005)- beautiful, funny, clever
    • Extreme Makeover Home Edition – doing good, creative

Unfortunately I couldn’t think of any favorite slogans. In fact, I couldn’t even think of slogans other than “Just do it” and “Pork. The other white meat.”

Time to somehow pull this together into some logo sketches

I started with my standard simple self-portrait, just to inspire myself, then started scribbling various combinations of “CH” and “corrie.”

Logo sketches

Not feeling especially inspired, self-portrait not withstanding, I tried flipping a “c” sideways. That made me think of a smiley-face. I tried putting a smile inside of my name, then inside different icons, then combining icons with my name. The idea of “light” started coming out — bright (flame, star, light bulb), quality (gold star), creative (good ideas = light bulb).

Logo sketches

This reminds me of a joke/picture riddle. What word would you use to describe this picture? (Answer at the end of the post.)

Picture riddle

Kind of liking the light bulb thing. Tried a few more sketches, trying to get the shape of a “C” with the lightbulb.

More logo sketches

Finally, moved into Illustrator to try out some of the concepts. Came up with another one with a face inside of a “c.”

Digital logo sketches

Thoughts and questions that I have:

  • Star icon is too Carl’s Jr.-ish.
  • Eyes or no eyes? Without the eyes, it makes me chuckle (because of the joke/picture riddle). But maybe that could have a negative meaning, like I’m blind or don’t have vision?
  • I’m liking the smiley face ideas. While I like the bottom left C/light bulb combo, smiley faces seem more “me.”
  • Or is the bottom C/light bulb a stronger idea?
  • Are smiley faces too unprofessional and casual?
  • Don’t like any of the ones on the bottom right with shapes over the “i.” Reminds me too much of junior high when popular girls put hearts and stars over every “i.”

I also spent some time looking at different fonts. The sketches above use Century Gothic. I like the spacing of Avenir but I should probably wait to purchase it until I figure out which concept, if any, to go with!
Possible logo fonts

Okay, smart designer people — comments? advice? things that I should be thinking about? Please remember that I have no official or professional marketing, branding, logo design, or typography training, so even something that seems obvious to you could be new to me!

Goodness gracious, I nearly forgot to put the answer to the joke/picture riddle.

“Cheeri-os!”

13 thoughts on “Back to branding…

  1. Wow… lots of possibilities.
    Even though i’m not a “designer” myself.. here’s some of my thoughts… 1) the bulb on the bottom left is a strong logo idea… but doesn’t seem to be very “you” (my opinion), instead in seems very electric companyish; 2) I liked the star with smiley in it, but when you mentioned carl’s jr. I was like “oh, yeah”; 3) I do like the Corrie with the flame over the I. I’m not sure why I like it… but I like it. I wonder what it would look like with the flame also as the “o” (with or without the smile). or maybe corrie with the star (larger) with a smile and nothing over the “i”. 4) the smiles without the eyes seemed to be more iconic and not as much gimicy (sp?)
    oh, and also like the spacing of avenir… but prefer the text of century gothic, I think because I like the “A”s (lower and upper) better.

  2. The light bulb idea is a good concept but somewhat overdone. If you want lightbulb inspiration check out Visual Index of Ideas (or something like that). It’s a small book that uses the lightbulb as a motif for exploration. I have it if you want to borrow it!

  3. Angela – Ha ha! You probably didn’t see my “branding roadblock” entry where I talked about not knowing what my target market was.πŸ™‚

    And I would like to borrow the book! I still have your birthday present, too — need to figure out a good time to come see your new house!

    Gilda – Thanks for your thoughts and comments!

  4. Hmmmm… I like the idea of building your branding around who YOU are, rather than your target market. Because you are a freelancer, you aren’t just selling stuff and services, you are partially selling you. So I wonder if a logo with smiley faces while not “professional”, in the traditional sense, but that may not be all bad.

    Your portfolio and customer testimonies certainly convey that your work is top notch. So I wonder if a bit of whimsey in your logo, combined with a very professional resume/portfolio, etc. might help to catch someone’s eye — especially if he/she has been pouring over scads of potential designers.

    I agree the star looks like carls jr. I also think that the graphic as the dot of the i reminds me of a junior high girl who puts hearts over all her i’s. Maybe that’s too much whimsey. LOL!

    I am not a designer, so I can’t say whether a lightbulb is over done or not, but I can say that in the top right one, where the lightbulb is the O, if you don’t put eyes on it, the smiley is “hidden”. It just looks like the curve of the lightbulb. It’s like a subliminal smiley. How cool is that! People will just feel that you are friendly, but they won’t know why. LOL! OK, enough of my babbling. Good luck!

  5. Doodah – thanks for your thoughts! I forgot to mention that the smiley in the lightbulb was originally like the “wire” in a lightbulb (minus the thin connecting wires coming downwards), but once I got into the smiley route, it became “all” smiley to me. It’s neat that you thought it was a little subliminal, because I had forgotten!

  6. πŸ™‚ Oh, and I forgot to vote on fonts. Although the Futura family has always been one of my favorites (heh heh, I would sneak them into client projects whenever possible, back in the old days…) I like Avenir.

  7. ok. i’m not a desginer but …

    I like doodah’s comments… branding YOU .. that said… (and I will have a post on this soon..)

    I have multiple identities… I have personal-me (penguingirl), tech consultant me, other-gig me, student me… while they all interact, I want different branding for each of them. They are different roles… In an ideal world at least three of them would be similar in some way … (right now colour is tying them in… we’ll see)

    I like the lightbulb C thing on the bottom. it’s happy and perhaps if you lighten the threads on the lighbulb it’ll be good? [i have no idea]

  8. What about layering a larger capital C over a smaller capital H to evoke the light bulb?
    C
    H

    Or, perhaps put the flame shape around the C to evoke a torch? Throwing some more ideas into the mixπŸ™‚

    I think the bottom-left logo has the most “presence”, but I don’t think it’s quite fitting with the “whimsy” and such.

  9. Penny and Alex – Thanks for the comments! Alex, I was actually thinking about trying to fit an “H” into the threads somehow, but sideways, not vertically. I’ll have to try both and see how it looks. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Nice work!

    This is an excellent process you’re going through Corrie! I really like that you’re thinking through your attributes and letting the design brief and project tell you where to head with the design.

    I would agree with many that the lightbulb might be a little too easy and possibly overused. For some reason the flaming drop seemed attractive to me, but I also happen to like your cartoony style as well β€” though as you say β€” you want to suggest professionalism and reliability while also letting your personality come through.

    The smile without the eyes is interesting in that it’s not completely a smiley face, but suggests most of that idea visually.

    I also personally like marks that integrate into logotypes, since there’s a unity there, so using the O in CORRIE could be one way forward.

    I would suggest going back to pencils and sketching a few more ideas β€” especially some crazy ones β€” to push yourself to the next level. You may find an idea in the first round works better after exploration, or you may see something you hadn’t before.

    I’ve just posted slides from a talk last night on embracing the iterative design process which might be useful to you right now. Below are the slides on Flickr and also on Slideshare:

    Embracing Iterative Design 001

    Hopefully those will help in some way, shape or form.πŸ™‚

  11. Mike – That was a great slideshow, and very helpful to be able to see your process! I agree that I need to hit the sketchbooks again. I might let the ideas percolate for a few days before I try again. Luckily, I’m my own client so I’m not working with a deadline.πŸ™‚

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