Creating A Bookshop Logo | Part 2

If you haven’t seen the first part of this post go here and see how I designed the alien space ship logo.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

Along with creating the logo I had to show how it would be displayed on various marketing materials. So I used graphicburger to place the logo on various sign and bag mockups. But I also wanted to design items that you would specifically find in a bookshop.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

So I started off by making a little stamp card. This is very much based off the little stamp cards you get at Waterstones (I love those things, I’ve saved so much money using them). I went with a really basic design with the logo and name of the shop along with a little explanation of how the card works. If I had wanted to get really detailed I could have included a link to a terms and conditions page on their website (something I didn’t design but now I think about it I could have).

I love this little card, it really looks like something you would find in a bookshop. The only problem is I printed this off onto card stock using my inkjet printer at home, and it was almost like I used so much black ink it wouldn’t dry. It’s the only time I’ve ever had this problem but the black rubbed off whenever I touched it. Though we have a very cheap printer so that may be why.

Another thing I wanted to make was a poster. A thing I learned while doing research is that places like Waterstones don’t advertise specific books. If you see an advert for a book it’s not going to be from a bookshop, the publisher will sort all that marketing stuff. So actually creating an advert for a bookshop is tricky, you’re not selling a specific book, it’s more the idea of reading. So I decided to go with book quotes again and found a Carl Sagan one which I thought would work well with a sci-fi/ fantasy bookshop.

I really wanted to try and give this poster a handmade feel, and the thing I’ve learned about that is it’s basically impossible to do in the computer using pre-made fonts. So I tried to make it in the computer and failed spectacularly (and had a massive falling out with Illustrator in the process) and decided to hand draw the poster instead.

I ended up doing 4 versions of this poster before getting it the way I wanted. I actually found that tracing previous versions helped so much with this, I was able to keep the parts of the drawing I liked and could move others around so the text would fit in nice. But no matter how many different ways I tried I couldn’t get the ‘voyage’ and ‘through’ to fit nice together.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

I wasn’t massively happy with this poster. I really like doing typographic things like this, I just think I haven’t had enough practice with them yet. Maybe now that I’m thinking about it the hand drawn style didn’t really fit in with the overall feel of the shop, but I’m really not all that bothered about it now.

I also decided to design a series of bookmarks. I know Book Depository have a huge series of bookmarks so I wanted to try something similar. My first idea was to illustrate some lines from sci-fi books in a style similar to what I did my logo in. I actually really liked these illustrations. I don’t know how well they would have worked on a bookmark but they made me happy.

My other idea was to do a typographic thing with quotes from sci-fi books. I had originally wanted to do 9 bookmarks, one for each planet in the solar system . All would have a quote that had something to do with the planet. But the only quotes I knew about were for Mars and the Moon, I would have had to do quite a lot of research to find something for the other planets. I’m sure I would have got something from Morning Star for the outer gas giants but time was becoming a real problem by this point so I decided to stick with the 2 planets and the sun. Then I decided to do a bookmark with the quote from Hitchhikers as well (mostly because it makes me laugh).

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

I was actually really pleased with how they turned out in the end. Especially considering I designed them in the space of an hour. I thought the Martian and Hitchhikers turned out really well. I think the quote just isn’t long enough for Seveneves and the Fahrenheit one really isn’t that great. Of course I also made a back for the bookmark with the shops branding. There isn’t much I can say about it since the branding is exactly the same as everything else but I still liked how it looks.

One thing I learned from this year which I really need to watch out for is the weight of the font I’m using. I love really thin fonts but sometimes they are so thin when printed that they are actually unreadable. I’m not sure you can see on the bookmark on the left there is actually an address under the logo but the font is so thin it’s actually unreadable.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

I also turned my bookmark designs into real bookmarks. Partly because I had to put them into my sketchbook but mostly because I really liked them and wanted to use them. I actually want 5 of those Martian ones, I love that quote so much.

I went into this project wanting to know if a bookshop really had to have a book in their logo, and I still don’t know. I think it really depends on how well known the brand name is. I think if someone came across this shop knowing nothing about sci-fi they would probably have no idea it was a reference to the Ray Bradbury book. But it was fun designing something that was still relevant to the shop without being like every other bookshop out there.

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Creating A Bookshop Logo | Part 1

Our final project was a self directed project, basically we could do whatever we wanted. I decided to design the logo for a bookshop because out of all the projects we did over the year I found the corporate identity ones to be most enjoyable. Also books.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

One thing I really wanted to learn from this project was if bookshops really needed a book in their logo. Almost all independent bookshops have some sort of book or page motif. But when you look at the larger bookshops (Waterstones, Foyles, Borders etc) they don’t. These larger bookshops don’t have a logo at all. Their ‘logo’ is just the name (there is a proper name for this but I forget it). Now the interesting thing I want to know is it because those names are so well known they don’t need a logo to show what type of shop it is, or are books in logos a really cliched thing to have. I don’t know and I’ve probably spent way too much time thinking about this.

The brief for this project (which I wrote myself) was to create the branding for a bookshop specialising in science-fiction and fantasy. I decided the shop would be called The Martian Chronicles (hope Ray Bradbury is okay with that). I basically decided it was going to be a Forbidden Planet type place but with more books. I actually put an address on the bookmarks (which you will see later) and that address is where Forbidden Planet is in Glasgow.

So I started out this project by doing some research, and when I say research I mean I walked around Waterstones for a while. This was mostly just to look at the branding in store and any interesting little bits I could make so my bookshop would feel more like a bookshop. One thing I found from this is that everything is very handmade. As you can probably see the window displays are full of handwritten signs and recycled book pages. Most of the signage in store is handwritten, they even had a display for Me Before You complete with a box of tissues.

One thing I found while researching is that James Daunt who took over Waterstones in 2011 gave each store more freeway in what they stock and how they decorate. This means that while you have some official Waterstones branding you also have displays that are made by the people working in the shop.

I also found out that the Waterstones in Sauchiehall street used to be a cinema which would explain the size (this has nothing to do with the project I just thought it was interesting).

After that I did more research on the computer. I looked at various bookshop logos and how they were displayed in store. I was also really lucky to come across a blog post from venturethree who did Waterstones ‘Feel Every Word’ campaign from a few years ago and they had lots of images from that. It’s really interesting, Waterstones have since rebranded again but you can still go into stores and find posters from that old campaign (at least there are still ones up at the shop in Glasgow).

One thing I knew very on was that this logo would have something to do with space. I mean it’s a shop selling sci-fi books and it’s named after a sci-fi book so there had to be some sort of space age imagery in the logo. So I looked at Atomic Age Design (I only learned the name of this movement during this project), this was a design movement from the 40s and 50s and was heavily inspired by the Cold War and the space race. The imagery was heavily influenced by scientific discoveries of the time, it featured geometric atomic particles, skeletal shapes because of the more widespread use of x-rays and organic shapes similar to what cells would look like under the microscope.

The Atomic Age is something I’ve been fascinated with for a long time, I always associate it with Tomorrowland from the Disney parks. It’s an idea of what the future might look like from an earlier era.

I really like designing logos because it’s mostly just doodling shapes. I spent a day just drawing space stuff and by the end of it had a few shapes I liked enough to take onto the computer. I had thought about doing something with orbits but it wasn’t that recognisable so eventually went with my little alien space ship. It was one of the first things I drew and I’m still a little in love with it.

Normally I would use the Image Trace function in Illustrator to turn my drawing into a vector but I wanted this logo to be more professional (a hand drawn logo might give the idea of a more ‘fun’ shop). Not that the shop wouldn’t be fun, but to me science gives the idea of modern straight edges and that was something I wanted to get over through the logo. So I used my drawing as a basis and recreated it in Illustrator making sure it was even and symmetrical.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

Finding a nice font and layout with the text and logo took a long time. Being a student makes it really difficult to find a nice font because you really don’t want to go buying any fonts (cause they be expensive), so you’re limited to the fonts already in Illustrator or whatever you can find for free. You can get really nice fonts for free the problem is actually finding them among the many many thousands of other fonts. Copyright is always an issue as well, not so much for this as it won’t be used commercially, but it’s still something you need to think about.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

Just an interesting little aside here. One font I tried to use was called Lemon/ Milk. It’s a really nice font you can get it for free on DaFont, I’ve used it in a couple of projects. But when I tried it for this logo something didn’t look right. I couldn’t work out what it was. Then I realised this font looked similar to the font used in Star Trek Voyager. As soon as I realised that I knew I couldn’t use it, even though I loved the font it didn’t look right because my brain associated it with Star Trek.

Creating A Bookshop Logo | bluchickenninja.com

I was actually really happy with my final logo. It’s a little alien space ship. It’s cute. And it’s immediately recognisable as an alien space ship. I like the fonts I used. I think it was a good idea to find a thin font to contrast with the thick lines in the logo and it stands out next to the name of the shop. The only thing I wonder about is should the shop really be *The* Martian Chronicles. I don’t know of many shops that start with ‘The‘ but then again the name of the shop is secondary to designing the logo. The only reason I had to pick a name is it gives you an idea of what the shop is like which then goes on to influence the overall design of the branding.

Continue on to part two where I show how I applied my finished logo to various medias.

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Animating Paper Cats

For this project we had to create an animation where two characters had a conversation. We were given sound clips from Scrubs so we didn’t have to worry about the audio part of this project. The most important thing was designing the characters and actually creating the animation.

This was the most time consuming project we had over the course of the year. I think I spent 5 weeks working on this, and I should point out that wasn’t just time during class. I spent a large part of my free time working on it too.

Animating Paper Cats | bluchickenninja.com

A big part of this project was spent actually designing the characters. It’s actually interesting to see how much changed between my initial sketches and the final designs. As part of my research I actually looked at character designs from the Pixar movies and it was really interesting to see how many different designs Woody and Buzz went through before they ended up on the final characters. Another little thing I learned from this project is the characters from Inside Out are based on shapes that represent their emotions.

As part of the design process I actually spent a day making a cat just to see how everything would go together and what parts would animate in the final movie. Turns out this was really important because I had to work out how much movement I would have in the eyes and ears and how I would make the mouth movements look believable. I actually spent a good amount of time watching The Aristocats that day while trying to work out mouth shapes.

The problem with these sorts of projects is I find it hard to take them seriously. We had to create a background for each character, this wasn’t something you would see in the final animation but it would help you design the character, how they move and the overall setting. For some reason I decided one of my cats was a David Bowie fan (because why not).

This went on to me creating a little Bowie-esk lightning bolt for my test cat. And then finally I created Ziggy Starcat (the photo on the left) not because I wanted to put it in my sketchbook, I just thought it was funny. This also resulted in a friend buying me a card he found in GOMA that features a cat with a David Bowie lightning bolt.

The grey cat (technically her name is Victoria) actually has the lightning bolt in the final design. It’s not in those iconic colours and it’s mostly hidden behind the eye but it’s still there.

The actual animation was done using Animate It, this is a piece of really cheap terrible software make by the people who did Wallace & Gromit. The only good thing about it is it’s ridiculously easy to use. We were animating a 30 second clip at 12 frames a second so it worked out you needed to capture something like 400 frames. We had story boards to work from but it was still tricky working out what things needed to be moved between each frame.

There was also the problem that it was really time consuming. We were only able to do the animations in class (because the PCs had the software) but that meant leaving for the day and hoping no-one touched your setup before the next time you were in. In all it meant this animation was a real headache to make.

And we’re not going to talk about how much money I spent on paper.

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Advertising Is Hard

For this project we had to create an advertisement for diversity and it was really really difficult. I now have so much respect for people who do this as a job because holy crap this was hard. Designing the posters was actually the easiest bit of this because you also had to create the tag line and what you wanted the poster to be about.

Advertising Is Hard | bluchickenninja.com

The problem with doing an advertisement about diversity is there is so many different things you could do it about. We were given a talk about diversity but it was still extremely difficult and I ended up trying to create something about invisible illnesses just because that was something I had some experience with.

The first idea I had was to not judge people by what you see and I tried to compare that to judging a book by it’s cover but I didn’t like that idea. I was going to incorporate that really popular thing just now where you pick a book based on a few key words without actually knowing what it is or what it’s about. Like I said I wasn’t a fan of this idea.

Advertising Is Hard | bluchickenninja.com

I wanted to stay with the book idea though so I started looking a book quotes. I’ve always loved the quote from the end of Deathly Hallows Harry is asking Dumbledore if them meeting on Platform 9 and 3/4s is actually real. I thought this could be a good way of explaining invisible illnesses. After looking for more similar quotes it became clear that they were more focused towards mental health problems so I started changing my tag line again to fit in with that.

Designing the actual poster was quite easy, I wanted it to have a hand drawn style because I’ve been really liking that recently. I scanned my sketches into the computer but because they are hand drawn it was really difficult to make changes to them. Eventually I gave up on that idea and used a script font instead.

Advertising Is Hard | bluchickenninja.com

Because we had to design a series of advertisements it was really important that all three looked like they fit into the same campaign. I ended up doing this by using the same colours over the three posters as well as having the same layout and typefaces.

Advertising Is Hard | bluchickenninja.com

I wasn’t massively happy with the final designs. The adverts look okay and you can tell they are part of the same campaign. I just wasn’t happy with the tag lines. I think the idea is really important, I just think there could have been a better way of getting that across. And of course because I used book quotes I wouldn’t actually be able to do this as a real advertising campaign because of copyright issues.

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