A local companies identity.
The majority of clients and agencies I work with are either out of state or out of country. That said I like helping small business owners locally improve their own branding and marketing efforts as well if and when the opportunity arises. When ever I see a new local business open up and it has a lousy logo I’ve wondered to myself at times “How do I get connected with them before they started building upon a bad graphic foundation?”
A local sign shop recently asked for my business card because they were familiar with my work and said they’d like to send people my way when ever they run into poorly designed work that comes their way. I’m all for increasing the quality of the local design culture so I gave them some of my business cards.
I was contacted by a local business called “Green Carpenter Antz” who asked if I could clean up their muscle bound construction worker, and change his face so he doesn’t look drunk. He wanted it to be more fun and happy. He also explained how some people thought he was an exterminator instead of a carpenter.
Holding back a laugh, my gut reaction was to just turn it down and say “Sorry but I really don’t re-furbish existing logos.” But right after this initial thought I had another one that made me think “Why don’t you try to help this guy out? You can create an identity for him that’ll work great.” in other words I should invest in my local design culture.
So I proceeded to explain to this small business owner the problem with his current identity by auditing it.
Logo Identity Audit
- This isn’t really a logo, it’s a bad layout using equally bad illustration.
- There is no clear hierarchy of information, it’s a cluttered mess.
- It reads “Carpenter Antz” and “Green” is lost.
- No one can tell you build using environmentally conscious “Green” methods.
- It looks amateurish which I’m assuming doesn’t reflect the quality of the work you do?
I explained to him how he needed a logo that would read quickly, a more graphic approach that would also reinforce the fact that he was an environmentally conscious carpenter. I also said part of the communication problem is that he was using “Antz” in his business name so I suggested changing it to “Green Carpenterz” instead. He seemed to be OK with that but insisted it had to have an ant in it still.
I informed him what I normally charge for an identity but said I would be willing to help him out and just charge for my time only. He was still hesitant even at this severely discounted rate. At which time I thought to myself again “Just wish him the best and tell him you’re not a good fit for what he’s looking for.” I again battled within thinking “I want to convince this guy that good design can improve his bottom line.” So I told him I’d be willing to design a logo and show it to him, if he liked it than it would be the price I stated and if he didn’t than he could walk away without any cost to him.
He agreed to this arrangement and I planned on working on this later that night.
Green Carpenterz Logo Design.
This local business was on my mind the whole day while I worked on other projects. Later that night I gave myself about three hours to work out the above design. I wanted to create a unique mark that people would take notice of and remember.
Green Carpenterz Logo Mark.
I used iconic metaphors to reinforce the idea of his business being about carpentry. And having a leaf form the ants abdomen reflects their green building methods. When adding in a lot of different objects to a design like this you have to simplify the shapes so I picked tools that would iconify easily and read faster visually.
I nested the design inside a skill saw blade motif to further reinforce the idea of building. The color palette is complementary colors that work well together too.
Green Carpenterz Truck Mockup.
The versatility of this new logo will work well in all kinds of venues such as on their company vehicles or business cards etc.
I was happy with how it came out considering the time restraint I put on myself. I felt it was an identity that would resonate with people locally and they’d enjoy.
I emailed the client the design comps explaining the direction and the next morning I got his feedback, he didn’t like it and we parted ways.
Sometimes I want to kick myself for even trying to improve or for that matter care about the local design culture. I should have gone with my initial gut response. Live and learn I guess.
Keywords: Rant, Creativity, Process, Logos, Branding