I had the good fortune of seeing Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. for the second time last night. The first time I saw him was at the HOW Conference in Boston, and it was quite an experience. I went into it because I knew he was a sole owner of a graphic design design business – little did I know he was also a dynamic speaker that would touch everyone in the room that day.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Aaron Draplin, let me start by saying he is not your stereotypical designer – no black glasses, blue jeans and blazer – no fancy studio with a million Addys. More like trucker hat, full beard, mustache and straight shooting from the hip. He is humble but also tells it like it is.
The first slide in his presentation sets the tone for the whole talk. It states “1. I should not be up here.” But Aaron Draplin should very much be up there – no doubt about that.
Draplin took an unconventional route to design. I won’t spoil it for those that see him in other cities, but my big take away from Draplin’s talk is that there are good, humble people out there who remember the joy of doing design just because they love design. He tells you to value the small jobs as much as the larger jobs – he has made a name for himself, but no job is too small. He also pays as much attention to the detail of those small jobs (“Look how I Saul Bassed those corners!”) He tells you to “Say yes a little more than you say no.” And his best advice is work hard and love what you do – because it is not something that you HAVE to do – it is something that you GET to do.
If you get the opportunity to see him in your city, I highly recommend it. Everyone needs inspiration like Aaron Draplin once in a while. I’ve seen a lot of speakers and few have touched me the way his talk did, not once, but twice.
The logo is one of the most integral pieces of design, and I also feel like it is the one that most alludes the client. It is difficult to boil down everything that a company is to one line of text and/or an accompanying image. I’d like to share with you some things to keep in mind when developing your companies logo.
1) A logo should be able to be viewed well from as small as one inch to as large as a billboard.
2) A logo should be as clear in black and white as it is in color. Be careful not to be too dependent on color, as often you will want your logo to be screen-printed on pens, t-shirts, notepads, etc. It would be a shame for it to lose the message (or for it to be flat out impossible to have it done).
3) A logo might be as simple as the text of your company set in a nice typeface. Look at “Anthropologie” – simple, yet effective.
4) Evaluate the amount of detail needed (see #1). There’s nothing wrong with detail, but keep in mind that this logo may go in the corner of your website, or be printed at 1 inch wide on your cards. Does the detail show? Does it need tweaking?
5) Ideally, if your company continues to grow, and you have chosen your graphic well, the graphic will be identifiable without your name. Think Apple, Nike, etc.
6) Keep the audience guessing with a good concept. Don’t be totally obscure, but sometimes it is nice to have a little fun with your brand. Have you seen the arrow in the FedEx logo? Once you see it, your life will never be the same.
7) Beware of trends. You want your logo to surpass the latest cool design trick and be something that can stick with you as your business continues to grow.
Does anyone else have any tips that I might have missed?
It is January 2013, and among my other resolutions, I’d like to work on reviving this blog. I got sidetracked with out wedding blog last year, outlining the wedding process and all our plans, but with the launch of my new website today, I think it is time to devote my attention back to the design blog at hand. I’m going to try to get more personal with this blog – dig into things that interest me, maybe some explanations of the process of some of my projects, hints on what to look for in a design and overall, just good design in use. Welcome to 2013! It is going to be a good year.