The third phase of my mentorship project consisted of me showing the logo I had created over the weekend and getting some critique on how to make it better. Thankfully, there were just some small refinements to make and not structural problems. The fourth phase was just me executing out the refinements that my mentor advised me on.
Now that I’ve reached the finish line for this mentorship project I can say while there were some bumps in the road and I still have work to do, I am happy with where I’ve gotten. Some specific things I’ve learned along the way were that research is the foundation from which you start generating ideas.
Spending less time in this part means that you’ll have less to work from later on. When I tried to spend less time in this area my ideation notably suffered, and my situation was not dire enough to make that trade-off. I still could afford the time to do the research. Additionally, I
didn’t have to use all the research, as I moved forward I could just focus on what made sense
for the project.
Additionally, I also learned to keep in mind the context of my project. I was making a logo, so the connection to the company had been clear, as clients weren’t going to see the rationale. Abstraction sometimes is the right solution but you have to make sure it still reads!
This project also corroborated the idea that the devil is in the details! For me, design takes a lot of time (but I have gotten faster since I started!). I’ve found that it was a good strategy to overestimate a little bit on how much time something would take me.
Aside from all the specific design help that both my mentors gave me, I think I really benefited from the opportunity to get to talk and work with other industry professionals outside of the IDEA faculty. It corroborated a lot of the things that instructors had told me about the industry, which has put my mind to ease, at least a little bit.
Overall, I think I would give myself a 7.5 or 8 out of 10. I think there are still things that could be made better, but I am happy with the progress I made.
I think one of the things I found most rewarding about this project is that I focused on something that I know is a weak spot for me. I still think I struggle with logos, but this semester in particular, I’ve done a lot more logos and the help I got on this project has made me feel more comfortable with them. It was a worthwhile endeavour to push myself to do something I struggle with.
During my previous meeting with my mentors, we had discussed typefaces and how it was next to impossible to pick a typeface in isolation to the logo. So, during the most recent meeting, I showed both my mentors a matrix I had made using combining different typefaces and placements with a quick mockup of the logo. Additionally, in our last meeting, we agreed that it would make more sense to have a pair of boots instead of a single one. So the matrix included variants of how the boots could be placed alongside each other. We decided on a typeface and I was advised to make some proportional fixes.
Moving forward I’ve started creating the shapes in illustrator. I’m finding this part difficult, even though I’ve worked with adobe illustrator before (though not as much as others). I find that I’m often frustrated with how much longer it takes me to accomplish anything in illustrator. Additionally, something always gets lost in the translation and the digital version. I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of practice or some other kind of user error on my part, but I hope I can counteract it more this time.
So far I feel like I’m at a 6/10, I feel nervous about the actual execution of the plan. Ideally, I can finish this project with a higher score.
During the beginning part of the ideation phase, I made the mistake of trying to immediately start sketching in fear that I would get behind. I had done barely a page of sketches (roughly 30) and was already struggling to come up with more ideas, which did not bode well for my future. I had planned on having 100 sketches and here I was struggling at 30. After a much-needed talk with my instructor and other students, I went back to do more research to give myself a better foundation.
This research process consisted of me going back and creating an informal competitive analysis that compared outdoor schools in the lower mainland. For each school, I defined their tone of voice and documented their visual language (brand colours, visual elements, typography, and photography style), which helped me recognize what niches were already occupied.
I also went back to my word map, which I had created to act as a bank of visual imagery that I could use. My first pass was too thin, I had focused only on the idea of schooling and organic elements. I went back and added more categories like BC scenery, and ecological concepts which might be of use. Additionally, I also added the three brand adjectives that defined the brand (real, relevant, and revolutionary) and wrote related words as well as possible methods of visually communicating those ideas.
With this, I edited and presented to my mentors. We agreed on three potential concepts to keep refining, which were a boot print, a pine cone/Pinecone scale/badge, and lastly a three v shape. After another round of ideation, we decided that the boot print was working the best. The three v’s ended up being very anticlimactic when placed together.
The pinecone scales had become too abstract and no longer read, which is an important note moving forward that also applied to the boat concept. Some key problems we outlined were that the boot needed to be clearer as a boot, should be a little more realistic, and we considered applying texture as well.
For now, I would give myself a 7.5 or 8 out of ten: I have a sold start but I still have a ways to go.
For this project, I knew that I wanted to focus on a branding project, as I need more emphasis on those skills for my book. I knew I wasn’t interested in packaging thus I was considering branding a company that provided a service or experience. From there I came to the idea of an outdoor school.
I pitched the idea to my mentors, initially suggesting that I would rebrand the entire school and create a logo and some other branded deliverables. I also mentioned that logos are not my strong suit, and thus my mentors offered the possibility of just focusing just on the logo. I was really happy with this development because of how important a logo is for a brand (as it’s one of the biggest touchpoints for a customer) and how much time crafting an effective logo can take.
From there I wrote my brief and send it to my mentor who wrote me a few helpful pointers for brief writing, For example, I had misinterpreted the function of the background section and lumped it in with the brand’s USP.
Another really valuable lesson learned was to take the old logo and to identify its weak points and write them out. This helped me practice analyzing logos as well as gave me concrete examples to watch out for in my own work.