November 7, 2008

Ziggy Nixon Home-Made Logo Design Process

One thing we definitely realized when we started looking at making a logo for ourselves is that Ziggy Nixon does not lend itself to many creative approaches. There are no real swirly bits like attractive S shapes and most of the letters involved seem to be basic geometric shapes. Heck, we couldn’t even rip off one of the many more well-known shapes (where’s a curvy giant M when you need it? Man, now we have a craving for fries…).

Of course from the start it was thought that something could be done with the Z and the N, which again geometrically speaking, are the same shape, only one has been out all night drinking. So we began with ideas like this to test whether or not the shapes could be aligned and even differentiated through colors or specifically color combinations (truth be told, we were also hoping to sneak an X out of the whole thing as well):

Simple, yes. Attractive, not so.

And yet, like a sturdy bacteria learning to survive in the bowels of a volcano or in the frozen tundra, our design (oh ha ha, that is to laugh!) continued to morph and spread to other shapes and themes along this line. Perhaps more suitable one day as a logo on a Super-Hero’s costume, no?

This then led us to our drafting phase (in honor of Ziggy Sr.’s architecture degree), with albeit intriguing results (read: retching did not immediately commence and most observers could be revived with only minor heart massage) but still not what we were looking for either:

We did notice that even at this phase an inkling of a color scheme was starting to appear (well, we were pretty sure that the black and white bits would stay). At the risk of imitating one of the many global postal services that have chosen this same scheme (exception: we understand that Mexico has taken some sort of move towards bright pink?), we did like the combination, even though none of our software gave us that real deep license plate contrast we were looking for.

Other approaches to try to work the synergy of the Z and the N together were examined, but alas, with very very bizarre consequences. Still, the interest in expanding the overlap to include that both halves of the name including i’s was just too tempting:

Remember our analogy about Ronald Reagan picking at a zit and ultimately destroying the world in a nuclear inferno (or something to that effect)? Well, these are our proverbial zits that we just couldn’t leave alone:

And yet, despite the creation of what can only be called a festering boil on the bottom of humanity, we even continued for some time with similar although more abbreviated themes (call it ‘diet design’: less logo, same nauseating effects), as you see here in this grand collection:

Other ideas or better said again, phases, came and went including:

‘The Faded Overlap’ or ‘Seriously Addicted to PowerPoint’ Phase:

‘The Shadows on the Ground’ or ‘Ow Ow, Mommy Mommy, It Makes My Eyes Hurt’ Phase:

‘The Annoyingly Geometric’ or ‘Typical 80’s Pop Band Style’ Phase (think: ‘Men Without Logos’… never mind, most of you probably have no idea who we’re referring to… darn young people and your 8-track players and blue jeans and such ...):
All during this time, we were indeed doing our best to analyze not only the world around us, but pay close attention to the vast amount of logos and branding we passed every day, even driving to work. Granted before this little mental exercise was completed we had totalled two cars and caused unlimited mayhem on the highways, but we were getting more and more of an inkling of how the simplicity of GOOD logos came into play.

It was also about this time that we began brain-storming about the ‘slice’ effect of the ZN brand, that is, essentially cutting in half the lettering and moving it one ‘unit’ of space over. The first trial looked something like this:
This was with luck lost in a sudden inexplicable wind and lightning storm, never to be seen again. We then moved forwards:

being cut and diced to make

which then was goofed around with (sorry if we're getting too technical with this terminology) to form such designs as

or even

This was getting there and we were even enjoying recognizing certain shapes and interesting patterns in this set-up. Still, it needed more.

At this stage then we began experimenting with a mix of cut / slides to the right and cut / slides to the left… though to be truthful, we’re not sure which is which anymore (realizing that some versions were just so bad that they’d even burst spontaneously into flames as we drew them, which was impressive since we were primarily using a PC to do this with):

And along the way, we began to really tidy up this idea, working then from several very similar models:

And to bring this rambling tome to a close, what we eventually decided was that
(a) first and foremost, we were beginning to smell bad, as we had pretty much become obsessed with finishing this project and had abandoned such essentials as sleep, personal hygiene, etc.;
(b) we were in severe danger of not only getting the zit even more infected, but creating a situation where one of today’s, quote, Hot New Stars, would have to make a movie where miraculously every one else was sick and/or dying and they had to somehow save us against all odds and still manage to find a really hot member of the opposite sex in which to… sorry, began to ramble there again;
(c) quite frankly it wasn’t going to get any better.

Still, although we felt a bit more comfortable with the above, we wanted our approach to be a bit more logo-ey (which for the longest time we obviously confused with gooey).

So snipping and sliding some more, we combined some of our favourite elements (like the cool Erlenmeyer flask we saw in the design, as well as other organic chemistry symbols. We admit it: we’re a geek!), tightened up the color even more and put a nice little box around the whole thing and viola (literal translation: a fat violin) we had our logo, more or less (we’re tempted to say less):

With all said and done, it was not only an extremely fun process where we learned quite a lot (which is nice), but we got our money’s worth.

Are we finished? Well, if the Mrs. and as well the local police have their say, then yes. But in our eyes, no. We’re still looking at a kind of cut, move, and twist approach – this time even in a much more 3D fashion – but that alas, is a story for another day.

Keep pushing! VERY IMPORTANTLY: Support your local logo designer by leaving stuff like this to the professionals! And if you don’t, do at least make sure to keep those emergency phone numbers close by!

1 comment:

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