The Logo Studio, an upcoming pet project, will be a designer-centric site that will take you behind the scenes and offer up design, business and marketing tips. Like any internal project at our shop, this one needed a story-telling logo. This is that story.
At its heart, this website is primarily a site for design clients, to promote The Logo Factory design services and to market our studio. Generally speaking, it isn’t really aimed at designers – though they account for a lot of our traffic – so we publish technical tips and tutorials from time-to-time. Business realities dictate that we appeal to potential clients from their point of view but they might find our tutorials dry, boring and of little interest to their goals, while designers have no interest in how much a logo costs, or how our process works. It’s a weird dichotomy to be sure. Over the years we’ve been at it, I’ve blurred that line on too many occasions to count – features and posts have wandered into designer focused material, news and the occasional controversy. Always being cognizant of this inherent issue, we’ve tried to address it forever, with various levels of success – from The Logo Factor for buyers and designers, to the sparsely utilized and embarrassingly still-not-completed Designer Lounge.
The Logo Studio.
When through sheer happenstance, I received notification that the domain thelogostudio.com was available (what a catch for someone in this business right?) I snapped it up as fast as my PayPal account would let me, figuring we could utilize it as a feeder site to The Logo Factory proper. Didn’t take me long to realize this was an answer to this ongoing issue of who to write what for – a “behind the scenes” site for designers – maybe even call in “Inside The Logo Studio” or some such – offering up how-tos, techniques, business advice and marketing tips. We’ve been at this logo design game for 20 years now – there’s probably some info designers might want us to impart, without the conflict of interest publishing it here might present. And with that simple notion, the concept behind The Logo Studio was born.
A story to tell.
Like all our internal projects, The Logo Studio needed a logo and it had to tell a story, illustrating exactly and literally what it was about. I wanted to portray a behind the scenes vibe, maybe even an “over the shoulder” look as the artwork was being created. I wanted to use a typeface that looked hand-drawn, alluding to old school craftsmanship, but didn’t want to spend too much time on creating a font from scratch. The perfect match for that notion was a dry brush script called Hello Lucky.Something to keep in mind with using typefaces like this – they tend to have bits and pieces that hang outside the bounding box that visually encompasses the letters. In this instance, the “o” in “studio” has a little tail that’s a nice touch, but it throws off centering the word if done with the alignment tool in Illustrator. You have to center text like this by eyeball. The full name of the site (and project) is THE Logo Studio, but I left off “the” to emphasize the important stuff. I’d still have to fit it in somewhere, so I used a little capstone that’s actually a font of its own. Voila.
Remember I wanted the logo to be self-referencing? What better way to illustrate typography in a logo than to add lines that gave a nod to baselines (the bottom alignment of type minus ascenders)? We’ll have to start centering by eye from this point on and let’s put ’em all together.Not bad at all. As any designer worth their salt knows, a logo has to start off as a vector graphic, so why don’t we add a pen nib (as most design software indicates a vector drawing tool)? Hell, we can even add vector and direction points. Here we go.Fine and dandy, I guess, but if we’re gonna give a nod to vector graphics, we similarly have to reference raster based images too, right? That called for a magnifying glass – common with image-based design software – maybe even some pixels that we’re zooming in on. To accomplish that, we have to introduce some greys into our black and white logo. Let’s angle it to compliment our pen nib and slide it up under the capital “S” in studio.That’s coming along pretty nicely. We’re going to add a tagline to the design, but as there may be various components to this project, it needs to be flexible. I didn’t want to use another script font, and as the tagline is going to be smaller, the typeface needed to be clean, bold and without little serifs that might gum up. I used a demi-bold slab-serif – Bitter – and rather than slapping the tagline along the bottom of the design, wrapped it around in a circle using two paths (one inside, the other outside.) Like so.And there you have it. The official mark for The Logo Studio, thrown together over a few hours on a Sunday afternoon over a couple of pots of coffee. The one thing that was missing in was a shout-out to print, so I created a background graphic that was representative of the tiny dots of an offset halftone piece without being too, too obvious. The design was already busy enough, and approaching overkill with any more additions.I’m still not sure I’m entirely sold on the background element as I publish this (and whether it makes the cut when we launch this project officially is anyone’s guess) but leaving it in for the time being. I set the element at a percentage transparency, so that it’s downplayed a lot, regardless of whatever background we drop the logo on. It does make for an interesting graphic element though, so we used it quite generously on the first webpage mockups we worked with.
Let’s take a look at the rough mock-up of a podcast chiclet using the final logo (with an altered tagline like we discussed earlier.)Here’s a neat trick that you can use – see the microphone? It’s an Illustrator image traced version of the original photograph with a truncated palette of 28 colors. Why is that a thing? A PNG of that image is about 50% the file size of a JPG version of the original due to the flat colors and limited palette. Granted, there IS some image degradation if you look really close but very few will and the majority of people wouldn’t even notice unless it’s pointed out. Which is the kind of fun little tips we’ll be doling out on The Logo Studio website when we finally get around to launching it.
This is a pet project, so we have no firm launch date – just something we’re going to tinker with over the next few months. We have a Facebook page set up and a Twitter account on standby – follow us and friend us if you’d like (we’d like that very much as Facebook won’t give us an actual address until we get more followers and that Twitter account is tumbleweeds.)
It’s on those social media platforms we’ll make the announcement when we pull the pin.