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 a high demand for natural vanilla in the industry, which there is very little of, so I wanted to focus on this to gain some insight.
Prior to drafting a logo design, I did some research on vanilla’s impact to the flavor industry. Long story made 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. For more information about what’s going on in the vanilla-world, read on here or here.
Based on what we’ve learned about logo design, I wanted my logo to be simple and versatile. I started the design process by researching the vanilla plant online, and quickly noted how simple and lovely the plant’s flower is.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
I also searched through different vanilla logos to get an idea of what is currently in use. Most designs incorporate 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.
With this idea in mind, 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 I knew I did not have the skills nor the time to make the shape as professional as I would like it to look. So, I moved forward with my first sketch and decided to make a more abstract logo design with it.
Technical Process: Draft
I started the design using the ellipse tool in Illustrator, creating an oval like shape. Using the direct selection tool, I adjusted the anchors until I got the desired petal shape. 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.
To replicate the petal, I copied and pasted the shape, then rotated it via Object > Transform > Reflect, to create a mirror image of the original Petal. I then did the same process to create the bottom four petals: started with an ellipse, adjusted, rotated, and used guidelines to position them in a manner to promote balance.
Once the petals were positioned, 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, the world’s main exporter of vanilla, 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 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 flower was in complete, I needed to be able to make the image scalable without losing its integrity. I did so by going to Object > Path > Outline Stroke, then 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:
I wanted to keep the hand-drawn aspect to the logo, so I read up on fonts that work well in Illustrator, and came across this article. I decided to use the font Daniel from DaFont.com. I then used guidelines to help position the text, 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 up.
I kept the logo black and white, as it was not for a company specifically, despite being 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 uncertain of the black border–I’m not sure if it closes the image together or shuts it off.
I received a lot of positive feedback about my logo design, which was reassuring. Most of the criticism I received revolved around font, flower design and the logo’s color. On my font choices, it was recommended I look at the size and positioning of the text, particularly the “vanilla initiatives” text area, as it comes off as an afterthought and leaves quite a bit of empty space along the outer edges of the design.
The flower was critiqued as well, with suggestions that I fatten up some of the thinner lines and perhaps remove one of the petals to stay true to the real flower. I had been so preoccupied with balance that I didn’t realize I strayed away from my original inspiration—thanks for the catch, Barbara!
Thought the black color was successful for my design, I received some suggestions on how I could incorporate color in the final design. It was noted that everyone good logo has a color version, so these suggestions were very helpful.
I began the final draft of my logo by first working on the flower. In order to change the color of the design as a whole, I needed to unite the outlines of the individual petals to one shape. I did so by using the Shapebuilder tool, and zooming in at about 2000% to see all the fine intersecting lines. Once this was complete, I was able to change the color of the outline by using the isolation layer mode, as it enabled me to be able to select the outline individually.
It was suggested in the feedback that I try using a yellow center, staying true to the actual flower’s coloring. I wanted the flower to have a warm presence, so I used a gradient from a bright yellow center set at 100% opacity, blending to a warm lighter brown color set at 80% opacity to keep the colors light. Once the flower color was set, I increased the size to fill in more of the pace and centered the shape using align tools. I then gave the flower a feathered stylization effect, as well as an outer glow set in black to give the shape a bit more definition from the background.
Next I began playing with the font size. I increased both texts to 72 pt. font, and centered them in the space above and below the flower. Using the color theme panel, I selected a green color that complimented the yellow and brown in the flower. Plus, using green with the word “grow” had a good connotation in my mind. Once I rasterized and used the image tracer on the text as I did in the draft, I then used the align tools again to center and space out the text with the flower to enhance balance.
I decided to eliminate the outer boarder altogether as I was uncertain of it from the beginning and felt it was closing off the final design after increasing the size of the inner parts.
After I was content with the color version, I saved it then went back and edited the colors back to black to have two versions of my final design:
Here are examples of them scaled down: