Building KDS - The logo III

Welcome back! This is the third part in a several part series I am making about designing the logo for this website. If you haven't, please read the prior two Blogs about it:

Part I

Part  II

I think they will give you some strong insight into what it's like to design a piece of artwork. With that said, let's move on to the meat and the potatoes of this series. Making the logo.

About establishing core principles

When designing something, it's very important early on to establish some key principles. These principles can be anything but their purpose is to keep you on track with creating your design. Generally the principles will include aspects of your company or work that you feel are important to its identity, so when people see the logo, they can tell at a glance what it is that you do.  These principles are also important for establishing a baseline of what to expect from your logo, and given enough time and work, you could build from there.

When you go on to establish the principles of your design, whatever they may be, it is best to do it at the beginning. You don't want to spend several days working on a rendition of your project only to realize it doesn't capture anything that you do. Time is valuable and planning ahead helps you maximize your time so when you go through the process of making the design, it will be a less bumpy ride. Also doing this at the beginning of the project gives your workflow more structure (I'm huge into this). The added structure is important to because as time goes on, you're more and more likely to stray away from your original ideas. Generally the principles you go on to establish for your project function as an anchor that can keep you on track.

That's not to say that having this anchor at all times is mandatory. You must be able to discern when it's appropriate to let the anchor go. Do not assume that the principles you go on to establish are right. There may be a time where they actually restrain you in a bad way. So in writing this I hope you can see that these principles can be a double edged sword, and you have to be very diligent and observant about your work to understand when you should keep going on the path that you've set for yourself or when you must abandon it in favor of something better.

Core principles of the new logo

When I set out to create the new logo, I listed a couple of things I wanted to keep in mind. In the last post I described why my old 'KS' logo didn't work for this website. The principles I set to create this logo were pretty much observations of why the old logo didn't work.

So let's get to it. The core principles of the logo that I wanted were:

  • The name of the website had to be in the logo.

There reason for this is due to the fact that the logo will probably appear in different places that are not my website, and I wanted people who see the logo in other places, know where it came from.

  • The logo must be flexible.

If the logo only works in one context, it is a poor logo. The plan for this logo was to future proof it. I wanted the logo to look good in a variety of different places and surfaces. If I could control this, I believe the logo would end up being quite memorable.

  • The logo must present the website as a place where someone can go to be entertained by my work.

This one kind of goes off of the first principle. Essentially wen people see a new logo, they think 'what is this about'? Knowing this, I set out to create a logo which visually relayed the information that this website was a place of entertainment. I also get a lot (and have gotten in the past) of 'What is it that you do?' questions. I wanted people who see the logo to get an instinctual idea of the answer to that question.

Making the logo

A little before I started making the logo, I had the idea to use the image of a cloud as the core visual component of the logo. In fact, until I had started actually sketching the logo, I was content with this idea and expected to be done making the logo quickly. A fools mistake. Anyway, the cloud would be a symbol of thinking or imagination like you see from cartoons or comic books.


Some early drafts of the cloud in the logo. Tried to give it some personality.

While making the logo, I had the idea to have little visual flourishes and representations of things I've done like comics, illustrations and so on. This didn't work due to it being too complex. If you had to make a small version of this type of logo, it wouldn't work. You wouldn't be able to see the flourishes after a certain size and it could lead to confusion. In this phase I was playing with the shape of the cloud too.


Experimenting a bit with the cloud shapes.

I came to a crossroad where I had the ideas of a keyhole and a ticket. I thought these were both strong ideas so I explored them a bit. I liked the keyhole idea because it was more personal. It was as if people stopping by my website would be exposed to the inner workings of my thoughts. I liked the nuance of it. I liked the ticket idea because of the association of theme parks and movie theaters. This idea felt immediately captivating and exciting, and something I think people stopping by enjoy pretty quickly.


Two emergent ideas: The ticket and the key.

After looking at these ideas, I began to work on and think about different variations. This extra time was important because I would have the ability to flesh out other ideas to see if there was some valuable insight I could obtain during the design process. I've written about this in the previous blogs, but it's very important to iterate on your work until you really come across something great, or have enough information to know if your idea will work out or not. After doing all of this experimentation, it was time to take the logo to trial and see if it could stand the test of criticism from some of my friends. I will elaborate more on this in the next update, but consulting your peers and getting critiqued is really a crucial part in being an artist. In fact, it's something I believe is the most important part to being an artist. Without knowing what you did wrong, how can you get better?


Early concepts of the ticket logo.

In the end, I decided to go for the ticket version of the logo. I chose it because I wanted people to associate the fun of a theater or carnival and that sense of nostalgia to my website when they visit. I was able to get the same quality of  depth found in the keyhole rendition, in this logo, but delivered in a far more simple and subversive way. Once I decided on going with this version of the logo, it was time to plug it into illustrator  and put a nice coat of paint on it.