Saturday, January 14, 2012

Challenge 1: Hello, My Name Is

All the challenges in the Creative Workshop are time-constrained. This is because, as author David Sherwin aptly points out, all your paid design work will be under a tight deadline. As I come off of 2 weeks of "we need a cut sheet for this product in 2 hours" at work, I can completely testify to the accuracy of this statement. I know this applies to all sorts of work, every writing assignment, every programming job, every huge engineering project I've been a part of - we never seem to have quite enough time to do it the way we would have liked. There is always pressure to get it done faster. So I really appreciate where the author is coming from, and I appreciate having to practice being creative "on demand" without my job being in the balance, so when my job is on the line, I don't have to actually panic to perform when the office is in panic mode.

The first challenge is to design a logo for your most difficult client: yourself. You have 30 minutes. You are further constrained by spending 10 minutes answering questions about yourself: what's your favorite color? What designers do you love? What are your 3 greatest design strengths? Your weaknesses? What do you love to design? What do you want to design in the future?

My answers are these: My strengths as a designer (I feel like I'm in a job interview at this point, and it feels really awkward and unnatural) are I'm creative, disciplined, and open to ideas (now I just feel like a complete dork). My weaknesses are that I'm uncertain of my abilities (diffident - yes, I had to look that up), untrained (self-taught as a designer) and ignorant of current practices, vogues and trends (because I never had formal training). The designers that I "love" are Alphonse Mucha (yes, we can argue that he was an artist instead of a designer, but... ignorant, remember?), David Airey (been reading his blog and books, and recommended books for a while now, and I just love the stuff he does), and of course, the dude that designs for Apple Computers. Really admire him, and should memorize his name at some point. The design work that I enjoy includes a lot of things in scattered areas (this is where my eclecticism starts to trip me up) - quilt design, branding, user experience (including interface design), band stuff (CD covers, posters, etc), icons, and costume design. The kind of work I'd like to do in the future: user experience (GUI), quilts/household accessories and costumes/clothing.

So how do you design a logo around all THAT???

Now I start to sketch. This is my current sketchbook. I started using it, sparingly in June 2010. I have since discovered the true purpose of the sketchbook, and I'm confident that I'll be starting a new book by the spring. (this is also a reproduction of one of my favorite pieces of artwork)

The first thing I do is write down some brainstormy key words to help me settle on some ideas. I write down shoe, finger touching, sewing/drawing, pattern, screen.

I start drawing. I draw a hand touching a small screen. I draw a hat with a big feather, that has a writing nib on the end. I draw a paintbrush with a needle eye on the opposite end of the brush and a thread through it. I explore the threaded eye concept (a threaded needle is used for my "Wendy's Handmade Quilts" logo that I worked up a few years ago). An exclamation mark. An exclamation mark as the end of a sewing machine needle and the hole it just made in the fabric... That looks sort of like the end of a finger...

I wind up with a lozenge with a smaller oval inside of it. It will take a bit more refinement to get the proportions right, but I'm happy with my logo. It has meaning (at least to me), which, in the introduction of Creative Workshop, is a very important thing (if not the most important thing) in determining the value of a design.

So here is my design, rendered in Illustrator. I have 3 variations on it, because I can't settle on the final design just yet. I'm leaning towards the third one, because it looks the most like a finger.

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