AN ALASKAN GRAPHIC ARTIST IN THE A WORLD OF ADVERTISING
I have always taken an interest in people. I flirted with the idea of becoming a counselor or studying psychology, but instead, felt my calling was to go to school for Graphic Design. I felt that it suited me better, as I had loved art my whole life, and was excited by design at a fairly young age. When I began my career as a Graphic Artist, I had no idea how beautifully my two passions would pair.
I’d like to compare designing a logo to building a home. Specifically, your home. The home that you will reside in for many years, the home you make memories in, and the home you will set on display for the world to see. In the Building Phase, you have a multitude of options to decide how that home looks. You can design it to suit your needs, and have the ability to create exactly what will serve you best. At this pivotal point, you would hire someone to hear your needs, desires, understand your style, know the requirements to make this an efficient home, and create it specifically for you. This would be the job of an Architect, and Graphic Artists are the Architects of logo design.
“To design well, you must understand well.”
In the Building Phase of logo design, I first need to understand your business and understand you. This “interview” process, plays a key role in design. An architect cannot build a client’s dream home if they do not know the client. They must know the home’s function, it’s style, and the climate to which it is exposed. In the same respect, a designer cannot properly design without knowing the same sorts of information. What is the logo representing? Stylistically, what appeals to the client? Who is the audience? Usually, I start with a basic list of questions to get an understanding of the business and the client.
- What is your business?
- Who is your audience?
- Where is the business?
- Why did you start your business?
- How do you want people to see your business?
“The importance of really seeing a client and their business is important.”
To really see a client, I prefer to meet them in person because it allows me to take in even more of the picture. I can see how they carry themselves, how they speak, and even what they are wearing. This is where human interest comes into play, and it never fails. For example, a particular client of mine was looking to open a coffee stand and envisioned a female character as part of her logo. Her signature look was red lipstick, and I’d never seen her without it. This seemingly small detail was a defining part of her personality: bold and feminine. Understanding this, her completed logo included her strong female character with her trademark lipstick. She loved it. Her personality was IN it.
After I have an understanding of the business’s personality, I ask questions to get a stylistic idea of how the client wants their logo to look.
These are questions such as:
- Modern or Classic?
- Minimal or Complex?
- Young or Mature?
- Color Palette Preference?
- Typeface Preference?
Often, the client is unsure of how to answer the more stylistic or visual inquisitions. That’s OK! My job is to understand a business well enough to decide those things, even when there is little visual information to work with. A client recently came to us with a vision of an Alaskan snowboarding company. We went through the questions about how he envisioned his business’ logo, but essentially, he preferred that I take creative liberty. I always appreciate being granted artistic freedom, but a starting point is essential. Talking more, we identified several companies or logos that he liked, and in doing so, there were consistencies. A particular brand he mentioned, used characterized skeletons as their main graphic scheme. He brought up the idea of a smiley face in his logo. He pointed out another niche brand, riddled with monster alien faces. In my head I realized, “Characters. You like characters.” In this realization, I simply asked if he was inspired by faces or characters…the answer was a strong “Yes”, and in this discovery, we found our starting point. The process has a purpose.
“A logo will represent the face of your company for the entirety of its existence and give it a pulse.”
When you hire a Graphic Artist, we will conduct research, develop an understanding of you as an individual, your business, and your audience. A logo will be carefully crafted. It will be the direct result of vision and information that you provided, as well as information the designer has observed.
Slapping an ordinary logo on a quality business is like finishing a luxury home with plywood siding. It does the job, but regardless of the beauty on the inside, it will misrepresent the home. The final touches of a well-thought-out logo will bring a business together visually and demonstrate your business’ legitimacy. You have an opportunity to create exactly what you need: A custom-crafted logo. Your logo. You will have a logo specific to your business, personality, goals, and audience. Hiring a Graphic Artist is capitalizing on that opportunity to showcase who you are, and if you have that opportunity, why not take it?
Kaitlin started designing in Fairbanks with one mission – to leave it prettier than she found it. She enjoys all media’s of art, learning new design skills, getting to know her clients… but mostly, she enjoys her garden. To learn more about Kaitlin, the Mammoth crew, and what we can do for you, click here.