Say hey to my new logo
It started with glitter.
I like to send notes and cards to people throughout the year. It's a nice way to stay connected with friends. For clients, it is a way to show how much I enjoyed our work together. Plus, I generally feel gratitude is a good thing to give. When the time comes, I typically roll my desk chair over to my box-of-cards and select the one most appropriate for the situation. Until recently. When I rolled my desk chair over and found myself staring into a box of glitter cards... typically reserved for my sparkly friends. Normally this just means another trip to Marshall's or T.J. Maxx is due (seriously the best place to buy packs of nice cards for criminally low prices). Not this time. It was the nudge I was looking for to reach back out to a dear friend and graphic designer to help me design a logo!
Cue Cathleen Green.
Cathleen (website here) a phenomenal designer whom I had the pleasure of getting to know when we overlapped at OMSI, and who helped design my consultancy's new look. If you're local to Portland, OR, you may have seen her graphics in exhibitions produced by OMSI, on Powell's tote bags, or even promoting a local brewfest. Cathleen's skills aren't limited to design work - she can help conceive a full brand, which is what she did for me.
Images above belong to Cathleen Green and can be found on her website, linked throughout.
Getting started meant facing some uncomfortable questions for me: What do I need a logo for? How am I planning to use it? These very questions were the reason I had held off on taking Cathleen up on her offer for so long. While "stationary!" was a partial motivator, it was nestled into a larger desire to have a more cohesive brand. I made most of my website, document templates, and related materials on the fly because I needed something to get me started. They meshed in terms of having a singular color scheme, somewhat consistent font, and usage of bars/lines, but not really. Individually things looked okay. As a package deal they felt cluttered. So, what did I need this process for? To gain focus and clarity. I also felt that my self-made style didn't actually communicate much about me - the evaluator you're hiring. So, I also needed a brand that helped introduced my personality and approach.
Like many a team project this started with homework. In addition to the questions above Cathleen sent me a few websites with logos to peruse for inspiration. I got to work.
We met a few weeks later for sushi. I came prepared with a printout list of images I thought conveyed aspects of my job, and designs I thought looked nice or conceptually interesting. I am a very literal person and it showed. Cathleen had her work cut out for her. See the take on what an ear might convey below.
What I saw...
A cool way to show that evaluators listen, and question, and "follow the data" through the project!
What Cathleen saw...
An icon which was cliche, and might mistakenly convey that I am a service for those with low hearing. And, an image that requires too much familiarity with me/my work to get any of the references I saw in it. Also, an image which provided little room for incorporating color, or my consultancy's name (which was important to me).
The New Look
Cathleen was right. We talked through the various logos on my list. Cathleen started questioning me about who I am as a consultant and how I saw that reflected in the images I brought her... and where I didn't see it reflected at all. I found it was important to me to convey the work I do bouncing between theory and practice. I always say my brain works like a puzzle. I can't do much without the little pieces until I have a big picture to reference. I use those little pieces to create a framework of ideas and then start filling in the gaps with focused ideas. Color, youth, creativity, and connectivity were all also important to me. I have a big personality and I bring it with me to projects. This was important for me to communicate, too. Cathleen took all of these ideas and began sharing sketches with me over a series of weeks. We quickly fell in love with the concept of a strong girl looking up at data points, seeing possibility:
The finished logo to the left is the hallmark image for use in the full branding packet Cathleen drew up for me. She gave me images and icons to use as accent pieces on stationary, new business cards, on documents, and throughout my website. She also helped me freshen up my color palette a bit to be fresher and brighter, and selected a new font for me to use. As you can probably see, I'm already working on implementing the new look and am planning to order some new physical products soon (...would it be so wrong to treat myself to a tote or tumbler?).
Cathleen also wrote on her blog about the design process. If you'd like to read her take on the experience, click here. And consider her for your next design need - she comes strongly recommended.