Most logo designs come from a personal story. Some of those stories bring problems for the design. Here are the problems caused by my logo story.
Recently, I decided to get polo shirts with my company logo embroidered on them. There are several places on the internet that are now offering “Free Embroidery.” Hooray! The last time I looked into doing this each shirt was going to cost me about $60.00, and that was just one line of type, in black.
While designing my logo, embroidered shirts were the last thing I was thinking about. When I changed the company name from Patricia Graphics to Eye-Catching Visual Effect, back to Patricia Graphics and then finally to Big Max’s Studio, it was in honor of our beloved black Labrador retriever Max. Actually, it was to honor Max, and way to try and forget the two most miserable business partners one could have, that took me for a boatload of money. That story on how not to pick business partners is for another post.
So, what was I thinking when I came up with the most impractical logo design? First, I wanted to use a headshot of Max from the last picture we had of him. Not a silhouette, but the actual image. Just plopping his head in different areas of a business card looked like he had been decapitated. Not quite what I was going for.
Painted with Behr’s Barn and Fence paint, Max would spend hours in his doghouse, just looking out at the world or sleeping. Those are some of my favorite memories of him. Then, while looking at his doghouse one day after he passed, the light bulb when off.
Having the house designed and the right color, the logo then needed a “shingle” hanging from it. I didn’t want just a brown or tan box as the background, so I took a picture of a piece of plywood, and achieved the look I wanted. If you remember the television show Little Rascals, their dog Petey’s house had a sign on it that hung at an angle with his name haphazardly painted on it. That’s was the look I wanted for Max’s shingle. Once the logo was completed it looked great on my website, letterhead, envelopes and business cards, and still does.
Then came the embroidered shirt idea. While the new free embroidery websites don’t limit you to a certain amount of colors or a specific thread count, in order to get all of the detail in the logo, it would have to be about four inches wide and at least six inches high. A little large for me.My first thought was to just use what I use for my signature in my email. While I love the sign being at an angle, putting my tagline “design + branding + websites” just didn’t look right. I tried the tagline at an angle and that didn’t look right either. Then came the issue of the detail in the wood. Would they really be able to capture it correctly? The more I looked at their samples, I saw nothing with that much detail. I’m now exactly where I never wanted to be with my logo. A light brown or tan box for the sign. Not exactly happy with how it looked, I uploaded it anyway. Once I saw the proof it looked worse than I imaged. To me, it looked like I was working too hard to make it work when it clearly didn’t. Being out of options, I dropped out all of the artwork and went with just the two lines of type. Not what I originally wanted, but it’s what looked the best. Now that I have the shirts, I’m happy with my decision.
The question then becomes, knowing what I know now, would I design my logo any differently? No. I went for a specific look and achieved it.
You may now be asking, what would I do if a client wanted a design with the same amount of detail? I would design the logo as they wished. But, at the same time, I’d explain and show some of the problems they may have down the road. I’d would work to see if we could come up with something that would transfer well to all future possibilities.
Looking at all of the logos I’ve designed over the years, mine has the most detail and the worse for embroidery.
Yes, don’t do as I did; rather, do as I recommend.
Do you have a logo design I can help you with?
I am an awarding winning logo and website designer who when not designing logos and websites, likes to write about how the industry has changed and what it looks to become in the future. I started designing websites around 1995. For the past 8 years, all sites have been developed in WordPress. Originally, I would develop the site in HTML and then convert those files to WordPress. Today all child themes are built on the framework of Divi. Guest blogger at 3lovablelabs, Tropic Moon Media, and Patti & Hank.