Christopher, part 2

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.