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.
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!
Personally, logo design is my favorite neighborhood within the bustling metropolis of graphic design. It is the creation of marks that can represent everything from entire countries to your favorite local restaurant. The world would be a bland, uninteresting, and potentially confusing place without logos. The design of such important visual markers is a big part of my work and the end result of some of my greatest mental adventures.
A podcast is an episodic audio programme on a particular topic. The topic of my podcast, RUN THE LAYERS, is simply creativity. On the pod, we are peeling back the layers behind the creativity we see and exhibit while motivating ourselves and others. I want to celebrate and encourage creativity amongst my friends and everyone within my sphere of influence. RUN THE LAYERS with Creative Bobbie (that’s me!) is a platform for me to express myself and, from time-to-time, promote those I know who are using their gifts to deposit a little bit of themselves into the world. Through this project, I also want to continue to learn and grow as a content creator.
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.
When fantasy football meets the Everyone & Their Brother podcast, creativity (and hilarity) will ensue. For the unfamiliar, the Everyone & Their Brother (EATB) podcast is where William, Sam, TJ, and myself invite you to our “family dinner table experience”. We discuss a wide variety of topics. On episodes 93 & 94 of the podcast, we participated in a 2 round fantasy football draft where we selected only fictional characters to play on our teams. On episode 96, we pitched our team’s name and brand. I took our visions and designed logos and helmets for each of our teams.
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.
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.
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.