What better logo to start with than my own?
I’d like to say that it took me a good long time to get it right — some logos do take a while to nail perfectly — but to tell you the truth it’s the one and only logo I’ve even done that just plain popped into head, and it’s followed me around like a faithful dog ever since. I occasionally try giving it a little tweak now and again, but it goes right back to before. Like the Buddhist say: first inspiration, best inspiration.
J & S DeSimone Booksellers
This logo that I did for J & S DeSimone Booksellers is probably my favorite. The DeSimones were a wonderful couple with an interesting idea for a book store: one dedicated to history books only. They eventually branched out to selling things like the autographs of George Patton and Abraham Lincoln and the like, bayonets from the First World War, Civil War swords and the like. I suggested that they set themselves up as “The History Store,” but they stuck with the bookseller label.
The logo integrated both the owners, their initials, the book angle, and the somewhat blobby ink quality both suggested writing, history, and a certain stylistic distance from the more sterile geometric lines of many another contemporary logo. I was pleased with it; they were too.
Another favorite, for another company with a unique idea. The person behind it was a market segmentation specialist who, by using a variety of tests and questionnaires, was able to isolate subliminal and sub-rational responses to various marketing media. He aimed to uncover some of the driving decisions behind purchasing decisions that were not consciously known even to the purchaser, and develop subconscious profiles of the buyers — specifically, buyers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, which would be commissioned by major corporations in the medical and Big Pharma fields. Hence the name, “Medical Minds.”
I personally liked it because of its simplicity: I used a Necker Cube as the basis of the logo, which hit the psychological and analytical aspects of the offering, but also had an ambiguous quality. Apparently simple; deceptively subtle: the client’s essential message to his clients, in a concise nutshell.
Xenius Revere was, at the time, a firm that provided metaverse architectural designs for virtual worlds that was expanding into virtual education, principally in Second Life. If you don’t know what that means, welcome to the Twenty-First Century. A Google search may enlighten you, but, from the point of view of the logo designer, I was asked to produce something sleek, futuristic, cutting edge, minimalist, and stylish. This was it. One of my favorites.
What a long story on this one! An organization of science fiction and writers called R-Spec needed a logo and a book cover. I was good friends with one and all, and said I’d donate both, free of charge. Too many cooks spoiled the broth: whatever I did was loved by some, hated by others, and was followed up by just under a hundred suggestions how to modify things.
My first shot, above tried to merge a writerly pen with the Orwellian CBS Eye with the walking Martian tanks from the Fifties movie version of H. G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds. Universally loathed, I was told to think sleek, deadly, Terminator style liquid metal. Version two was produced, and was also universally loathed. After a few more shots, I threw in the towel. Eventually they cobbled together something like the first on their own, but with sprinkles of fairy dust so as to attract fantasy writers. I won’t include an image — you may have eaten earlier.
(On the other hand, I got the chance to go hog-wild doing a whole set of sci-fi covers. That was fun! Good practice too. The eventual winning cover is on the Book Cover Design page, but I plan to include a few discards below. Logo design is clean and severe — but wild and crazy is part of the art too.)
The 2016 election found a few people calling on me for political illustrations. Invariably they wanted images of Donald Trump. Here are a few I rather enjoyed:
More design work to come. I can’t leave the subject, though, without remarking on how much the internet has changed even design. In the older days, when internet design was a desktop web page, web design was visually simple: you were designing and image for a wide rectangle a foot and a half across. The came laptops. And mobile. And HDTV. And suddenly you were designing something that could show up on a wide rectangle, a vertical rectangle the size of a postage stamp, and a big screen that took up half the wall.
Strangely, this resulted in a new way of thinking about design that I think is going to be extremely fruitful in the long run. Because now when we think about visual design we think first of information design — the message we want to put across in the order we want it to be seen. Designing information is quite as interesting, and powerful, as designing visuals.
(But I’ll save that for a blog post.)