Anatomy of a Logo
I am a graphic designer. I do everything. Print, outdoor, radio, TV, video, websites, packaging. You name it, I’ve done it. But one thing I find disturbing is designing logos for my own companies, I don’t know why, I seem to get this mental block and if I do take a crack at it, it will usually take me 10 times as long, perfectionist I guess. But here is one interesting design concept that from beginning to end, changed direction a few times.
First off my graphic design company is called Blond Zombie Productions, the logo is my little guy on the blog header. It was drawn by my good friend davidicus, see more of his work here. He is a talented illustrator, painter, musician…the list goes on, he is one of the smartest guys I know, smart enough to move to SoCal and away from Canadian winters anyway. Well he did such a good job on that logo I decided to see if he would help me with a logo for my video production company called Blood Brothers Productions. He being gracious and kind and also knowing of my phobia of self-logoisation decided to step up. So I put together a small sketch of what I thought it could look like.
It was a simple sketch and I told him to do whatever he wanted, me in the background and my bro in the foreground. You see the reason behind the name is my brother and I have two different last names, although we are full brothers. We both have the same birth parents, I was just given up for adoption and found them when I was twenty-seven, I am 10 years older than my brother, they were too young to keep me (that was the cliff notes version you can see the full story in my previous blog here. So the line is “Brothers by blood, not by name.” hence Blood Brothers.
So after I sent the sketch to davidicus he came back to me with a great drawing, I loved it. My brother liked it too. You can see it was a little different from the sketch but that was the charm of it. It showed our personal side and in a great gestural illustration style captured our characters.
But my bro wasn’t sold on the sunglasses (my friend did the first pair of sunglasses, top left, and I added the rest). My brother thought he looked anywhere from Bono to a porn star and that became a deal breaker. I had to go back to the drawing board and I thought my friend had done enough for us, it was time for me to meet the logo demons on their turf so I got to work.
I played around with a few ideas and they just didn’t work, I was grasping at straws and it just seemed forced. I was being too literal using blood splattered on a page with us silhouetted. I needed some inspiration. I proceeded to think of what made us unique, of course the adoption and finding each other story, but I also pulled from the short film we were working on at the time which was called 9, about two brothers and how they find success in the underground crime world through luck and numbers (gambling, running numbers, etc.).
This seemed to be a little more like it, ideas started to flow and I had a logo idea done in a few days. It was more along the lines of what I was thinking, I did like the stark red look of blood but thought I didn’t have to be so literal. It just had to suggest it, not be it. I used symbols from cards and gangster guns also two b’s stuck together (Blood Brothers get it?) that looked like a butterfly which I called the betterfly (not super tough but it was a plot point in the first script idea so we went with the symbol, it was fun. I came up with this.
We used this logo for years and the first cards were the middle red ones, I loved them. They reminded me of that one Aerosmith Greatest hits album. Well as we went on we did our short films but we also started to do some corporate gigs which paid a whole lot better than our self financed short films at the time. So we needed to reinvent our logo again, make it cleaner, more corporate, a little more zen, simpler. We needed to be able to shrink it down without losing the sense of what the hell it was. So I sharpened my design axe and chopped away and came up with what I think is what we were looking for from the the beginning.
So at the end we have something clean, that reads like many things. The two b’s, an open book, some type of throwing star, the holes of the b’s kind of feel like the holes in a film strip, the list goes on. But next time you look at a logo and think that it was easy, think again. The process is long and doesn’t always happen over night and even if it does we don’t tell our clients that. Here is a couple of video treatments for the logos I just thought I would throw in that I’ve done over the years, so you can see a moving representation of the changes too. Funny thing, when these were done the last two were a different version of the final above logo which had devil eyes at the bottom of the logo which we decided to take out. Take care and keep being creative.