Pet photographers hold a special place in my heart. I spent several years working as an animal photographer when I lived in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun - and challenging too, as my first full time business.
So when Suzanne of Timeless Tails Pet Photography reached out about a logo for her new photography business, I couldn't help but feel happy for her. I remember the excitement, the learning, the satisfaction of putting your art out into the world.
She sent me some examples of her photography work, which is a great way to get a feel for a photographer's creative style. Most of her images were classic and soft, with an emphasis on lighting. This image in particular caught my eye.
My first sketch was based on that photo. I wanted to bring those beautiful highlights and shadows Suzanne has such an eye for.
But when I peeked at Suzanne's photography page and profile (more on that at the bottom of this post*) I noticed she had an eye for something else - big white dogs!
Many of the photos on her photography page featured her beautiful Great Pyrenees dogs, and her profile was full of candid shots (like the photo above) of the dogs together.
White Watermark....White Dogs....the perfect match.
So I took the "feel" of the original sketch and adjusted the dogs to be Great Pyrenees.
I sent the sketch to Suzanne, and she loved it. No adjustments to the artwork (so satisfying when that happens) but she wanted a script type font.
I found 3 options that were still bold and readable enough for logo. I also began working out the "dark background version" since Suzanne ordered the business branding package.
Having a dark background version is great for people that need to create things like stamps, embroidery, and in this case, watermarks.
Suzanne chose the middle font, and we moved on to "finalization" stage. This is where I clean up the artwork by redrawing the image at a high resolution for maximum detail and nice clean lines.
My method for processing dark background vectors is a little backwards compared to most. I'm a Photoshop girl - while I can work in Illustrator, Photoshop feels more natural to me (plus, efficient).
Instead of creating the artwork in Illustrator, I draw an inverted version of the image in Photoshop, then bring it into Illustrator to live trace a vector, then invert it back to the color I want. If you're not an "adobe person" you might be lost - the point is, vector images are able to scale up or down to any size without losing quality (another perk of the business logo package!)
The inverted drawing, soon to be a nice clean vector watermark!
Here are just a few of the 23 finished files included in this particular logo's branding package. Logos with extra elements include even more files - I believe the Conkberry record is 54 files for Embark Today's "super decorative ink splatter tattoo style" dog walking logo. Granted, this package had some extra versions added, like horizontal and square formats.
Suzanne's reaction to her package? "Wow!!!!! I'm blown away with all the different versions you have sent me! Thank you!"
Messages like that make my day. I love when people are surprised by their branding package, and I hope it gets the wheels turning about the different branding possibilities.
Maybe Suzanne will use the text-only version to make a letterhead, and maybe the version with just the dogs is made into a classy little stamp to mark the boxes her prints are delivered in (or for thank you letters). The possibilities are endless, and so fun.
This is the magic part of logo & branding work and the reason why I keep doing it at a price point that is comparatively accessible to most people. To be in control of your branding and marketing is empowering, and there is no one more deserving of that empowerment than the small business owners and hobbyists that bring life and meaning to our corporate-driven world.
I love seeing people follow their hearts despite the fear that sometimes comes with that. It means a lot to me because I am a small business owner too. Seeing others take the leap gives me strength to wear all the hats and keep doing this work. Each person that commissions a piece empowers me just as much - if not more.
So thank you and good luck Suzanne! I can't wait to see what you do with your logo and photography business.
*One of the many reasons I love working with people through facebook is what I call the "facebook consultation". I would say about half of my logo clients know exactly what they want or have something in mind, and the other half have an idea of style but either aren't sure what they want - or they aren't worried about it and give me full artistic license.
I love checking out profiles (or even becoming facebook friends) because people show their aesthetic and personality by the photos they share and the things they post. When you're running a small business or hobby, "you" are a huge part of what people are buying - so a logo (like a facebook feed) is essentially a summary of your being.
It also removes the "uhh....I have no idea!" paralysis that sometimes happens when you ask "what's your style?" directly. I can get a pretty good idea of your style just by looking at what you present to the public as "you". It's really cool!