Draft Logo



For this unit’s project, I am aiming to create a logo that could be used for a flavor company’s vanilla enterprises.  There is quite an uproar going on in the industry in regards to the demand and pricing of natural vanilla, so I wanted to touch on this topic to gain some insight into that uproar, as well as to create a design that could be usable by my employer for their own vanilla initiatives.

Prior to drafting a logo design, I did some research on vanilla’s impact to the flavor industry.  For the final draft of this project, I plan on having a separate blog post about my findings, but long story short:

  • Vanilla was a rare commodity in the prior to the mid-to-late 1800s, before hand-pollination was discovered
  • Once the flavor became common and grew in demand, chemist created a synthetic version of the end product, vanillin. This helped sustain supply and keep prices low
  • A move toward natural labeling in the food industry has created a demand for natural vanilla, which can only be derived by hand-pollination of vanilla orchards. Only 1% of the world’s vanilla comes from these orchards—hence the increase in pricing.

Scientist and consumers throughout the world are finding ways to supplement the increasing demand by finding natural alternatives to pure vanilla and by helping the communities where the vanilla plant prospers.  My work, for example, recently sponsored the construction of a new school in Madagascar to help support the community we import our vanilla beans from.  For more information about what’s going on in the vanilla-world, read on here or here.

Creative Inspiration 

Based on what we read on logo design, I wanted my logo to be simple and versatile. I took to the internet and began browsing photos of vanilla plants and noticed how simple yet lovely the plant’s flower is.


Image via Wikimedia Commons 

I also looked at different vanilla logos to get an idea of what is currently being used. Most of what I found made use of vanilla beans rather than the flower itself, so I felt confident using the flower as the main point of my logo.  One thing that may limit its effectiveness, however, is that the flower isn’t necessarily as recognizable as the beans.

Then, I sketched two brief ideas I had for the logo:


I decided to stay away from making a life-like flower out of vector shapes, as, honestly, I do not think I have the skill nor the time to make the shape as professional as I would like it to look. Thus, I moved forward with the first sketch.

Technical Process:

I started the design using the ellipse tool in Illustrator, creating an oval like shape.  Using the direct selection tool, I then went and adjusted the anchors until I got the petal shape that I wanted.  As can be seen in the photo of the vanilla flower above, the flower has five petals in total, two of which look a bit longer and stretched away from the rest of the plant.  This was the inspiration for the two large expanded petals at the top of the image.

Once the petal was shaped to my liking, I copied and pasted the shape, then rotated it by going to Object > Transform > Reflect, to create a mirror image of the original Petal.  I then did the same step to create the bottom four petals: started with an ellipse, adjusting, rotating, and using guidelines to position them in a manner to promote balance.

Once the petals were in place, I wanted to give the flower a brush effect, as if it were hand drawn.  I was inspired by my work’s efforts in building a school in Madagascar, and felt using an art stroke would help connect the ideas of vanilla and community. To get this effect, I set the stroke’s brush definition to 5 pt. Oval and increased the thickness to give the shape a calligraphy-feel.

At one point, I found I was unable to adjust the anchors on the shape without distorting the image.  With Lisa’s help, I found I had expanded the image too early in my design and somehow ended up with shapes on top of my original design, and had to go back and redo my previous work.

Once the design was how I wanted it to be, I knew I needed to be able to make the image scalable without losing the integrity of the image.  I did so by going to Object > Path > Outline Stroke, then I grouped the individual petals together.  This made the image able to be shrunk down without destroying it.  Here is a scaled-down image of my logo:


In choosing a font, I wanted to maintain the hand-drawn feel, so I looked up different articles for fonts that work well in Illustrator, and came across this article. I decided to use the font Daniel from DaFont.com.  Once I decided on a text, I used guidelines to help position them, then rasterized them as images.  That seemed to distort the text a bit, so I used the image tracer on both, which helped cleared them back up quite a bit.

I decided to keep the logo black and white, as it was not for a company specifically, though it was inspired by my work.  If I did decide to add color going forward, it would be based on the organization that uses this design, or I would color it in a way that is representative of an actual vanilla plant itself, using browns, greens, and yellowish-white colors. I am also not sure if I want to keep the black border–I’m not sure if it closes the image together or shuts it off.


6 thoughts on “Draft Logo

  1. Hi K.C., this is a very beautiful logo draft. Thank you so much for providing the interesting information on the history of vanilla. It certainly helped to understand why a logo would be necessary and made me think I sometimes take it for granted in my baking!
    I truly like the simplicity and flow of your design. Keeping the logo black and white and boxing it really aided in that simplicity and cleanness. I like that you chose a font that has a similar flow and calligraphy feel to the logo icon itself and I also like the balance that you intended to represent in the logo – it is very appealing to the eye. I’m also not sure if this was intentional or not, but I like that the center of the logo makes out a “V” which made me think of Vanilla.

    One area of improvement I might suggest would be changing the box to a circle for a continuity of that flow feeling. You could even make it look like a hand drawn circle like your text and logo design. I remember reading or watching in some of the logo course materials that circles are quite useful for many reasons in logo designs. Here is an article I found on the redesign of Twitter’s logo and how circles have been used in logo design as the recent golden rule of thumb: https://designshack.net/articles/graphics/twitters-new-logo-the-geometry-and-evolution-of-our-favorite-bird/

    A second area of improvement I would suggest is getting rid of some of the dead space within the box itself – tighten things up a bit for when the logo is shrunk down in size quite a bit, such as an Instragram icon, etc.

    Overall, this is a really beautiful logo and a fantastic draft.



  2. Hi KC,
    I love the simplicity of your image and recognized right away that it was a stylization of the vanilla flower. And, I agree that is a much more visually interesting subject than the vanilla bean. I also really like the hand drawn quality you give the design by adjusting the stroke lines. My suggestions would be to look at adjusting your design so that it has five stylized petals instead of the six to make it more accurate with the real flower. I can’t tell if the flower has a drop shadow or not, but it kind of looks like it, which make it pop off the page to me. If there isn’t one, you might experiment a bit with that. I would also suggest if you decide to add any color that you consider adding a stylized yellow center, which I think would make it even more clear that it’s a vanilla flower. I totally think your image will be able to stand on its own as a recognizable symbol, but if you are adding type, I would suggest increasing the size of the “Vanilla Initiatives.” It seems a little out of scale with the symbol to me. Great start! I look forward to seeing the final design.


    1. Thanks for the feedback Barbara! Your logo was great so your words are greatly appreciated! I did use a outer glow and feather stylization, but forgot to mention that in the draft text. Good catch! 🙂


  3. Hello K.C.,
    Great job with the logo! Thank you for the information about vanilla. It’s fascinating that the sale of vanilla is in its current state and helped me make sense of the very limited options of vanilla at the store.
    The design is great in its simplicity. It suggests to me a focus on the basics and the traditional way of growing vanilla and farming vanilla. The gradual increase in size of the plant in the drawing reinforces the idea of growth. I like that it looks hand drawn, a very nice effect for the lines.
    The font is great. Kudos for going out and searching and finding a great font that looks very naturally hand written.
    My only suggested change would be the size of the words “Vanilla Initiatives”. I feel that since it’s the main theme of your endeavor, it could be shown more prominently and catch people’s attention.
    Great job!



  4. Thank you all for the feedback. I appreciate the positive remarks—they helped ease a highly self-critical mind.

    Moving forward I am planning on playing with the size of the text, as suggested in most of the comments. I left the text somewhat unedited as I wanted the design to be able to be representative of a variety of companies, including some that may not want their name on everything. However, for the sake of the logo itself, vanilla initiatives is the purpose, so that part of the text should be just as, if not more important as the top. Plus, increasing the size of the bottom text will help fill the empty space, as Nikki pointed out. I was so preoccupied with how the inner part of the flower looked that I didn’t really pay attention to the outside of the logo—thanks!

    I also plan on playing with color. I think that using a yellow gradient from the center could be a fun idea, as Barbara suggested, but I’m cautious of taking away the sleekness the black color brings to the design. The flavor industry is sophisticated and modern, so color does work, but I am afraid having the gradient paired with the hand drawn effect may be too young looking. I’m looking forward to playing with the design a bit to see what I can come up with. I think it’s going to be a bit of work trying to get a gradient from the center of the design though, as they are all individual strokes put close enough and grouped together to one shape…. we shall see!


  5. Hi KC,

    I love your “hand drawn” approach! I also appreciate your font choice in sticking with the hand drawn theme. It’s identifiable and cohesive!
    I only have a couple of suggestions. First, you have a lot of negative space above and below the words. Perhaps you could tighten that up a bit. You could also make your border more hand drawn or rustic as well to match your design. My only other suggestion is to make the Vanilla Initiative larger as it appears to be an afterthought at the moment.

    Those suggestions aside, you have a great start and I’m looking forward to seeing where you take the final draft!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s