Jun 17, 2013
Today I selected a case study by Sean McCabe, one of the best hand lettering artists out there, Sean specialty is creating custom type logos and on this post we will take an inside look of his process and how everything gets done. Enjoy
Fabule is startup focused on providing open-source home accessories to curious and creative individuals. While the customizable nature of their products caters to the DIY community, they especially wanted to gear their branding efforts towards reaching the average person wanting to get started with tinkering and making things. They were looking to have a friendly image developed that would give a human face to otherwise geeky concepts.
In terms of stylistic direction, the logo was to strike a balance amongst three concepts: Playful, Sophisticated, and Organic.
To meet this requirement, the Fabule logo I designed embodies a warm, brush script style. This presents a humanistic image that is friendly and approachable. The goal being to put the viewer in a playful state of mind and keep from turning off the more novice members of the target audience with any literal concepts.
The style seeks to balance an aesthetic of elegance with an element of fun. To match the organic style of their design approach, the letterforms were inspired by hand crafted script renderings made with a brush pen, and based on the very best parts of the many iterations created.
Through a gradual process, the letters were drawn, redrawn, scaled up large, and drawn yet again for detailed refinement. The inked version was then vectored to match the drawing. While the initial vector is a good conveyance of style, it is just the beginning of conceptualizing the digital form. Many more dozens of revised versions of the vector were explored and tested for effectiveness in application and scale.
In early versions, the logo was entirely straight with subtle rounded corners. However, this execution did not line up with the playful DIY nature of the brand. This is where I began to introduce the pointed corners to invoke the more organic brush look. With these stylistic additions, I was also inspired to give the logo a slight obliqueness to bring out the elegance of the curves. As soon as I did, I knew I made the right choice—the angle gave it such a life that previously wasn’t there.
While I experimented with giving points to all the stems, I ended up treating just a few of them with pointed ends, and juxtaposing them with the flatter stems and their rounded corners. This contrast resulted in a very unique typographic mark that is simultaneously clean and beautiful.
There were four colors provided that the client liked. I tested out some various combinations and slight alternations to these provided colors but ultimately settled on using the purple alone. I recommended the primary application to be the purple version on very light backgrounds, or alternatively the light version on purple background.
Note that the light on dark version does not use a full white, but instead a slight off-white. I found the pure white to be a bit harsh, and by bringing the white down slightly to a very light gray, the logo is given a smoother appearance.
Something that surprised and delighted me was that my client said that actually wanted to use version with the guidelines on their business card. They felt that showing the guidelines reflected their organization’s transparency in terms of openness about process. I though it was a fantastic idea that was very fitting.