The past two weeks of coursework involved using Adobe Illustrator to design a logo. In my case, I designed a logo for my graduate research project, which will model grizzly bear resource selection of army cutworm moth aggregations in the greater trans-boundary Glacier National Park area. The process began with a hand-sketch for a project logo and a series of instructional tutorials that taught the basics of Illustrator. Grizzly bears dig for army cutworm moths near the summits of select high-elevation mountains in my study area. As such, the goal for my logo was to incorporate these three elements (grizzly bears, army cutworm moths, and mountains) into my design.
The second phase of the design process used Illustrator to design a rough draft for a project logo. This was a challenging step in the process, given I had very limited knowledge of all the bells and whistles of Illustrator. I created two rough drafts. The initial draft took a lot of experimenting with the program -clicking here and undoing there- to complete the draft. Not fully satisfied with the first rough draft, I took a more-simplified approach for a second design.
After completing my rough drafts, I took a break from the project for a few days. During this period, I provided feedback on other classmates’ logo designs, and I reviewed a bunch of online information and example logos to generate ideas. Classmate reviews of my rough drafts were generally positive. A couple people thought I could work with colors differently, and a couple others encouraged me to simplify the design. The consensus I reached during this time was that my logo was likely too involved; I was trying to fit too much into the palm pad of the grizzly bear track in my rough draft’s first design. I thought I likely needed to simplify my logo to improve it. Perhaps, even reduce the amount of color in it. I also thought my design might be a bit too poster-like. So, over the past week, I continued to play around with my logo, exploring the depths of Illustrator. I first tried moving around all the elements of my first rough draft. This resulted in me creating a few very poster-like design. I then changed the composition of my design, going from rectangular to circular. I really liked this eighth draft design, but I thought the colors were still too rich, and drew attention away from the main elements of my logo. To resolve this design issue, I removed colors and elements from my design, thinking less would be more. Indeed, I believe this was the case. The image below shows my logo design process from rough drafts up to the cusp of its final form.
My finished project logo is the simplest design I created. It uses principles of Gestalt Theory to bring together a cohesive design of all three logo elements. What I like about the design is how the white space in the logo means something -to the eye, it isn’t really empty space. The main element of my logo is a front-foot grizzly bear track. For the track’s palm pad, I substituted-in an outlined army cutworm moth. Rather than “black-out” the whole moth, I left two distinguishing spots on the moth’s wings, so the observer could distinguish that this was a particular type of moth. Overall, I really liked how the track turned out. The track clearly looks like a grizzly bear track, even though the palm pad is an army cutworm moth. To incorporate a mountain setting into the design, I used a silhouette of Mt. Cleveland -the highest peak in Glacier. With this element, I used white space to unify my design. Last, I added some text font to the bottom of the logo to communicate that the project is occurring in Glacier National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. While it may have taken a long time to complete, my finalized logo is a design I am satisfied with, such that I think I will feel comfortable using this project logo in the future, in various project communication platforms.