Making Of A Logo October 19 2014
My career is rooted in graphic design. I think the graphic tees I made in college are what got me noticed and began my start in working on lifestyle products. A graphic for a shirt is very similar to a logo. Both must represent something visually: a feeling, a message, a point of view. I don't create all the product we carry at Strange Ways, but I knew I wanted to form our branding considering Strange Ways is sort of an extension of myself and my style.
The most recognizable imagery for Strange Ways will be our logo. Below I've described a bit of the thought process in deciding how it came to be. I wanted do this because firstly, I think it's kind of fun. Secondly, to show you—the customers—the care taken behind this business. I don't take much of what Strange Ways does lightly from who we buy from, what those products says, what brands to represent and even yes, what our logo looks like.
The first step for me is always writing down what it is I'm trying to represent, and doing some initial sketches off of the computer with what comes to mind. I want Strange Ways to be about individual style, unusual imagery, fringe culture and unique ideas. I want this to be a place for like-minded outcasts to come together, and see there's people out there making the odd stuff they want to wear and use. To me, that conjures up imagery of close-knit groups of “weirdos” like covens, outcasts, Illuminati and various cult followings. Being in New Haven, CT—the home of Yale and Skull and Bones—I thought secret societies were a good source to draw from too.
I began collecting imagery relating to these groups, amassing symbols and iconic imagery. I find it advantageous when collecting images to see where they overlap and repeat. This usually means those connotations would resonate with the general public. The most repeated imagery I found were geometric shapes—particularly circles and triangles. (With research I also found out the triangle is the strongest geometric shape—which I love—and a circle represents unity.) This is a very good place to be, because those images are so iconic. My thought is the that best logos are simple, but memorable. Crests can be cool and elaborate designs can look nice, but to me those become more illustrations instead of icons.
I started making tons of computer sketches. I ended up being really drawn to the formation of a circle and a triangle overlapping. Making the circle secondary evoked a thought of 3 different corners coming together, and in doing so connect a circle. I liked that grander idea of different outcasts forming a bond. The different internal and external shapes also play off each other well. I knew I wanted the actual word Strange Ways to be in the logo. As a new business it'll help people identify our name. I also knew we'd need 2 different versions depending on aspect ratio. Often times a square is great for a logo, but a logotype is often horizontal. I wanted both, but to make sure they connected.
As far as design style, maybe this is more of a personal taste, but I was drawn toward creating something smooth and clean. I will say I did think it was important in utilizing this darker, almost occult-like imagery to not make it feel too intense or frantic with the quality of linework. I thought it could evoke a sort of amateurish quality around a business I want to be taken seriously. The juxtaposition of more raw imagery with a clean finessing I thought could create an interesting contrast.
With this in mind, when finalizing the style of the logo I went sleek and modern. When choosing a font I wanted something that had hard lines and 90 degree angels to mimic the geometric shapes I was using. The letters I chose didn't work out perfectly as they were, so I made adjustments to the heights and points of some of the letters.
In the end I came up with a logo that has different design elements which can be pulled apart or put together when needed. I think it comes across modern, while referencing something from the past. Currently I prefer putting the logo on a black background with inverted white text to give off more of a mood, but many times it'll be represented on a white background too. In the future I may play with adding color, but the basis of it stands well in black and white and I'm going to keep using that for now. Hope that was informative and interesting, but most importantly that you dig our logo! Thanks for reading up about the ideas and identity of Strange Ways.
Founder & Creative Director