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  • Looking for some personal brand mark feedback

    Hey guys,

    After a little hiatus I am stepping back into the freelance design sector. I read a recent post on here about how hard it is to objectively critique work created for ourselves so I am looking for some feedback.

    This project is a personal brand mark. I do a lot of things in the community and am looking to create a visual brand to help expand my community out reach. I work with small and medium size businesses as a marketing and design consultant as well as do things like public speaking, playing music, and youth ministry. So my goal with this brand isn't really to target my design clients or my musical skills but to put a visual brand to my name.

    As I attempted to narrow down my focus I fell upon an old brand name I used - Embark. It's something my clients know me as in the visual world but also in the church and community circles. Therefore it's equally important to create a strong association with Embark and my name.

    After many many sketches I landed on this idea thru the combination of a few elements. Looking at the letters 'E' 'B' 'K' 'D' and also elements such as the idea of grasping hands.

    More information available upon request!

    Thanks for your time,
    Kevin
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Kdigennaro and welcome to GDF.

    We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
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    • #3
      Thanks for the warm welcome! Glad to be back in a design community. I'm a little rusty but getting back into it slowly!

      This logo definitely fails the 24 hour test. I felt really good about it last night but it just doesn't look good. Attached is a few different concepts I pursued. I am looking for some advice on which direction to go visually!

      Thanks for any help,
      Kevin
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey Kdigennaro !

        I feel for you, friend. Designing your own identity is the HARDEST. It always becomes some big existential crisis for me whenever I update my logo. I don't think I ever want to do it again! lol

        Looking at your subsequent sketches, I agree the first mark is not indicative of what you can do. Your illustration skills are awesome.

        I love the -- what is it, blimp? What a great image. I also REALLY like the image of the sailboat, I think you did a great job with the type there too, from a purely technical standpoint I think this is the most successful "logo" and there's a lot of potential to explore and push that even further. These are the two that stand out to me most as conveying the idea of "embark".

        The dog? What's going on there -- is it a play on the word "bark"? Tongue and cheek? I don't at all understand the story, so I'm not sure about that one. I think if you go that route, you're going to have to really get into some deep details on that mark and make sure it's pixel perfection -- the expression, the shape, the relation to the type...

        The compass is pretty, but I feel like it's been done. However, it is a symbol that can represent many things so I'm not sure I'd completely rule it out.

        I don't understand the other circular marks, but maybe you just need to keep going with those without critique at this point, feels a little early in the exploration.

        Okay, now, the hopefully helpful bit: I'm somewhat concerned about you using a literal symbol to represent what you're trying to convey. You're looking to brand yourself and you have some disparate things to bring together -- all the things you do, the people you are reaching out to, etc. Maybe the blimp is weird enough (in a good way) to work -- the sailboat could give the impression you're in the nautical industry, the dog might give the impression that you're into selling pet food... know what I mean? Maybe a more "out there" or abstract idea will be more flexible for you. OR, perhaps you take one of these ideas (sailboat et al) and try to bring two ideas together somehow -- those are the logos that appeal to me most, where you say "HUH, there's a sailboat but I can tell he's an artist/speaker/whatever".

        Or maybe you keep it simple and just do a purely or mostly typographical approach. What do you think about using a tagline? I realize you want this to be a big umbrella, but clarity is easier when it comes to branding -- getting people to understand what you do by creating a symbol takes a lot of effort.

        I hope that helps, thanks for sharing your process and I hope you continue to share as you refine!




        Last edited by EC; 05-08-2017, 11:32 PM.
        You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB

        Comment


        • #5
          @EC Thank you for taking the time to leave a detailed response!

          Usually in the beginning of the design process I like to pick some literal icons that I feel represent me and just start sketching to get the ideas flowing. So the balloon boat was the child of a simple row boat and hot air balloon. I was just going thru the thought process of literal ways to travel.

          The compass is something that I feel made a nice illustration but I agree that it's really over used and to literal for my brand.

          The sail boat was something I played around with for a while. I liked the concept but also felt is was to nautical. However it does make a nice logo so I will hold onto that one.

          The dog/wolf has always been something that has been near and dear to me but as you pointed out it looks like I'm selling dog food or perhaps training services haha.

          Now to your big point on how literal some of my efforts have been - thank you for the criticism. I agree 100% and those weird circles were just an exercise to break me of the literalness of everything I was doing. I really am after something that is a little more abstract because of the nature of what I do and because I personally enjoy the style of a nice sleek geometric mark. Something beautiful in the simplicity.

          I have also considered a type only logo. I may explore that more but feel like the direction I'm currently heading is worth pursuing first.

          When I go to define Embark one of the definitions I use it reference to my brand is "Constantly Seeking" (kind of a tag line). This is where the idea of the wolf was born. I love the eyes of the wolf. I think they are artistically amazing.

          I play around sketching eyes for hours and came up with a simplistic geometric mark using the shape of the sail from the boat as the logo shape and just some basic redesign of the shape.

          This color pallet might be to broad but I am still playing with it. I like the blue and the green a lot though.

          Let me know what you think! Feedback is much appreciated!

          Thanks,
          Kevin
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah I freaking love that. And I hope you can make all those colors work because they're rad too!
            You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks EC! Feeling the green might be a little bold. It competes to much with the blue but I'll play around with it :-)

              Comment


              • #8
                One of my downfalls is bright colors, I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH. lol I had another designer help me when I was doing my branding, she made me restrain myself big time. Basically hot pink, black & white with very judicious use of accent colors (for calls to action, callouts, etc.) So you're probably asking the wrong person about that! lol
                Attached Files
                You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB

                Comment


                • #9
                  Haha yeah I'm the same way - I love pallets that make bold statements but right now all the colors are so bold that they basically all look normal. I'm working on something now to narrow it to 2 colors and a dark grey.

                  And I love that color palette :-) reminds me of a brand I did a few moons ago
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kdigennaro View Post
                    Haha yeah I'm the same way - I love pallets that make bold statements but right now all the colors are so bold that they basically all look normal. I'm working on something now to narrow it to 2 colors and a dark grey.

                    And I love that color palette :-) reminds me of a brand I did a few moons ago
                    Yeah man! Love that.

                    Sounds like a good plan, pick two + gray. I will leave you to that, good luck! lol
                    You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @ec thanks for all the feedback!

                      I really like this mark but decided to stick to my process and sketch on it for a couple days.

                      This lead to some alternative ideas that I think are equally interesting. I am playing around with dropping 'Embark' in the main logo and adding as more of a sub brand.

                      In these sketches I continued to play with elements of the eye of the wolf as well as my initials (K D) and the letter E for embark. Before I call out my favorites I'm curious what your eyes pull you to.

                      I started with all triangular forms and moved to circles to soften the feel and try a different perspective.

                      Thanks again for any feedback!

                      Kevin
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                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Any takers on continuing to critique and collaborate?

                        Sometimes I tske for granted how important and how much i rely on this process until I step into something like this where no one can crawl inside my ideas and design my logo for me :-).

                        Here's my main sticking point right now. My first name and last name are super unbalanced and rather long. Therefore a horizontal make line with an icon above it isn't looking great.

                        I dropped the text so my first name is on one line and second on another but when put next to a strong triangle like the last posted comp it feels almost aggressive.

                        So that led me down a different road. Playing with initials - which again KD - not the greatest combo but some potential to play with arrows to portray the idea of embarking.

                        The long and the short is I've got a bunch of concepts, some more polished then others, but I still feel like somehow I'm missing the target a bit.

                        So far the logo in the last post is closest but still not quite there.

                        Here are some additional sketches.

                        Thanks,
                        Kevin

                        @ec is you stumble on this - have I lost my mind? :-) should I revert back to where we landed with the eye/mountain/sail thingy lol. It's a strong mark am I just spinning my wheels at this point or am I covering new ground?
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey Kdigennaro!

                          So you're not doing "Embark" anymore then? Is that for sure? I can understand the problem with the type and the triangle... and why you're heading toward a more "KD" and open approach.

                          That said, these last sketches you posted that look like arrows -- there's nothing wrong at all with them, they're strong marks, I just think you can do better. I feel like I've seen this before and there's nothing new/unique about them. However, some of the other sketches that came before are much more original.

                          My question would be -- what do you want to convey at this point? The idea of "embark" without the word "embark"? Or something new altogether?
                          You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey @EC thanks for jumping back in,

                            And I really would prefer to stick with Embark adding or removing the tag line with my name as needed.

                            I switched it up because of the boldness of the triangle. Not exactly sure why. I think I just was running out of ideas to sketch.

                            I agree completely that the KD sketches feel familiar. After all there only so much you can do when you constrain yourself to letter forms.

                            To recap and answer your question. I'm going to stick with Embark and I'd like to convey a bold message but not aggressive in feel. When I get to the computer I'll try the triangle mark inside a circle and see if that softens it a little.

                            Thanks again,
                            Kevin

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Alright - after being all over the board and having several panic attacks here's where I landed (designing in context of use really helped so here's some letter head and business cards)


                              https://drive.google.com/a/theembark...w?usp=drivesdk
                              https://drive.google.com/a/theembark...w?usp=drivesdk

                              Feedback appreciated!
                              Thanks,
                              Kevin

                              Comment

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