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Our Logo and Its Story

Posted by Zach Blankunder Branding and Design


A logo is a very difficult piece of art to craft. It needs to be simple, and yet communicate a lot. It conveys a lot about what organization, person, company, etc. is behind the mark, and emits a very specific feeling. These are a few of the reasons why a lot of thought and time goes into a brand. However, there is one factor alone that can make the process all the more strenuous: yourself.

Designing for yourself is hard. Very hard. In most situations, you have some sort of limits or boundaries: time, guidelines given to you by clients, and knowledge of who you are designing for. This isn't the case when you design something for your own personal use. As a result, the task becomes more open ended and personal, all at once. This, for me, resulted in a branding project that seemed too fierce and menacing to conquer.

began by doing seven concept designs. I didn't really like any of them, but a few seemed worth working with in more detail. I asked a few people what they thought, and almost everyone that I talked agreed that one design was better than the rest. It was based heavily on a ribbon paired with a circle. Both elements were very common, and their overuse in the industry left me feeling sceptical. If I wanted the mark to have any individuality, I would need to create a different feel. And so began the revision process.

began with the actual style of the mark. I changed it to a very flat, bold design, making it cleaner and more cheerful. I liked the new direction, but I worked through several small changes, obsessing over every detail and nuance. I still wasn't completely satisfied, but I didn't really know what else to do. I finally found myself in a “creative slump.” This really stems back to the fact that designing for yourself, whether you like it or not, involves your emotion more so than other projects. This really gets in the way of creative freedom, and hurts the overall product. And don't forget that there's nobody setting boundaries for you. All and all, personal work is a very limiting experience, because of the freedom there is. It's a paradox at its finest.

Logo Iterations

Finally, I got the mark to a place that I thought was alright. Except for one issue: I had removed the island, the main focus of the logo. Right from the start, I wasn't happy with the island itself. I felt that such a strong embodiment of the name was almost too much. But I didn't know what else to do. That's where my buddy Zane came in. He made some suggestions, but the best one was to simply work some birds in. I was excited. Birds don't fly over the sea unless there is land nearby. This allowed us to keep a very open feel to the mark, but imply the presence of an island. We were delighted. However, I began doubting myself and the design I had come up with. Again. I began reworking it furiously, trying to make it more engaging and appealing, yet more simplistic at the same time. Zane, again, came to the rescue by almost accidentally suggesting a two-tone approach. We tried it, liked it, and after a few small iterations, we agreed on the final design.

took over a month of on-and-off work, revisiting and iteration to complete the logo, but we're happy with the end result. I'll never enjoy the feeling of being “stuck” with a particular design (in any arena), but life is life, and sometimes you just need to make up your mind and move on.

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