When I was young, I was enamoured by my grandmother's impeccable printing and handwriting. Crossword puzzles, recipe cards, dates on the bottom of Polaroid photos — there were beautiful typographic specimens all around her house. In my tiny 5 year old brain, I always aspired to have handwriting as graceful as hers. I found great joy in cursive writing, especially writing my name and the alphabet over and over again. This was probably the beginning of my love for typography and lettering.
As I transitioned to full-time freelance design this January, I decided it was time to rebrand myself. The old adage is true — you are your hardest client.
I took a critical look at my existing logo and weighed the pros and cons.
-interesting monogram of C + R
-clean, geometric, balanced — sturdy
-dynamic interplay between positive and negative space
-as a logo, it doesn't say anything about my personality, the services I offer, or my work
(plus, it always kind of reminded me of the Colgate Palmolive logo on my toothpaste tube...)
As I brainstormed new solutions, it didn't take long before deciding that I wanted to have handwritten wordmark. Partly an ode to my grandmother's handwriting, but also the typographic constant in my life: my signature. So I started writing. And writing. And writing.
From the 6 pages of drafts, I cut, paste, and narrowed it down to my top 13 choices. Each one had interesting characteristics that I wanted to bring forward in the final version.
Eventually, I settled on signature in the bottom right corner. I have a pretty long name (11 letters), and this upright version seemed to have the best proportions without being too wide or too compressed. Using Illustrator, I traced and recreated the lines and curves with the pen tool.
Once I had a vector version to work with, I decide to establish a bit of order. I know that signature-based logos are often loose and spontaneous, but I wanted to create something a bit more formal. I created some guidelines to help line things up (x heights, cap heights, angles, etc.)
An earlier version had a very fanciful swash that connected the r with the crossbar on the t. In the end, I thought it seemed too top-heavy (and a bit too lasso-like? Am I going to a rodeo?) I did retain an exaggerated crossbar on the 't'; not only does it dot the 'i', but the curve and angle is reminiscent of a smile. :)
After some more tiny adjustments to spacing, I ultimately decided to place the wordmark on a slant. It was never part of the original plan, but after rotating the wordmark on a whim, the solution presented itself, and it stuck. The vertical elements revealed the magic angle: 11.5 degrees counterclockwise. It also created a nice little nest of space for additional text (as you'll see below).
Add a outer white stroke and a faint grey drop shadow, and voila! The new wordmark. Above are 2 other applications, with the additional of an apostrophe 's'.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the new wordmark. Unlike my previous logo, I think it speaks to my work and style in a much stronger, visual way:
-it is clean and simple, like a well-tailored suit
-it feels sophisticated, but also casual and approachable
-it is dynamic, energetic, and has a feeling of optimism and forward-thinking
-it shows an appreciation of — and nostalgia for — a time when hand-lettered logotypes were the norm. Custom lettering evokes a feeling of personalized service, of hand-crafted quality.
I am looking forward to interacting with it in the coming months, and finding new, exciting ways to share it with the world.
This one's for you, Grandma. ♥