• Michelle Carlos

The Evolution of a Logo

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Why is it so hard to make your own logo? Logo-making is not my thing. I know people who eat, breathe, and shit logos for a living. Perhaps I am not minimalistic enough to make symbols. So when it was time to build my branding as an artist, which means I would need a logo to support that, it took me ages and several sheets of paper to come up with a logo that would best represent me. The good thing about a logo is that it can evolve just like art.



Je Ne Sais Quois

Also there is the question of what is your brand as an artist? How do you want to be represented in a thumbnail size icon? Are you using your full name or a made-up name?

As an artist, you need to put a mark on every artwork you make—your signature. And your signature could also mean your own style. In my case I haven’t found that distinctive style yet. It’s so elusive! You see, finding your style means making a lot of art until it emerges and that’s my focus now: making tons of artworks everyday if I can.


Original logo

Inspiration Needed

In order to assess my bulk of artworks in the two years that I’ve been making them, I gathered them all and tried to analyze to which direction I am going and what are the reoccurring themes and elements that emerged. I also looked at other artists and illustrators’ logos and websites to get an idea on how they represented themselves. They usually used hand lettering. I could do that. They also drew on them. Check. The logos are their full names. I have a nice sounding name, though not so unique. Google my name and you will find so many people with the same name but I guess I am the only visual artist-slash-digital colorist out there. Luckily my name as a domain was available so I snatched it right away.


Playing around with hand lettering

Scribbles

Then you start doodling, scribbling and writing. The first logo I used on the website is done in haste on Illustrator. Red because I love that color and it pops because it simply commands attention. Just see how many companies and successful brands use this color for their logos.


It still doesn’t feel organic and personal so I tried with red ink, how about watercolor? Or black, similar to my own handwriting. Oh, let’s add a red bird singing (I sing a lot while I paint) and I've been nicknamed "songird" and "karaoke."


Then came Make Art That Sells e-course that required us to make our own logo and branding. Great! I have more reasons to concentrate on this.


Logo exercise during the MATS branding course

Explosion

Looking back at my artworks, I always drew big-haired women with contemplative faces. I like that imagery. Women always have so many things in our head as we juggle life, relationships and responsibilities daily. As an artist, I am always in my head concocting ideas and picking inspiration wherever possible. My dreams are so lucid sometimes that I could narrate the whole event to my husband the next day. Sometimes I paint the dream, too, just to release it from my waking thoughts.


Version 2 of the MATS logo exercise: Drawing extracts from my vivid thoughts and lucid dreams…

When I showed my idea of a logo to my best friend who is an advertising creative director, also logo expert, he thought there’s too much going on and the cloud looked like an atomic bomb explosion. Simplify, he said. The A-bomb mushroom was supposed to be a tree! Then came version 2. I love it. Close friends love it but fellow artists in MATS didn’t. So I made two completely different styles for comparison and asked for and received more mixed opinions that I couldn’t decide which one I must use. I couldn’t even look at my name anymore and so I stopped working on it for weeks.


More logo versions that received mixed reviews

Epiphany

It occurred to me that the only person I have not asked is my husband and he also loved version 2. He then asked me:


Do you want to have a logo that is unique or a logo that looks like every artist’s logo? Do you want to sell to people who appreciate art or to artists?

Always the logical one between the two of us, my husband was en pointe. So version 2 it is but a child of it. Technically speaking, I cannot use this logo because of readability. I still like the big-haired head and the songbird but this time the name would be horizontal and can stand alone if necessary. It should also sit well on my site’s header. A friendlier color palette is also in order. So, et voila!



Choose the first idea... When you get lost in a project, choose the first one because it's the correct one. — Oki Sato, Japanese architecht and designer



#branding #logo #yourbrandyourrules

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