Sometimes I can’t believe I get to draw and design things for a living, but I do, and it kicks ass. Especially when I have the opportunity to create cool stuff for friends; without a doubt, these projects are the most special to me.
Local animator and former co-worker at Apple, Ryan Haynes, approached me a few months back about creating an identity for him, much like what happened with Nate Benson. Ryan and I sat down at a coffee spot to discuss the creative direction and had a few laughs. During our conversation I discovered a mutual appreciation for the history and tradition of classic animation. The likes of Max Fleischer and Walt Disney were the inspirations behind his love for the animation process. We both agreed that this connection to animation’s history was an important element in moving forward with the design process.
Every identity design project I take on is with the understanding that the finished product will be bold, strong, and geometrically sound. Nothing “trendy,” nothing “modern.” Absolutely no swooshes. I want to create versatile identities that could work just as well twenty years ago or twenty years from now. I’m on a mission to bring back logos to what they should be: simple, meaningful graphical representations of an idea. Ryan enthusiastically signed off on that philosophy so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
After sketching dozens of rough thumbnail sketches an ‘R’ shape emerged that both Ryan and I agreed to pursue further. After a few iterations, the ‘R’ began to resemble the profile of a movie camera or projector. The symbolism a film camera holds for traditional animation is fierce. We were on the right path for sure.
I scanned a refined sketch and cleaned it up in Adobe Illustrator, making sure to beef up those bold thick lines. I also dropped the idea of adding an ‘H’ or film reel shape inside of the ‘R’ as it wasn’t necessary to make the proper connections. Strip away the fat, man.
Once Ryan approved the design in black & white, I moved into color theory mode. Several different colorways landed on the cutting room floor before I sat myself down to watch a few classic Disney films for some inspiration. Picking the right palette is serious business, I don’t mess around when it comes to color.
I looked no further than The Jungle Book for the perfect color scheme. Bold, playful, energetic, and strangely traditional. It just felt right. After a few tweaks and tests, this identity was ready to roll out.
I can sum up the key to creating a great identity in one word: Communication. It goes both ways and is crucial to making or breaking the project. Ryan was tremendous throughout the entire process, clearly communicating his thought process to me every step of the way. Huge thanks to him for being so great to work with. Looking forward to tag-teaming with him again on some brand extension projects down the road!