As I’ve said, when developing Chimney Sheep I tended to focus on one bit at a time. A few times along the way people asked me about my logo. I was aware that I would need something, but I thought it was a small thing that would be a bit of fun to create in a couple of hours when I needed it.
I was still miserably trying to felt the wool heads out of smelly raw Herdwick fleece on my expensive Canadian felting table, and trying to find CAD designers for my handle-as-far-as-it-had-got but I thought I had better get things going with the website so that when the product was finally ready to launch the website would be too. My website designers looked at the text, the picture, the product-so-far, and asked for my logo so they could set the theme for the design of the site.
Have I mentioned that to start with I was given the benefit of two advisors from Business Link? If you’re lucky I’ll tell you a bit more about them one day. One of them told me it was a weak product, that if there was another chimney draught exclusion product on the market that I probably shouldn’t bother, that applying for a patent wasn’t worth it, and at what point would I consider giving up the whole idea? She wasn’t all that encouraging. So much so, that in retrospect I wonder why I ever took any advice from her at all. Anyhow, her suggestion about the logo was that it shouldn’t be too jokey, because then people wouldn’t take the product seriously.
So the brief to my first logo designers was to design a logo that conveyed information about the product that didn’t involve cartoon sheep. They advertised themselves as being environmentally friendly printers and designers, so I commissioned them for logo design, leaflet design and all my printing requirements. A couple of weeks later the fellow from Badger Press phoned me very enthusiasticly about the designs they had for me. Great, I said, email them through. He thought it would be better for me to see them in person so I sacrificed a sunny October afternoon to make the two hour round trip to their printworks. My fault for choosing a company so far away but I’ll pay more and travel further for a company committed to environmental principals.
Ceremonially, I was ushered into the office to view the range of logos they had designed for me to choose from. A logo conveys an impression, a message, something about the company or product. Interconnecting rings state vorsprung durch technik. A symmetrical M lets you know you’re in a shop that sells cheap burgers and fries that sit heavy on your conscience. I stared at the design I had driven in such anticipation to see. There was a drawing of the prototype incorporated into one of the letters in the chimney sheep name.
There were a range of different fonts on different sorts of paper glued to a large bit of card. A picture of the prototype for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t even what the finished product was going to look like. The fellow seemed so confident in his brilliant design that I politely struggled for something positive to say. “That’s very good quality paper for recycled” I managed. “Oh” he said, “did you want it on recycled paper?”
My next logo designer showed me some of the logos she had designed for other customers, and I had to agree with her that they worked. The brief was still to come up with a design that conveyed the product without making it look silly. I like to think that I have some design skills so between us we came up with a range of earnest designs that just didn’t do the job. At least she had put a lot of thought into it, but we were getting nowhere and I was getting increasingly frustrated.
Designing a logo is meant to be fun, creative, easy – not expensive and irritating. I spoke to a marketing man about it. “Don’t be daft. You’ve got a fun name. You need a fun logo to match”. Oh yeah. Why had I listened to that bit of advice in the first place??
I relayed my lack of progress to my website designers. Why don’t you try Microburst MyLogo design? they suggested. It’s a competition where you set the amount of money you want to pay as a “prize” and artists from all over the world compete to do the winning design. It is over a set period of time and you can award the designs stars so they can see if they are going in the right direction.
Well, if I hadn’t wasted all that money on failed logo designs I could have offered a glittering prize, but as it was I offered their recommended amount of $250. A number of designs came in and checking my emails became fun again. Finally an artist was doing designs that seemed to be going in the right direction. I liked the nonchalance of the sheep, but it needed to look a bit more Herdwicky. The chimney was a bit too literal and diminished the sheep. The colours needed tweaking. But bless the patient artist somewhere out there in digital land, whose name I never learned, the logo finally came into being.
Phew. Things could start progressing with the website, the hanging permadangle, the packaging. All were held up over the pesky logo. But if you’re ever looking to get one designed then I totally recommend Microburst MyLogo. You never know, you might even enjoy the process!!