Putting the 'log' in logo

Creating relevant, beautiful logos can be a tricky business – they don't grow on trees. But sometimes they are inspired by them... My client's brief included: "I would like a natural tree/leaf inspired logo mixed perhaps with a rough willowy body shape/form. Its about growing out from pain and tension into release and flexibility." I love that with a couple of simple shapes you can see both a tree and a person stretching joyously.

The Secret Life of the Pencil

Last week I ventured into London to see The Secret Life of the Pencil – an exhibition of photos of famous people's pencils at the Paul Smith store on Albermarle Street. Now I know to most people this would seem rather yawn-some but, as you may have guessed, I love a good pencil. And the detailed photos really brought them to life. William Boyd's retractable pencil was probably the highlight for me – one of my favourite author's much-loved tools shot on a bright pink background. 

The press pack for the exhibition sums up my feelings exactly:

"The humble pencil is found where most of mankind’s greatest achievements begin. But will the touch-screen generation ever feel the pleasure of a freshly sharpened pencil or the frustration of a shattered lead?"

The exhibition is also raising money for the charity Children in Crisis. Their aim is to help support projects that provide reading, writing and thinking skills – along with pens, pencils and paper – to children suffering the effects of conflict & civil war in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

See http://secretpencils.co.uk/ for more images from the exhibition and info about the charity.

At the sharp end...

Well, as the kids return to school after a sun-filled, fun-filled few weeks, it is time for me to get back into the stride of more structured working days. Summer is usually a relatively quiet time for me design-wise and this year it was no exception with just an evening here and there spent catching up on work. However, it looks like September is going to make up for that and then some. So, I have invested in a new propelling pencil, plenty of 0.5 leads and started a fresh notebook in preparation for the busy days ahead. Whilst I admire a properly sharpened pencil as much as the next person, time is of the essence when taking notes and sketching ideas hence the propelling pencil. But when it comes to keeping your pencil sharp, this chap really is at the cutting edge: 

www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com/

David, I salute you!


Seven years on...

Last month marked the seventh anniversary of my taking the plunge and setting up Sharp Pencil Design. I suddenly realised that in all that time SPD hadn't actually had a proper logo! I had originally used my handwriting as the logo but soon got bored of that and found it didn't work well online or even on invoices. So I dropped that altogether and used a photo I'd taken of a curly pencil sharpening instead but again found that difficult to use. I was being a true graphic designer and being my own worst client – not sure what I wanted but pretty clear on what I didn't like! So, I gave myself a good talking to, took a step back and went through the same steps as I would normally go through with a client. The conversation went something along the lines of this: http://creativeboom.co.uk/tips/50-questions-to-ask-clients-when-designing-a-logo/

And suddenly I was my ideal client and the logo came to me almost by osmosis! And, true to form, it started off as a sketch in my ever-present notebook. So, now the shiny new SPD logo is sitting up there at the top of my shiny new website and I am pleased as punch. Long may it last!