To demonstrate our step-by-step logo design process, we thought it might be interesting to take an look at an unorthodox branding project as developed by The Logo Factory®. Accordingly, this illustrative logo case study features a highly illustrative logo treatment for Goblin Off-Road, a manufacturer of off-road accessories, after-market dashboards and other racing products. The company’s name pretty well demanded that we develop a ‘goblin’ character (while being mindful of the Spiderman character of the same name). As is the case with all highly rendered illustrative logo design projects, this one began with a series of sketches and doodles as our designers tried to develop logo design ideas and hone in on the ‘look’ of the goblin character that would represent the company.
As our designers worked through the sketching phase, the character, who started off as a little menacing, was softened up with each iteration. It was decided very early on that the character would be pictured only as a head, so that the pverall design wasn’t overwhelmed with unnecessary detail or weird aspect ratios. Overly complex logos are always an issue, especially when they are reproduced at a small size, or on low resolution media. The character was ‘built’ with some core company themes – racing goggles, wind swept hair and pointed ears were added in early versions and stayed throughout the design process. Rather than try to develop the character as a spot color logo, with the resultant restrictions, the client gave us the okay to work in four color CMYK, accepting the added costs that might be incurred in reproduction of various marketing materials like the company stationery design.
A hazard of designing a fairly complex logo of this nature, as well as a design with an unorthodox footprint, occurs when it comes to working type into the design. If we’re not careful, the font work may appear that it’s been slapped on as an afterthought (which, truth to tell, it sometimes is). We worked with several fonts, styles and typefaces (none of which worked) until we decided to work up a completely custom set of letters (second from left).
When it comes to designing stationery, we often begin with setting up business cards first – they becomes the graphic equivalent of ‘the tail that wags the dog’ – and once we’ve finished, our designers can ‘retrofit’ the letterheads and envelopes to fit. As this design was four color process to begin with, our designers were able to got to town on the cards, developing numerous full-blown color design treatments on both the front, and back of the card (below).
Let’s take a look at those final business cards again.
Once the brand framework for this project was put to bed, the client had a few collateral design tasks – an ad slick that had to be created for various off-road magazines and a vinyl decal that could be distributed to potential customers at an off-racing trade show. In order to use the logo in a plotter-cut medium, we had to create a linear black and white version of the design, ditching all the lovely color for a simple monochrome version. As it so happens, this black and white version could also be used when full color reproduction is not available, or on low resolution media like faxes and newspaper ads.
We created the magazine ad slick (below) using client supplied photography and a few lines of copy. We only had a few days to complete the work, in two different sizes, due to a tight deadline for two popular off-road racing magazines. The ad slick was also set up as a PDF download, for distribution through e-mail and from the company website.