In my opinion a great company Name and Logo is one of the most important parts of starting a business.
Some may disagree and say products, customer service, even business models are more important and that a logo and name will come later. To me, I see a logo as a rallying cry for the troops to band around and get behind, a flag or family crest if you will. It’s the single biggest thing that will stick in peoples mind and will become your brands face.
And it’s the one thing that when you look at you should clearly see and remember the ‘Why’.
The result of a good logo design
be able to pick out a car brand from a lineup, but you know exactly what the Ferrari badge looks like.
If I said to you imagine a burger, before even the image of food enters your mind, I’d put money on you seeing two golden arches flash through your imagination first.
The point I’m trying to make is that across all products, all experiences, meetings, financial records, publications (the list goes on) the company logo stays the same.
It must be simple, emotional, memorable, and meaningful.
I knew that this was one of the most important things id have to get absolutely spot on if we were going to proceed and weather the storms and setbacks that we would inevitably come up against.
Here is a brief outline of our process of designing a logo and how we ended up deciding on Jack & Hilda’s Rose & Thistle.
The first step that I took was to look at some competition in my field and see what Logos are already being used and are associated with Tea, Scones, Afternoon tea and High tea.
To pick them apart I had to be objective, although I already had a view in my mind of the style and feel I wanted the logo to be, I had to try and disprove my own ideas in order to make sure I had the right ideas.
The final market comparrison
The final cuts were finished with 19 designs that resonated with me in some form or another. All I had to do now was compile all the reasons I liked these designs into one goliath design.
I knew it had to be round, even though I toyed with other shapes this was only to reject them, you never know what might stand out by just having a go.
The first stages of design
Next, it had to be calligraphy or curved writing of some sort. High tea and afternoon tea is, in essence, seen as an upper class ‘posh’ experience.
It also had to have some form of ‘feature’ initially I homed in on the
ampersand (the & symbol).
Thinking of Nanna
One thing I didn’t want it to be way too over the top, too fancy or too busy. My Nanna was from a generation where a reserved strength was as loud as the most flamboyant demeanour.
It needed to be simple, sophisticated, and really characterise one of the greatest generations in history. But it had to be modern, Instagram and social media compatible and appealing to both old and young generations.
My first designs were, to say the least, not the best works. I had initially named the company ‘The Tea & Scone Co.’, I’d found an ampersand I enjoyed, a style I was looking for and with just a little detail I decided to run with it, but I wasn’t happy, something was missing. It wasn’t personal enough.
The Rose & Thistle
Logo design inspiration – The Why
Even though the company was born out of the inspiration of my grandparents (Jack & Hilda), The Tea & Scone Company just wasn’t what I was after.
It didn’t give enough justice to the ‘Why’ it would get lost and would eventually end up on the pile of looky likes much the same as the others I profiled.
It was then that I had a profound thought. This company is essentially made in honour and a nod to my Grandparents, Nanna and Grandad (Jack & Hilda, although they are still Nanna and Grandad to me).I asked my family, especially my Cousin, and Godmother, Rachael, who was closest to my Nanna and the firstborn grandchild (No. 1), if it would be ok to use their names and the main name for our fledgling company.
It was a resounding yes, on the condition that I respect them ad didn’t plaster tacky images of them for advertising, which I agree with and it is why you will rarely see (if any) images of Nanna and Grandad.
Jack and Hilda’s the Tea & Scone Co. was it. I didn’t have to look far for the absolute most perfect respectful and emotional nod to their memory and honour I could have ever thought to find.
Grandad was a Scotsman, and Nanna was English.
Adorned on their gravestone are the Rose and Thistle and I knew right there and then that a rose and thistle was the only way to go. It would have such an impact emotionally that every time I saw it that how could one ever lose the strength to carry on with something so huge to get behind and lift us up.
Back to the drawing board
the process of designing the logo begins
I set about designing the first draft in pencil. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to create it.
I’m in no way, shape or form an artist (as you can clearly see), but I had big ambitions and I there was no way I could let this fall short of anything but complete perfection if it was to bear both my Nanna and Grandad’s
names and also depict the images on their grave.
It had to be perfect.
I searched the web, not knowing anything about logo design or how to even go about it. I watched YouTubes on how to make a logo on applications like Canva, Free logo design and maker applications.
I tried a few and I just couldn’t get the results I wanted, the pencil drawing was just a draft, I needed someone who could take the thoughts in my mind and give me multiple options that I could adjust until the sweet spot was found. I knew in my heart that as soon as I saw it I would immediately know it was the one.
I knew the perfect logo was out there. I just needed someone to create it.
Hiring a professional to design a logo
I had to hire someone to help. In rolls 99Designs. I put my hand in my pocket and paid for a design project.
This would be the first-time id outsourced a project to anyone. It was exciting and nervous. I had paid over $1,700 and I didn’t even know if they would be any good.
Now, this may seem a lot for a simple logo design, and it was.
This was my first lesson in clarity, requirements vs costs, and how important it is to be exactly sure of what you want before going for it
I paid for a ‘brand identity pack’ and in all seriousness, it would be helpful later, but it has changed and so much that in the beginning, it was fairly pointless.
Looking back, I could have halved that expense and purposed it more usefully. Having said that, would I have found my designer without the attraction of the bigger payout?
I can’t put into context how overjoyed and how important the logo is now, so for me, it’s worth every penny. they really made the whole process of designing a logo so simple, easy and more than anything else exciting and enjoyable.
The design process competition
The first stage of the contest made me write down exactly what it was that I was looking for. I gave some images including the gravestone and my pencil drawing along with a shortened down list of the logos I likes in the industry and sat back to see what came along.
Here is my experience of how that unfolded.
99Designs logo designing process
99designs give you the option of making it a ‘blind’ contest. What this basically means is that each competitor cannot see the others work and therefore attracts higher-level designers. (probably some fear that lower level designers will steal the ideas and sneak into to claim the prize).
I wanted the best of the best designers for my project so Initially, it was set as blind, each competitor didn’t see what the others were doing and this, I found, posed a unique problem for me. The designs although good, were so far apart from each other I was struggling to keep up and adjust each one to produce what I wanted, it was like corralling sheep that all went off in different directions and were blind and deaf to the sheepdog. It just wasn’t happening. I’d had 80 designs at this stage and I didn’t like that many of them.
What happened when I opened it up
I opened the contest up. Immediately about a third of the designers pulled their designs
Had I made a mistake!
A lot of money was on the line and I worried that this one small act had ruined my chances. I needn’t have been concerned. I soon found that more designs came flooding in. 99D gives you the option to rate each design. In an open contest, each designer can see the rating of the others and straight away I could see them all converging on the same theme as the higher stars.
One extreme to the other
‘Amazing’, I thought. This was what I was after. The next problem I faced was that there wasn’t enough variation. It was one extreme to the other and I was having difficulty in giving them all 4 stars.
As the competition narrowed it came down to two deciding factors.
The design itself had to be perfect and there was two or three that were serious contenders.
We had to be comfortable speaking with the designer and feel that they had understood the brief and the meaning behind the logo.
I like to work with the same people for the majority of work and the though was at the forefront of my mind ‘I have to find a designer that can keep continuity throughout the brand on other projects’. Response times, adjustments, even English skills came into question.
The final stage in designing our logo
The final contestants were a painfully close race. I was asking around everyone what they thought, what could be the one. in reality I had already chosen and was just looking for either a reason why not this one, or confirmation on why it was this one.
Final Thoughts on the whole process of designing a logo
From my crappy little, 2am pencil drawing on the back of an old piece of paper I have had the pleasure of directing and influencing 5 designers and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the designing process.
Thank you Dana for all the amazing design and all the ongoing collaborations.
if anyone would want to work with this talented artist here link is here
or you can find her on 99designs
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