I forgot to post my design yesterday! Aagh! I can’t believe it. This is a follow up to the pocket watch design from Friday. I did do this design yesterday with the intention of publishing it on time so I feel that I have not missed my goal. It will be the revised icon for The Grannie Project based in the Philadelphia area. The Grannie Project is a rescue organization dedicated to helping senior pets.
At the end of August I embarked on a new project for the Potomac Bonsai Association. They are quite in need of a new website and I rose to the challenge to help them. At the beginning of the process I created a few rough page mockups and included a redesign of their logo. In all honesty, I didn’t think they had a logo and I wanted to raise the level of their “brand” in the public eye as part of their soon to be released, new website.
As it turned out they were already in the middle of elevating their branding with a standardized logo. So my idea was quietly rejected when they sent me their logo in response to my first mockup submission. No worries. At first it was difficult for me to warm up to the logo they presented but this feeling has passed and I am actually starting to like the logo they are using. I won’t discuss their logo except to say that it is official, and approachable.
I will, however, discuss my logo design which will no doubt fade away quietly into my digital archives of designs to be scrapped for parts for another future project, if it is lucky enough. 🙂
The Potomac Bonsai Association started in 1970 and I don’t have much historical reference for their brand image although I vaguely recall their look from the 1990’s. I have also been paying attention to them during the latter part of the past decade (and as of this year I am a proud member). They seem to go with the flow design-wise, accepting the style of whomever is creating their collateral at the time, whether the creator be professional or amateur. And this is not necessarily a bad thing.
What was I thinking…
My idea was to go modern with a slight retro twist. I have been inspired a great deal by two design aesthetics lately. First, there is a side of me that is attracted to European, Swiss modern style (perhaps it is all my dealings with Bonsai Empire, based in the Netherlands). 🙂 I have always loved design elements conforming to a grid using clean sans serif typography. Second, is my affinity for American, mid-century modern design. I love the advertisements, casual typography and cars from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. You might think that such differing styles would not meld well but they can produce a nice juxtaposition.
I also wanted to break the mold of bonsai logos. Traditionally they are always a silhouette of a tree enclosed, in a circle. The circle is usually reminiscent of the rising sun of Japan and situated as a background element. The typography is generally a clichéd, oriental or mystical brush script. This theme can be done tastefully but usually it is not and I was not even going to go there.
So, here is what I did. I wanted the image of a tree, a bonsai. But I did not want to create a literal silhouette. No Chinese brush, or charcoal sketch renditions. No clichés. Also no big circle placed to inspire the rising sun. I did, however, utilize the circular shape. I created a large square grid of many small circles and began playing lite-bright. After I created an image that resembled a bonsai from several groups of circles, I extracted just the ones I needed from the grid. The resulting tree-shape is a modern image that uses positive and negative space which is a very important aspect of bonsai design.
In bonsai design, you use the foliage areas of the tree to frame the trunk. In this way a good design will guide the viewer’s eye to see the parts of the trunk that lend to the illusion of a miniaturized version of a much larger, ancient tree. The foliage is also used to hide weak or flawed areas of the trunk or branches that detract from that illusion. In my modernist design the many circles are used to create the foliage and the pot. The negative space forms the trunk and branches.
For typography I wanted to incorporate a script, but again, no clichés. I chose an elegant but informal script called Charme. The characters have smooth wide strokes that modulate calmly from thick to thin. On some characters you get an abrupt, terminating stroke, like at the top of the ‘o’ and the dot of the ‘i’ in the word Bonsai. This hints at an oriental brush but it is a subtle effect. I also wanted to use a transitional or sans serif typeface to create an official or credible tone to the composition. I chose to set the word Potomac and Association in all caps using Gill Sans.
Perhaps some refinement is in order, but overall I like this design and thoroughly enjoyed working on it. I’m sure it will emerge from the dust bin of my hard drive for another project and get a second chance at life someday.
Thanks for stopping by!
Here is a design I worked on several weeks ago for the Central Florida Soccer Academy in Orlando, FL. I wanted to share some of the concepts for the logo as daily designs during the design process but I also don’t think it’s appropriate to share a brand before it is finalized and approved. The logo has been officially launched by CFSA so I wanted to share it with everyone here and today seemed like as good a time as any.
The Knowledge Knight program recognizes student athletes attending CFSA’s summer camp for their excellence in academics. The program is held at the University of Central Florida and their mascot is “Knightro” the Knight. My design depicts a youthful knight reading a book. Check out more on the program here.
I love when material presents itself. Tonight we went to Red Robin for a burger and fries and as I was about to dip this fry in ranch dressing I paused and noticed how much it resembled the Nike logo. I just had to use it for my Daily Design. I still have the fry and will also be putting it on eBay later if any of you are interested.
The final submission in the modern versals series. Well, maybe. Like I said the other day I have considered doing some hand lettering so if I do then Versal-tility will return for another round. For now though it is going to catch some Z’s. See you all tomorrow.
Getting close to the end of the Modern Versals series, but I am considering doing some hand lettered versals in a future incarnation of the Versal-tility series so if you enjoyed this series I may have some more lettering fun in store for you.
Today I spent most of my time working on the final stages of a website for the Adlai Grace Foundation. So I had to knock out a quick daily design and was inspired by the color palette of the AGF as well as the type face that I used when I designed their logo several months ago, Charme Standard. For more information on the Adlai Grace Foundation visit and like their facebook page here. To learn more about the design work I have done for them you will have to wait. I will feature them on my main website in a few weeks after we get their website launched.
Happy Saturday night All. Today’s modern versal is the letter ‘V’. Nothing too exiting in the design here, but I wanted to take it easy on everyone since we lose an hour of weekend this weekend. Hang in there everybody and by next weekend we will be back to normal. 😉