Developing a Logo: Part 2

Posted on July 7, 2013 and tagged Small Biz with comments

Hey there, I'm back with Part 2 of my post on how I developed the new CourseCraft logo! If you haven't read Part 1 yet, you should check it out. Let's just get into it: I left off with a couple pages of rough, ugly sketches... So what did I do next?

I started creating simple prototypes of each logo design using Illustrator. If you don't have Illustrator, any vector design program will do just fine. Just so I wasn't swayed in one direction by the colour of the logo, I kept each prototype grey. That way I wasn't wasting time on colouring a logo that I didn't want either.

After putting together 6 of my favourite designs, I walked away from the computer and just gave myself time to think about. (Another great piece of advice from Laurie!) Over the next couple days, I came back to the designs several times and tried to figure out which one would be best for us. I eventually settled on the one in the bottom right corner. To me, it symbolizes 'bring poeple together' and 'making connections' (remember the list of words from part 1?) but not in a hand-holding obvious way. But it wasn't quite right yet.

Looking to make the logo a bit more fun I changed the plain squares to these wonky pebble shapes and added some colour. Immediately, all I could think of was babies and children. It would be a cute logo for a daycare, but not for CourseCraft. This is when going back to the list I made about the logos I liked came in handy. One of the items on the list was 'two-tone' so I changed the colours to something a little more mature adjusted the square shape again so they weren't just boring squares but also didn't remind me of a kid's cereal.

Now I could feel I was getting a lot closer, but although I liked the two-tone design it was going in the direction of a very corporate looking logo. Again, I consulted my list and realized I was leaving out one of my favourite attributes: the line drawing style. I re-jiggered the design again and came up with a few more concepts and really started to like the last one.

And there you have it, the new logo was born! Maybe I'm just really hesitant when it comes to changes, but you can probably guess what I did next. Yep, sat on it for another week. Changing the whole site's branding was going to be a lot of work, so I didn't want to rush into something too soon. If you're just changing the logo on your blog I don't think you need to be this snail-paced. Not only did I have change the logo everywhere on the site, but also in emails, screenshots, the help section, about a dozen ads, our Twitter avatar, etc. It was no small feat, so I'm happy to present you with the final logo now!

So here's a bit about the new logo and why it is the way it is. I ended up going with a blue and green colour scheme because I liked how it was a colour combo found in nature and I think it's easy on the eye and not too trendy. The colours are also light enough that they look good on a white background and a dark background. I also wanted to make sure it was low-key and not too crazy because CourseCraft isn't about me, it's about your courses and I wanted your courses to be the main feature on the page not a crazy logo and colour scheme.

When it came to the text of the logo, I tried about a million different fonts. I won't bore you with that since I think it's more about what looks good to you. Again, I just tried to keep it simple and not too trendy. Since CourseCraft is two words, I used colour and a fun small caps style for 'craft' to make it easy to read.

If you made it through that whole post without falling asleep, I applaud you. And if you made it through and found it interesting, let's be friends ok? I'd love to hear about your logo triumphs and failures. Let's chat in the comments. :)

Developing a Logo: Part 1

Posted on June 28, 2013 and tagged Small Biz with comments

If you've been to CourseCraft this week, you'll notice that we have a bit of a new look! We changed the logo, the colours, and the style of the buttons. Working on CourseCraft this year has taught me so many things. I always thought I had some design talent. I can make a mean wedding invite, I've been through a million Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials and I'm always trying to learn new things. But you know what? Turns out designing a whole web app is a bit different than some floral party invites. The design process has been a constant struggle for me. Not to say it hasn't been fun, because it has! I'm learning new things everyday. But I feel like a lot of what I do is trial and error and learning by doing.

I thought you might want to see my process for designing the new CourseCraft logo. I recently took an amazing course at Alt for Everyone taught by Laurie Smithwick. She walked us through her process for creating a logo from scratch and I borrowed a lot of her techniques. I don't claim to be an expert, but here ya go!

Sketching is the first obvious step... you might think. But it's not where I started. As per Laurie's amazing advice, I took a few minutes (literally) to browse Logo Pond to find logos I liked. I scrolled around and makd quick judgements. If something caught me eye, I quickly took a screen shot. Once I had about 10 logos collected, I put them all in front of me at once. Then I took a closer look at each one and tried to put it into words why liked it. I came up with a list of words and right away started noticing a pattern.

These are the phrases that were most common:

  • simple
  • line drawing
  • two tone
  • soft
  • low contrast
  • square
  • logo on top, name on the bottom

Then I set that list aside and went to work on another list of words. I wrote down words that (to me) described CourseCraft or what I wanted CourseCraft to be. These were a little harder to come up with and kind of abstract:

  • tools
  • bringing people together
  • school
  • teacher/student
  • learning
  • growing
  • sharing
  • books
  • building blocks

Ok now let's get to the sketching! With those 2 lists in mind, I started drawing. The kind of drawing where you just put down on paper anything that pops into your head with no erasing. If I liked something I tried to build on it and come up with more iterations. After a few days (yes days) of slow sketching I had this.

And this.

What did I do next? You'll have to come back next week to find out! I'll show you how I went from these rough, ugly sketches to the new CourseCraft logo.

Art (almost) Everday

Posted on June 17, 2013 and tagged Art & Photography, Personal with comments

Hey remember when I wrote about my New Year's goals and one of them was how I wanted to fill a sketchbook page every week? And then I started doing that and posted a photo every week of my sketchbook? Well if you don't, it's probably because I did it like 4 times and then totally gave up. Gotta love New Year's goals that last only for January...

Well, I've been following Jessalin Beutler on Twitter ever since I bought an adorable and beautifully painted dress from her online shop and she started this project called Art Everyday where she (as you may have guessed) makes art every single day.

For some reason, even though I couldn't manage to put pen to paper once a week, making something everday seemed attainable. I still don't understand the logic, because there is no logic in this, but I find setting aside a few minutes everyday just to play around in my sketchbook so much easier than "filling a page each week".

Art everyday (in my opinion) is about feeling free to just scribble on a page one day, make giant ugly mistakes the next day, and maybe even create something you're proud of the next day. When you experiment and make something you're feeling blah about, there's always tomorrow to start fresh. I felt a lot of pressure with the sketchbook page per week to create something good every week. Afterall, I had a whole week to complete it. Now, I love being able to experiment with my tools and not think of it as a final piece.

While I haven't managed to stick with making art literally everyday, it's definitely art almost everyday. Turns out I've been managing to fill way more than one page per week too! So I still feel like I'm sticking with my New Year's goal.

What about you? Have you stumbled on any goals this year and what are you doing to get back on track?

June Freebie

Posted on June 1, 2013 and tagged Freebies with comments

I'm fully into all things summer now and just loving this warm weather! I've been stocking up on summer dresses and cute new sandals. Also, my main mode of transportation has been my bike. I really wish I could bike everywhere all year round. This week I might even try my hand at a little veggie garden on my deck. We'll see how long those poor plants last. My next post might be titled "RIP Zucchini" so watch out.

This month I made a beachy, summery desktop background to celebrate sandal weather! Hope you like it. :)

There are 4 sizes to choose from depending what kind of computer/lappy you have so there should be something for everyone's situation, plus a patterned iPhone background. Just click one of the buttons below to get the full size image. Then just save it and set it as your wallpaper.

Download the Backgrounds
1440 x 900 // 1366 x 768 // 1920 x 1080 // 2800 x 1880 // iPhone