Sometime toward the end of 2012, on the way back from attending a family wedding, I received a call from a long time friend and colleague of mine, Von Glitschka. He wanted to run a book idea by me. He went on to explain that Rockport Publications had contacted him to write and moderate a new book in an on-going series, showcasing outstanding work from each facet of a designer's branding duties. Some of the previous books focused on things such as typography ("Design:Type"), portfolio building ("Design:Portfolio"), and paper selection ("Design:Paper"). This new book he described to me was to focus on logo design and was to be titled "Design:Logo."
Von happened to be in the throes of a rigorous speaking / traveling schedule and was pressed from all sides with some ongoing branding projects for other clients. He proposed that we co-author the book to reduce workload and provide dual perspectives. I love being a logo designer and I particularly enjoy that initial stage of the branding process. Teaming up for the project seemed like a "no-brainer" and I immediately committed to the project.
After getting dual authorship approval from Rockport, the project began.
With any book that relies on designer submissions, the first responsibility was to design the "Call For Entries" form. This is a crucial piece, since the visual language of this form sets the tone for the look and feel of the book's overall layout and cover, which we hadn't even talked about yet.
We decided to go with an industrial vernacular vibe; I love that look and I can work quickly in that style. After finishing, a link to the final CFE form was released via a Rockport email blast and and web page posting. Immediately, electronic entries started pouring into the server from all over the world. Von and I sorted through thousands of logos looking for marks that exuded a unique combination of concept, personality and a high level of what we observed as "irresistibility." We committed to including only the entries that displayed exceptional illustrative skill, a smart combination of visuals, unique color palettes and attention to rendering detail. After final winning selections were made, I immediately followed up with designing the "Gallery" page layouts and writing the book's introduction. Von laid out the "Closer Look" page template.
As we were compiling the logo winners, we also began to dialogue with some amazing designers who've crafted some of our favorite logos over the last few years. The book series format called for us to highlight and deconstruct the development of 20 amazing marks and distribute those feature spreads throughout the book. We were lucky enough to be able to include work from some of the most exciting 'trade-marksman' in the business: Tim Frame, Chris Parks, Carlos Fernandez, The Greteman Group, Hatch, Jeremy Slagle, Joe Bosack, Jon Flaming, Joseph Blalock, Rule 29, Leighton Hubbell, Luke Bott, Mint, Randy Heil, Rian Hughes, Felix Sockwell, Thinking Cap Design, Gyula Nemeth, Ty Mattson, Ty Wilkins & Brent Couchman.
Another enlightening feature of the book are the essays we rounded up from 5 of the top branding industry thinkers: Bill Gardner, Alina Wheeler, Sherwin Schwartzrock, Justin Ahrens & Tracy Sabin. These insightful spreads plunged deeper into the logo design process with such topics as "Designer Blind Spots," "Style Is Substance," and "Designing Logos For A Nonprofit Organization."
After compiling all the content and cataloging the stacks of over 2,400 grant of rights forms (Thanks for the help Carri Smith)… it was on to designing the cover. This was going to be one of the biggest challenges for me, being that I have a tendency to "over-design" everything I work on. The preceding covers in the "Design:" series were sparse and had some prerequisite inclusions I needed to incorporate. The typography for the title was set in stone. The biggest question was what particular element represented 'logo design' best… and how was I going to render it.
I thought it might be nice to design an actual logo for 'Logo Design' with some common elements seen in many classic logos. Something a bit vague, yet bold and distinctive.
The next step after I designed the logo itself, was deciding how I was going to render it in context of the title and credits.
I had done some signage work with magnesium dies in the past and really liked the result, so I thought that this might be the perfect chance to try it again. I ran the idea past Von and he concurred. I prepared the logo to be acid-etched as a female mag die with steep shoulders. After that, I spray painted it lightly, sanded it all off in one direction then shot a photo of it in my office. It looked great in context with the other cover elements; and was a perfect fit, visually, in the existing Rockport book series.
After the cover was approved, we shipped off all the mechanicals, proofed final layouts and waited for delivery of our copies from the Rockport press vendors overseas. We were overjoyed to receive the first copies off the press a little over a year after beginning our journey. There were a few bumps in the road along the way, but after all was said and done, the final product was definitely well worth the wait!
Personally, I'd like to give a big thank you to Von for originally inviting me to co-author… and all the contributing designers who gathered up and sent in work. Also I want to thank our editor Emily Potts and John Gettings, along with the production team of Regina Grenier, Sylvia McCardie, Betsy Gammons and Cora Hawks. Their patience, accommodation and hard work made this process a pleasure.
If you are interested in purchasing the book (Maybe as a Christmas gift for your favorite designer or logo buff, it is available on Amazon.com HERE.
I am also currently writing a monthly blog column on Rockport's website RockPaperInk called "Logophiles," where I interview many of the top contributing designers included in the "Design:Logo" book. You can review those articles HERE.