The Eiteljorg – Standards Manual

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.  

Original logo

Final logo

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. 

Pantone 2 Color Study

Typography Study

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.

#1 Teacher Award

I am handing out a #1 Teacher award this quarter.  Being a teacher myself, I am not easily impressed; however, I have met a few good ones at AI and I always let them know. 

This quarter one instructor went over the top into the “Excellence” category, and that was Beth Remsburg.  All the students who have talked with me about Beth speak with great affection, even as they complain that her classwork is a killer.  The thing is… you LEARN in her class!  And the students know she cares about their success even if it is painful.  This adds up to one of those teachers who impacts lives!  Several times this quarter it brought to my mind my 3rd grade teacher whom I loved dearly and have never forgotten.

The biggy for me is that I am no longer afraid of logos and using them to communicate visually in a corporate setting.  I have even learned that it can almost be fun!  The moment that corner was turned for me was the moment I knew Beth was one of the best teachers I have had!  

Beth kept encouraging me until I did it… always challenging not just me, but each of us, to be better (with a charming mix of humor and wisdom that keeps you from wanting to strangle her!) 

Beth made me feel like I really could do this.  That is a mark of a true teacher. I will forever remember that matter of fact “Sure you can!” comment she makes (leaving you standing there with nothing to say in rebuttal.)  Not to mention her “get over it!”  [When I am struggling with a project I have a tendency to outprocess about it, which some unnamed friends call whining, and Beth did not cater to the “I am no good at this” comments.]

Unfortunately this is probably the last class I will have with Beth, but I know for certain that she will stand out as one of those teachers who changed my course in life!  One of those you tell people about years later. 

I am not sure of all the impacts, but I know they are big and I really want to say “Thank you, Beth!  If more teachers were like you, there would be no limits to what we students could do!”

Eleven at the Pyramids

The Art Institute Culinary School opened a restaurant called Eleven at the Pyramids.  As a result, we were asked to create 3 logos capturing their essence.  I don’t have much to say about this project.  However, the final logo had not been chosen by the end of the quarter and 3 of my favorite students were in the running for that honor!  Can’t wait to see who gets it!

Health Care Logos

Corporate Identity is the class I learned the most in.  It is probably my favorite of the quarter also, but don’t rate that too highly… I did not like my other 3 classes at all. 

Our next set of logos came about when we drew a topic out of a “hat” (Beth loves doing this to us… the anticipation of which dire topic you are going to receive can nearly cause a stroke, and since I mouthed off about it, she made me wait until LAST!) 

My topic was Health, which was not nearly as bad as the quarter I pulled a clippy out of the hat, or worse, the Greek diety, Eros! <Note: some things will never be forgotten.> 

I was still struggling with the software and wanting to play with my wacom, so I got dinged for thin lines.  Another B… I am not “A” quality, but if I have learned anything in these design courses it is to  “accept the situation”. 

My fellow students are always so sweet and supportive, which I appreciate, because their work looks so slick.  They also keep encouraging me with the software struggles.

Word and Letter Marks

This project was about learning how to create a wordmark and a lettermark using a fellow student’s name.  We had to find out what type of company the student would like to have and then use their name / initials to create the business logos.

The most pleasurable portion of this project was pairing up with Alex, who is fairly new to the Indy AI campus.  You will see Alex’s name show up on my video class work, since we also partnered in that class.  Alex’s business choice was a specialty ice cream shop, so I turned his lettermark into a stylized ice cream scoop.

Lettermark (A and an O)

Wordmark

Beth is teaching us to design first in black and white and then change it to a two color logo.  Only the black and white are included here since they give you a good idea. 

I used my wacom to hand render the lettering and was still struggling with the software (Adobe Illustrator) since I had not used it over 4 months.  That was a real hinderance to the creative flow.  I am still learning this whole online creativity “thing”.  Computers and drawing is such a new concept for me!

Logos out the Wazoo!

Corporate ID is all about branding via logos.  I am not amused.  In fact, I have been dreading this course almost as much as the video class for 2 reasons: I feel very inept with the software, and I am intimidated with branding concepts. 

My request to the teacher, Beth Remsburg, is that she help me get over this intimidation and then I would view the class as a success. [Retrospective comment:  Beth did this beautifully but it took nearly all quarter!  She has got to be the best teacher at AI with the patience of a saint!]

Our first logo was around the concept of using an assigned animal as the basis for a logo.  I received an orangutan.  I did a little rework since Beth couldn’t guess what it was (and she assigned the confounded animal!), but I refuse to be embarrassed.  My focus at this school is web apps and I am not a graphic designer for a reason!  It scares me! 

One really cool thing was that many of my very favorite people were in the class with me.  Granted, they are fantastic graphic artists, which can add to the nerve-wracking aspects of taking a class with them, but that is ok… I am there to soak up their greatness and I love them dearly!  I just laugh at my struggles (when I am not crying!)

Voila… an orangutan logo in black and white and 2 color.  It is what it is, and I am not apologizing!