Announcing a new work-in-progress project – The Logo Studio and like any internal project at our studio, it needed a story-telling logo. This is that story.

This Canadian version of our core website is primarily a site for potential clients, to our design & branding services and to market our studio as its own brand. Overall, neither our site or blog is really aimed at designers – though they certainly account for a great deal of our (appreciated) traffic – so we often publish designer focused technical tips and tutorials. Business realities being what they are, we have to balance that with info that appeals to prospective clients from their point of view, but they might find our tutorials dry and of little interest, while designers have no interest in how much we charge for our services, or how our client/designer interaction works. It’s a dichotomy that we have to navigate, and over the years we’ve been at it, we’ve blurred that line quite often. While being cognizant of this ongoing issue, we’ve still tried to address it, with various levels of success. Which brings us to this..

The Logo Studio.

A few months ago, and be sheer luck, we received an email telling us that the very sweetly named domain had become available (quite a catch!) We snapped it up as, originally planning to use it as a feeder site to The Logo Factory Canada proper. We soon realized this was a unique opportunity and a way to address the ongoing issue of who to write what for – it could be a “behind the scenes” site for designers – maybe even call in “Inside The Logo Studio” similar to the Actor’s Studio TV show on PBS – offering up tutorials, little-known techniques, from-the-trenches business advice and marketing tips. We’ve been at this logo design business for a very long time this now (20 years in September 2016) and there’s probably some info designers might want us to impart. By publishing it on a different site, we could do so without the conflict of interest (ours) featuring it here presented. And voila, that’s how the Logo Studio was born.

A literal story to tell.

Like all our internal projects and initiatives, The Logo Studio needed its own brand and it had to tell a story, illustrating literally what it was about. A behind the scenes vibe, maybe even an “over the shoulder” look as the artwork was being created. We wanted to use typography that looked hand-drawn, an affectionate hat-tip to old school craftsmanship. As our free studio time is limited, and this wouldn’t – initially – be a monetized site, we didn’t want to spend a lot of time creating a typeface from scratch. We used a dry brush script called Hello Lucky.canada-logo-studio-typographyKeep in mind with that typefaces like this tend to have little bits and pieces that hang outside the bounding box around the letters. In this case, the “o” in “studio” has a tail that’s a nice touch, but it hangs off the right edge, and throws off centering the word if done automatically with the alignment tool in Illustrator. You have to center text like this by eye. As the full name of the site (and project) is THE Logo Studio, while it’s going to be small to emphasize the important stuff, we still have to fit it in somewhere. A nice little capstone took care of that.the-capstone-canada-studio-logoRemember how we wanted the logo to be self-referencing? Can’t think of a better better way to illustrate typography in a logo than to add a nod to baselines (the bottom alignment of type minus ascenders.) We’ll center everything by eye and put everything together.the-logo-studio-canada-typepography-blackHmm. That’s not bad. Not bad at all. As any designer who designs logos for a living knows, any design has to start off as a vector based graphic, so let’s add a pen nib (most design software’s vector drawing tool tip.) We can go even more literal, adding vector and direction points. Like so.the-logo-studio-typepography-vectorNice. If we’re referencing vector graphics, we should reference pixel-based raster based images too. Let’s use a magnifying glass – common with image-based design software – maybe add some pixels that we might be zooming in on. To pull this off, we’ll have to introduce some greys into ourcurrently black & white design. Let’s angle it to mirror the vector pen nib and slide it up under the capital “S” in studio.logo-studio-typepography-pixelComing along nicely now. We need to add a tagline to the logo, but there may be various versions of this design, it needs to be flexible. We shouldn’t use another script font (running the risk of a ransom note effect) and as the tagline is going to be smaller, the typeface needed to be clean, bold and without fine detail serifs that might gum up. We used Bitter – a semi-bold slab serif – but rather than slapping the tagline along the bottom of the design, wrapped it around in a circle using outside and inside circular paths. Like so.logo-studio-with-taglineAnd that’s how the official mark for The Logo Studio is going to look like, save a few more subtle additions. A shout-out to offset print was missing, so we added a background graphic that was meant to represent the tiny dots of an offset halftone screen without being too literal. The design was approaching overkill with detail, so it needed to be fairly nondescript.logo-studio-total-designWe’re still not sold entirely on the background element as this is published but we’ll leave it in for the time being. We set the element at a low percentage transparency, so that it’s downplayed, regardless of whatever background we place the logo on. It does make for an interesting graphic element, and we used it liberally on the first webpage mockups we worked with.logo-studio-webpageWe’ve got some plans for this site already, and this rough mock-up of a podcast chiclet using the final logo may drop a hint.logo-studio-podcast-design1Here’s a neat aside here – see the microphone in the podcast version? It’s actually an Illustrator image traced version of a mic photograph with a limited palette of 28 colours. A .PNG of that image is about 50% the file size of a JPG due to the flat colours and limited palette. Sure, there’s some image degradation if you look closely but very few will and the majority of people wouldn’t even notice. Which is the kind of fun little tips we’ll be doling out on The Logo Studio website when we finally get around to launching it.

When are we launching?

This is a pet project, so we have no firm launch date – just something we’re going to tinker with over the next few months. We have a Facebook page set up and a Twitter account on standby – follow us and friend us if you’d like (we’d like that very much as Facebook won’t give us an actual address until we get more followers and that Twitter account is tumbleweeds.)

It’s on those social media platforms we’ll make the announcement when we’re up and running.