How Giving Away A Free Logo Design Benefited The Whole Community

How Giving Away A Free Logo Design Benefited The Whole Community

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Influential Blogger

Back in May I ran a competition where I asked JCD readers to comment why they should be the winner of a free logo design, designed by myself. In total there were 65 entries however I ended up choosing Janette Toral from Influential Blogger as the final winner of the free logo design.

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I chose Janette to be the winner based purely on the fact that the new logo / badge could be used by many people rather than by just one individual, thus benefiting the whole community. I am now briefly going to go through the process of creating Janette’s logo and also show you the logo in use.

Background Information

Before I explain the logo design concept I shall give you a bit of background information… The   purpose of Janette’s website Influential Blogger is to get people all over the world to vote for the most influential blogs that are emerging each year and to narrow it down to the top 10 most influential emerging blogs for the current year.

This year there were a total of 177 entries and the winners were announced on August 11th at a dinner function held in Manila, Philippines. You will find the photos from the dinner below.

The Brief

Naturally, I start my logo design process in the usual way and get all the information I need off the client before I begin designing but to cut a long story short, after all our discussions and emails, Janette and myself concluded that a unique, simple logo somehow incorporating a ‘spotlight’ was the direction that we would go in.

There would be two versions of the logo; one version for the header of her blog, and another ‘badge’ version that would be placed in the sidebars of the 10 winner’s blogs. This meant that the logo had to work at small and large sizes – this also being one of the principles of good logo design.

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Janette also stated that the badge version of the logo had to have the words ‘Emerging Influential Blog for 2008’ and that it had to convey to people to “watch out for this blog”.

You can see the logo (badge version) below and the header version at the top of this article.

The Concept

Crown Lights The concept behind the final logo was to portray a crown shaped out of 5 rays of light. The crown is a symbol of power, legitimacy, strength, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory… all traits that an influential blogger has. The ray of light is a symbol of ‘being in the spotlight’ and also of being searched, (ie. a torch) which relates back to the actual purpose of Influential Blogger… to search out the most influential blogs.

The Challenges

The Semiotics

The challenge in creating this logo was not creating a crown or spotlight itself but bringing both of these icons together to form one identifiable logo. This took a lot of sketching on paper and also a lot of experimentation with gradients and transparency in Illustrator. Janette and myself finally decided on the simple transparent / gradient concept which you can see in the final logo above.

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The Effects

I purposely made the logo not look too much like a crown, nor too much like a spotlight so as not to put too much light on each one (excuse the pun) rather, have the the image as one identifiable logo that could be seen as two separate objects. I achieved the this through the use of gradients and transparency which effectively shows that the rays of light are not solid objects.

This technique of using two objects / icons is also very much alike my personal JCD logo seen at the top of this blog… the logo can be seen as a pencil, as well as the initials JCD.

The Text

Another challenge was the actual amount of text that had to be included in the badge version of the logo. As previously mentioned, the logo had to work both at large sizes and small sizes, such as when people placed the badge on their own blog. For this reason, I was limited to placing only 1 or 2 words per line.

To help counter this limitation I used different sized text and shading to give hierarchy to what is read first. On first notice you will read the word Influential Blogger, then later read “Emerging, For 2008”.

The Colour

The colour blue was chosen based on surveys that I conducted of what colour people associated with the word ‘potential’ and also the personal choice of Janette herself. Below you can see some colour variations on an earlier concept of the logo.

Early Concepts

Below you can see the final logo to be used on the header of Influential Blogger.

Influential Blogger

Below you can see the final badges again that were used on the blogs of the top 10 influential blogs.

Photos From Award Ceremony

Below you can see some photos from the Influential Blogger award ceremony that was held in Manila.

The dinner turn out in Manila.

Influential Blogger Dinner

Receiving Recognition

Influential Blogger Dinner

Certificate of Recognition Award. Notice the badge logo?
Influential Blogger Dinner

The Function Room
Influential Blogger Dinner

There are a lot more photos of the event at the links below.

  • Markku
  • Edward Arevalo
  • Poyt
  • AJ Matela
  • Azrael’s Multiply Land
  • One shot at a time
  • King Hearthur’s Court
  • Jehzeel


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Not only did the logo make its way to the dinner at Manilla, onto all of the Influential Blogger Certificates and videos, it also found its way onto many of the bloggers websites who were involved in the ‘competition’ of which you can see some of the write ups below…

The Benefits Of Giving

As you can see, by offering your services for free you can get a lot of exposure for your work along with benefiting the community as a whole.

It hasn’t been the first time that JCD has given something away for free either… We have given away over $5000 worth of prizes away in a Graphic Design Group Writing Project and we have also given away prizes here and here and here and here and here and here and we also offer a free type classification ebook. What are you offering for free?

As always constructive criticism, questions and feedback is welcome.

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25 thoughts on “How Giving Away A Free Logo Design Benefited The Whole Community”

  1. It’s good to see how other designs, like yourself Jacob, go about designing a logo. I can remember a few years back when it was hard to find out quality information like this online.

    Thanks to you, and designers such David Airey, people can have a real insight into the sometimes-complicated processes that take place, sometimes into the early hours of the morning (in my case!).

    I feel inspired to talk of my design process in the near future, and have the understanding that designers, clients and general readers alike take interest on articles like this.

    Great logo!

    Andrew Kelsalls last blog post..The Day in a life of a Graphic Designer

  2. The crown/spotlight concept is great! I can’t help but feel, though, that in the badge version, “for 2008” would nestle perfectly next to the word “Blog” so that together, the three words fill the space under “Influential” and create a nice balance.

  3. Some good work here Jacob, like the double image, its good to have an idea within the final concept if possible. Works very well and you have used one of my favourite fonts “Interstate” for the text.

    If I was being picky (and lets face it we designers are!) I’d say that the grey in the text could have done with been slightly lighter, maybe by 10% or a slightly lighter pantone. Good work!

    Dot Designs last blog post..Coca-cola gets a brand re design – “less is more”

  4. Dexter, Poyt, Azakers. Ed, Chaitanya, Janette, Jehzeel,
    You are all very welcome! Thank you for your praise.

    I agree, seeing the process behind others designs is always eye opening and informing. Look forward to an article of yours… let me know!

    I actually did try that but I felt it was uneven and looked out of place and made it a tad too long as it didn’t perfectly fit but good pointing out. I suppose it could have worked with some tweaking of letter spacing also.

    Dot Design,
    Thanks for your praise and opinions 🙂 I will see what it looks like a bit lighter… I am not sure why I chose 50% now but I think it just stood out a bit more.

    Just also had a look at your latest post on Coke… I have never seen Coke Plus… have you tried it? How is it?

    Actually Janette wanted a very simple plain logo and I do agree it is plain, however it is very strong for the purpose of what the logo is meant to communicate as outlined in the article above.

  5. Jacob, I have to be honest. Unless I missed something in your post above the logo seems, well … kind of plain. If plain was your goal then you did it quite well.

    Doug C.s last blog post..Just the FAQs, m’am, just the FAQs…

  6. Hello Jacob! Thanks very much for sharing your design process with us, and thanks for the link love! 🙂

  7. Nice article.
    Was interesting to read why you chose the winner and then the processes you went through in designing the logo.
    Didn’t pick up on the similarities to Triumph’s logo till David Pache’s comment. Here’s a link:
    Still a nice logo though.

  8. Very interesting! I know designing anything is really hard work and highly creative. I know because my father is an architect. 😀 I just wish some creative juices has rubbed off on me.

    Good job, Jacob! And congratulations Janette! 🙂

  9. I’m so glad that giving to the community worked out for you. I completely agree that that is a great way to promote your business and bring in new customers that you may not have had before. It is a hit or miss and no one wants to work for free but in the long run sometimes, it’s very beneficial and you can also feel good that you helped someone out along the way!

  10. thanks for sharing jakob. I completely agree that that is a great way to promote your business and bring in new customers that you may not have had before.

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