Green Initiative Logo Design: Water Warriors

Above: Hershey Kiss logo.

Happy Sunday, everyone! In this week’s classes we discussed logos. I’m currently enrolled in another class that is very design and logo-heavy, so it was nice to refresh the basics in this class. We reviewed many company logos and learned why some are better than others, and that many companies utilize their negative space to hide imagery.  You probably have heard about the forward arrow hidden in the FedEx logo, but did you know that Hershey’s Kisses’ has a hidden “kiss” between the K and the I? Neither did I, until this class! (Can we say mind-blowing?) Logos are a lot more than just a symbol; through research, time, and effort, what appears to be as simple image actually takes on the responsibility of defining the entire company. It’s a big job, and it’s harder than you realize to try and convey a message in one image.

For this design showcase, we were given two company scenarios to choose between and needed to design a logo for our chosen company. I picked the one described as “dealing with green initiatives in Los Angeles; non-profit; target audience: acquiring local business partners and overall awareness of green initiatives.”

There were 50 designs for us to manipulate to our heart’s desire. At first I was checking them out, trying to narrow the image down right away, but I quickly realized that I felt a little out-of-touch with my company. I was born and raised in New Jersey, so you can probably understand why. 😉 I took to Google and searched for Los Angeles, Los Angeles stereotypes, and things to do in Los Angeles to give myself a better idea of the overall mood in L.A. After reading a few articles (some written in jest, others not so much) I began to jot down some common themes people have with Los Angeles, like a sense of community, New-Age hippies, a love for sun and sea, sustainability, being healthy, etc. I realize that these are stereotypes, but you have to admit that it sounds like the perfect place for a start-up green company.

A short GIF of California’s drought progression in 2014. Source: MotherJones.com

As I sat there, reading and brainstorming, it hit me: what’s something that we are constantly hearing on the news about California? That’s right: they are currently experiencing their worst drought in over a century. Bingo, I thought, perhaps if the drought was a state-wide problem, it would be an easy way to attract local attention of my company!

plainlogo
The logo I chose from about 50.

So, I went back to the list of 50 logos and scrutinized them. I finally settled on a logo that, to me, looked like a sun’s rays, changing color. I brought it over to my new document, which I had created quite large for flexibility, and saved it at 300 ppi since it will most definitely be printed. I really enjoyed this picture, because it reminded me of sunbeams fanning out on water. Since I had decided that water would be a major theme in my company, I wanted to incorporate water into my logo. To accomplish this I created a new, blue circle using the ellipse tool, nestled it into the negative circular space already in this image, and added about eight anchor points to the bottom of the ellipse. I then pulled all of them a little less than halfway up the circle to create a new shape, and pulled three anchor points using the direct selection tool even higher than halfway to mimic waves. I then played with the anchor points and their bezier curves until I had a shape whose negative space somewhat resembled waves of the ocean. I really loved the original image’s colors and felt that the blues and greens were a good marriage of earth and water, and didn’t feel the need to change it. I made my wave shape a brighter shade of blue, just to make it a little more distinguished and to separate it from the overall shape.

I settled on the name of “Water Warriors” with a tagline of “Dawn On A Greener L.A.” I chose a sans-serif font called Kannada MN Regular with no weight. I wanted to stick with a sans-serif font because to me they appear simple and raw–just like Earth. Since the name of the company was “Water Warriors,” I wanted each letter to stand strong, capable of standing on its own without leaning too closely to neighboring letters. After opening the characters panel, I set the name in small caps, and set the tracking to 25pts. I made the tagline’s colors a slightly lighter shade of grey so that the name stood out more clearly, and set the tracking a tad larger at 75.

Overall, I’m pleased with the final design of this logo for Water Warriors. Keeping the seven principles of logo design in mind, I wanted to make sure the logo was versatile yet simple enough to be used in a variety of mediums. Should Water Warriors take off and become a force for good in Los Angeles, I wanted their logo to be flexible enough to be used a variety of media for volunteers and promotions: pens, pins, T-shirts, embroidered on hats, stamped on mugs, and so on. I definitely believe this design could be easily manipulated for future rebranding, if necessary, as the type can easily be changed and altered as necessary.

logo-final
Final image of my logo for the fictitious Water Warriors.

Below you’ll see a few options I created for Water Warriors, their design in Grayscale and inverted in black and white.

logo-grayscale
Grayscale version of the logo.
logo-reverse
Inverted version of the logo.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next weekend.

Editing a Bench Image

For this design showcase, we were given three images to choose from and needed to edit them accordingly. I chose the image with a bench because I could definitely see myself stopping there on a walk and reading a book, or just enjoying the sunshine!

Original bench image.
Original bench image.

Since the image was much larger than necessary, I resized the image to the required eight inches across and changed the DPI to 300 for optimal print quality.

Right off the bat, I decided that the photo looked bare and a little too green overall for such a nice bench. I duplicated the background (to protect the original) and, using the clone tool, cloned the red and orange flowers and their stems, the yellow flowers to the left of the bench, and the yellow, blurry flowers in the far background.

beforeandafter-flowers
A look into before and after cloning. Notice the fullness of the red flowers, the yellow flowers behind the bench, and the blurry yellow flowers in the background.

Next I added an adjustment layer and altered the image’s levels. I personally thought the image was a bit too dark for my taste and wanted to lighten it. I did this by sliding the white lever to 230 and the middle, grey lever slightly to the left to 1.06. While this did brighten the image, I thought the grey of the bench seemed washed out by the adjustment, and decided to mask it by painting the bench black in the adjustment layer (using the brush tool).

Even though the flowers are beautiful, the bench is the star of my image. Thinking realistically, when you focus on an object with your eyes, the neighboring objects blur around it. I wanted to achieve this effect, so I duplicated the cloned layer and blurred the green bush on the left of the foreground and the large stones on the right of the foreground.

Looking at the image again, I still felt there was something not quite right with the bench “popping,” and decided to burn the mulch/dirt in the flowerbed to make the bench stand out even more.

A comparison of the effect of the burn tool on the flower bed.
A comparison of the effect of the burn tool on the flower bed.

Finally, I decided to add another adjustment layer, black and white, and set the opacity to 73%. This allowed a very faint color to shine through, especially the colors of the flowers and bushes. Overall I am very pleased with the effect of the final versions of this editing exercise.

manalio_designshowcase3
Final of my colored bench image.
bench-final-bw
Final of my bench image in black and white.