Smart Logo for Building Websites and Databases

Posted 9 January 2019 at 9:54 AM | Comments (0)

My client came to me with a logo project that really stumped me initially. At the root of it, I didn’t understand exactly what it was they did: server administration, programming, development, database administration, data migration, user interfaces, and content workflow. Huh? It wasn’t until I understood their company that I was able to come up with a logo that well represented them.

To put it poetically, they do web and data “metamorphosis.” They take ideas, technical problems, and messy data, and they turn it into something well-organized and beautiful. They simplify complexity. When I asked what they envisioned for their logo, they said it should be smart, vibrant, and simple.

After some wrestling with these concepts, I came up with this symbol. (Sorry for the watermark.)

Smart Logo for Building Websites and Databases

We were finally on to something! After a couple of rounds of mediocre designs, this one felt right to all of us. The final logo is below.

Smart Logo for Building Websites and Databases

Friendly, Clean Bookkeeping Logo

Posted 27 October 2018 at 9:34 PM | Comments (2)

My client runs a bookkeeping business that serves mostly small, local businesses, many of which are owned by women. She wanted a logo that would be clean and modern but still friendly and approachable.

I like the way it turned out. There’s some movement in the stack of blowing papers but the type is solid and unwavering. It so easily lent itself to a slogan, “We keep it all together,” which the client was happy to use.

Friendly, Clean Bookkeeping Logo

For her business card, we reversed the colors for a big splash of the mango color on one side.

Friendly, Clean Bookkeeping Business Card

Mayflower Creations Film Studio Logo

Posted 11 March 2017 at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

Mayflower Creations was on the verge of finishing their film, Mercy’s Blessing, when they contacted me for a logo design. Since their name was inspired by the may flower (not the ship, but the actual petal-and-stem kind of flower), they wanted me to use that for inspiration.

The may flower is delicate and pretty, but I wanted to find a way to integrate it into a film concept. A film strip? A camera? And then I got it. A lens shutter. Could I find a way to make a may flower look like it could be turning, like a camera shutter with an eye in the middle?

Mayflower Creations Film Studio Logo

We were happy with the end result, slapped it on the film title, slapped it on some business cards, and voilá.

Mayflower Creations Business Card

Since then, Mercy’s Blessing has won ten international awards, and counting. It was an honor to have been a small part of their project.

F for Ferragamo

Posted 13 August 2012 at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

While admiring a friend’s new Ferragamo cosmetic bag, I gasped when I realized that the logo, when turned on its side, makes an abstract F. See?

Salvatore Ferragamo Logo Makes an F shape

How have I not noticed this before? Now I understand why the Ferragamo logo is so often placed vertically.

The Trouble with Change

Posted 19 October 2011 at 11:23 PM | Comments (2)

For better or worse, I’ve always “compartmentalized” mass-market home retailers. For example, Pottery Barn is my go-to for upscale Americana beach/cottage. Restoration Hardware for high-end estate looks. Design Within Reach for modern/designer. Room&Board for Midcentury Modern. Z.Gallerie for trendy-glam. CB2 for young modern. And West Elm for upscale eclectic.

Crate&Barrel, my absolute favorite of all favorites, became so because it embodied so many different styles (both modern and traditional, sleek and cozy) but was always two things which I love: 1) clean-lined, and 2) inspired by fashion (not trend, but fashion).

Yet lately, that seems to be changing. The last few catalogs have leaned more toward Room&Board’s aesthetic—Midcentury Modern designs, whitewashed walls, and a lot of neutral colors.

Which—don’t get me wrong—is gorgeous, but that’s not why I fell in love with Crate&Barrel in the first place. Their catalogs are still inspiring, but not in the same way. Where is the richness in color, texture? Where is the drama? As I flip through the change is so obvious, and I’m torn between being irritated and being completely depressed. Because as far as I know, there is no other mass-market home retailer doing what Crate&Barrel used to do.


Anyway, this is the only image in their recent catalog that reminded me of Crate&Barrel’s old days. I cry inside just looking at it, because I’m so afraid it’s the last time I’m going to see something like this!

Crate&Barrel "All in the Mix" Catalog Dining Room

Call It Spring?

Posted 30 September 2011 at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

The styling contests I’m entering at Polyvore are to promote JCPenney’s new line of shoes and handbags, Call It Spring.

Formerly Spring (a copyright issue forced the name change), Call It Spring is actually an ALDO Group brand, but its product is “younger” and less expensive than the original.

And I admit that the name, Call It Spring, really irks me.

Now, as a disclaimer, I don’t have a problem with either ALDO or JCPenney. I love ALDO. I have three pairs of their shoes and always get a little giddy perusing their website. And while I haven’t shopped at JCPenney in years (but I’ve been living overseas for almost five), I applaud their recent designer collaborations and am hoping they do really well.

So! Down to the critique. The main thing that really bothers me about Call It Spring is the unintentional focus on the seasonal spring. It conjures up images of sandals and florals and long hair bouncing around in grassy meadows. I’m sure ALDO realized this, which is why they—brilliantly, I might add—began using the slogan, “Shoes for all seasons.”

And poor JCPenney, they’re launching Call It Spring at the start of fall, which is super-confusing and rather annoying, too.

All this got me thinking, as usual, about what I’d do differently.

I’ve noticed that JCPenney has no problem mentioning that Call It Spring is an ALDO Group brand, which means that it’s part of the selling point. So what if the name of the brand pays homage to the original? What if it basically says we’re the original yet we’re a little different?

What if they changed their name to—wait for it—wait for it—


Camelia’s Cupcakes Ordering Brochure

Posted 18 May 2011 at 10:06 PM | Comments (8)

Remember the logo I designed for this Stockholm cupcakery? I just finished a tri-fold brochure specifying their flavors and ordering information. We kept the front page simple, with just their logo and phone numbers:

Camelia's Cupcakes Ordering Information Brochure, Front

I wanted the inside flap to be pure eye candy (eye cupcake?). Since readers breeze past that page, I didn’t want it to contain important information—instead, a photo from Camelia’s cupcake shoot is eye-catching, relevant, and drool-worthy:

Camelia's Cupcakes Ordering Information Brochure, Inside Flap

There’s a lot of text on the inside, so I only included what was necessary. Then with the extra space I blew-up the logo and cut it off horizontally to make it a graphic element; it’s a way to emphasize the brand but with whimsy. I also excerpted a quote from the back of the brochure that was too important to be tucked away—the quote reads almost like a vision statement, so it absolutely needed emphasis too:

Camelia's Cupcakes Ordering Information Brochure, Inside

The back page contains the most unsexy, but most important, information—pricing and ordering. This page didn’t need a lot of graphic treatment. The fonts and colors of the brand, plus the cupcake swirl adding a tiny flourish, are just enough here:

Camelia's Cupcakes Ordering Information Brochure, Back

We’re working on some other exciting components, so more to come!

Wedding Photographer Logo without a Home

Posted 6 May 2011 at 7:05 AM | Comments (2)

Extremely talented photographer and a very good friend of mine, Negeen Sobhani, recently launched her new website. Her wedding and portrait work is ridiculously good, so you’ll be interested to check it out—and book a photo session?—before she becomes internationally renowned.

Anyway, as I’m pouring over her site I’m reminded of the days when she and I would fantasize about our respective careers over coffee (well, hot chocolate for me) and sketch ideas for her future logo. So I just went through some old drafts to pull one out for a post of its own. This poor thing never got to see the light of day! Well, until now.

Wedding Photography Logo Draft

What I loved about this logo was that it was seriously customized. Any photographer could have a logo that’s a circle around their initials; or a stamped camera above their name; or their name is a blocky sans-serif and “photography” below it in cursive. This logo seemed special, with its swishy text frame wrapping around the photographer’s name in an abstraction of her initials, NS.

I also liked that the text was classic and the swish delicate but slightly festive—together these elements gave the logo a sense of elegance and was appropriate for a wedding mood.

When we got to thinking about her website, we considered the possibility of having two portals, one to her wedding photography site and the other to portraits, mostly of children and families. Then we got to thinking about how we could tweak the logo for the portrait site and came up with the idea to add leaves and flowers to the swish! Yeah, we were pretty brilliant, if I do say so myself.

Wedding and Portrait Photography Website Draft

Hm, I wonder what else I can dig up in my old design files? Now that I have a place to publish them, unused work finally does something other than take up space on my hard drive!

Kate Spade’s “Live Colorfully” Campaign

Posted 4 April 2011 at 8:47 PM | Comments (0)

Kate Spade’s spring 2011 campaign has more mass appeal than anything else I can remember from them. There’s no fine china, no fussy accessories, no little pooches (am I imagining that one?); it’s not too retro, not too edgy, and not too saccharine.

Kate Spade Spring 2011 Campaign, Bryce Dallas Howard and Painted Windows

Kate Spade Spring 2011 Campaign, Bryce Dallas Howard and Painted Bike Path

Kate Spade Spring 2011 Campaign, Bryce Dallas Howard and Painted Wall

It is colorful, joyful, fun, and Bryce Dallas Howard looks like she could be a happy teenager, singleton, or mom.

Also… bike paths should always be that cheerful.

Facets of Faith Logo and Business Card

Posted 19 March 2011 at 8:45 PM | Comments (0)

Faith, a jewelry designer, got a fabulous birthday gift from her daughter. Sensing that her mom’s current logo (purchased from a customizable template) wasn’t capturing the essence of her jewelry designs, she wanted to give her a new logo. Great idea, right? So she put Faith and I in contact a couple of months ago, and we got down to business.

Her vision for her logo was amazingly comprehensive and poetic. Three words that she wanted to see evolve from her logo were nature, joy, and abundance. She wanted it to express the desire to put love into her creativity. She wanted it to incorporate nature, or perhaps the ocean. Oh, and use purple.

So here’s what I did.

Facets of Faith Handcrafted Jewelry Logo and Business Card Design

There were several logo options in the first round, but the imagery of this one was both strong and relevant. The swirl around the heart could symbolize a number of things—creative energy emanating from love; ocean ripples; the natural rhythm of giving and receiving, a concept important to my client; or an abstraction of her wire-wrapping techniques.

When we progressed to the business card, I wanted to build on those concepts even further. So I used as few straight edges as possible by enlarging a swirl for the background pattern and echoing its curves in some of the text. Then, by bringing in a third color, apple green, the design became energized, more fun, and less formal—traits echoed in Faith’s unique, nature-inspired jewelry designs.