Welcome to the first installment of The Process Series: posts dedicated to our design projects and the step-by-step process we take to bring them to life.
From the intake and inspiration to layout, font choices and coloring we want you to have enough information on how this works to ask questions. Maybe you’re an aspiring creative, a Pinterest champion or a fellow working designer; you have valuable questions that we’re interested in hearing, and even more interested in being challenged to answer. So let us know if there’s a detail we’ve left out that you’d love to understand: we wont just be happy, we will be seriously PUMPED to get into it.
We’re big fresh-food nerds and love our local farmers so we were thrilled when the USDA Farmers Market approached us this winter to give their look a makeover. The only market on the National Mall is one of those idilic DC experiences: fresh food, happy people, national monuments. No brainer. Getting to work on an event and for an organization that you already love: Always a win.
The USDA Farmers Market is not a new company. We weren’t starting from scratch here and building a brand, we were overhauling old artwork that no longer worked.
This is an established organization that has 20 years under its belt and lives on one of the most iconic strips of land in our country so coming to a clear understanding of what they envisioned was as important as ever.
There’s a moment between signing a new project on and diving right in- a pivotal chance to set your path. This is that time when we go out into the world, on our computers, scour libraries, peruse stores and collect inspiration. For this post we’ll show you some of the work we looked at while finding our footing for the perfect modern-traditional farmers market aesthetic.
Key members of the client team provided some solid direction from the get-go. They mentioned a love for old National Parks posters such as this Yosemite poster. This meant we were going to create something with strong color blocking. When we came across the “moonshine” mason jar, below, we decided bringing in the old practice of linoleum printmaking was going to bring that perfect, authentic old-time touch we were looking for.
We really dug the fonts used on these free-range egg cartons. No questions: The bright punch of color the lino-inspired illustration, the font, the kraft paper: An overall inspiring composition.
Choosing what would fill the basket was key! We went through several revisions just deciding on the type of produce that we would represent. Illustrating it with colorful, classic inspiration was critical.
We began by sketching out a series based on the thoughts, hopes and inspiration expressed by the client. We presented a number of these ideas and after several more revisions boiled it down to a final concept:
Next, we took it to linoleum! This is the old school process of transferring ones design onto a linoleum slab and carving it out by hand. After this you ink roll the design to give you that beautiful, hardy feel of an old newspaper.
The next step is to scan this design in and have the old world meet the digital- in Adobe Photoshop to refine the lines and then to Adobe Illustrator to add text
One of the biggest stylistic choices followed: Deciding on a font to represent the USDA Farmers Market. This meant our next client meeting involved a little thing we call “the font game”. As you can see we print out a number of different options that could take the feel of the logo any which-way and have each stakeholder at the client table (there were over 10 people in that client meeting!) checked off their favorites (and least favorite). By the end of the meeting we whittled it down to one clear winner.
We’re getting really close at this point, with a near-final design, it was time to play around with font and text placement. Ultimately, we decided on Splandor. We played around with centering the text around the design.
When choosing how to represent the entire composition as a whole it became clear that the text and the icon were both capable of standing on their own. We opted to group them next to one another rather than setting them up in a linear fashion.
Check out the logo at work in its first poster here:
The matching postcards to promote the first market this spring:
The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack speaks in front of the new logo, freshly printed on a market tent!
Our work doesn’t end there. We create complete logo packages: providing our clients with the logo in every single form they could possibly need it in to reuse over the course of its life. We also package up the font files and provide the logo broken down so just the visual or just the text can be used if need-be.
Most importantly we are always available because the truth is that creating a logo is kind of like being a parent: You conceive of it, raise it till it’s fully mature and ready to stand on its own in the world, but you’re still the people who know it best. Whether it’s creating signage for a new event or a new label for a new flavor, everyone we work with knows we are home base for that design and they’re always welcome back.