This is a very brief look at the logo process of a design I did for myself a few months back. I had originally intended to use this as my personal brand, however after much deliberation on the subject, I decided to go in another direction. I shelved this idea and went on to develop Swivelarms as my identity. I still enjoy this logo and plan to print it on some t-shirts in the near future, but as a personal logo it just wasn’t going to hold up in the long run for a variety of reasons.

Heading into this logo design, I had already spent roughly 3 months playing around with an image in my mind. So when I actually sat down to put pencil to paper, the thumbnail process was quick and straightforward. In the end, there was very little variation from the initial sketches to the final logo. The upside to spending more time refining an idea in my head before beginning the design was that it saved me a lot of time. A potential downside to this approach however, is that there is less experimentation during the thumbnail process.

Preliminary Sketches

Thanks to prior planning, I began my preliminary sketches with a focused vision. Each thumbnail was a variation of the ‘all-seeing’ eye. This was an idea derived from my interpretation of ancient alien influence and was originally intended for some funny branding possibilities. Unfortunately, I was painfully aware of the contemporary pop-culture interpretation of this type of symbol. The trendiness of the the free-masons and buzzwords like “illuminati” were key reasons as to why I soured on this particular idea. There were more practical reasons of course, but conceptually I was turned off by the pedestrian perception of the ‘eye’. Moving on…

Final Sketch

I continued working on more thumbnails until I had nailed down a consistent look, which I then refined into a final sketch. After that, it was time to get it into Adobe Illustrator and break out the Pen Tool.

I placed the sketch image on the first layer of my Illustrator document and traced it onto the layer above; I created several more layers for each additional portion of the logo. It didn’t take long to get it traced, thanks to the simplicity of the design and the refinement of the original sketch.

After the logo was fully traced, the next step was to flesh out the line widths and color palette. I decided on using different shades of blue on the primary logo, to give it a subtle  3-dimensional feel, however I also played around with some other color combinations and variations, some of which you can see above. The silhouette version could be employed in 1 or 2-color applications.

Finally, I added the type treatment with the logo mark, choosing ITC Avant Garde for it’s obvious 80s Atari-esque appeal. I have always really enjoyed the boldness and simplicity of the typeface and I had predetermined its use from the start, so there wasn’t much exploration there.

Oftentimes, during a design process, I stumble upon some happy accidents. In this particular case, I had been tossing around the idea of taking the logo a step further by creating an alternate 8-bit version just for fun. I hadn’t yet set out to do that when I hit up to make a 16 x 16 favicon. After uploading the completed logo to the online generator I was happily greeted by an almost perfectly rendered 8-bit version; with a few minor tweaks in Illustrator this ‘space-invaders’ version was ready for prime-time without ever having to create it from scratch.

As any graphic designer can tell you, creating an identity for yourself is often one of the most difficult projects to undertake. For years I struggled with this reality, designing and then re-designing logos for myself over and over again. In the end I wasn’t truly happy with any of them. I was constantly floundering around with my personal identity and it was taking me away from the projects that I’d rather be spending my time on. Eventually, I came to the realization that in order for my personal brand to be successful, it simply needed to plug into my inner child. That is where my obsession with art and design began and that is where it still stems from today. ‘Mars vs Moon’ was a stretch to say the least, while it had potential for some fun and interesting branding projects, I didn’t feel connected with it in any way. There was no real story behind it, no connection to who I am or how I started doing this; it just wasn’t me. Another tough lesson to learn for sure, but an invaluable one to learn from.