Identity Design Process for Butterfield Photography

Identity Design Process for Butterfield Photography

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Butterfield Photography

I’ve recently finished designing the identity for ‘Butterfield Photography’, a photography duo based in Southern Arizona, USA. In this article I share with you a bit about the process & decisions made while working around the constraints of this particular project.

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Butterfield Photography is run by Maria and Robert Butterfeild, who both focus on two different areas of photography – wedding / family photography and commerical / sport photography.

Below you can see the old and new Butterfield Photography logos.


Design Constraints

Without going into too much detail, these were the constraints I had to work within.

  • The logo design had to be elegant & sophisticated yet not too feminine (ie. had to be usable for both weddings, commercial & sport photography)
  • The logo had to portray a natural, warm, friendly yet sophisticated style.
  • The logo had to be be usable across a broad range of businesses (ie. the logo still could be usable for a construction business) and could have no association with photography.
  • The logo had to work in one colour only as the logo had to be able to be used across a variety of applications such as clothing, vehicles, cameras, etc.


Below you can see the very first stage of my very messy creative process – that of mindmapping and brainstorming. There were many more pages of these sketches however I thought it best to save your eyes.


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Design Decisions

Minimalism: To work around these constraints mentioned above I decided to go for a very minimalist approach to reflect both elegance and sophistication. This would allow for the identity to be versatile and reflect those values stated above. I used the typeface ‘Gill Sans Light‘ to support these values.

Colour: The particular orange colour used in the Butterfield identity is fresh & vibrant and evokes Maria and Robert’s style of photography… natural. The colour is not too bright, nor too dull which allows it to give off an aura of warmth and friendliness. Do you know your colour theory?

Concept: After many sketches, concepts and experimentations I came down to the concept of using a burst of lines radiating out from the initials BP. Although this is entirely up to the perspective of the viewer, one could see the mark as a sun, a flower, a camera flash, a face, a camera lens, a light, etc. but what ever way one sees it, in the end, the mark still communicates a feeling of warmth, radiance and friendliness.


Pitching a minimalist design to a client is quite a hard task, so it is best to show the logo in context. This may mean you will have to mockup some examples of letterhead, websites, etc.

After sending through the first PDF, Robert replied:

“I really liked the logo from the first time I saw it, simple (which is exactly what I was looking for), easily reproduced for embossing, stamping, embroidering etc. You nailed it right out of the gate:. GREAT JOB!!!”

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The hard work paid off and no more revisions were made. It is important to note that you should only pitch your best logo design concepts.

Below you can see the identity system in use.

Business Card




Website Mockup (used when presenting the logo)


Mockup of fictional business (shows adaptability of logo)


The logo was also applied to a racecar of which you can see some of the pictures below.

1st Attempt

Photography Logo

Butterfield Photography

Butterfield Photography

2nd Attempt

Butterfield Car

To be honest I was a bit disappointed to see the logo at such a small size and also to see the grey colour of ‘Butterfield’ changed to a dark orange (see second picture above) as the text loses contrast against the blue, however thankfully the owner of the racecar also agreed about this and they removed the stickers and reapplied them at a much larger size (see the last picture above) which I think looks much better.  Maria also told me that the car came first place too which was great news!

The logo will also be appearing on a variety of other products of which I will upload when I get the pictures.


Below you can find the official testimonial from Maria Butterfield. You can read more of my client’s testimonials here.

Maria Butterfield

We hired Jacob to design our new business logo and were beyond pleased with his professionalism and creativity. He took our ideas and needs and transformed them into a logo that reflected all of our desires. We were particularly impressed with the thoroughness in the questions he asked us concerning our wants and needs. Jacob exceeded all of our expectations! We have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone looking for branding that will truly reflect who they are.

– Maria Butterfield

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There has also been great feedback from the followers of Maria’s blog:

I’m loving your new look Maria! So clean and fresh. Looking good. 🙂


I’m loving the new look! Very modern. 🙂

– Rachel

Very very nice – I love the new design!

– Cheryl

Comments from my readers are always appreciated too – thanks for reading!

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48 thoughts on “Identity Design Process for Butterfield Photography”

  1. Nice work. I really like the idea of mind mapping (thanks to it I save a lot of time while studying new things and it really puts creativity to the next level). So simple but so important. Once again great job.

  2. I’m on the boat with FDANS on this one. You did a great job as always. But, my first reaction was that it could be a British Petroleum logo.

  3. Very nice. My first thought was of British Petroleum, but not because it is necessarily all that similar, but because it’s the universally recognized brand that goes with “bp.” Comparisons come naturally here, and they should come because you certainly wouldn’t want to infringe on another’s mark.

    That said, I think you’ve done a *superb* job at creating a radiant logo that uses the same initials (both in lower-case) while differentiating the mark significantly from the “other” bp — no small feat!

  4. Very nice work and insightful article, thank you for sharing. I confess, like others, to making the associations with the other “BP”.

    With the fictional “butterfield consulting” I noticed that the graphic remains the same with the initials “bp”. Was this intentional or an oversight, as surely the “bp” initials only relate to the photographic arm of the business and have no further significance, so would the graphic not change to “bc”?

  5. Like a lot of other people, it immediately made me think of the other BP- especially using both the initials and the star-like shape.

  6. Thanks you so much for taking the time to inadvertently guide me to becoming a better designer. When you put up your posts on facebook, I feel like those links are directly for me.

    It’s been real hard trying to become a designer while working three jobs and going to school to get my degree in The Arts.

    I finally got sometime off due to surgery and all I have been doing since Sunday is reading almost everything you’ve posted in the past. Which took me to every link and so and so on. Now it’s Thursday and the week seemed to just blow past.

    The main thing I want to say is thank you.

    Shadolen White.
    Keep up the great work..

  7. Just like what FDANS wrote, I too thought of British Petroleum when I saw the icon. Not that it looks like it, but I know that BP are striving to become an eco-friendly company, so this type of logo may fit a future BP-profile.

    That aside, you’ve done a great job Jacob. I think that we’re (designers) all getting to a stage in logo design, now that its 2009, whereby even the greatest concept or idea has a “twin” somewhere else.

    Most logos I see have echoes of other designs, albeit unintentional. This web 2.0 world truly makes it easily to compare one logo design to another and highlight similarities.

    Did you try the word “Butterfield” in a bolder text Jacob?

  8. At first I was on board with those relating it to the BP logo. Then to refresh the brain I took a look at the BP logo.

    Doing so I realized it was only me relating the combination of letters “BP”, not the arrangement etc.

    The similarities in the fonts letter forms balance easily, and I can see your mention in “concept” about camera flash.
    Nice work Jacob, and smart choice by BP

  9. It’s nice to see a photography logo that doesn’t play off of a camera’s shutter. Too many photo blogs or companies use it and it’s becoming cliche IMO.

    Great work all around.

  10. Great job Jacob. It is always great to see your process. Quick question how did you come in contact with an American Photographic company? I am assuming that you were working out of Australia, how was it working with clients overseas? What were some of the difficulties and rewarding parts of it. How much more complicated are tax and business implications? Your blog is great and has world wide appeal,is that your main avenue of getting foreign clientele?

    I think an article about working across national frontiers would be a great topic for a blog post. It is something that I have a great interest in.

    Sorry for all the questions, but the logo is great. Plus it’s pretty cool that your work gets to reach 150 miles per hour! Now that’s fast work!

  11. Well done, very nice job, but only one thing: Don’t you think it’s a bit “British Petroleum” like?

    • Jeremy,
      I’ve also noticed quite a few photography logos playing off the camera’s shutter, some quite clever, some just average, some very similar. Thanks for your thanks too 🙂

      One could always compare logos to other logos but in this case I believe they are actually quite different – one using orange lines and the other using green and yellow petals but I suppose you could draw similarities to the outward radiance and of course the initials BP.

  12. Gorgeous work, simple and to the point. Thanks for sharing your design process it’s much appreciated!

  13. Avirto,

    Yeah, mind mapping is a great way to get ideas out, I always seem to be using it!

    Mehmet, Otba, Love Gifts, Jonathan, Juli, Kelli, Joki, Matt

    Thank you for positive feedback!

    J. Whipp,

    This was merely a mockup and was known about when presenting the concept. For the time being nothing else is needed nor is there any major plans put in place for another business yet but we will come to deciding that when it comes around.


    I can also agree about the twin logo or concept… I think that is because of LogoPond’s various fictional logo designs (well part of it). People can easily use a concept of one logo and then change the name and icon to make an entirely new logo. In regards to the bold, yeah I did try it in bold but the grey already made it stand out more than the orange so it was a bit ‘too’ overpowering.

    Devin, Luis,

    To be honest about 80% of all of my clients are based overseas. I use email as my only means of communication in nearly all cases however I do have Skype calls occasionally. The difficulties are probably the fact that everything has to be done via email and that you don’t get as personal as if you met them in person however this isn’t a huge problem. The rewards are the fact that you can work with an international client base and for me in Australia get a better exchange rate when being paid in USD. The business implications are nothing that difficult, the payments get converted to AUD and that’s what you record. And yes my blog is my main avenue for getting all of clients, as well as WOM. Thanks for the thought provoking questions.


    Also see my reply to Devin above. In regards to the orange, which part are you talking about not contrasting enough? Both in print and on screen the orange is perfectly legible.

  14. Great work man, I really like your logo, the choise for the typographie was excelent, but i dont like to much the colors, i find them not to contrasted if you use it with a white background, or if you use it in small sizes, but anyway, the idea of the BP is good.

    And I also would like to know, how you work with client oversea?

  15. I’m glad that they took your feedback on board, the second transfer looks really great. Good work, thanks for documenting.


  16. I think you are right, the problem was the monitor I was using(I was at school) is not well set up, but when I saw it here on my computer it looks much better, and now, I think even more that is a great logo.

  17. Nice article and great overview of the entire process, it really analyzes the journey you took to the final design concept.

    However, like most of the others i immediately thought BP when I saw the image first time in my RSS reader without even reading anything. The symbol in my mind is too close to BP and is so similar in many aspects.

  18. Hey, love the design.
    I saw it in a book i took out of my school library, its kinda weird that its yours lol

  19. More posts like this one please! I love seeing the creative process behind the finished works.

  20. Again Jacob, letting us into your design process is very interesting.

    Did you ever think of devising a typeface from the B and the P inside the sun? As I reckon that would have made the logo even stronger. I just get the feeling that the typography was an after thought.

  21. I love the logo so much! I am in concept design process at the Academy of Art University in SF and we have to create a design identity for a company and your site is really helpful.

    How did you pull off yellow on white? It looks so goodr

  22. A really elegant and fresh looking identity that looks great! I just wondered how you created the star like icon? Is there an easy way to make this in Illustrator?

  23. Excellent work! The new logo is warm and inviting, perfect for a photography business. Yet it remains very professional, as is evident in the layout of the business card, letterheads, etc. it looks awesome in the race car! Thanks!

  24. Looks good to me. In the ‘New’ version up the top is there supposed to be a radial gradient behind the image? Like a lot of things on the Mac, you don’t see it unless you’re looking at the screen not straight on.

  25. Thank you for the great lesson. There are very few who truly share. It inspires me to follow suit.

  26. Thank you everyone for your feedback and kind words.

    What do you mean devising a typeface from the BP? Did you mean another form of logo?

    Isn’t it orange? Not yellow?

    It is brush based around a circle + a lot of experimentation.

    Yeah the radial is a subtle effect that draws the viewers eye to the middle.

  27. I really like the end result of the branding. Your process is clear and choices are well made. I particularly like the mock-up of the business card. So simple, yet so classy.

    Would certainly be interested in seeing more of your work and the process involved.

    Keep up the good work!

  28. I like the look of the logo but i’m reminded of the British Petroleum logo when I see the bp.

  29. I am glad that you included a picture of the logo sticker that looks really good. I would love to have some more examples of my own like this with a logo being physically applied. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Great idea by you. You are doing good job. I love designs and logos to stick on vehicles. This article helps me to design new model of logos for my vehicle. I would like to say thanks for posting this article.

  31. I like the process you take, there is a lot more work involved than people realize. Also I think the new business card looks great. Less is MORE, short message, with plenty of white space.

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