Nov 17, 2012

Birth of a Logo, Natural Style

I started this blog in January of 2011, we're nearly into the terrible twos.   B&P was born for a couple reasons:

     To help and encourage other single parents.
     To help myself get over the dissolution of my marriage.

Divorce of a spouse is more painful than death of spouse in some ways. I had a whole lot of angered hurt bottled up that needed poured out.

Writing is my medicine.

Like alcohol dabbed into a bloody knee, burning as it burrows, you know the antiseptic sting helps as it heals.  Writing forces me to poke at memories and unpleasantries I wanted to ignore, scabbing over the wound with each keyboard click.


I'm happier these days, I write now because it's fun and an outlet for debating if one should peel or stab OJ seals.  If given a choice between a movie, partaking in a pie eating contest or ripping a post on the keyboard, you know which one I'll pick.  The pie, of course.  Then the post.  Although Spielberg's Lincoln that Curls and I popcorned last night was amazing.

I hope someday to get paid for my chicken scratch.  I've done freelance work for a running magazine that sends me checks by the British pound, but I prefer the flexibility and independence of blogging.  With a magazine, you write the article, go back-and-forth with the editor when he's unhappy with my overuse of immature bodily function references, then wait 4 months for my piece to go to print and show up at Barnes & Noble.  It's too rigid and slow a process, a dull edge.

Bloggers usually start out getting dough through advertisements on their page.  Unsure I want to clutter up B&P with a bunch of pantyhose and tampon ads, but I'd consider it if Playtex offered me the right amount.  To attract advertisers, you need a page worthy of their pennies.  Which means branding, a logo and a clean blog layout.  B&P has none of the above.

I decided it's time to create a logo. 

You know from my Rings of Influence set I try and go local when possible.  No problem, I'll just drive over to a neighborhood graphics designer, fork over 50 bucks and call it good.  We sat down and talked through my goals with him.  Dollar sign warning alarms sounded when I noticed his portfolio wall flashed big accounts, like logos and signage for the Iowa State Fair and Peace Tree Brewing.  The local designer dropped the hammer, "Beard, I can give you the non-profit reduced rate, it starts at fifteen hundred dollars."

I ran out screaming, hugging my wallet.

I'll show him, drove home, fired up Microsoft Paint, it can't be that hard to create a blasted logo. 

Wrong.

After 45 minutes of fumbling and silent swears, I created a sad looking hexagon that appeared to be crafted by a middle school project staffed with kids lacking fine motor skills.  Things got comical when I tried adding cartoonish Beard and Pigtails characters, I'll spare you that and just show the shell:


Discouraged, I banged out random Google searches until it brought me LogoSnap.com.  The concept sounded smart: you put up a bid for work starting at $200, designers submit their ideas and within 7 days you pick a winner.  Increase the payout fee and you'll receive a higher number of submissions.  My research on existing LogoSnap projects showed $250 is the sweet spot between value and a high number of quality submissions from designers.  

I had a basic idea of what I wanted in a logo, but didn't want to be too specific in order to give designers creative freedom.  Here's what I wrote in the brief:

"Logo should show the tight daddy/daughter bond.  I'm a single dad raising his daughter alone, the logo needs to represent this.  Let's try blue, orange and black in the logo, but not set on those colors until I see prototypes.  Leaning towards a circular design that incorporates 'Beard & Pigtails' text, with perhaps an outline or silhouette of beard and pigtails as part of the brand.  Could be difficult to pull off without looking creepy, good luck."

24 hours after opening the project, 20 logo designs were submitted.  Three days later, over 40 filled the plate from around the world.  I queried the bios of designers feeding me B&P prototypes, they hail from Spain and England, the U.S., Indonesia, Cyprus and Romania.  Tapping into the world loop on Rings of Influence, creative diversity would surely hasten a pleasing win.




There were comely emblems that nailed the dad/daughter bent of this blog.

Other were nightmarish. 


 
I posted several on Facebook, there was a general consensus from readers on what you liked and dissed.

This one came in 2nd place:


Here's the first draft of my top pick, created from designer Hatter out of England:




It captures the essence of B&P, right on.  Although Beard's horse teeth gotta go, the colors are cluttered and I'm scrawnier that that brawny cartoon.  I talked with Hatter about a few tweaks (he was excellent to work with, flexible and patient), here's the final design:





Do you like?

-Beard

33 comments:

  1. I absolutely love it. Thanks for the details--I hope it was a fun process for you and Pigtails.

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  2. I'm glad you didn't say I shoulda picked that creepy one up there.

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  3. I kind of think the girl with a beard is endearing. :)

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    Replies
    1. What the what? Ah, opposite day, got it.

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  4. I like it! Did Pigtails get a vote?

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    1. Her top picks were logo #2 and #3. I think she wanted a kitten worked into the design.

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  5. That is great and you are spot on, it captures the feeling of this blog really well! I had never heard of that service - what a brilliant idea.

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    1. I forgot to say I kind of liked number 2 equally though.

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    2. Agree, #2 looks good.

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  6. I think it's pretty cute looking...in a manly bearded sort of way! haha.

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    Replies
    1. I'm telling Pigtails you called her bearded and manly.

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  7. Hmmm. The second place one is the best, although the handlebar 'stache needs work. I can't say I love your top pick--Pigtails' image seems a little manic to me. That said; choose what you both love and good luck with your commercial adventure. I'm tickled when anyone reads me at all--I can't imagine making money from it, too!

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    Replies
    1. "She's a maniac, maniac on the floor. And she's dancing like she never danced befooore."

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  8. Anonymous11/18/2012

    Nope. Like the one that came in second. Don't know if I would have started reading with the oval one. It's actually interesting that I've had such a strong reaction...wonder how often that affects what I do!
    Kathy

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  9. I love it. Although, I did like the orange color in the others. What a fun idea. :)

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    1. Yeah, orange is Pigtails' favorite color these days, plus it catches the eye on the blog. We'll try logo #3 for now and mod' it later after it tires out.

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  10. Anonymous11/18/2012

    Love it! Although I do like the second one, the winner draws my attention in (and back again) - in a good, good way. You have a great logo on your hands!!

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    1. Logos are pretty boring until you design one yourself, then they become slightly fun. Pigtails liked #3 the best, and I think it has a more bonded impact than #2. Although #2 is more timeless and less maniacal.

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  11. Anonymous11/19/2012

    #2. I think those are actually braids, not pigtails in #1?!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, plus I don't have a beard most of the time in real life. What's this world coming to?

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  12. So when are you launching this new logo?

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  13. Hmmmmm. Well, while perusing through the thumbnails, I liked the one by annecreations that was the beard on top and pigtails on bottom in a circle. The one you picked is okay, but both characters seem a little "wild" or crazy looking, or manic, and the two pigtails are coming out of the same side of her head? But I'm sure it will be great and attract lots of big name sponsors. I didn't know that blogs that have all the advertising had logos also?

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    Replies
    1. We live in Iowa, 80s style side ponies are how we roll. Plus the artist rendered Pigtails' maniac likeness 12 minutes after daughter downed shots of Red Bull.

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  14. I think you made a good choice. But like others, I do like the addition of orange in some of the other logos. But hey, it isn't my blog! and I'll still keep reading no matter which logo you pick!

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    1. Pigtails agrees, orange is her favorite color. Not sure how it'd look with the blue background of the blog though. Longer term goal is to redo the blog's background and template for a different look, I'll modify the logo during the revamp if it looks right.

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  15. Replies
    1. The colors are reversed, I need black text and blue amp', will get that fixed soon.

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  16. Hmm - I liked the second choice of the people better than the first - but who am I to judge?
    Having a logo designed is TOUGH STUFF - and expensive!
    I love how you did it though! Getting multiple submissions and going that route vs. hiring someone and having to be the bad guy saying, Nah, no, err, no thanks - NO!! After a few dozen ideas they throw your way!

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    Replies
    1. That's it, the logo's going to time-out!

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!