The way I always begin a logo or identity design project is in the purely conceptual arena. What is design without purpose? How can we as designers communicate something if we don’t understand our message? Therefore, the first stage must be some sort of interview – either by actually speaking to the client, having them fill out a questionaire, or just by having an already-existing thorough knowlege of the client’s goals.
As you will see through this series, having a good knowlege of your client does not guarantee a quick design solution.For this client, I wanted to emphasize the community and global aspects of their mission without negating either side. It’s a fine line to walk – community vs. ubiquity, but I set out toward that end with the logo comps in my previous post. I began with the concept of the Trinity – the theological term that describes how God is one in His nature, but three in person. It’s a mind trip, to be sure, but God is completely and eternally unified and is a single entity, yet He is also eternally revealed in three distinct persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). As you can see, this is the perfect reference point for an organization that seeks to empower it’s members to be unique, singular, and different from each other, yet simultaneously unified under a set of common goals and values. A community of unified individuals. It’s quite a wonderful paradox, just like the Trinity.
So, I began with the Trinity symbol: three distinct lobes that are connected to form a single unit. Kind of like a moebius strip. The second inspiration for my first designs was the concept of growth and newness. Therefore, I created a design that referenced plant forms, without overstating the “leafiness” of the forms. I chose Helvetica as the wordmark because of it’s ubiquity and immediacy to the viewer, also because it is used internationally and can bear the weight of a large organization. The “international” wordmark uses Museo, and great new semi-slab serif typeface from Jos Buivenga. Museo is also an international font, and retains a bit of the classical feel of slab serifs, but is distinctly new, while Helvetica carries an age, despite the fact that it’s a sans serif. I’ll attach the logo, in case you haven’t read my previous post:
As you can see, I also worked a cross into the negative space of the logomark, as a response to one of the main tenets of Grace Churches’ mission is that it’s members are unified by way of the cross of Christ. The response to this logo was generally positive, but it wasn’t right for them, and reminded some of the leadership of Christmas poinsettias. Ha! What’s funny is that I didn’t see that coming! As soon as the client said it, I chuckled and now that’s all I can see when I look at it. The human brain is a funny thing.
Now onto the image at the top of this post. After the first logo’s rejection, I still wanted to stick to the organic idea, and move into an idea I had of a spirograph – overlapping shapes that create a new shape at their intersection. The images in the graphic at the top of this post are the result of some expirimentation toward that end. The problem with them is I was still aiming at too young of a target crowd. Those images work on their own, but when tied to Grace Churches International, they stop working because they don’t carry enough professionalism. The Grace Churches leadership opperates with a strong work ethic, and these new logo ideas didn’t show that.
Tune in next time to see the next step – still clinging to some youthfulness, but with less pizzaz…