A Refined Vision

A typographical challenge and the art of helping clients through their own creative processes.

Sometimes working with a client that already has a vision for their logo can make the process streamline and clear-cut, leaving both the client and designer with clear expectations and instructions. Other times it can be hard as a designer to work within the confines of a concept (after all, we’re creatives and like to color outside the lines!). It can be hard to know when to push back against their vision, and when to ride out their idea to the end.

Most recently, I collaborated with another entrepreneur and creative, Jonathan Stallsman, of Purple Finch Productions, on his logo design. He came to me with a vision and a budget, and we were able to come up with a design that met both of these needs. It was a pleasure working with him, and it felt like the perfect balance of his direction and vision, with room for some creative license from me.

His Vision:

Purple Finch Original Logo

Jonathan wanted a logo that broke away from the traditional bird silhouette graphic, and instead used the P and the F of his company name as the basis for the shape of his bird icon. He chose hues that nod to the traditional purple finch coloring but with a brighter, more vibrant feel.

A Quick Note on Typography

I don’t consider myself a master of typography, but it’s always a good exercise to really look at the shapes that make up a letter, so you can make sure what you create is distinguishable. For me, one of the most challenging parts of this logo was making the beak and head look like the letter P.

The ‘stem’ of any letter P, whether serif or san-serif generally does not have a pointed ‘foot.’ In the same vein, the ‘bowl’ of the P (i.e. the curved part that connects to the stem) is not usually a perfect circle. Furthermore, a capital F is only a capital F if it has it’s ‘arm.’ Otherwise it looks like an upside L.


Typography overlaying bird

Sooo.. the challenge became, how do I make these shapes emulate letters, while also making two letters look like a cohesive image?

Purple Finch FullI’d say I took a few liberties here and there, but once I was able to find this balance, the logo really came together. Subtle accents such as the aperture shaped eye, the ‘arm’ of the F as a nod to the classic play button symbol, and the even subtler back wing emulating the traditional filming cut board all helped tie the essence of what Purple Finch Productions does, to the bird itself. Maybe not obvious at first glance, but these oh so subtle details can bring a vision to fruition. Thanks Jonathan for an awesome experience, and for your initial vision that started it all!


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