The Everyone and Their Brother podcast is where four (give or take) brothers at the family dinner table having a meeting of the minds about everything from pop culture, food, news, & more. This fun and hilarious podcast I’m a part of is celebrating 100 EPISODES! Reaching 100 episodes is an achievement deserving of celebration. Being the graphic designer of the group, I designed a logo for the milestone.
Parks & Recreation is one of the greatest television programs ever made. It stars the bubbly bureaucrat Leslie Knope and her team in the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana. This is the show I watch when I need a laugh, a break from the craziness of the world. The show is a favorite of mine and, as with other favorite pop culture things of mine,…I had an idea. What if I were selected to put together a revamped visual brand identity for the town? How would I represent this vibrant, unique, colorful star within Wamapoke County? Let’s find out.
First, I collected some photos to look at as I sketch some ideas. The photos I collected were the City Hall building, the current seal of Pawnee, the Unity Concert logo, the show logo, and the welcome sign. Moodboards, for me, are less about how the logo will look and more about getting a feel for the city. It wasn’t long before I came up with a concept and an idea of the color scheme, inspired by the board.
Logo Design + Colors
My idea for the brand surrounds an illustration of City Hall. In my research of other municipal brand projects, I found that a lot of them have an iconic image at its center. The city hall icon is housed with a curved shape of the state of Indiana. I could have just used a circle or square but I thought it would be great to have that reference to make the overall mark unique.
Now with the colors, I took my inspiration from the current seal and flag design. I applied the blue and yellow to the designs after I finalized the shapes. Always focus on the design first and make sure it works before adding color. I utilized Adobe Color to build a complete color scheme. I used the eyedropper tool to pull the blue straight from the current seal and then used the Split Complementary color harmony rule to produce the other complementary colors.
The wordmark is actually custom. Usually, I just try to match a font with whatever I designed. However, this time I took on the challenge of designing each letter within the PAWNEE mark. With my logo being full of curved corners and edges, I wanted the wordmark to have curves. So I started the build of the letters with a single circle, which became the P which became the A. From there, I created the N, which informed the W and the Es.
Now, because of my brilliant idea to include the asymmetrical shape of Indiana, I had to figure out how to make a seal surrounding it. I couldn’t make it quite like the city seals I was look at for inspiration. It was a happy accident that I discovered I could use the slant at the bottom as a part of the seal. From the bottom to the top middle, the seal is blue. After discovering how to incorporate the shape, the rest flowed with adding the text. I also incorporated a star between the founding text and the city name as a nod to the stars on the Indiana state flag.
With all the designs and colors taken care of, I could go crazy with the applications of the brand. The visual brand identity I’ve built includes an official city flag, a welcome sign, an official van, city office door display, and multiple apparel mockups. I’ve also included mockups for my official city of Pawnee business card. Mocking up various applications of a brand is a fantastic playground experience. Your imagination can run wild now that you can equipped with the complete brand toolkit.
Iconic Icons + Pattern
I was ambitious with this project so I had the idea of including a few icons that represent some elements of the character, history, and landmarks of the city of Pawnee. The icons include the waffle (with syrup making the two Js) for JJ’s Diner, a tribute to Lil’ Sebastian, and an icon for Pawnee Commons, the park finally established on Lot 48. I ended up using these icons and the city hall illustration to create a pattern along with the brand color scheme.
I hope you enjoyed the full presentation of visual brand identity for the city of Pawnee, Indiana. I took my time with this project and it went some places I did not expect. Passion projects like this feed and teach me as a designer and help me to discover new ways to interpret ideas visually. It’s also just a very cool way to pay tribute to a show that brings me joy.
I’ve created graphics in celebration of Black History Month in the past. However, I wanted to do something different this year. I wanted to give some shine to African-American graphic designers that have made an impact on American culture. This design project also was my chance to learn about these designers I should know.
On February 12th, Oklahoma unveiled the new logo and brand identity that will present the entire state. It was beloved by all and lived happily ever after – is what I would say if I were a liar. You know of my theory on reactions to new logos so you know that very few designs are universally beloved.
With the surprising demise of The Alliance of American Football, my plan of creating more logos (and videos) for potential AAF franchises was cancelled. However, from the ashes of that idea came a new idea that would explore the cross-section of sports and design in a creative way: the Fiction City Football League.
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.
Wikipedia describes a monogram as:
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol.
I describe a monogram as an (hopefully) epic fu-sion-ha of multiple letters within a creative mark, representing a person, place, or thing.
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.
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!
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Fall does not arrive officially until September 22nd. However, one of fall’s greatest pastimes has returned to our lives: football. The college and professional football seasons have begun and I am very happy! Football, particularly college football, is my favorite sport to watch. On this episode of “Making A Mark”, I attempt to design a logo that represents to upcoming season of my favorite sport.