So, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my first post in this series titled “Launching a Business” to get the introduction to the name of my company: firstGenStudio! A brief recap though, I am a first generation American born citizen. My family is from India and my sister and I are the first in our family to be born outside of India (from the family I know of…….) It’s a part of my identity that I’ve learned more about in the last few years. This is especially true when I reflect on my MFA.
During my time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I had to opportunity to delve into this part of my identity through my art practice and explore what it really meant to be a firstGen, as I like to refer to it. I’ll be writing about this in future posts, so if you’re curious definitely give my blog a follow! Or, sign up to be part of my mailing list! You’ll get early announcements of when my work is being shown in galleries, when the shop is updated, and when blog posts are going live.
Okay. This took me forever to figure out. I knew I wanted a logo, but I also knew I didn’t have great digital design skills….. So for now, I’m starting with a text logo. Let me tell you, I went through a million different ideas, colors, and layouts, but I’m quite happy with what I’ve come up with! I have some ideas for a symbol based logo and sticker designs that I’ll be introducing here in the next couple of weeks, so be on the look out for that!
Quick disclaimer: All the design work I did was through Adobe inDesign. It is not sponsored in any way, but I will be sharing some information regarding software specific processes. I am by no means a master of this software. In the future, I’ll be looking to bring on a graphic/web designer, so if you feel aligned to what I’m building here, reach out and send me a link to your portfolio, a short description about you (not your work), and also the book you’re reading right now!
Okay okay, now that that’s out of the way. Onto the logo. The first thing I did was decide on a color palette. I want to take this moment to shout out my patient partner, Ted, and my parents for going through all the variations, despite how tiny some of the changes were… In inDesign, I started with a few rectangles placed one next to the other. That way I could mess around with the colors and see them as a complete palette. After struggling for a little while, I realized you could save your color swatches…. It honestly became a life saver. In the color picker, after selecting and applying the color I created, I saved probably 20 different shades of purple, brown, green, and red. Here are some of the initial combinations I was thinking through!
The question you might be asking now is, why those colors? Welllllll, here’s why. I knew I wanted a variation between dark and light so that I would have the flexibility to play with background colors and future designs on apparel. I needed a wide enough range that I could have a light version and a dark version. The colors, you ask?
The Browns: As you have probably come to know, I think about skin quite a bit. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, I’d recommend taking a look at my conceptual portfolio. Specifically the work from my MFA years: they’re in the projects tab. Skin and representation of skin are common themes in my work. So, naturally (hahah cause you know, natural skin?) I wanted to have at least 3 shades of brown. Something to represent a variety of skin tones. A way for me to represent the type of community I want to build, if you will. As I stared at the swatches, I also realized it represented the variety of clay! Once that thought came to my mind, I had a mental facepalm moment honestly. In hindsight, this should have been obvious to me considering my primary material is clay…
The Purple: Well… In all honesty. It’s just my favorite color. And it just look so beautiful with brown!
Okay so after a couple days of debate over these colors, here is the final palette. Something that I believe represents me and my hope for this company. I chose a cool color palette because of how soothing it was. A way for me to find calm even in the chaos of building a company!
Plus it inspires me every time I look at it! And isn’t that what we all hope for anyways?
A small side bar: In that last paragraph, I wrote, chaos and calm. And WOW, was that a flashback to 2017 — my senior year of undergrad. During that year, I created a series titled, Meditations, that looked at memory and the way we can harness reflection. Chaos and calm became two very important words in that work as a beautiful parallel in life. As I write this, it’s wonderful to see that I’m coming full circle because that work is what started my journey into identity. To view that series, go to my projects tab and look for “Meditations.”
Alright, so we’ve got the color palette down. Next was font. I knew I wanted a combination of script and print. Something that brings elegance and minimalism together. Not going to lie, that was probably the easiest decision I made in this whole process. Just like before, I had a list of closer to 10 or 15. In the end, here are the two I decided on:
From there, the nightmare started. Not for me…. for those around me (haha…?) I figured out a simple layout. Something that, again, felt elegant and minimalist. But what got me was the color placement. And boy, did I try everything. At first, I was going in and copy and pasting colors and trying to figure out how to organize the swatches I had saved. I finally realized the tab titled “CC Library.” Y’ALL. create folders in the CC Library please. IT WILL SAVE YOU. Once I finally realized I could save all my swatches into one area it became so easy to play with colors. I had about 10 pages in this save file, all with the same text layout, each with different colors. Each time, I’d change just one thing, or move something over just a tiny bit. It was worth it though. Here are just a handful of the variations I went through once I decided on a layout:
This was also before I had a finalized color palette… So it was mayhem basically. It was a series of saved swatches for a while… Then, once I realized you could change the names, it was a series of names in the saved swatches… THEN, I realized you could create folders! So it was a series of folders… And once I did finalize my palette, I put those colors into the CC Library. With that, life became so much simpler.
Also to note, this was before I decided to drop the ‘s’ on ‘studios.’
What became clearer to me was that having a versatile logo was important. The colors were all so similar, that I just needed to make a decision. Have a base color set for the logo, but over time, the colors have room to flux depending on who I’m working with. This was me dreaming of potential partnerships basically. Choosing a base color and placement of color made it much easier to land on my the final logo:
And with that, we have arrived at the final logo. It’s simple and clean, and I’m pretty proud! What came next were a few basic templates I created for my business. These are the things I know I need to order soon (like business cards….), but also a little inspiration template for my goal of having a wholesale partner this year (my line sheet layout). I am including these things to get feedback from those more experienced than I, but also to share my knowledge! Parts of the design, including personal contact information, have been removed for privacy, but all elements are shown otherwise.
I made the business cards a while after my logo, but one element that has inspired another idea for a symbol based logo are the diamonds. I liked that I could incorporate all 5 of the colors in my original palette to create a simple design element. It has me thinking about ideas for sticker designs and other graphics that could be paired with my logo.
Like I mentioned early in this post, I want firstGenStudio to be a place for mentorship and community building. While I don’t have the means to bring people onto the team quite yet, my way of starting to do that is by sharing my knowledge and journey. If you have questions at all, feel free to contact me! You can find the contact form in my ‘About‘ section!
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading all the way through. It means the world and I would love to hear what you think! Otherwise, happy 2021! May your year be full of big and little steps forward.