Seasons Greetings One and All. I trust at this point everyone is more or less ready for the Holidays. I myself sit here drinking some fresh homemade egg-nog and feel quite relaxed. I still have a few last minute gifts to get and send; e-giftcards mostly, but mostly I am done Christmas Shopping. Now, having everything wrapped and ready is definitely another story altogether, and here I sit Blogging away, lol.
I have been wanting to take the time to share some about a logo I design this past year. It has been unveiled and I have also obtained permission to share it with you here on the SketchBlog. I have been meaning to post this for weeks, but the Holidays have a tendency to fill your dance card. In any case, I am glad to share it with you now. You may think of it as a little Christmas Gift, though I mean that more so jokingly. I am not at all so egotistically to mean that last sincerely ;0)
This past year I was hired to design a logo for the 221B Con, a fan conference for all things Sherlock Holmes. You don't have to be a member to attend the Con, but if you join there are obvious perks to being a Con Member when you attend. For more information about the 221B Con please visit their website www.221bcon.com. There are different levels of membership, and the Diogenes Club is the highest and most premium membership of all of them. I was hired to create the image to represent and promote this group.
Like any project, I begin at the very beginning, research! research! research! In the original Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle novels, the Diogenes Club is mentioned in several of the Holmes stories, the most notable being The Greek Interpreter. It is the name of a Gentleman's Club that Sherlock Holmes and his brother, Mycroft, were known to patron. A Gentleman's Club in Victorian England could be compared to the modern day Country Club or organizations like The Shriners or Moose Lodge.
Diogenes was also the name of a man who lived 412-323 B.C., more often referred to as Diogenes the Cynic. He was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. I'm certain this grouchy old codger had some influence on Doyle when creating the idea of the Gentleman's Club in the Sherlock Holmes novels. Perhaps it was The Cynic's personality that he wished to associate this particular Gentleman's Club with. Since it has so little mention in the literary source, I am certain that this is the reason. To allude to the types of gentlemen that might be members of such a club. I had to understand the historical and literary sources before I could really come up with some solid concepts for this logo.
Just for fun, I have the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films playing in the background. I absolutely love Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayal of the Holmes character. It is certainly my favorite Holmes. Though, on the same token, I do feel that I have to mention that Cumberbatch's Holmes is the very best.
Anyway, I came up with several concepts for this logo. Among my favorite Ideas were using Diogenes the Cynic's Dog as the symbol and icon of the club. He was to be dressed as a Victorian English Gentleman and holding a book under his arm. Another was to transform a small stack of books into English gentlemen and have each Man Book represent a different literary genre. I also liked the idea of transforming two side-sitting top hats into the pages of an open book, which can eloquently be done graphically. I admit this latter, I have put on my list to do in my own time as I truly LOVE the idea and concept behind this graphic.
As you can see from the finished logo, that the image depicts an English Gentleman in profile view holding his hand over his mouth which was later changed to a gesture of touching his chin. He also has a book tucked under his arm. I will go through step by step, the process and meaning behind the visual decisions made for this project.
I began to build the graphic in my vector program. You can see below the development and progress of the graphic in these screen shots.
Moving on from type to color, the icon looked fine and dandy in black and white, but how could we work color into it. Again I turned to the most wonderful resource book on color schemes and use through different time periods in history. I can not recommend this book enough to every artist who works in a commercial art industry. It is such a great tool for helping choose period appropriate and accurate color for design and illustration. Again, I went through several developments in color choice for this logo.
In the end, the client and I worked collaboratively on the final color choice for the graphic.
After those decisions were made, the graphic complete, the rest is pretty much a cake walk. It really was just a matter of putting all the separately combed over and scrutinized elements together to make the whole. There was still just a bit more tweaking after the first time everything was all in one piece but ultimately it didn't change much because all those decisions were previously made in small steps. Not be entirely Romantic in saying this, but it was kind of like how Holmes would solve his mysteries. He would break down everything into the smallest detail, scrutinize and analyze it all separately and then piece it all back together into his final solution/conclusion. I liked thinking in some way that this connected me to the characters. I think I spent maybe a bit over 1 month working on this project with my clients and over the course of that time, much of it was spent with these beloved literary characters. I dove into that world again head first and immersed myself into it. I do this often with any subject matter related to a current project, as I believe that this strategy brings on the most honest and brilliant visual results and ideas.
Though, to be honest with myself (and all of you), it would be unfair not to mention that I daydream of going back into that industry, but as a character design or layout artist, maybe even story board and story development. Unfortunately, at the time, there was a fork in my path and I had to choose which to pursue and I chose illustration. I may, in future, produce an independent animated short film; something small, something I could manage on my own. It is an itch that begs scratching. In any case, I won't go too much into the concept behind that pitch other than it involved time travel and evoked a similar feel as the Scooby Doo mystery cartoons. :0)
Back to the subject at hand...
I always like to provide a type only option for my clients when I develop a logo, unless they specifically object or request I not do so.
In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you have enjoyed some insight into the project and some of the reasons for the visual choices that were made. In the meantime, check out the webpage for the 221B Con and register for the upcoming Con. Who wouldn't cherish a weekend sharing your love for one of literature's greats and possibly the greatest and most clever detective of all time, even though he is fictional. If you go, perhaps I will see you there, as I will be attending the Con this next year.
Real Quick, Thanks SO Much to my wonderful clients and friends Crystal Noll and Heather Holloway and the rest of the 221B Con for the WONDERFUL Christmas Gift of a lapel pin with this logo I designed on it. I LOVE it and have been wearing it ever since. :0)
Until next time
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art.