I was recently asked to design a logo by Liv over at Petticoats and Patriarchy. Liv is someone I’ve come to consider a friend and when she asked if I would like to be part of this project she is working on I of course said yes. Said project is called the Anti-Fascist Babe Club, this is a movement Liv created in response to well, basically everything happening in worldwide politics over the last year. She explains it much better than I ever could in this post. You can also find it over on Twitter or sign up to the weekly newsletter.
Today I thought I would share the design process I went through as I created the logo and accompanying social media header for it.
The vision Liv had for this club was that it would be a place for activists and social justice types. It was going to be a place where people could learn how to fight inequality and find support. Liv wanted this logo to be a call back to traditional activist imagery, peace signs and the like, the clenched fist is also quite a well known anti-fascist logo.
I started off the project by doing a lot of research. You may find this strange but I looked more at fascism than anti-fascism. The thing about fascism is that there are actual end goals. Fascism is this idea that society should live under a one party rule, united by the things that make them similar, skin colour, religion ect. Basically think of Hitler and the whole Aryan race thing. Terrifyingly enough America is getting closer to a fascist state. Anti-fascism conversely is a protest against fascism, it’s basically a whole bunch of people going “we disagree with what they are doing”, which is fine. It just makes things a little confusing if you’re looking for a nice short summary of what it actually is.
I went on from that to research symbols. I looked at lots of peace symbols, dove and the olive branch, nuclear disarmament symbol, the poppy, the rainbow flag, the V sign. I also looked at a lot of fascist symbols and propaganda, so the fasces and the swastika (which actually has a really interesting history). What I found from this is a lot of these symbols come from Ancient Greece or Roman imagery.
So my concept for this logo was something that was quite soft in contrast with the very hard angles found in most fascist flags. It had to be appealing, something that felt welcoming to the people joining the group. I also quite liked the idea of duality, since the group was all about fighting as well as offering support. I could also possibly tie it into Ancient Greece or Rome in some way since as Liv said, that was the birth place of democracy.
As part of this initial concept stage I create a mood board just so I could get a clearer idea of exactly the direction I had to go in for this project and to act as inspiration. I actually really love how this particular mood board turned out. Everything works so well together. If I could get a job where all I did was make mood boards all day I would take it. All these images were found on Pinterest and if you want to head over there I have made the AFBC board public so you can take a closer look at where my inspiration came from.
Liv wanted the logo to be open to all and I thought that part of that meant it should be gender neutral. Liv liked the idea of something from nature and I decided on a flower. You could probably argue that floral images and nature in general is more associated with women because of Gaia. But I mean it’s a plant and men like flowers too. This is actually where colour becomes really important, just by having the logo in black makes it more open to all genders compared with it being done pink or red.
I liked the idea of incorporating Greek or Roman mythology into the logo somehow so I started doing some research, in particular I started looking at Greek gods. I looked at gods of war and triple goddesses. That being three gods who are worshipped as one, they also represent the three stages of womanhood. Then I focused in on Athena.
In Greek mythology Athena is the god of wisdom, craft and war. She represents intelligence, humility, creativity, eloquence and power. She stood for truth, justice and moral values which were three things I thought Liv would want AFBC to represent. Also through my research I learned she was a great strategist, she led battles but would only fight for a reasonable cause or to resolve a conflict.
I didn’t want to go with the really well known symbols of Athena. That being an owl. That was okay anyway because the owl didn’t really have anything to do with what the club represented. I went instead with Athena’s weapon, a spear. There is probably a proper name for it but I don’t know what that is.
The hard part was trying to make the two things work together. Which you wouldn’t really expect to be a problem. I didn’t like how literal the spear shape was when incorporated into the flower so instead I used the shape of the pointy bit (that probably has a proper name too) as the basis for the leaves. It’s one of those things where just by looking at the logo you wouldn’t be able to tell that, but there still is a reason why things are the shape they are.
I drew the original sketches out on paper using watercolour. These all got scanned into the computer where I picked out the best ones. This then got sent to Liv who chose her favourite versions. She picked two versions she liked and wondered if they could be merged together. This was totally fine. I started off in Illustrator by tracing over the two original sketches. I then did a bit of copying and pasting the two together to see which version looked best. I found out that cutting a hole in the solid stem was much easier than trying to edit the stem lines to make them bend the right way.
Once we got the logo the way Liv wanted it the only thing left to do was apply it to things. In this case a banner for Twitter and the newsletter. Originally Liv wanted just a plain background but I thought it would look better having something in the background. I found this paint texture which is still quite simple but it still added just enough visually to make it more interesting. I like how this turned out and Liv did too which is really the most important thing.
If you’re wanting to learn more about the Anti Fascist Babe Club you can check out this post Liv wrote about it. You can also check out the Twitter and sign up for the newsletter which will be going out weekly.