Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Designing a logo for Friday.Night youth events

Recently I designed a logo for Friday.Night events («Пятница. Вечер» — in Russian) held by “Alpha and Omega” Christian Youth Society. I had to do it rather quickly, yet I quite enjoyed both the result and the process (which is precious, won't you agree?). Below I'll share the thinking and the approach I took in this.

The Task

Friday.Night events are weekly meetings for Christian youth to enjoy their time together and be able to invite their unbelieving friends to. Each Friday the meetings could have a different theme and format (e.g. we had an Acoustic Music concert, a “Mafia” game night, a New Years Masquerade and cooking evenings dedicated to sushi, and then pirogi). Yet the common characteristic of these evenings is that they are friendly and fun, with the goal of welcoming new people in for them to get to know Christians better and not be afraid to come to a Sunday gathering.

The Idea

I have to admit that I took a very straightforward route here, yet it may not be obvious on the first glance. The rectangles represent the week (in our culture it starts on Monday), with different random “things to do” on each one, yet two of them stand out. Friday, obviously, is the big one, since it is the focus of the logo. If shows the Sun setting, and stars are starting to shine — because, you know, “night”. The second important day is Sunday, since these are Christian events, so the last rectangle signifies a church, with the burgundy colour and welcoming doors — instead of windows of the other “buildings”.

The Sunday colour is then consciously repeated in the capital letters and in the “dot”, for balance and unity.

So that's that. I hoped to introduce the fun / youthful factor by playing with the typography, and achieved it to some extent, yet I believe it still looks a tad too formal. I guess it comes from my experience, where I almost always work on logos / designs for serious things. I need to improve my “crazy” skills, then :)

The Process

This was created in Inkscape, a freeware vector editing software. I don't know how it compares to Adobe Illustrator since I never used it, yet I've found Inkscape to be good for my needs — even if it is a bit awkward and rough around the edges, it is still a powerful tool.

For the text, each letter was created as a separate “text” object, since I wanted maximum freedom in sizing and position — since that would be the main vehicle for expressing the “fun” effect, while also I needed to balance them carefully (and I believe this could still be improved). Highlights are additional freehand vector shapes, roughly directed towards the setting Sun:

Highlights proved to be a great asset to the “feel” of the logo, with them it looks… well, polished.

I've made several attempts at conveying the “Night” idea in the Friday rectangle. I browsed through a ton of samples on LogoPond for ideas and inspiration, though I made sure not to directly copy anything I saw.

A lot of vector shapes are used, as well as an overlay of gradient glow, to prevent a sterile mechanical feel (half-successfully):

A palm tree on Saturday is also a nice touch, /me thinks.

Since a lot of stray shapes and objects were involved, I worked in layers, to be able to select / copy / edit a certain part of the image without affecting the rest. Here's the list of layers I used:

This also serves as a primitive versioning structure, you can tell I had several goes at text placement.

For low-resolution usage I created a smaller version, which lacks any details in the buildings, has less highlights on the letters, and uses simplified “Night” graphic on the tallest building. This is necessary to avoid visual noise — though, to be honest, it may require further refinement if this logo gets used in such limiting contexts.

I wouldn't be a proper creative if I were fully happy with this, yet I still like the look of it. The main downsides are that it should be less formal and strict, both in the graphic and the colouring, and the idea behind it is too down-to-business, I would like it to be less straight forward.

Also, I can't shake the feeling that I've seen it somewhere, yet can't nail it either. Nothing new under the Moon, eh?

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