Logo Madness

I’ve been immersing myself in logos. My boss Terry advised me that the breakthrough for this logo won’t come by without preparation.

Let me tell you a story: An old painter lived up in the Yamanashi Hills, his neighbors were a waterfall and a cliff. It took two trains to get to and then you must follow a dirt road with lots of twists and turns to get there. Anyways, the CEO of Daiso Inc. heard of the amazing painter and commissioned a painting of a lily. The mail correspondence came back with a simple word painted on a sheaf of high quality waterpaper. Yes. The CEO waited anxiously. Fancy gold watches he could buy on the spot. He could get a luxury car in a few hours, but what he wanted was something unique, something that he knew he would appreciate in a way that used his soul. A year passed. He grew tired of waiting and heard no response from the mountaintop painter. One day, he went up to the hillside, cliff adjacent house with a view of a waterfall, the sound of water rushing through his ears and he noticed the door was open. Mystified he walked in and saw the painter at a table listening to an old Nat King Cole record and reading the newspaper calmly while drinking some orange juice.  Excuse me, sir? the CEO said softly, You are supposed to be painting me a Lily?

drawing of a lily
I made this in photoshop. I really need a wacom tablet.

The painter reaches for a nearby paintbrush and inkwell. He puts aside his juice and newspaper. Under his newspaper was a crisp piece of high quality watercolor paper. He takes the brush and in a fluid motion, as a child makes a scribble, he produces the most beautiful painting of a Lily imaginable. Its petals come alive, infused with harmony and breathtaking undulations as if it is still being moved by the wind. The CEO is stunned. Why, that was so easy for you! Couldn’t you have done that a year ago, I would have been quite happy!

The painter wordlessly goes to a nearby closet where stacks and stacks of paper, some stacks fallen over and more stacks placed on top of them, all of these were paintings of lilies.

The End. The story reminds me the moral that as Louis Pasteur said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” Logo design is the same way. It takes research, time and experience. Knowing how logos can be designed, the variety, the subtlety, the identity. It’s about infusing letters (sometimes no letters) with personality and culture. The logo is a timeless thing that represents history and represents the company’s optimism for the future.

I made the above logo today, inspired by the research of logos I have been doing at Logo Design Love and it felt very peaceful. I would look at image after image, seeing all the smooth tricks: using negative space, line drawing, color blocking. When I was done with work, I rode the bus home. I looked out into the city, the street signs, the branded storefronts and it felt no different. We are surrounded by Logo Design Love and as graphic designers, it’s our duty to keep our eyes open.


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