A while back I was tapped to do a cartoon design for the Sociology Department. Incidentally the gig came about via Facebook - which has been proving it's value as a side-marketing tool many times over each year, and also by way of some editorial cartoons occasionally reposted on another blog. After a few weeks finally met up with the client and got an idea what they had in mind. Bouncing ideas around and asking basic questions is a good way to start the process of honing in on the eventual marriage between their creative vision and mine. Fortunately this was another dream case where I had pretty much free reign, but I always make a point to involve whoever it is on each step along the way as the design evolves. Constant feedback without inundating them with superfluous details is a balance that gets easier with experience, and also helps with the fun factor for all concerned parties. Like learning that it's commonly accepted to refer to sociology as "soc" (so-sh), but spelled "SOC" - akin to "PSYCH" and "ED" slang.
Going with the textbook theme of "sociology," and keeping the goal of a silly picture in mind, a role-reversal seemed appropriate enough in this particular case. So after doodling out a few flagship herd animals of the arctic and dropping a few sample fonts + layouts, the roughs went out for input. And then in for more output, etc.
Some of the considerations were simplicity, as this was going to be a single-color design, most likely black-on-light-colored substrate; and also that the logo was primarily geared towards being printed on a tote-bag. That means an even bolder line than usual would translate best given the textured nature of canvas. Details, details...
The original marmot idea didn't work so well, as they are rather marginal critters as far as conventional "far north" images go (not to mention they sorta looked like rats or feral hamsters in my sketch), as opposed to stereotypical musk-ox and caribou. The caribou concept was a keeper, but the logistics of trying to get a clean design with the full-sized versions didn't hold up, especially given the reduced print dimensions (approx 12x12") in conjunction with the required boldness of line for reasons mentioned above. So that meant head-shots, and the next stage was actually drawing out each individual animal - not the quick & dirty digital flopping done in the doodles at the outset.
I wound up doing the art-cat thing: mauling around one poor idea until it was all beat-up half to death. But this meant the time spent flogging one particular direction was a calculated gambit and an investment of hope that what with the extra attention it'd aesthetically predispose the client to picking the caribou. Pretty crafty, huh?
Yeah... so much for that idea...
Also, here's a screen grab of the (cleaned-up) document in Freehand, showing the multiple pages of each successive arrangement. Hat-tip to Rick Redick, the guru who instilled in me during my discipleship to always, always , always save each step somewhere off to the side. While this makes for an incredibly messy desktop it's well worth the potential agony of recreating work after confidently trashing something you think you're done with.
And last, but not least, after all the digital dust has settled, the words every graphic artist secretly longs to see:
"I'm very pleased. The people's and muskoxen's expressions are perfect.
This is exactly what I was looking for."