Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BREEZE a Little Dream for Me.


     With the onset of Winter and all of it's "lovely" cold weather, I am reminded of a logo design competition I participated in last year.  I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, SCBWI for short.  I amuse myself by pronouncing it "Sissahbwee."  This of course is only in my head as I would never pronounce it out loud this way for fear of being taken to the looney bin.  Anyway, our regional chapter, the Southern Breeze,  holds a small regional convention every year.  This year marked 20 years since the National organizations founding.  To celebrate, Southern Breezers (this is what we call ourselves… not just in my head) held a design competition to create a logo to be used for our regional convention. 

     The logo had to illustrate 20 Years, had to involve some sense of the national organization and employ only 2 colors.  I designed 3 logo submissions for this competition, each with it's own unique concept.

     1.)  This first logo personifies the God of Southern Wind, in this case Goddess.  I did some research (as usual, I know… Big nerd.)   I wanted to see how the element of wind was represented through Art History.  One of the ways was personifying the Greek or Roman Gods/Goddesses in a human and more accessible form.  They were known as the Anemoi.  Notus is the God of the South Wind.  He is one of the Four Wind Gods and as you can surmise, they are each in control of one of the four basic directions of movement: North, South, East and West.  Notus was associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops.  He was associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops.   He is normally depicted as a young man who looks to be in their late twenties, by human aging standards, and he has a set of dragonfly wings protruding from his back, like a fairy.  All of the wind gods have wings of some sort.
     I wanted to personify this classic Greek God in a way that was applicable to the concept of the logo design.  Instead of a feared God of the Summer Storm, Notus, is remained as a young Southern Belle, blowing the soft Summer Southern Breezes in a playful and fun demeanor.  This is yet another way I choose to imagine how inspiration and creativity is "divine" onto all of mankind.  The hot air balloons represent thoughts or inspiration blown into the world by the young Southern Goddess.  I integrated the number 20 into the design of the hot air balloons to not only illustrate the past 20 years or great young adult and children's literature that has been touched and guided by SCBWI, but to echo how this legacy will live on in 20 years or more to come.



     2.)  This next design had more to do with the 4 minor wind gods than Notus, him/herself.  There were four others that guided the breezes of life.  These four entities are known as the Anemoi Thullai or Tempest Winds.  They are wicked demons and were counterparts to the harpies (half vulture-half women creatures.)  They were always depicted as wild winged stallions whose manes whipped ferociously hither and thither throughout Art History.  One of the concepts I had come up with for this competition was a creative "play" on a weather vane.  This brief "dive" into Greek Mythology gave me everything I needed to create a logo.  I created  my weather vane, emphasizing the South East, with is our region, in blue which is one of the usual colors used in visually illustrating wind.  I also wanted to create my own visual "wind" that would emphasize the number 20 I had integrated into the silhouette of the winged horse.
 I actually played with a few icon/patterns before deciding on what you see in the final.  I used the air wave icon pattern subtly under "southern Breeze" to help further illustrate the element of wind and also bring a nice visual movement to the graphic as well. 


     3.)   This logo concept has nothing to do with the Greek Gods/Goddesses of the wind.  This logo is "rooted" in the ideals and visual comforts of Southern Literature.  I wanted to create a design where a book would actually come to life, as they so often do in our imaginations.  I wanted this one book to not only illustrate but also represent the history of all Southern Children's Literature.  I wanted this image to echo scenes we may recognize from the charming writings of Mark Twain.  I chose a day at the "waterhole" as my scene for this logo.   The movement and "breeze" is created by the motion of the boy swinging into the "pond/book" and by the dog that is chasing after him. 
     I used the graphic of the book pages in two clever ways to help illustrate this scene as well.  You will notice that four of the books pages are almost invective of water waves.  the other pages are fanning-out to not only help create the image of the summer sunshine, but these also create a motion not unlike the spinning/flickering frames of a zoetrope, there fore literally making it seem as if this story is cinematically coming to life in our imaginations.  I often imagine myself in a dark movie theatre "watching" the book as I am reading it… a fun detail I wouldn't be so normally apt to share with others, but we're all friends here, right? ;0) 
     The final element of the logo is the number twenty entertained and tangled into the limbs of the growing tree of knowledge.  It is branching out from the history of literature reaching out into the future of Southern Children's Literature.

     I have to inform you all that none of my submissions won.  I have posted below the winning logo design from this competition.


     I am a good sport as I have talked about in previous posts, though I am a very critical artist, particularly when it comes to the winning design.   I have to say that the winning logo is very nice, and I am quite certain it looked great on a convention tote.  I think it is well balanced, classic but not too conservative and well balanced.  I even like their choice in fonts.  I do have a few criticisms for it.  1.) I think that the concept was a bit oversimplified and not very creative.  The icon for SCBWI is a kite and I think this was a too obvious and uninteresting solution, conceptually.  Repeating the kite image 20 times is a bit too easy if you ask me.  Also, these silhouettes are stock.  I know this to be true because I recognize them from a website I like to visit as well, Shutterstock.com.  The designer made NO effort to create the imagery on their own and I have to say that I don't find that really designing.  They copy and pasted stock illustrations of children flying kites and put some text to it.  Other than these few faults, I rather like what this designer did and congratulate them on winning the competition. :0) 

     In any case, I am going to go put my house coat on, budge up on the couch with a nice piping hot mug of red tea (my favorite) and watch a little bit TV.  Baby, it's cold outside and I have a date with the X-Files. :0)

Until next time, folks…
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 
Cheers,
LEWIS

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