One of the recent projects I’ve had the joy of working on is designing a new logo for my friend Knockoutness b.k.a. Janessa Smith. Janessa is a gamer who streams on the platform Twitch. She reached out to me to create a logo she could use to promote herself and showcase on her channels. I was happy to help!
In my last blog post, I wrote about how I wanted my friends to tap into their creative reservoir. One of my friends who is doing just that is one TJ Tooley. TJ is the host of For The Love Of Story podcast, which I have designed for in the past. He has recently used the podcast as a vehicle to tell fantastic multi-part stories for your listening pleasure. The Author and Leapers are two such stories. Both stories were in need of artwork that I was happy to provide.
The intersection of sports and design is a beautiful place. My favorite sport to watch is football yet this season was the first year I had ever participated in Fantasy Football. Fantasy Football is where you are the general manager / owner of a virtual gridiron football franchise . You draft players and manage your lineup from week to week, trying to best other virtual teams in your league. But first and foremost, you have make a name for your team – literally.
The Name & The Tagline
Coming up with creative names is one of my favorite things to do in life. I know some people do parody names or utilize creative football puns. The Stroll City Strivers are my team. Strolling refers to the tradition of performing synchronized dance and step moves to music. I learned how to when I became a brother of the MIGHTY Iota Zeta chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at North Carolina A&T. Speaking of Kappa Kappa Psi, the Fraternity motto is “Strive for the Highest”. I also present a workshop at conventions called “Strolling & Striving In The Brilliant Light of Brotherhood”. So, naming my team the Stroll City Strivers and having #StrollAndStrive as our slogan just fits.
Figuring out how to visually interpret strolling in a logo presented a challenge. Also, designing a mascot logo in general presents a challenge for me. I usually like to create more minimalistic, symbol type brands. I don’t consider myself a particularly talented illustrator but I do like to push myself when I can. I took a photo of myself mid-stroll (“throwing a K” as we call it) and put it in Adobe Illustrator. The pen tool and I went through the photo and created vectors of the most essential parts with some creative license. I chose to use various shades of blue to highlight certain features and shadows.
The first pass of the logo and the second pass of the logo differ mainly in the text used. I posted the initial version in the Makers of Sport Slack community for feedback. Who better to get feedback from on my fictional franchise’s branding than designers who work with actual school athletic departments and professional teams. I was given some tips, including giving my wordmark more weight. I revisited the text, choosing a new font and altered it to give it some personality.
Huge salute to Brandon Moore, whose Staubachs Coffee team social media graphics served as inspiration for me to create some for Stroll City.
Your talents, your gifts are to be used to pour into the lives of others for their benefit. Being able to benefit a good friend and support their creative journey is a special joy that I always cherish. The Knockout Visual is the brainchild of one of such friend, Janessa Smith. We worked together to find the perfect logo for her brand.