thankful for the gift of sight

 

you know, it’s super easy to take the most obvious things for granted. for those who can (and that’s the point) we can all say that we’re thankful to be able to see. but for someone like myself who uses his eyes to not only see but to make a living – it’s huge! not only do i have the privilege to see, but also to see what i see – colors, shapes, lines, fonts, people, animals, nature. and then to be able to take many things that i can see and create something new or unique for others to see. there are many who can’t say the same. they are either partially or totally blind. to be real, not i nor anyone else who can see is better than they. i’m blessed and privileged with the grace of having sight. just because i have eyes does not mean i’m supposed to see or deserve to see even though i have them. in light of who i am and knowing my place in this world i will humbly say i deserve nothing, especially to have my core senses working. i wear glasses, but even with that i’m still thankful and privileged because i can see. as i said at the beginning, it’s easy to take obvious things for granted. hopefully after reading this post, no one else will. you were able to read this post – be thankful for the gift of sight!

font law #1

what inspired me to write this post? as i’m driving to work this week i notice a van for some local service company whose name i won’t mention and their name and logo are obviously on each side of the van. the problem? the logo is made up of the initials of the company name using the two letters “C S” – both in all caps in a script font!

in a word: U – G – L – Y!!!! please, please, pleeeeeeaaaasssee DO NOT use script fonts of any style as ALL CAPS in either a logo or a heading of some sort! that looks soooooooo bad and it’s hard to read. this is also seen on the rear windows of some cars where people like to have their family name or nickname in all caps in either a script or old english/gothic font. and then to polish it off, have it stylized in an arched shape! do i need to say it again…. U – G – L – Y!!!

there should be a font law for something like this. all offenders will have their lettering immediately scraped off their vehicles and have mandatory design done by court-appointed graphic designers!

there should be a political office for this. design congressmen or congressional creatives. i’ll vote for that! 😀

logo design 2: FPI

here’s another identity job from your’s truly. this project came from another former co-worker who was doing some contract work for an organization focused on assisting Christian ministries and other similar non-profits in their fundraising and to achieve proper financial status in order to better help their communities. i was then put in contact with the president of the FAITH & PHILANTHROPY INSTITUTE who was in need of an effective identity. an important element for my creative juices with projects like this a slogan or mission statement. once i received it the word that stood out the most to me was “grow.” that’s where the sprout and color green came from (which also could represent finance, hence the term philanthropy). it then seemed proper to incorporate brown for the earth or dirt but in the shape of an open Bible. the original “sprout” had a single, vertical vein on the face of it, but the president asked if i could incorporate a cross somehow. i then completed the full version with stylized text using same color scheme and it was approved! i finalized the job with icon, full logo, full logo with slogan – 2-color and b/w versions with different formats. all this was soon followed with collateral (stationery and brochures) to complete the brand!

logo design 1: AART

one of my former co-workers who does part-time acting contacted me about designing an identity for a local theater company. based in desoto, texas the AFRICAN AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATER was already gaining a following and was named by The Dallas Morning News as the “best new start-up theater company of 2008!” after meeting with one of the founders and gathering information i began brainstorming. the first idea that came to me was using a shape of an african tribal mask, duplicating it and putting a smile on one and a sad face on the other. the point was to create sort of the comedy & tragedy image that is familiar with theater arts. after sketching it out i realized that it wasn’t really working. they need something that would be african american, yet mainstream for theater. the founder i met with made it clear that the first letter in each word spells out the word “art” but with 2 a’s. i then went font searching for something that looks somewhat african and artsy. the name of the font is lithos, from the word lithography, which is a particular style or process of printing. i thought, “sure, that’s art-related.” for the “a” i turned the uppercase “v” upside down and doubled it for the 2 a’s, but put them close together to appear as one. that way it looks like the word “art.” and, of course, there is the incorporation of african colors (black, red, green, and gold). what you see in the animation is 3 versions of the logo (icon, full icon and text-only), although i created over 30 different versions for their variety of uses. the 3 founders loved the work as i loved designing it.

your logo is your identity!

so, what’s the big deal with having a logo??? if you’re selling a product or providing some type of service – whatever type of business you have, small or large, sole proprietor or corporation – your logo means everything!!! it’s what i like to call “your first impression” to the public. it is the symbol that “identifies” you like a driver’s license or any other type of i.d. for starters, let’s begin with a definition:

lo•go noun – a symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify it’s products, uniform, vehicles, etc.

important note: a logo is a “symbol” or “small design” – not an illustration! i’ve seen numbers of so-called logos for businesses that are too detailed to be called an identity. i’ve even been asked to design very detailed logos and to help the clients i had to nicely talk them out of having such a concept made. it defeats the purpose of having a mark or symbol that’s simple yet distinct enough to be recognized without trying to figure it out!

the collage above is a clear example of good logo design. these marks are highly recognizable, not just because we all know them, but they are simple and distinct enough that even the name of the business can be omitted. you know you’ve got a really good logo when the same design works for more than 20 years! think about it: how long have the golden arches been around – and they haven’t changed. oh, they may have undergone a few upgrades and revisions every 10 years or more. but, the golden arches have remained. the red target is another highly recognizable symbol. so much so that if you see a similar red target used for another business, you’re bound to think of the department store first before realizing that it represents something much different. another symbol that has been revised a few times is the apple with the bite on the right and the floating leaf on top. no matter what color it is, it’s immediately associated with the computer manufacturing company.

now, there are a number of other “symbols” out there that are simple enough to follow the logo formula, but are just products of bad design. many of them fail to properly represent the company they symbolize. sometimes they can be too simple, or rather vague, that they have absolutely no meaning at all. these are the ones most likely designed by someone within the company – possibly in an administrative position, with no design skills whatsoever. they may be able to use whatever software is at their disposal. even if it’s a fully-equipped, readily available creative suite – just because you have the designer’s tools does not make you a designer! the skills begin with the person wielding the tools! the ideas come from the right side of the brain before they are manifested on a computer screen.

so, as you begin to contemplate having a logo designed/re-designed for your organization, please consider it to be created by someone gifted to conceive an idea that would best represent or identify your company. a lot of thought goes into logo design, as well as a lot of money invested (unless you get a sweet deal). depending upon how successful you want your business to be, it’s worth spending a few hundred (or thousand) dollars for the right, effective brand. no matter how good your brochures, direct mail pieces or websites may look, they will only look as good as your logo looks – and works!!! that’s where it starts!

note: i do not endorse the companies whose logos are represented above, but i am or have been a patron from time to time 😉