The first finished work from our Win a Week of Free Ideas is this logo for Well Fed Neighbor Alliance. They are a non-profit organization promoting food independence by encouraging home vegetable gardening and supporting local food producers.
If you have a minute I’ll walk you through my design process.
We were a little unsure (as was the client) how much of a corporate vs growing vs historic look would be appropriate, so we presented more pencils than we normally do. After much discussion, we landed on #4. The client liked its historic feel and focus on the farmer. Plus, they liked showing someone working for their food. I also thought the planting imagery was especially appropriate.
My first step was roughing in the type. After looking at a few dozen fonts, none of which seemed to fit, I was afraid I would have to draw the type from scratch when I came across this font – CGWoodblock. The word Alliance was set in Bank Gothic, borders were roughed in and I was ready to work on the figure and field.
I needed a reference photo for the farmer, but couldn’t find anything close to what I wanted, so I took my own. Yes, that’s me, and yes, I do occasionally wear overalls.
I quickly framed the photo in and put it in place with the type to make sure everything looked good.
My next step was to trace the photo in pencil and work out the tonal range. Then I scanned my pencil trace, brought it into Illustrator and used the pen tool to trace it.
With the type and figure roughed in, I turned to the background. I felt it important to keep the background simple to not detract from the other elements. I really like how the type, the figure’s gesture and gaze all point the same way. It adds a lot of movement to the logo, and I didn’t want the background to close it in. I landed on a simple, faded plowed field shape.
With all the elements in place things looked good, but the type balance seemed off and the rule lines didn’t work – they seemed too contrived. Also I thought the Well Fed type was overpowering Neighbor. I enlarged Neighbor, simplified the rule lines and reversed the rectangle to give the logo more weight at the bottom.
Everything was coming together, so it was time to look at color. I usually keep my art in black & white until I’m finished because color can dramatically effect the interplay of shapes – it’s easier to see the balance in greyscale.
I did several full color options, but nothing seemed to work – all the elements drifted apart. After a while it hit me – why not do a sepia tone? People relate sepia tone with historic, which would reinforce the look I was after. A true sepia didn’t look quite right, so I went with an olive green with a little burnt orange to add depth.