|Illustrator|Branding Design: The Odd Prop Shop 2022
Updated: Jan 17
About a year ago, I came across the small business and was fascinated by the owners' float art skills and the one-of-a-kind props they build and sell. I shared a deep respect for their honest pricing and down-to-earth customer service.
The Odd Prop Shop is a small business making creative performance props. The three people in the business are Chris and his partner Kira and Noah. All three of them are performers, Chris is known for his fire wheels and sun wheels float art, Kira is a dancer who also performs with fire, and Noah is an amazing welder who performs with juggling clubs and a roll-a-bola.
While following this small business on Instagram, I came across this post stating that they need logo ideas that include all three of the owner's characteristics. I've approached them, offering them a logo as a thank-you for contributing to the float art community.
My first thought when seeing this post is that they have a broad idea of what they want their logo to look like but failed to execute the ideas in a manner that serves practicality and diversity. As this image will work as an Instagram post but will struggle if they wish to be made into printed materials. It lacks framing, and the sentence is cropped by the center image, interrupting the reading flow.
After a brief introduction from both the owners and me, I've started my sketching process, which includes writing down keywords that can be incorrupt into the logos, a small analysis of what the shop is like, and some elements that the owners wanted to include in the logo such as the top hat, mustache, and the phrase "Props for performers made by performers." They struggled to find elements representing Kira, the fire dancer, and Noah, the welder, and juggler.
*post meeting sketches
After talking to the owners, I have a few ideas for the logo. 1) make it a circle. Since it is a small business and they tend to use recycled boxes for their packaging, I would like to create something that can be made into stickers to unify their packaging experience. 2) Make sure each person's characteristics are highlighted proportionally, so instead of having the top hat and the mustache for Chris, I moved the mustache in as part of the text.
After collecting material for a mood board, the first part of the design process is to experiment with fonts. The shop definitely promotes a none conventional type of living, as their goal isn't to make money but to spread this type of performance art as widely as possible. I chose these three fonts to start playing with placement and the name's proportion with the mustache. In the end, I landed with the first font (Citrus Gothic Rough Regular) as the primary font and the third (Ofelia Text Medium) in solid black as the secondary font. I enjoy how the R in PROP reflects a similar curve pattern to the mustache. Ofelia being square and proportionate, allows me to use it as text on the path without sacrificing its legibility.
The first approach to the logo is to make the circle out of the fire and the welding gun, which relates to their use of fire in many of their performances and Noah's profession as a welder. We agreed that the big picture is there, but we are still missing Kira's characteristic, which she mentioned adding a mermaid element into the logo as she also works as a mermaid. I explained that since the logo is for the small business selling props, even though a mermaid tail would represent her, it would confuse the audience as to what the business does. She then mentioned her moon cycle tattoo, which I suggest adding to the other circle as a decorative effect. I changed the welding gun to a juggling club and added the moon cycle to better center the logo.
At the third meeting, the client was happy with the design, and there were only a few minor adjustments to make. Since the left and right side of the logo does not weigh the same. The grid should not serve as the ultimate reference to centering the logo. For example, the T in "THE" carries more weight because of the mustache, and the left side of the mustache shifts the overall center to the left. I had to adjust the x location to ensure it looked centered manually. The same applies to "ODD PROP SHOP" since there is one more letter on the right side. This project challenged me to not depend on the grid system as much and trust my own eyes. In the end, I recentered the logo and fine-tuned the texts and fire position. This is the final logo sent to the client.
As part of my design process, I think about what the clients might use the design for, there, for in addition to the black and white logo, I also included a file of the logo with a transparent background and one with total line work for if they wish to make it into vinyl stickers. Since they wanted only a black-and-white logo, the AI file was also included, so the clients could add color if that changed their minds in the future.
I then packaged the product into one google drive folder under the business's name. Each object will have a clear label stating that it includes, and I normally also export all AI artboards into.jpg files just in case the client doesn't have access to the adobe suits. If this logo requires revision in the future, I will put the existing files into one folder with the date and version as the title. I believe the more organized I can be when delivering my product to my client, the easier it will be for them to navigate the products.
*Below is the client's announcement post on Instagram and the stickers they ordered after receiving the product!
As a graphic designer, I am still learning how to balance work and play. I am fortunate enough that my expertise and skills align with what I enjoy doing. As with many of my previous projects, I enjoy working with small businesses and individual artists, knowing that my skills can be their resource. To me, this type of work not only fulfilled my need to "create for fun" but also allowed me to challenge my design thinking skill as a graphic designer, as they will not fall under my normal clientele. I am always grateful for businesses to trust me to be a part of their journey and for their creative minds to be a part of mine.