A recent illustration and calligraphy project for the Washington Post. I was given a general direction and a list of images to work with, some of which were more workable in my watercolor style than others. The gummy bear, rubber spoon, and trivet were a little bit tricky. Here is the evolution of the process.
To see more watercolor calligraphy and illustration take a look at my expressive watercolor calligraphy and lettering portfolios.
The beauty of calligraphy in logo design is that it is alive and created by hand. Unlike a font each letter can be customized in an organic way. Here are some samples from my portfolio recently posted on Workbook. Each one shows a different way of combining letterforms and symbols. Sometimes a design works best through contrast, as with the rough brush icon of the globe with the sans serif typography laid over it. In the case of the Publix Premium logo above, an illustrative element in the same style as the lettering creates a look of high end elegance and harmony that can be used across multiple products within the store.
See more of my work mixing symbols and letter forms in my Illustrations and Icons portfolios.
A Logo Project Inspired by the Street
This month I had the opportunity to use my obsession with street art in a logo design for a client. Seven large ad agencies had recently merged to form a new agency called Sandbox. One of the original seven, GA Communications, wanted to create a specific look for its community outreach division that would express the attributes of its internal culture. Among the ideas given as reference: “Collaborative, Creative, Fun, Social and Confident.” A logo for the name, “Orange” had already begun in-house, based on a standard script font. It was close to what they were looking for, but it didn’t feel distinct or proprietary and the design team wanted to see a new approach reflecting the energy and creativity of graffiti. I was also asked to make a little movie or otherwise document my process.
Photographing the street is one of my favorite ways to spend my time, and in my archives I have thousands of pictures of graffiti, abandoned buildings and the shredded poetry of telephone poles. I knew there was a good chance that the final logo would end up being quite conservative, but this project seemed like the ideal opportunity to open things up and go wild. I did a photo shoot looking for everything orange on the street. I experimented with many media, ranging back and forth between the different languages and moods of graffiti. This was heaven.
I started out with black ink, working quickly to find new twists on the fonts that had been sent as reference.
Switching things up I started working with actual orange, what a concept! With colored ink and paints the weight of pigment in the water makes for a different feeling in the brush and leads to subtle differences in how the letters emerge.
To start this project I went out to study walls for a day. I think I have fallen in love with balloon letters. They are insanely creative and all kinds of design problems get solved in an instant on the fly with a spray can. Even if you are trying to be a bad#ss you can’t really convince anybody if you use this style. Balloon letters are fundamentally friendly and silly. The world could use a lot more of that.
The final choice of style came down to these two. On the top, dry brush on watercolor paper, and the lower one, pen and ink on offset paper. After many iterations to finesse legibility the lower one was chosen. The influence of graffiti is very faint, but I hope some of the spirit of adventure can be read between the lines.
Take a look at my portfolios to see more expressive lettering for advertising design.
Calligraphy brush logo with watercolor by Iskra Design
I am having a month of orange. Stay tuned for more of this color, which I can’t get enough of! Here is a fun interpretation of a logo I usually show in black and white. I have revisited it in watercolor, creating a background that suggests a lively dinner party with a slightly ’50’s vibe. The original logotype calligraphy was done with an edged brush, pointed brush and gouache on rough paper, combined with a set font.
This book cover titling project was recently finalized and I am very happy with how it turned out. The reversed brush lettering really sparkles in reverse, and I like the way the drybrush texture complements the starry sky.
You can see more of my custom typography and hand lettering for book covers here.