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Entries in Sketches (67)

Mar012005 Logo Contest Winner

On Monday evening, was was informed by that I'd been chosen as the winner of their logo design contest. First off, thanks go to Erik J. Barzeski, who told me of the contest.


This is the very same contest I spoke of last week, in my Just Good Business post. In the end, good was served, when the logo entry which used a pre-made logo was disqualified. I'm not sure how this impacted the voting, since I didn't have access to internal voting forums, but I suspect it didn't hurt my chances.

Whatever the case, I felt it would be interesting to show my sketches and final submissions to the contest here, to document my process of logo design for those curious about it. I hope to do more of this documentation of work, because it provides insight into a designer's thought processes to the curious.

First, I went to a Miquelrius sketchbook, my normal starting point for capturing ideas. I knew the logo wanted should convey the idea of a network, service providers and clients, so I began playing with various ways of conceptualizing a network.

Here's a scan of the concepts page:


Final Art
I wanted to keep effort minimal (not knowing if I'd win or not), so I went right from the best concept, to final art. Normally this would be a longer process, involving the client's input on what they liked, and my explanations of why I drew what I did.

The two best concepts are circled on the sketches page, though in the end I preferred the more 'galactic' looking concept for its simplicity and feeling of movement.

At the center of this logo is the client, around which everything revolves. Circling the client dot is the network, which provides clients with service providers to solve their IT needs. The 4 outer dots are the service providers, connected to clients through the network.

Here are the 4 color entries I submitted to the contest:


I wanted something bright (per the contest directions) yet business-like. I began with a blue/green palette (1), a variation with black logotype (2), then adding in warmer colors (3 & 4) to round out my submissions.

Number 4 was my favorite, because the orange 'client' ball at the center felt like a sun, the blue spiral arms of the galaxy representing the network, and green dots for the service providers. I also preferred the weight of black text on the logotype.

I also took a chance by writing a new, simple tagline for the service: 'IT Services Network' which tied in with the galaxy concept. It also simplified and clarified the tagline being used with their current logo: "Manage the Process."

ComputerRepair chose number 4 for entry into the contest:


I'm very pleased to have won, though there is a chance my logo won't be used by (declared in the rules). It depends on the company, and there may even be some competing work from other designers — I don't know. If things go well, the logo will be used, if not, I have the satisfaction of winning and $750. :-)

More Logo Design Experiences
If this short post on my processes has interested you, I'd suggest reading Creating a Business Logo, a blog article written by Ian Landsman, founder of UserScape software.

Ian and I worked together on his company and product logos. When we finished, he used samples of my work and wrote out his thoughts on the process from a client's point of view. His post was very enlightening, because I learned about his decisions and thoughts thoughts through the entire logo design journey.

Ian's post was informational, but even better, his article has been directly responsible for bringing two new clients to the firm I work for, both in need of logo designs. So, not only did I enjoy the process with Ian, now I'm able to recreate the experiences for two other firms excited about new corporate identities. Blogging does pay off!

I hope this article was informative and interesting. If you have comments or thoughts, feel free to leave them here. If you're in need of a logo for your business, I'd love to speak with you about it — just send me an email.


Tuesday @ The Office Sketchtoon

Tuesday @ The OfficeIt's been a very busy stretch here in rohdesign-land, which has meant much less focus on the blog than I'd have liked. But hey, such is life. I still love my blog and think of ideas for posts all the time — finding the time to write out posts is much more of a challenge. :-)

This week I came across a I'd forgotten in my pocket Moleskine sketchbook. It was scribbled over a month ago (prior to the proj: exhibition project), when I'd first started formalizing sketchtoon formatting. Early one morning, I had a blank Moleskine page in front of me while running the Mac OS X 10.3.6 updater. I grabbed my G2 pen and began to scribble. Whatever caught my eye on the desk found a space on the page, including some old grade school scissors I keep in my pen holder.

This sketch was actually quite loose compared to most of the proj: exhibition sketches, which I like quite a bit. The looseness adds a little something. It also reminds me of the loose sketching exercises in drawing class we used to do as a design students.

We were given an object to draw, then a timer was set (with an alarm) to limit our drawing. Gradually, the time was reduced — 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, 15, 5 and finally 1 second. This exercise always amazed me because not only did it loosen my mind and hand, but it helped me produce wonderful sketches.

Maybe I ought to try those speed-sketch exercises again? Hmmm....


Cafe Bag Sketchtoon

Cafe Bag

As you may know, my proj: exhibition Moleskine sketchbook is presently on its way to Hong Kong via airmail — so that series of sketchtoons are currently on hold until the book gets back from the whirlwind tour.

I had so much fun sketching those 28 pages in the sketchtoon style, I've decided to continue in my personal Moleskine sketchbook. This morning at the cafe, I hauled out my Moleskine and sketched my Cafe Bag as it sat on the table next to me.

By the way — I fall more in love with my Cafe Bag each time I use it. It's proven to be a perfect library bag, as I can pack in many more books and CDs than I ever thought possible. As a man-purse, it works well for hauling my Dana Wireless, Miquelrius sketchbook, personal journal, 2 pocket Moleskines, Kyocera Rave phone and Tungsten E. The more I use my bag, the more useful it becomes. Not bad for 12 bucks!

As for sketching this morning — It felt good getting back into the flow again. I see these drawings are coming more and more naturally, each time I sketch one out. I feel the control of my G2 pen improving each time I use it.

While familiarity with the G2 pen and Moleskine size and paper surface are part of this, I think the more significant impact on quality is due to the mindset I've had to adapt to. Because there are no pencil guides, drawing a sketchtoon feels somewhat risky. Once my pen hits the paper, there is no undo, no erasing, no retreat. It is what it is — if I screw up, there's not much I can do about it — unless I find a creative way to use an error.

Funny thing is, I haven't made many errors since adapting to this style. My mind must draw the image in my mental RAM cache, before letting my hand lay the image down on the paper surface. It is truly fascinating to see and feel this happening while I'm drawing.

Mike Shea's recent article on writers using pens, paper and longhand to write novels seems related to this phenomenon. Stephen King describes the 'caching mode' in this way:

"It slows you down. It makes you think about each word as you write it, and it also gives you more of a chance so that you're able — the sentences compose themselves in your head. It's like hearing music, only it's words. But you see more ahead because you can't go as fast."

I agree! There is something almost enjoyable watching a sketchtoon form on paper. I sense myself planning out where text might go and even the words I'll write before they go down on the page. It seems almost like exercise — for my entire self: mind and body.

I strongly recommend adapting some analog way to express yourself, especially if you rely on digital tools. Not to replace digital tools or methods, but to improve your thinking and coordination. Even if you can't draw, just doodle, or write. Something.

Besides, it's fun. :-)


Kula 1001 Icon

1001.jpgReceived good news on Sunday night! Adriaan Tijsseling, the author of blogging tool ecto, dropped a line to tell me my new icon for 1001 (a Flickr photo stream management tool) was used on his latest beta. Alright!

I've been a user and fan of ecto since June, so when I learned via Michael Ashby that Adriaan was looking for some icon and design help with ecto, I dropped him a line. As it turns out, Adriaan found help with the ecto project with designer Neil Dixon. However, he was also in need of a new icon for his 1001 app, a tool for viewing and managing your own and others' Flickr streams. I felt honored to be offered the opportunity, so I immediately agreed to take on the project through the company I work for, MakaluMedia.

1001-sketch.gifSo, I began as I usually do, with sketches in my Miquelrius sketchbook. The concepts were scanned and emailed to Adriaan for review. The process went quickly, as one of the concepts in my sketches — an earth with photo streams wrapped round, being viewed by a loupe — resonated with both of us.

From there, I began the icon construction process. At first I tried to sketch the sphere with streams wrapping around it, but soon realized it would be difficult to get right without good reference. The next day I had an idea in the shower — why not wrap strips of paper with black photo blocks printed on them around one of Nathan's kickballs?

1001-photo.jpgSo that's exactly what I did — and it worked perfectly! The strips provided a perfect template for re-drawing in Adobe Illustrator. I then copied the vector art from Illustrator into Fireworks, to add color and paste photos into the stream blocks on the globe.

In fact, if you look very closely at the pics on the streams of the final icon, you can make out shots of Adriaan, his friends and several of my own family. It's always fun to see the icon, because even though the little pixelized photos are obscured, I can still remember the moment when each family photo was taken.

I had a blast working on this icon. It always feels great to see a project like this come together, especially when the process leading up to the final art was so much fun! :-)

Thanks Adriaan!



Yesterday my good friend Armand from Moleskinerie and I launched a new weblog for lovers of analog pens, fine papers, journals and sketchbooks. It's called Journalisimo.

Our manifesto is short and sweet:

This weblog is an attempt to invite a return to analog. Many of us live very digital lives. We push pixels around screens. Our lives are stored as bits on shiny hard drives. Our words and images can be published online, available moments later, all around the world. But this digital life can often seem very shallow.

While we recognize the power of our digital existence, we long for the tactile feel of ink on paper. We celebrate the freedom from power supplies,  batteries, wireless networks and fragile electronics. We seek to elevate the written word and the freehand sketch on fine paper. We celebrate the  journal as the optimal analog device for expression and enjoyment.


The Journalisimo blog idea has brewing for many months, prior to our launch this week. It was the combination of my WSJ appearance, along with Marc Orchant and Merlin Mann, which set us both off, though we could both sense a trend toward Moleskines and other paper journals being adopted by bloggers and the digerati. It made sense to provide a resource for those people and focus it on journals generically, rather than one specific brand.

We've been in on the analog journaling and sketching trend in the tech/blog community for a bit over a year now and we only see it increasing. We both see digitally oriented folks getting frustrated with their computer tools, or just seeking a respite from their immersive digital lives. Analog journals and pens seem to fit the bill.

So, it only made sense to begin Journalisimo as our way to connect people searching for analog solutions to people generating analog solutions. Armand and I like to think of Journalisimo as the analog doppelganger to Engadget. :-)

I'm the design and creative director for the new blog, while Armand is the one posting the bulk of the daily posts. I intend to write up longer articles and reviews to post from time to time, while Armand hunts down daily doses of unique, unusual and interesting tidbits on the analog lifestyle.

We welcome your suggestions and notifications on analog blog posts and articles. if you have suggestions or links to share, please visit our little Blog, drop a line or leave a comment. :-)

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