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.
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.
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.