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Logo Designing: Working in the abstract

Whenever I am consulted to design a logo, anxiety follows and my thoughts are left running wild. Even without a full design brief or research on the niche within which the project falls, my mind gets fully engaged.

I recently was asked to provide a logo concept for Protected Areas Trust (Guyana) as an alternative to some that they had already received. In order to ensure that my work is original, I often work with an abstract representation of the subject. Here is the story behind my presentation of a logo concept.

Protected Areas Trust (Guyana) Logo Concept

Background

Protected Areas Trust (PAT) is a commission in Guyana responsible for the protection and conservation of the country’s natural heritage and natural capital and the management of a national system of protected areas.

PAT, being Guyana’s focal point for protecting natural heritage, is about to be launched and is seeking a brand identity. No design direction was given, but a few design rendition were presented. Guyana’s territory is large and diverse and any brand identity must reflect this fact while depicting care or protection.

Influences

Scouting around the internet as part of my research into the niche, my ultimate design concept was influenced by the following:

logo influences

In June 2016 while attending a conference in Panama City, I visited the BioMuseo. My recollection of the display of Panama’s map and other exhibits also influenced my design concept.

panama inspiration

Concept

The PAT brand identity is comprised of Combination Marks as follows:

  • Iconic/Symbolic – an abstract map of Guyana using rectangles with rounded edges scaled at different sizes. The lower portion of the map was substituted with a cupped hand that lends completeness to the entire shape of Guyana. Each element of the design bears shades of green, the dominant colours in Guyana’s landscape.
  • Logotype/Wordmark – The font used for the wordmark is Bebas and is wrapped around the icon in a circular, encompassing posture suggestion protection and complementing the cupped hand. The choice of font was dictated by the need to remain consistent with the look and feel of the iconic/symbolic mark – soft rounded edges.

Iconic/Symbolic Mark Iteration

  1. Solid map of Guyana
  2. Abstract map of Guyana with 20 overlapping rectangles
  3. Abstract map of Guyana reduced to 10 overlapping rectangles
  4. Abstract map of Guyana with negative space between the 10 overlapping rectangles
  5. Abstract map of Guyana with lower potion (bottom three rectangles) replaced by a cupped hand

Although the cupped hand replaced a portion of the Guyana map, the overall icon still reflects it with squinted eyes.

icon iteration

Bringing it together

logo with colours

Print collateral mock-ups

print collateral mockup

Afterword

The presentation was made with the expectation that I would be asked to make a few revisions that would bring it in alignment with what the organization was looking for. The response I received was “the average Guyanese wouldn’t get the abstract.”

So where did I go wrong? Communication!

I did not receive a design brief, neither did I solicit one. I opted to do my own research, then made a few assumptions. That was obviously a flawed approach and the project collapsed under its own weight.

Lesson to self: Never skip the design briefing.

I am nonetheless happy that I made a contribution despite the result. In keeping with my character: I see things differently!

Do you see the difference?

Here is the logo adopted by PAT:

PAT adopted logo

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