Design a personal logo.
This project was an assignment of a communication design course I took at California College of the Arts.
Branding & Identity
The logo is designed to be unique, simple, memorable, and scalable and feel like a signature or stamp that could be used on a website, business card, and as a watermark on my photos. The mark’s precise construction and abstract shape conveys personality traits including “organized,” “thoughtful,” and “unusual.” The strokes of my initials, “VL” break the box to create a dynamic shape, and the strokes and outlines create interesting rulers for alignment when paired with text. The overall shape also symbolizes my approach to photography, which is a core part of my identity; I look for leading lines (represented by the lines the “V” and “L” make) that create interesting compositions in the frame (the square).
Experimenting with My Initials
In preliminary sketches, I explored many ideas using my initials, “VL” and “VWL,” with varying angles, representative styles (symbolic, icon-based, and typographic), and visual approaches. These initial sketches did not feel like “me,” and I decided I wanted to create something more abstract that incorporates shape in addition to typography.
Inspired by Photography
I made a list of my personality traits, but they did not translate well to something I wanted to use as an illustration. While thinking about how I define myself, I realized that my passion for photography could be good inspiration for my logo. When taking photos, I am drawn to transparency, shadow, reflection, and fractured shapes, so I sketched my initials in ways that illustrated those characteristics. I also sketched ideas with my drawing style in mind—contour line drawings without shading.
I liked how the “VWL” shapes looked in making a less straightforward mark, but I felt it was too stark to represent me. To create a unique mark, I also did not want something immediately readable from left to right and wanted to play with the shapes my initials made to make something more abstract.
Initials in Shapes
I then thought of putting my initials within different shapes like circles, triangles, and rectangles. I liked the idea of a square to represent the frame of a photograph and explored incorporating my initials. I first placed a “V” and an “L” inside a square, but then I started to experiment with the letters’ shapes and orientations to create something less obviously “letters” within the square. Subsequent variations featured the “V” and “L” breaking the edges of the square or other shapes, which I liked for their disguising of the letterforms and creation of interesting shapes.
Out of these iterations, the one with the “V” and the “L” breaking the edges of a square was the one I liked best because I felt it represented me better in being less stagnant and more “outside the box.” I wanted my logo to represent my taste; I appreciate neatness and simplicity but also value how things that appear simple can become more interesting and meaningful upon further inspection. I varied the placement of the “V” and the “L” and fine-tuned the proportions between and among elements. I experimented with the density and texture of the fills for the different shapes and voids. When I felt satisfied with the fundamental design, I started working in Sketch to create a vector file.
I experimented with color and ultimately decided that my logo would work best in black and white. I tried incorporating my favorite colors—blue, green, and gray—but decided black and white would work best for the timelessness I wanted my logo to have. I originally considered that the logo would have a color version and a black-and-white version—the b&w version being used primarily as a watermark on photographs—but I ultimately decided that I did not want to have too many variations in order to retain the feeling of simplicity and brand consistency.
Designing a personal logo challenged me to figure out how to create a visual representation of a person, myself. I enjoyed the self-reflection necessary to create something that I feel represents me personally, and I enjoyed hearing from others about how they perceived my logo.