Here's a look back at a selection of the homes and buildings I drew this past year. It was a great year. Wishing you all the success and happiness you wish for in 2017.
Some friends of ours, Keith and Laura, opened a brewery in Rockville, Maryland, called 7 Locks Brewing. It's a great spot, great beers, highly recommended--check it out if and when you're in the area.
Last year, the 7 Locks crew decided to give their original logo (below) a re-design ahead of some new beer releases.
Keith approached me to take on the task, which I gladly accepted. I shipped them the final logo just before this past Thanksgiving.
I was happy with the outcome and the development process. In this post I wanted to share that process, showing the stages from concept to finished logo, with the sketches along the way and my thoughts and reflections on each.
Here were the ground rules I was given for the new logo:
First step was just getting ideas on the page (see below). For a few of these I wanted to tie in 7 elements, 7 something, so for concept #1 I made it bottles interlocking.
For some of the other concepts, I wanted to allude to the change in the waterline in locks, as well as the large gears used in canals to open and close the gates.
They chose concepts 1 and 4 out of these for me to develop further.
So I developed those two concepts and made 3 variations of each. Those are presented below.
They chose to develop 3A and 1B further.
I developed 3A and 1B further, elaborating on each concept direction. Here are those variations, below.
They really liked the last design (furthest down) and felt like it looked most like a finished logo. They also liked that, though I was originally going for interlocking bottle shapes, it looks like interlocking brewing tanks.
Keith, who had earlier wanted to avoid any gear motif, added a gear shape. We both felt that it gave the logo a "finish." From there, I worked on polishing this design.
Here is one of my early passes at finishing the design (below). The font is one that I have liked for a while. It's a Victorian font, Excelsis, and I think it conveys a vintage feel without screaming it. I carved out the letters to accommodate the tank design, then beveled the text to give it some depth. A lot of logo fonts these days are flat, and I tend to go flat--but it just didn't work here for the direction they wanted to go in.
The above, though, just didn't seem to be working to our total satisfaction. Seemed pretty bland. I went back to the actual drawing board, where I'm most comfortable, and sketch out something that would work better.
I ended up with the drawing below. It seemed to have a little more soul to it than the digital design. I also added a waterline below "Brewing" to support the letters. I had shown Katie and she thought that it had seemed pasted on, too much like it was floating.
For the word "BREWING" originally I had used a web font, something pretty simple and sleek, but it looked pretty weak in this context, and so I decided to go toward another serif font, one that had a lightweight and drawn feel to it (below).
Keith and his partners were happy with the sketch above, and so I had it traced in Illustrator to give it a finished look. See below for a tiny thumbnail of that.
In sending over that final black and white version of logos, though, I had accidentally included a version of the logo I had made earlier, something without the gear (below). Keith (and I) definitely liked it better without the gear.
So we decided to...shift gears.
Then I went to the digital drawing board and reworked the logo so that it would work well as a finished design without the gear, and put an circle in its place. I also experimented with the ways that color would give it a new dimension. One example is using a split color in the text to suggest the water lines of a canal with various locks.
I came up a few designs like this one to share with the 7 Locks guys:
We tried a bunch of different color schemes, including this one (below) that had a gray gradient that unfortunately made the design seem a little dated. I suggested moving more toward color blocking, like a screen print, and then worked in that direction.
Ultimately, with some back and forth with Keith, I found a design in there that he and I were happy with. Here's the final version!
So that's the story of the birth of a logo. Fun to work on and make it come to life. It's very rewarding, too, to provide some value toward a business that celebrates its local history and industry.
If you have questions about how I can create your logo, from concept to finished product, please get in touch with me and let's talk!
The End. Happy spelling! Click here to go back!
I wanted to share a few examples of building drawings I've done for customers.
The first example is the Rookery, which I carried out for an architect I met at the Ravenswood art walk. I've posted this elsewhere, but wanted to walk through the panels.
The first is an elevation drawing. This took a while. I started with a tour of the Rookery, which I believe was given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and I took tons of photos.
Drawing of the Rookery interior:
Drawing the Rookery exterior details:
So that's an example of a building drawing that's historic. The Rookery is stunning. It's like Chicago's Taj Mahal, and definitely deserves all the attention. So glad that it was restored to its current glory, I believe in the 80s.
But there's other work that I do, some of which is less prominent on the site. Here's one that I did for developer Evan Oliff, who wanted to show off one of his properties and present an original to his client:
Yet another building drawing example is something like the one below--made for the Skokie County Club. This is a drawing of the exterior of their building. The final version had the names of all the board members in a coin-like medallion over the building.
Finally, one other example of the custom building drawing is this one, done for the great restaurant Daniel in New York. They wanted to have a holiday card with their building facade done and thought that it would have more character if done by hand.
And this is the final version of their card:
So that's just a small sample of the building drawings I do. Please get in touch here and let me know what I can do for you.
In 1871, fire swept through Chicago, ravaging a huge swath of the city from 18th Street to Fullerton Avenue. In its ashes, citizens immediately began the process of building the city taller and more stately.
In 1872, one of those citizens built a cottage of his own at 1241 N. State Street. Like most of the cottages popping up at the time, it was brick rather than combustible wood, suited to the narrow lots, economical—good for a worker and his family.
Within a decade or so that worker had new neighbors: distinguished families like Potter, Goodman, and Lincoln, all living in mansions. Today, Gold Coast is chic, bustling, populated, and well-developed.
That worker's cottage is the last of its kind, nestled among larger multi-unit buildings that are almost literally squeezing the cottage between them. The economy of the neighborhood is almost like a slow tectonic force acting on a grain of sand.
DNAInfo recently reported that this cottage has just been sold to a developer with plans to demolish the home and build something more lucrative in its place.
I love a free market. I don't begrudge the seller or the developer. There's an opportunity to add value to a property that had been so neglected, its exterior was crumbling and its kitchen lacked appliances. No one was showing it much love—that is, until its sale made the news.
On the other hand, I love that this home is a slice of the city's history. It has cultural value to anyone who loves and appreciates that history. More than an artifact, though, the home stands for the long-forgotten people who passed through. It's a thing that holds tight to the past and asks you to remember, despite the weather and the years.
If you want to support the preservation of this home and others like it, the organization Preservation Chicago takes the lead on issues like this. I'm not affiliated with them.
DIGITAL IMAGE: The sketch below is available for free in a downloadable high-resolution 8.5" x 11" pdf.
PRINT: Or if you'd prefer, we can send you a signed print on high-quality, heavy stock paper. That's available for purchase here for $16. I also do custom home and building portraits. For more like this home, check out this gallery of home drawings.