How to trash a design concept in the middle of a deadline and survive

How to trash a design concept in the middle of a deadline and survive

And that is exactly what happened. After spending so many hours in Illustrator, researching and creating inspiration boards, I went to bed Friday night feeling pretty good about the logo I conceived for PARLOUR’s brand concept and book.

Then something funny happened. I woke up the next morning and the logo looked… different. It wasn’t hideous, but it wasn’t as great as I went to bed feeling about it. As I began creating the actual brand book in InDesign, things just felt off. I confirmed my suspicions by sharing the logo for feedback among friends, other designers, and my Praxis class. Everyone had similar feedback – the logo concept was nice and carried the right symbols, but it still needed more work.

With a little less than four days until the due date of my first brand book, I started to panic. The logo was everything for this book. The entire rebrand and redesign of PARLOUR’s concept needed to be based on their new logo. And here I was redesigning a redesign.

I decided the best solution for my troubles was to take a break and eat a cupcake (or two) at PARLOUR. This turned out to be the saving grace move of the project. I had been to PARLOUR so many times in the past that I didn’t think I had to go there in person to conduct more brand research. Big oversight! Now that I had my branding concept glasses on, I saw everything inside PARLOUR with a lot more detail.

The first thing that jumped out to me was just how many logos PARLOUR currently had in use. I roughly counted about six different logos in store and on print. I knew PARLOUR was struggling a bit with unification and cohesiveness with their logo and overall branding but seeing all the logos in use together really put things into perspective for me.

This realization led me to my next thought – which was that none of their logo concepts were terrible or totally missing the theme of the business. However, most of the logos portrayed different singular aspects of PARLOUR rather than one logo that represents all the elements. Staring at the PARLOUR storefront while eating my pink cupcake in the Florida heat, I finally had my “aha!” moment.

If I could take PARLOUR’s existing logos and combine them into a concept that is similar to what they were trying to go for previously while creating an upgraded version of something new (big breath) I may just nail this.

The following afternoon, evening, and night, I created the final version of the PARLOUR primary logo. Check out the comparison between the first concept I created, PARLOUR’s logo that I worked from, and the new concept:

 

My first logo concept for PARLOUR. The triangular shape can be interpreted as a mountain to represent the NW while also paying a testament to the 90s love of geometric shapes.
PARLOUR’s most used logo. They use a version of this logo on their front door and window so I decided to work on upgrading this one.

 

The final PARLOUR logo concept designed by yours truly. I noticed that PARLOUR used gold in the logo on their windows and front door but not anywhere else. I think a little pop of the right color is just what their logo has been missing, so I made sure to include it in the final concepts.

 

 

Now I can say with confidence I am pleased with the final logo concept. The rest of the brand book has been coming along very well, and I plan to publish it right on my planned due date (tomorrow).

 

The biggest lesson from this experience thus far? Pay more attention to the client and the designs will speak themselves to you. I was so focused on recreating something all on my own that I lost sight of who I was designing for. Just because I wasn’t working directly with the client and receiving their feedback, doesn’t mean I can’t interpret what they want in other ways. Turns out their previous logos ended up being the biggest help and inspiration in my final design process.

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