Logo Makeover–Design #2

Sometimes it’s hard to stand back, and realize all of the steps I go through when doing a logo design. I just assume all designers do this. Do they? It’s great to fall back on drawing something myself, when I can’t find a font or design that exists. Design #2 below details that process. I really hope that drawing classes come back into primary schools someday, as it’s an invaluable tool for simple communication, if nothing else. Take a look at my designs below, and feel free to make a comment on my Brook Design Group Facebook page.

The Incredible Logo Makeover, Design #2 Process

The Incredible Logo Makeover, Design #2 Process

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Logo Makeover Project…In the Beginning

Hard to believe that anyone still does pencil sketches anymore? Since my background in art school focused heavily on doing rough “comps”, we learned how to quickly rough out lettering and design, before doing a final presentation in markers (yes, in markers!) for the client. Even though the computer allows you to do design work in a finished mode, I love to doodle before I work in the computer. The value? First, it’s a quick “mind dump” of everything that comes to mind for the project (you never know what gem might come out of it). Second, it allows you to quickly play without constraints (nothing more frustrating than a program that won’t quite do what you want). Last, it encourages me to use some form of hand-drawn art in my design in the end, rather than just using a font and a stock illustration from the internet, thus creating a logo that is unique and trademarkable.

For Madison Designs Jewelry, I had images in my mind as soon as I met with Mary Anne. The challenge was to get them onto paper as soon as I could, to allow everything to be considered. These are (only) a few of my first sketches.

My criteria was:

–to create a unique logo, as opposed to the stock font she currently uses

–to appeal to women age 20 and up

–to look beautiful, yet affordable

–to have a configuration that would work well in any format, including in a Facebook icon format


–a logotype (an alteration of fonts that creates a-one-of-a-kind lettering configuration)

–and/or a stand-alone symbol (in this case, the “M”)

Stay tuned for refinements that will follow, in three final designs for Mary to choose from (comments are welcome on my Brook Design Group Facebook page). (see earlier posts on how this project got started!)

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And the Winner Is…

Wendy Riley was the winner of “The Incredible Logo Makeover” that I offered at last Tuesday’s Nevada County Online Business Strategies raffle. Yet in the course of reviewing her needs, it was clear that her business plan needed at least another month of research, before proceeding with a logo. Not unusual at all, as I find that more often than not, business owners need to do further market research before proceeding with an image.

Plan B., was for Wendy to pass the winning ticket to the person on her left, which was Mary Anne Davis of Madison Designs Jewelry. In contacting Mary Anne, it was clear that she was at the perfect point to upgrade her image. Picking a font from her computer, and setting up her own business card, Mary Anne started her business on a shoe string. With her business off to a great start, her image was a prime candidate for a makeover (see below). For what appears to be a fine look for Mary Anne’s business, (a classy, script font), it could be for any business–it was not unique (a competitor could easily use the same font, change the name, and voila…confusion in the marketplace!).

After discussing her targeted demographic (women, age 20 and up) and reviewing the brand message desired (great looking jewelry, at a reasonable price), my mission was clear in how to set her apart with the new logo design. (Reminder to self: the configuration also must fit well into the image block on her Madison Designs Jewelry Facebook page–the current one gets cut off).

Sign up for the blog (for a detailed account), or check the Brook Design Group Facebook page Photos section to see the stages of development in the logo I create for her. Comments (gulp!) are welcome.

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Nevada County Land Trust Commemorative Poster

Witnessing One’s Love for the Land
In photographing the image for the Nevada County Land Trust’s poster each year, I am provided a special opportunity to not only have a donor share a sacred place with me, but also to witness their true love for the land. This passion is evident each year that I spend time with the patron who so generously invites me to explore their property, looking for photo opportunities, capturing the essence of what they find so intimately beautiful about their home, their land, and the animals that share it.

Nevada County Land Trust Poster 2010

Nevada County Land Trust Poster 2010

A personal invitation
This year’s experience was with Joe and Jeryn Byrne. I was invited into their home before starting out on our trek to explore their property. Sharing with me the beautiful view from their living room windows, Joe excitedly brought me over to something he said they called “the cockpit”: a breakfast nook off of the side of the kitchen, that truly had a feel of an airplane cockpit, with the breakfast bar facing out towards the view through the bay windows. He explained that this was where they started their day. This was where they could digest the majestic view of the canyon leading down to Dry Creek, spotting Red-tailed Hawk, fox, and coyote. It was at this point that I realized where their priorities were, and I became excited about what was to follow.

And the adventure started…
Jumping in the truck, we drove down into the valley floor of Dry Creek, which runs through their property. Our first stop was to walk through the cattails and up to the banks of the creek, to see if we could spot a beaver. Joe pointed out that you usually could hear the slapping of tails on the water, as they dive for cover. Through the rushes, he pointed out a beaver dam, littered with chewed-off limbs that looked like they had been sawed with razor-sharp precision, in a circular pattern around the limb. In Joe’s sharing the beaver’s industrious nature with me, I felt like he knew this beaver on a first name basis.

Pointing out a Kingfisher flying above us with a trout in his mouth, Joe led the way along the banks of Dry Creek through the mountains of blackberries and wild mint as we hiked further into the moist forest. With great anticipation, he promised that it would be worth it.

The poster image
The first gem (which would wind up being the featured image on this year’s poster) was a quiet pool formed by the creek, nestled in between intertwining branches that created a cathedral-like feeling over the water. There was a resonance that I felt with this special spot. Reminding me of the woods near the lake that I grew up at in Connecticut, this beautiful pool mirrored glassy reflections of oak, flowering buckeye and blackberries. It was all I could do but to quietly take it in, slowly bringing the camera to my eye and humbly seeing if I could capture the feeling that was there.

But there was more, he promised, if I felt like hiking a bit more. Knowing that whatever surprise would be ahead, it would be worth it, we hiked up the hillside along the creek, brushing against the occasional poison oak, foxgloves and mosquito, and approached an opening of light. Again, more magical pools appeared in the creek, each more beautiful than the next, until we came to an opening of brilliantly colored flat granite. He pointed that just up ahead, was where we were headed. Already dizzy with so much to photograph, and not wanting to lag behind, I followed him.

And there it was. The waterfall of all waterfalls, positioned on rocks that looked like Aztec ruins…literally. The falls emptied out into a large swimming hole, that on a hot day, Joe and his wife would head out to and enjoy a picnic. I barely could photograph it, and I followed my inclination to just sit down in front of it all, and simply take it in, listening to Joe’s reflections on this sacred place. This is the place they called home.

People with a vision
This is what is common ground, I thought. This is the special type of person who connects with the earth, in such a knowledgeable and intimate way and sees value in contributing to the Nevada County Land Trust. They are people who are passionate about land being preserved for generations to come. They are Joe and Jeryn Byrne.

This is the second year that I have created and donated a color, limited edition commemorative poster for the Nevada County Land Trust. In addition, I have donated the design for two greeting cards, highlighting my photos from last year’s and this year’s poster. The Nevada County Land Trust will be selling the posters and cards as a fundraising effort, where all proceeds will go to benefit the Land Trust, and will be available at the Stars at North Star House event on August 28th or through their website at www.nevadacountylandtrust.org. The posters are available as framed, signed, limited edition prints for $45, unsigned, unframed for $20. The greeting cards are $3 each, or 2 for $5, or a mixed set of 10 for $20.

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