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Branding Design

7 Types of Logos & Why I Design Them

As a designer, I’ve created a variety of logos over the years. Different projects call for different design solutions. Depending on the brand, the type of logo I end up designing varies. The logo is the brand’s visual cue. That cue will be different than others in design but may also be different in the category of logo utilized. A logo can typically fit in a particular classification of logos. Let’s look at some examples from my own portfolio.

An Iconic Mark

Example(s): Shypsi (pronounced SHY-PSI)

Like the Jordan Jumpman and the Nike swoosh, I like logos that are minimalist but impactful. This type of logo typically works for brands that want something their audience can easily recognize and draw themselves. If your audience can draw your mark from memory, that is a very good sign for your brand. This type of logo is also useful for brands that might need their mark to work in a variety of colors on a variety of products. Shypsi Creative was the first name I came up with for my freelance design side. I wanted something simple but mine, easily attached to various things.

A Wordmark

Example(s): Pawnee (word) 

A wordmark is when you want the name of your brand to take center stage. It can be simply your name written in a particular font or a custom design unique to your brand name. The Pawnee wordmark is a part of a larger brand identity project I came up with in tribute to the TV show Parks & Recreation. I custom made each letter in Adobe Illustrator. 

Monogram

Example(s): Stroll City Strivers, Young Professionals of Stillwater

The monogram is the bringing of letters together in a stylish way to represent your brand. Acronyms, abbreviations, and the initials of an individual or a company flourish in this type of logo. The Stroll City Strives monogram was my attempt to give my fantasy football team a classic mark to complement the more modern main logo. The Young Professionals of Stillwater is often referred to as simply YPS so it made sense to have a mark that represented that. “Young Professionals of Stillwater” has a lot of letters and isn’t as versatile at various sizes as the YPS mark.

Letterform

Example(s): Dudley H.S. Band of Thunder, Bratcher Sports & Education

Working our way down from full words and abbreviations, we have arrived at the letterform. This is where you distill your brand mark to a single letter. Make sure you make your letter stand out. The letterform is the most scalable of the trilogy. The D for the Dudley High School Band of Thunder actually has a hidden bass clef with the very visible lightning bolt in the middle to represent thunder. The B for Bratcher Sports & Education uses the lines to reference a basketball. My own personal Creative Bobbie logo is a hand drawn lowercase B that I wanted to use as my signature.

Mascot/Portrait

Example(s): Dudley H.S. Band of Thunder

The mascot logo is much more involved and not minimalist at all but is appropriate at times. Commonly seen in the sports marketing industry, it can also be used for more personal brands where the individual is the brand. That is the case with my design for Knockoutness. The Dudley H.S. mascot is the panther so I drew a custom one in Illustrator, complete with musical references throughout. This type is for when there is a character/person you want your audience to attach to your brand.

An Emblem

Example(s): National Headquarters of Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma, Beyonce University, Pawnee (seal)

The emblem logo is typically a seal or crest that represents the brand in a more regal, professional, and traditional manner. Many soccer/football clubs use emblems, which you can see in my Fiction City Football League project. I obviously have a lot of experience with crests, working for Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma. These examples use many elements similar to those found at universities and government organizations.

Combination

Example(s): Lamik’s Videos

The combo mark is for when you want the best of both worlds. You want an image that represents you but you also want the name of the brand featured. This allows you to walk your audience through the connect between your brand name and the image. Eventually, they may be able to recognize your brand through the image itself. This gives you multiple elements to work with. Lamik’s Videos is an example of that where the VHS band tape is accompanied by the brand name.

When approaching a branding project, analyze your market, your goals, and your brand itself to see which one of these would work best for you. How will your logo best stand the test of time and be recognizable to your target audience? Do you need multiple types underneath a larger visual brand identity system / strategy?

Choose wisely.

~b.

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Branding Design

Designing the Kid Cudi Meditation App Logo

Meditation.

By definition, meditation is the act of engaging in contemplation or reflection. It’s a way to achieve calm and clarity. There are many classes and mobile apps surrounding the practice of meditation but I believe have the app idea that could surf over them all. I present to you the app that will allow your mind to go from rager to free – The Cudi App.

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Branding Design

Logo Design Review | The Alliance for American Football (Part 2)

The first four logos the Alliance for American Football revealed were a big hit with me. The Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Orlando Apollos, and Memphis Express all have outstanding brand concepts. The next four revealed continued the trend of great design work and brand ideas.

The Arizona Hotshots had the first logo I saw from the new batch. The overall concept is inspired by the standard fire department shield design you frequently see. The Hotshots feature illustrated pulaski axes crossing each other, surrounded by flames below. One of the things I truly appreciate about this design is the subtle “AZ” that you can see in between the axes at the top. As a designer, I love seeing little touches and references like that incorporated into designs. Meaning in design is very important.

The Salt Lake Stallions are bringing that horsepower with a very sharp stallion illustration. Continuing the trend of hidden letters, you can see the S in the design below the horse’s face. The mane, as is the overall illustration, is energetic and bold. This horse has an attitude and a confidence that speaks to what the Salt Lake team is trying to be about.

The San Antonio Commanders logo pulls from the history and a major landmark of the city. The iconic Alamo is depicted above the sword, which points upward and onward. The angle and the perspective make the sword active, as if that would be the way it would be held by someone commanding an army to battle. The Lone Star of Texas is placed below the sword. The entire concept looks like it could be a military patch. This is all very well done and comes together very nicely. It speaks to the location in an outstanding way.

The San Diego Fleet goes all the way in its Naval theme, from the design of the logo to the name of the franchise. The naval ship and the chevron are tributes to the Navy heritage in San Diego. The strength of the franchise is evident in how their brand is designed. The ship is coming at you, with its sharp edges, symmetrical construction, and light shadows.

According to the Fleet website:

“The colors and typography are unique to professional athletics, mirroring those of Navy ships and the signature San Diego sunshine and Battleship Gray.”

With all 8 of the teams’ names and logos now unveiled, my excitement for the first season of the Alliance of American Football is at the highest it has ever been. I love that the team brands don’t seem generic. The logos are professional and high caliber while also being unique, fun, and creative with meaning. Excellent job to everyone involved.

~b.

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Branding Design

Logo Design Review: Alliance of American Football (Part 1)

From the moment it was announced, I’ve been impressed with the rollout of the Alliance of American Football. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a new professional football league, that was announced this past Match, to premiere in February of 2019. Over the course of past few months, the AAF have unveiled coaches, player signings, and cities that will host teams. But recently they finally started to reveal what I’ve been waiting to see: team names and logos.

The first logo I saw was for the Orlando Apollos. First and foremost, I was pleasantly surprised that the mascot for the Orlando team wasn’t something generic. You could tell that thought went into it, as is demonstrated in the introduction video. The logo itself does a fantastic job in visually representing the story they are trying to tell with the franchise. The illustration of the marksmen is well done within the O. They describe the Apollo as the Greek god of sun and light, which fits for an Orlando, Florida based team. The color orange is typically associated with warmth, heat, sunshine, and enthusiasm so it fits well here. I’m also a big fan of the “precision marksman” pointing his arrow east.

The Birmingham Iron is a very strong name for a franchise. It’s also a uniquely appropriate name for a franchise in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and was nicknamed “The Pittsburgh of the South” because it served as a primary iron and steel industry center. The name, as well as the branding, speak to the history of the city and toughness the team wants to exude on the football field. The color black is often associated with power so the color scheme of black, steel grey and silver works well within the story of the brand. The iron football is an excellent illustration that uses the different shades of grey and some white to represent the iron material. The word IRON is strong and pronounced to really draw your attention to the kind of strength being shown in this mark.

The Atlanta Legends also decided to pull from their city’s history. Atlanta is and has been home to many legends in many different industries (in and out of the realm of sports). From the old gold crown with the football in the negative space to the choice of purple as a back drop, the Atlanta Legends have an outstandingly royal look to match their brand story.

The Memphis Express want you know that they are going places and fast. The story they want to tell is one of speed and breakthrough. The plane is breaking through the E, leaving a trail behind it. The letter E seems to be in movement as well. The entire mark is not only moving forward but upward in their goal of gridiron success. According to the Memphis Express page on the AAF website: “Under his leadership and that of GM Tim Lewis and Irby, the Express is all about the pairing of precision and urgency. Memphis moves swiftly, purposefully, determined to move forward, to raise the bar and earn respect every day.”

I am loving the AAF rollout for each team and so far the logos are all great. You can tell a lot of thought went into these and I am excited for the next stage: team jersey designs!

~b.

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Branding Design

How To Design A Logo For A Podcast

We are each blessed with gifts and talents. These talents we possess are to be cultivated and used in a life of true service, driven by purpose. It would be a crime to sit on these gifts or only use them for selfish gain. I say all this to say: If you’re a designer and you’re not helping your friend brand their brand spanking new podcast, then what are you doing?

My creative writer/storyteller TJ Tooley had an idea for a podcast called For The Love of Story and he wanted my assistance in helping bring the visual identity of it to life. I am always thrilled to be able to help friends in their creative pursuits in any way possible. The For The Love of Story podcast is a show where TJ takes you through his writing process, reads his creative work, discusses the stories of his life and the lives of others, and more!

The process of building the brand started with some dry erase markers and a whiteboard. We talked about what the podcast concept would be and how he wanted that visual represented. The main For The Love of Story logo is a result from that conversation. The quill, the representation of the writer, is what we build the identity around. The custom quill I drew in Adobe Illustrator was the first element created for the podcast. With the text, I had the idea to have the name of the podcast going down the left side of the logo. In the name, I knew STORY was the most important part so I had that written out in a cursive and connected it with the quill to make it seem like it was written with it.

With the main logo designed, we began discussing the different segments on the show. TJ had the plan to have different categories of episodes, allowing him to express the mission of the show is diverse ways. Thus far, the podcast episode types have included Yours Truly (personal tales and perspective of TJ), Impromptoo (TJ reads a short story he has written based on a writing prompt), and Story Time (TJ interviews people and invites them to tell a personal story of their own). Each different type of episode has its own logo that I crafted to help him promote the show in a unique way. Yours Truly has the text written in the same font as “Story” from the main logo with the quill connection. Impromptoo features the quill standing in as the captial I and the word PROMPT featured with an underline. For Story Time, I actually illustrated the very microphone TJ has been using to record his podcast, the Blue Snowball. There are more segments to be revealed in the future.

This project is a fun one. I’m proud of TJ jumping into the podcasting life and sharing his creative brain with the world. Be sure to listen and subscribe to the For The Love of Story podcast wherever you get your podcasts!

~b.

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Branding Design

#HeroesAreAthletes Branding Breakdown: Luke Cage & Misty Knight

Looking at the some of the best athlete visual brands and finishing the latest season of Luke Cage on Netflix inspired me to create a new brand identity project series: #HeroesAreAthletes. As a logo & brand identity designer, I am always coming up with ways to practice and get better at my craft. I’m also in the creative place in my life where, if I think it’s cool, I’m going to try it.

#HeroesAreAthletes is a design series where I put together a visual brand concept for fictional characters that are considered heroes of their fictional story. At least at first, I’m going to be focusing on comic book heroes. The logo for the series itself plays off comic books. The logo is inspired by the top left corner of comic books, where publishers typically feature the company’s logo, the price of the book, and the number of the issue. I designed the logo with the official Creative Bobbie logo at the top, “Heroes Are Athletes” text in the center, and a simplified cape tail with a star.

The first brand concept I tackled was for the bulletproof hero for hire, the power man Luke Cage. Using other athlete brands as inspiration, I wanted to create something that used the least to represent the most. Luke Cage was sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. He gains the powers of superhuman strength and unbreakable skin through an experimental procedure he was subjected to involuntarily. He now uses his powers to protect Harlem. My logo concept speaks to who he is and his story.

The logo is created on a 6×8 grid. In the United States, prison cells are usually about 6 by 8 feet in dimension. His initials LC are both seen. The overall shape refers to his real first name: Carl. The top right can also be interpreted as a closed fist from the front. (The intro to the Luke Cage series sees him punch at the camera.) I went with a blocked, heavy logo that speaks to his power. The colors are inspired by the Netflix show’s branding and his initial appearance in Marvel Comics.

After arriving at a logo I liked, I began seeing how I could apply and extend his brand. I created a full brand presentation with hoodie mockups, a shoe design concept, and even coffee packaging design. “Getting coffee” is a recurring joke within the show. I also included his catchphrase “Sweet Christmas” throughout.

The next hero to get the branding treatment was Misty Knight. Misty is one of my favorite characters on the show. She’s been through a lot and maintained her strength through it all. She deserves a great visual brand identity. Misty is an outstanding police detective in the New York City Police Department who often teams up with Luke Cage. After going through many possiblities, I arrived at her logo. Obviously, I combined her initials M and K. The disconnected left side of the M represents Misty’s bionic arm. The left side of the M is actually a sword, a common weapon of knight – a play on her last name. The circle surrounding the mark is left over from my initial plan to incorporate a basketball reference some how, as Misty has a background as a basketball player. The colors were chosen from her and her bionic arm using the eyedropper tool in Adobe Photoshop.

This whole project is another example of finding the joy in the intersection of what I do to what I like/love. I’m going to continue this journey with other heroes I feel I can make a visual brand concept for. What heroes should I do next?

~b.

Categories
Branding Design

Case Study: Elite 100 Logo

The Blue & Gold Loyalty Foundation supports the North Carolina A&T University Band Program through fundraising efforts. The Elite 100 is the designation for a select group of donors to the Blue & Gold Loyalty Foundation. Supporters were asked to donate $100 and were recognized for their support of the North Carolina A&T State University Band Program. As an alumnus of A&T and the A&T Band, I love providing designs for this cause. I made the official Blue & Gold Loyalty Foundation and had an idea for the Elite 100 logo.

First, the badge shape mimics the Foundation’s shape but I made the weight of the stroke heavier for Elite 100. At the bottom of the logo, you can see the top of the same drum major hat that is prominent in the branding of the Foundation. The drum major is the student leader of the band. The Elite 100 are somewhat like the drum majors of the donors. The top of the hat represents the pinnacle of giving. The goal is to encourage supporters to strive to give that extra for a great cause.

The Elite 100 text inside is written in a thicker font with the 100 being the most visible. The number 100 represents the amount being given per supporter as well as the name of the recognition so it needed to be front and center. The sea of lines at the bottom represent the musical staff, 5 lines & 4 spaces. Another musical reference can be seen at the very top of the logo. The treble clef, along with the drum major, also ties the Elite 100 logo to the Blue & Gold Loyalty Foundation logo.

This project is another example of my calling to design with purpose. I love the A&T band program. As an alum, I have a duty to use my skillset (and my dollars) to support in any way possible whenever I can.

~b.

Categories
Branding Design

The Genius of the Staubach’s Coffee logo by Brandon Moore

The moment I saw Brandon Moore’s Staubach’s Coffee brand on Twitter was the moment I discovered a brand new level to fantasy football. In 2017, I was invited to participate in my first ever fantasy football league. His Staubach’s Coffee brand inspired me to create an entire brand for my fantasy football team, the Stroll City Strivers.

The very first thing that struck me about the brand was the creative name of the franchise: Staubach’s Coffee. I’ve quickly learned the importance of a great fantasy football franchise name. Staubach’s Coffee is a delicious, ingenious combination of the Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and the American coffee company Starbucks Coffee. After you get done marveling at the magnificent name, you get to the logo. The star (hehe) of the show is the illustration of good ol’ Roger in the classic Cowboys helmet in the center. The name surrounds the illustration with a star on either side. The texture over the design enhances the classic feel of the overall brand.

Also, it wasn’t just the logo that inspired me. Take a peek at the #StaubachsCoffeeForged hashtag on Twitter to see how Brandon brought the franchise alive on social media. There were starting lineups, game results, top performer highlights, game ads, and even uniform concepts! This whole project is another example of when design and sports meet to provide me with such motivation and entertainment!

Brandon Moore is a Graphic Artist in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area that currently does work for the Miami Dolphins and New Miami Stadium. His brand identities are awesome and I often refer to them when I am trying to present my own. I, personally, wish the Oklahoma City Thunder would call Brandon and tell him to brand the team. He already has a great presentation on his Behance that would uplift the visuals of the franchise to new heights.

Salute and thank you, Brandon Moore, for your work!

~b.