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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.

Step 1 design process: Hand sketch of a project logo.

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.

Step 2 design process: Create a rough draft project logo using Adobe Illustrator (first draft on left, second on right)

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.

Step 3 design process: Creating a final project logo. From rough draft to final, I created 13 versions of my project logo, in which I essentially moved some elements around and simplified my design.

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.

My completed project logo design
This entry was posted in Com 210.
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