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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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A-List Blogging Bootcamps Identity Design

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a-list-blogging-bootcamps

I’ve recently had the pleasure of designing the A-List Blogging Bootcamps logo for Mary Jaksch of Write To Done and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and in this article I will guide you through my design process of creating the logo as seen above.

This article was originally written for those enrolled in the A-List Blogging Bootcamp and has been edited for display on Just Creative Design.

A Brief Introduction

A-List Blogging Bootcamp is a website that offers series of short, live, online training courses for bloggers. For more information, please check out the A-List Blogging Bootcamps website.

Getting The Job

Mary first approached me after getting a referral from James Chatrand about my design services. After Mary had checked out my logo design portfolio and told me what she needed, I directed her to my logo design questionnaire which allowed me to accurately quote for the job at hand.

Research

After the paper work was out of the way, it was time to start researching for Mary and Leo’s logo design. This included looking up their competitors, researching their industry and searching for other logos of similar context.

Brainstorming & Conceptualising

alist-sketches-small

After the majority of the research had been completed, it was time to get creative. Based on the design brief and research conducted, this is where I let my ideas run wild. I brainstormed and sketched down my ideas and then experimented with them on the computer. I also had breaks between these sessions so I could reflect on the designs and have a fresh perspective – this is a crucial part of the logo design process.

When conceptualising, some designers get too concerned with the graphic style and image of a piece (ie. try to depict exactly what the business does) while others such as myself try to convey a deeper meaning or some sort of visual puzzle into the logo. A good example of this would be the well known FedEx logo, designed by Lindor Leader… did you know about the hidden arrow found between the E and X?

fed-ex

For the A-List Blogging Bootcamp logo I also wanted to create a visual puzzle. Before reading on, try having a look at the completed A-List Blogging logo below… what do you see?

a-list-blogging-bootcamps-logo

Do you see a star? A man? The letter A? A man above a podium? A light shining onto a man? A globe? These things mentioned are all open to a matter of interpretation though I am sure you will see at least a few.

All of these symbols have meaning that relate back to the A-List Blogging Bootcamp’s purpose. The star symbolises being a star (think A-List celebrity), a man symbolises a blogger, the letter A is a reference to the blog title, the light shining down onto the man shows that the blogger is the limelight, etc. You can look into as much as you like – it’s all up to your interpretation.

Logo Variations

When creating a logo design, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that one usually never sees… below you can see some of my many experimentations and logo variations. Please keep in mind that these are just my experimentations and were not shown to Mary or anyone except myself.

At this stage I work without colour to ensure I focus on the shape and concept of the logo, not the subjective & distractive nature of colour.

logo-variations-black

Colour

After a lot more experimentation and liaison with Mary, the logo was narrowed down to six variations. From here, I experimented with colour choices and narrowed it down to a burnt orange, grey and white colour scheme which Mary loved. The colour scheme reflects the site’s purpose quite well making it fresh, vibrant and authoritative.

variations-black

Above you can see the logos in black and then the burnt orange variations below.

variations-colour

I presented what I thought was the strongest logo (the middle bottom logo) to Mary & Leo and this was their reply:

We both love it!

a-list-blogging-bootcamps-logo

Typeface

After the logo was completed it was time to work on the typeface. After a lot of experimentation, I opted for the skillfully crafted FF Meta Bold Caps. This typeface was chosen to complement the rounded logo and to show that the blog was authoritative, not via the use of capital letters but via the use of Small Caps (a way to prevent capitalised words from appearing too large).

The emphasis of the text was placed on the words “A-List Blogging” with a complement colour of grey for the word “bootcamps”. This was done to split the rather long name up into easier-to-read sections which in turn, make the logo easier to implement on the A-List Blogging Bootcamp’s website. (The web designer slightly adjusted the logo on the website so it appears different to what you see here.)

Final Logo Design

Below you can see the final A-List Blogging Bootcamps logo. For those interested you may also like to read the article “What makes a good logo?” or “Why logo design does not cost $5.00“.

a-list-blogging-bootcamps

Testimonial

Here is what Mary had to say about her time working with me:

Mary Jaksch
“I struck lucky with Jacob Cass: his logo design process is intelligent and intuitive. The finished product is a splendid logo with many layers of meanings – all condensed into one image. If you are looking for a logo design, entrust yourself to Jacob. The end result will be not only a striking and beautiful logo, but one that carries all the subliminal messages you want to convey. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Comments are welcome, as always.

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47 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Mike Coyle Reply

    It’s always good to see your process and way of thinking. Thanks Jacob.

  • Tuomas Tolppi Reply

    Great article and good job on the logo!

  • Tanay | TJDzine Reply

    Thats an awesome logo! The type suits the icon well.

  • F.Dans Reply

    I love the logo, but I don’t agree with the typeface choice. It reminds me of Blogger, and it’s exactly the same type and capitalisation as Second Life logo. But great work with the logo!

  • Kiren Reply

    Like the logo but not their website design. Of course it’s out of your hands:)

  • Laurent Reply

    It’s the first time I don’t like your logo.
    I find it too clever by half (“Do you see a star? A man? The letter A? A man above a podium? A light shining onto a man? A globe?”)
    Interesting post however.

  • simplyfordesign Reply

    Nice article nicely shows your approach to logo design, many can learn from this. I like the final project, nice to see web used logo with deeper meaning, not another glossy icon, BTW you can also see a nimb;)

  • Gab Reply

    Just wanted to let you know that I found this article via a reposting of it here:

    http://www.existingvisual.com/2009/09/08/a-list-blogging-bootcamps-identity-design/

    Would not have said anything but it had a disclaimer at the end saying that it should only be posted here on JCD. I enjoy your blog and want to ensure you are getting your due.

  • Jaz Reply

    why do people spend all that dough on a professionally designed logo only to let somebody change it for their website? I guess that’s what copyright handover is for :P
    I’m glad that didn’t put you off writing an informative post though.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thank you Mike, Tuomas, Tanay!

    F.Dans,
    The reasoning behind not agreeing with the typeface shouldn’t be based on what other logos use the typeface… for example, think of how many businesses use Helvetica as their typeface. Or is this not what you implied? Thanks for your opinions ether way.

    Kiren,
    I was actually going to design the website (Mary wanted me too) but Leo opted for another designer. I don’t mind it, but I would prefer the logo on this page as the logo.

    Laurent,
    You don’t like it for being too clever? That’s a new one. Also, what did you mean by “by half”? Thanks for your feedback and hope to hear back from you.

    Simply,
    I never actually saw the halo, but after you mentioning I do. A nice surprise!

    Gab,
    Thanks for letting me know about the reposting – it’s a shame there are so many splogs (spam blogs) on the net. Are you subscribed to EV?

    Jaz,
    That’s what copyright handover is for… at least there is no added bevel or drop shadow heh? Either way, the logo on the website still works.

  • Laurent Reply

    Sorry for my poor english.(I thought “too clever by half” was the right way to say “too clever”)
    I usually love your designs for their simplicity and the meaning they convey.
    For this one, I know you were inspired by the fedex logo, but I find the result a bit overdone.

  • James Chartrand - Men with Pens Reply

    Hey Jacob,

    Nice job. I really like this logo. It’s clever, it’s fun, it has character and stands on its own to mean something and convey a message.

    That’s something I always appreciate in a logo. I see so many boring ones, like just a big, plain, blocky D for whatever D-named company… blah. *snooze*

    Great job! (Though you always do a great job – that’s why I recommend you!)

  • Matt Rogers Reply

    Interesting concept, however, does the average Joe really look at a logo and analyze to any real depth??? I feel a logo has to be a balance between idea and execution, in my opinion this sways more towards the idea. But hey, you have a happy client so congrats.

  • Kenny Reply

    Thanks for sharing your logo design process. Always great to see a project so well documented.

    The logo is appealing, I especially like the color choice. If I could offer my opinion though, I think there are one too many elements. Either the bounding circle, or the head on the star, or the star itself… omitting one of these could have simplified the logo, maybe made it more legible?

    But, you’ve got client satisfaction, which is the most rewarding part of a project. Looking forward to your next logo.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Laurent,
    Ah ok, well all I have is English, so you’re doing better than me! The logo is quite simple on first sites, it’s only when you start to analyse it, do all the meanings come out and I don’t think the average joe would do that. Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

    James,
    Hahah funny you mention the whole, “let’s put our initials in a circle logo” – way too many of these. Don’t get me wrong, they still work but there could have been better solutions.

    And once again, thank you for the recommendations.

    Matt,
    No, not many people would even take a second glance, but I think most would at least see the star or the letter A, which both directly relate to the name. It’s only once you look further into it do the other meanings come out.

    Kenny,
    Stay tuned for the next logo.

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    I use “too clever by half” to mean something goes from being too clever, to being way too clever, in that the purpose of the cleverness in the first place is thwarted by the cleverness itself. However, I get blank stares a lot when I use it!

    I saw someone on a show that had design an ingenious lock for a…lunchbox. There was no way to open it. But the show host said “but what if someone just walks off with it?” and the inventor was stumped for an answer: the lock was too clever by half.

    Anyway, really enjoy the black and white part of the logo design process. I find it indispensable. In most applications, a good logo design simply has to work in high-contrast black and white first before coming up with color variations, or the design will not be solid and will fail in some ways as it’s used in many different ways (fax, signage, letterhead, small, on glass, etc.)

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    I just put my finger on where I saw something similar to this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Texaco_logo.svg

    Took a few minutes to process.

    You have very strong elemental shapes here – I love the power and simplicity of it. I think many of the time-tested classic logos share common traits of element shapes and some kind of balanced ration of positive to negative space.

    Great work!

  • affordable logo design Reply

    This section could not be completed without you. Your articles on logo designing are always my inspiration.

    I love reading them. :)

    Keep up good work.

  • Lance Reply

    I enjoy seeing the way other people get to the logo final result, thanks for this post.

  • hermes kelly bag Reply

    Hey Jacob,

    Nice job. I really like this logo. It’s clever, it’s fun, it has character and stands on its own to mean something and convey a message.

    That’s something I always appreciate in a logo. I see so many boring ones, like just a big, plain, blocky D for whatever D-named company… blah. *snooze*

    Great job! (Though you always do a great job – that’s why I recommend you!)

  • J Reply

    Just found this page. I like seeing the process. I think the name of this place should remove the word “Bootcamp”. It is unnecessary. Either that, or your logo needs to be more directed to that term. I feel this way because Bootcamp is an incredibly strong word. People get a vision in their minds as soon as they hear it. Your logo does not speak to that at all. Your logo does speak to a-list and blogging. I would recommend to your client to just drop that word.


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