For my first 2013 VeganMoFo post, I thought I’d reveal the results of a project I’ve been working on with Kim and Kyle, some good friends of ours who also happen to be fantastic designers and visual communicators. This married superduo has extensive professional experience as designers, and approach their work with humor, expertise, grace and precision. So when I asked if they could design a logo and banner for the blog and they said yes, I was ecstatic and excited to see what would develop.
Although I am not a designer, I love the concept of communicating an abstract idea through a well-crafted logo and, throughout this project, got to learn a little about the mechanics behind it. Because I found everything to be so fascinating, I thought it would be interesting to sit down with Kim and Kyle and share on the blog how their work evolved.
First of all, I know I sound like a broken record, but I love the new logo and banner! Can we go back to our initial conversation, where you asked me a series of questions about the blog related to tone, audience, look and feel, etc. and why that was important?
kyle: Sure! For the way we approach the design process, having an initial meeting like ours was critical. Kim and I have been following your blog since the beginning, so we were obviously familiar with the content and style. Even so, having an initial discussion was important for two main reasons: one, it helped all of us get on the same page and work toward the best logo for Olives for Dinner and two, learning more about how you feel about the blog unearthed some important insights that wouldn’t have come out in a simple email questionnaire.
Before you even started any sketches, you came up with two distinctly different mood boards. Before this process, I had never heard the term “mood board” before. Can you explain what that is and why it’s important for the design process?
kyle: Simply put, a mood board establishes a shared visual vocabulary for a project. It’s not meant to be a literal representation of the final product, but rather suggest a design direction and evoke the feelings and emotions that should be associated with the end result.
Kim and I were already familiar with your approach to food and the visual aesthetic that comes through so clearly in your plated presentations. Having a mood board helped us create a bridge between your food and the final logo, and also made sure that we were on the right track to a final design.
Once you knew what direction the logo was going to go in, what happened from there?
kyle: I started sketching ideas to figure out what worked and what didn’t. At first, the sketches were very simple and very gestural. Once I had a few ideas I liked, I began refining and eventually ended up with a few final sketches to show you.
The three main concepts I explored were a vintage-looking seal, to connote quality (Figure A); a handwritten mark, to convey the personal touch in all your food (Figure B); and the logo we ended up with, which suggests the elegance and simplicity of your dishes (Figure C).
I also want to add that the process for this logo was somewhat of an anomaly in that the very first thing I sketched was the abstracted-olive “O” that made it into the final design. That almost never happens. I did put it on a back burner to explore other options, but it’s so appropriate for this logo that I had to go with it. And I’m glad you and Jeff agreed!
One of my favorite parts of this process was having you and Kim over for dinner, where you showed me your rough sketches, and I was able to see what direction and shape the logo had taken since our initial conversation, as well as hear your reasoning behind it.
kyle/kim: That really was a win/win night for us. We got treated to a really excellent meal, and you liked our designs! Moving from sketches to the computer, your logo retained the basic elements, though the configuration changed.
As is appropriate, the titualar O/olive mark is the piece given the most attention in the final design. The dashed line gives the logo balance, visual interest, and unifies the large “O” and the blog title. Finally, the font choice conveys the elegance and class that reflects many of the recipes on your blog.
And after seeing the final product, I love to know that every single logo element has a purpose, and nothing unnecessary or randomly ornamental is on the logo, revealing a super-clean, deliberate and minimal design. Throughout this process, you brought out ideas and options that I would have never thought of on my own, and your design expertise produced an end product that is so flawless, smart and clean. Many thanks to you both!
kyle/kim: We’re so glad! We had a lot of fun with this project.