This blog post has been very hard for me to compose, but it needs to be done before I start back into classes tomorrow. First, I absolutely LOVED! this project because it gave me excuses to hang out at my beloved museum and immerse myself in a topic so dear to my heart.
Secondly… this was one of the most painful finals I have had to date. The reason for that happened to be the software we were told to use, which I have not yet been trained in (I will be taking that class this coming quarter.) This made the process of creating much slower and more complex than was necessary. I put my head in my hands and cried a couple of times from the intense frustration with the software (InDesign), which blocked my creative process time and time again. Charcoal pencils and paper quickly began to look like highly desireable tools, let me tell you!
So how about the part of the project that I loved? Wow… Beth told us to choose any logo we had created during the quarter and develop it further, just as we would in a “real world” situation.
Of the 6 wayfinders I created for the museum, I chose to develop the performing arts logo. Why? For the simple reason that Beth liked it best. I have learned that it behooves the student to take note when a teacher gives a strong indicator of a preference! Start out good and that is one hurdle you can eliminate!
Our first step was to begin revisions on the logo itself to bring it up a notch. Notice the changes created on the brown shapes as well as separating the “ground” where the dancer’s foot is touching. Fortunately, my changes were simple and subtle, thus not much work.
We then did a color study, so the second logo above shows the final color choices. Pretty close to the original, but again, a subtle change that makes a difference somewhere in the creative brain. I also performed a typography study, but stayed with my original Lithros Pro; however the study was a positive and validating activity.
The culmination of all this production was a logo standards manual. Anyone who has worked in the professional world (especially large corporations) has probably run into “rules of use” for the company logo. Knowing the rules can keep you out of trouble (basically, you can get fired for certain types of infractions!) Maintaining the integrity of the logo is key.
In other words, you don’t want to stretch/distort the image, change its color/size, place distracting information too close, on top, or underneath it, etc. As a consultant, the standards manual is the first thing I search for on a project. When one is not available, then I talk with the marketing / legal department to write my own reference manual. It is an essential and vital reference for any consulting project involving logos.
Being that this is a familiar business product, creating it in Microsoft would have been a cinch and far quicker, but maybe it is a good thing I was slowed down. Otherwise, this would have been a 50 page manual instead of the 17 minimal pages I settled on!
Basically, a standards manual defines how a logo may and may not be used, identifies its color palette, sizing, typology, clear space requirements, etc.. It may show examples of applications such as t-shirts, stationery, brochures, ad banners, as well as membership cards and other company specific uses.
[Click the book cover below to see the inside pages.]
This project gave me such an empowered feeling as I began to realize my original design instincts are strong, developed over 30 years of painting and working with buyers to improve my work and increase sales, I am sure. I instinctively know what will work, yet the combination of Beth’s 2 classes has given me an ability to develop beyond instinct and to know how to improve from a starting point. And since that is the whole reason I am at AI (vs. IUPUI’s much less expensive IMD program) it makes me very happy in my choice of school!
One thing I do find ironic is that my classes in logo and branding (which have been so scary to me) have given me tools that I know I will use in developing my fine arts pieces from this point forward. I never would have guessed that, yet I am grateful.