Launching new logos for SMC and SWC is a pretty big deal. Not only does the process take months of planning, meeting, discussing, and designing, there’s also a lot riding on the success of the final product. The logo gets stamped onto EVERYTHING, so it has to be both recognizable and a great representation of what we are: fun, creative, diverse, and welcoming.
Today on the blog we’ve got designer Lindsay Lush, the mastermind behind the lively and colorful new Chorus logos. She talks us through her process, gives some insight on what the logos represent, and dishes on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What’s your favorite logo in the world?
There’s a lot of great logos out there; it’s hard to name a favorite. I love the FexEx logo. It’s bold, simple, yet has that ‘wink’ of the forward moving arrow within the negative space of the ‘e’ and the ‘x’.
I also love the Amazon logo. It represents the message that the company sells everything from A to Z (the arrow connects the two letters) and also the smile that customers would have when shopping on Amazon.com.
Any logo that you see regularly that makes you cringe?
I have always hated the 2012 Olympics logo, for several reasons. The first and foremost is that you can’t read it; it’s too busy and loud. Second, there is nothing for your eye to rest on— it’s over stimulating and each piece is competing for attention. Oh, and did I mention that you can’t read it?!
But I cringe daily from poor design, so to pick just one is tough. Just yesterday while on a road trip I was trying to read the logo on a sign of what I believe was a restaurant, but by the time the car had passed it, I wasn't able to make it out. One of the biggest keys of good logo design is legibility! Duh. I’m sure the business, whatever it was, would likely have far more visitors, and be far more successful, if passersby could read their sign.
How many logos have you previously designed?
I’ve lost count. At least 30-40 that are out and about, but 100s if you count the myriad alternative designs that never got picked.
When you’re hired to design a logo, what is the first thing you do to start the project?
Before I even pick up a pencil, I arm myself with knowledge and research.
I think of logo design as a problem solving process. The initial task, and most important in my opinion, is to understand and define what the existing issues are, the goals to accomplish, and to get a firm grasp of the organization's personality.
I find what works best is to have the organization fill out a ‘brand questionnaire’ consisting of about 10 questions, both fun and thoughtful, that we can discuss in depth.
If you can’t understand the business, then you won’t be able to design a great logo. It may look nice, but won’t capture the essence of the organization—the key to great branding.
Following the questionnaire, the next step is the creation of a mood board—a collection of textures, images, graphic styles, colors, and fonts related to a design theme. This mood board becomes my ‘roadmap’ for inspiration. With it I can come up with best possible design solutions to the existing issues, and use imagination and artistic insight to create something memorable and meaningful.
What is the intention of the SMC and SWC logos? What do they represent?
The dots in a circular pattern simultaneously represent chorus members, audience members, the inclusive ‘family,’ lights, stage, and production—all with SMC and SWC center stage.
The different colors of each dot abstractly represent both the diversity of the chorus and the audience, as well as the shimmering of theater lights.
The bold color palettes of each design are complements of one another; SMC’s logo is embracing reds and oranges, with SWC’s featuring blues and greens. And the combined logo, which is my favorite, brings the whole range of colors (and members) together in harmony.
The new logos represent energy, fun, spectacle, color, humanity, creativity, vibrancy, heart, diversity, family, unity, and unpredictability—all things Seattle Choruses.