I am not a graphic designer

AndyBrown.me Logo

This is my personal logo. I have been reading up on personal branding and decided that I needed to come up with something to set myself apart as I lay the foundation to becoming a freelance artist. With me not being a graphic designer, I have a hard time coming up with ideas and, well, designs. I have been fortunate enough to work with an excellent designer in the past who also happens to be my best friend. Unfortunately, our time working together was limited because we needed a steady income stream so we could raise our families and not have to struggle.

He taught me a lot during that time, and I had to rely on his teachings to even arrive at a logo I am proud of. I have absolutely no practice in logo design (as I’m sure you can tell) but remember him telling me that everything needs to have a meaning and a reason for being. Okay, I thought. What is the meaning I am trying to convey? I wanted something to show that while I am versed (or will be versed when I graduate) in modern visual effects I am still professional and realize the history of effects in modern film. That led me to thinking about typefaces. I wanted something with both a modern and traditional look. In my looking I really couldn’t find that so I decided that I would mainly focus on finding a modern typeface and then adding something traditional to it.

I found the typeface I liked, but really wanted to customize it some more to make it more personal. It was during this time that I also started thinking about a logo mark because Andy Brown Visual Effects Artist can be a little long. I wanted something simple. I had been doing some sketches and thumbnails, but I wasn’t really satisfied with anything I had done. I kept coming back to a circle because in visual effects, the best effects are the ones you don’t notice. This led me to the circle because of its meanings of continuity and connection. I don’t want my effects to be the focus of a film or television show. I want the story to be the focus and my effects to help move the story in its intended direction. I also tried to think of what visual effects mean to me. When i boiled it all down the things I kept coming back to were fire and explosions. I know there is much more to effects than this, but this is what my mind came up with.

So, now I had my customized modern font and fire, but I had no idea how to combine the two, plus that stupid circle was still gnawing at my brain. I started brainstorming and looking at explosions and fire to see if I could come up with anything. After looking at a lot of fire, it hit me. A spark. Fire starts from sparks. Something often “sparks” creativity. After this hit me I did some more sketches and came up with my spark (circle) starting a fire. Now that I had my fire, I needed to find a place to put it. I thought about the beginning of the name, or the end of the name, or behind the name, making it large, making it small, and just about everything in between. At this point my brain hurt so I decided to go to bed for the night.

When I came back to my logo the next day, I realized something I had missed. I noticed that the “Y” in Andy looked like a torch. Once again I started searching for meaning. A torch lights our way in the dark. Effects can light up a story to give it more impact or more of a visual punch. There was my reason and my meaning.

I finally had all the components I needed. I tried putting a space between Andy and Brown, but it didn’t look right. I put everything together and that looked better, but I needed to separate the two names. Since my mark was also the letter “Y” I decided to use that to break up my name. I went from a filled letter to just an outline and really liked the look of that. I also needed to decide on a color scheme. I wanted to stay away from really flashy colors for the name, so I decided to stick with black text on light colored backgrounds and white text on dark colored backgrounds. I did want something to stand out so what better thing than the flame. The flame will be the sole color in the logo. I decided to make my flame red, once again, because of the meaning of the color red. Red can have a physical effect on people. It is the color of excitement and attention. It is stimulating as are many visual effects. Red helps things stand out. I want to stand out from my peers.

By reading this it seems as though it only took me a day or so to do this logo. Nope. In all, I would say that it took me about a week to get it to the point where it is today and where I am happy with it. As I said before I am not a graphic designer and I envy anyone who can do this kind of work. I am sure that my design could be stronger in many respects and my meanings might be a little off or pushed too much, but I like it. No, I am not a graphic designer at all. I just don’t think that way. Layout and typography don’t come easily to me. Like I said, I have worked with one of the best and hopefully something rubbed off.

I enjoyed this exercise, but I don’t think I could do it for a long period of time. I just don’t have it in me. Possibly the most rewarding part of doing this was thinking about the fond memories of working in a vacant apartment as an office eating grilled hotdogs for lunch and having a good time working with my best friend, even if the boss was an idiot. I also thought about working in a little building trying to start a business, going to a Chamber of Commerce meeting at the local Ryan’s restaurant, and spending time listening to 80s music while working. It’s nice to have good memories about work. Was it even work? It didn’t seem like it, and I do miss it.