My former coworker Rusty Talbot left the web industry recently to pursue a dream – opening a climbing gym in the beautiful hills of New Hampshire. He came to me after his artist was unable to complete the branding project to see if I could take it over. Rusty sent me one of the best, detailed briefs I’ve ever received from a client:
The logo files from the former designer: (The one on the left was the latest iteration)
- What I want to evoke:
- This is an indoor climbing gym but I wanted to connect with some visual imagery that reflects the location – northern New Hampshire. This is why we included the distant mountains and trees and so forth in the lower right corner
- I want to make clear that this is about rock climbing – so that’s why we have the silhouette of the climber on a steep rock face
- If possible, it would be cool to evoke an image related to the gym itself. I don’t think that the logo we were working with actually did this, but I’m attaching a photo showing a small part of the gym as it is being built. I think it is a cool looking feature like the prow of a ship. If you can think of a cool way to incorporate something that evokes this look into the logo, that could be really excellent
- What I think of the current elements in the logo:
- I really like what’s in the lower right corner:
- The snowy mountains and the trees.
- If you look closely you’ll even see a version of the NH state symbol – the “old man of the mountain” that was part of a local cliff until it collapsed in 2003 (it’s still the state symbol even though it doesn’t exist in nature anymore, however!).
- The other side of the mountain that has the old man on it has a ski area, so we represented that with the little ski slope curving down the mountain on the right.
- I think that the climber and the overhanging wall is ok – and it is nicely evocative of rock climbing in a gym
- Please note that I’m not that attached to the climber or his/her body position. It’s not as crisp as I think I’d like it to ideally look.
- Also, I’m not super attached to the way the cliff face looks. It sort of looks like a blob. As noted above, I’d be more psyched to evoke an element of my gym like the prow in the attached picture
- We toyed with different shapes and sort of honed in on a circular design.
- If it wasn’t an attached circle, it looked like a monster eating a climber
- If it was an oval it looked a lot like an eye (especially if the cliff face was a bit steeper and more like a horizontal roof)
- The shape of the cliff in the larger file was sort of blah so we were moving toward a cleaner circle-style. She hadn’t gotten around to cleaning up the cliff to make it flow smoothly into the circle, however.
- We toyed with including the wording or lettering in the logo and it didn’t feel like it worked
- We tried both w letters in the cliff like in the larger file as well as with the words going around it in a circle (“North Country” on top, “Climbing Center” on the bottom)
- I think that I’ll just want to have the words “North Country Climbing Center” next to the logo or below it or not all depending on the context.
- I’d like to include color in my brand – but I don’t know how to incorporate colors in the logo (if at all)
- The walls are going to be a mix of deep blue, brick red, and off white (it’ll actually be light granite). We need to be careful to keep this from looking like an American flag, however!
- Uses – what I plan to use the logo for:
- An interior sign above the main entrance / desk
- Maybe painted on one of the walls if it makes sense…
- One big sign out in front of the building (this is the only expensive, hard to change thing that I’ll use the logo for)
- Facebook page
- Business cards
- “coming soon” promotional posters
- Tee shirts
Note that I’m using the catch-phrase of “live free and climb” (a play on the NH motto of “live free or die”).
Thank you so much for being willing to assist with this. While I do like the direction [former designer] was going in, I’m totally open to your awesome creative ideas.
Rusty was detailed and organized in sharing his thoughts about the existing logo design and what he wanted.
- Bulleted lists are always helpful to break things down!
- Rusty gave me some bigger picture branding requirements, explaining his desire to integrate “New Hampshire” and “rock climbing” into the logo.
- He was extremely detailed with what he liked and didn’t like about the logo, and explained their design process so that I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel by trying things that didn’t work the first time around
- He included all the potential uses that he would need for the logo, which helped to give me an idea of the level of detail (or simplification) that might be needed
- And of course, he implied that my ideas would be “awesome” and “creative.” Flattery never hurts!
Next: I start sketching.