Finding a Purpose
Creating a logo for yourself is one of the hardest tasks that a designer can be asked to do. Good logos are not just created in Illustrator, they are created on the notepad or while the designer is thinking in the shower. The job of a designer while creating a logo is to incorporate everything that a person or business stands for into a simple icon. Picking a personal logo is like picking a good pair of shoes. When I buy shoes for myself I am pickier than I would be buying shoes for someone else. After all, I’m the one stuck with the shoes in the end.
For this project, my task was to design a personal logo/brand that represented me as a visual communicator. The brand had to be unique to this semester, refined and professional, all vector based (This meant that any type that I had, had to be original and unique text).
Who am I?
Because I was creating a logo that wouldn’t just represent me, but it would also represent my husband with our business Harker Media, I needed to create something that described both of us. Our business focuses on photography, web and graphic design and web development. Before I started sketching a logo I created a mind map to help me figure out how we should be represented. Some of the descriptive words that I came up with are; professional, friendly, business, everything digital, techy, the future, Intel blue, simple yet formal, more masculine. As I did this mind map I really liked the idea of techy and blue. I chose a cool blue monochromatic scheme because it is a color that is associated with businesses, it’s calming and resembles creativity and intelligence. With these ideas, I was able to begin sketching logo ideas for Harker Media.
Sketching and Challenges
Because I was creating a logo that wouldn’t just represent me, but it would also represent my husband with our business Harker Media, I needed to create something that described both of us. Early in my sketching, I settled on doing something with illustrative text to represent our business. I spent my sketching time playing with different ways that I could make an H and an M represent us.
While I was sketching I came up with three runners-up for the next logo. I decided to try them all out in Illustrator before marrying myself to a single idea. I liked the first logo but it was too symmetrical. I liked the second logo, but my five-year-old niece said that it looked like a funny N (never a good sign when a five-year-old notices something before you). And I loved my third logo but something was missing. I decided to take the first and third logo for another trial run and making them better after receiving, even more, critique from peers and designers.
The Process of Number One
The first logo needed to look less symmetrical and more pixel based. I copied many squares to create the letter H, then I added a white stroke around each of them to make them look more like pixels. I then made every three rows a different shade of blue to add a fading effect. This logo still felt really busy to me, so I decided to work more on logo three for a while.
The Process of Number Three
I spent the longest time on logo number three trying to figure out how each of the folds should work on this logo during the sketching process. I decided to put my origami skills to work to figure out where I needed logo number three to fold. I then re-sketched my logo using crayons so that I would know where I needed different dimensions of the design to show.
The Refiners Fire
After testing out different logos I finally decided that logo number three was the way to go. I made all of the rectangles thicker and I positioned my baselines in a square to make them feel less stretched and more symmetrical. Here is my logo next to my final sketch. Obviously, my vector is much stronger than my drawing skills. I also worked out that the first line needed to aim up to avoid looking like an N. This was not the end of designing my new logo. Even though I felt that my logo was done, I needed to seek critique and feedback from my peers and other designers.
I received some really great feedback from peers and other designers about my logo. I learned that I needed to make all of the lines even thicker, I needed to change my folds to points to help out with the general flow of the design, and I needed to broaden my logo design so that the colors are not so closely related. I did all of these things for my final design and I really like how it turned out! Let me know what you think.
As a Mock-Up
It’s always nice to add a little flair to a logo. I placed my new and improved logo in this mockup to show how it would look on a business card.
A New Page
I am turning a new page in my design. I am starting to focus more exclusively on web and graphic design, and less on photography. My lovely wife Janae, will be focusing more on that. With the shift in focus comes a refined identity, and a new logo. I really love the one I am using, and was able to refine it a little further to better align with what I hope to focus on in the future. In the design process, however, I found and option I think I may like even more.
The goal here was to make a vector based, non-text logo that will identify me at a glance. That is not easily accomplished. The logo I have now is one that combines my initials, and what I do as a designer, as you can see broken up below.
Here is the final vector. I like the really unique character of this symbol, and how it represents me. It does however have a Chinese feel to it that doesn’t really make sense.
As I was considering other ways to represent my identity and focus on web design, I focused on the initials H and M for my new site here at harkermedia.com. I really struggled for a while trying to create a symbol that identified me as a designer. I tried searching for symbols for design, but I could only find rulers and pencils, and that’s not what I’m about. As I browsed and brainstormed more, I found that computers symbolized what I do better than a ruler, and that’s what I went with. This is what some of those sketches looked like:
I liked the concept of the M inside of the H, and was excited to see how they would look together. I was able to draw a very simple monitor, and liked how it felt together. Here is the evolution of my drafts:
So here were my final pics! I liked the logo from the past, but my new logo will better represent what I do. That is the one I will start to use as I build a new site over at harkermedia.com!