Brand Identity Thought Process: Angie Silvy Photography
Angie Silvy is an award winning international Photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angie contacted me to design her brand identity after several unsuccessful attempts with other designers. She claimed that she had fired the other designers. Doesn’t mean those designers were bad but sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right fit.
For inspiration, she gave me a couple of images of styles that she liked and told me what she was trying to achieve with her brand identity.
Angie gave me simple instructions to come up with something that conveyed a modern style, that she loved Palm Springs, the colors white and lime green, and in her words, “no girly shit”.
This was a quick project, taking only about a week, or week and a half to get approval on the logo. Having specific instructions makes my job that much easier and takes a lot of the guessing out of the process.
After gathering the info from Angie, I started doing some research. Palm Springs has a rich modern design history and was the obvious place to start. Inspired by designers like Trina Turk, David Hicks and Jonathan Adler, I was intrigued by the patterns in their work.
In my research I came across the Parker Hotel. The Parker is a really quirky and cool spot with a funky style out of the early 60’s. I thought “If the Parker Hotel had a Photographer, what would their logo look like?” Angie seemed like the perfect fit for the Parker; having shot everything from weddings to rock concerts to sports. At this point I was feeling really good about where this was going and felt like I really was getting at what Angie was looking for.
Once I felt like I had a solid direction to go in, the sketch book came out and I started playing with simple shapes that could be the building blocks for the patterns of that era. I found a picture of the pattern near the entrance of the Parker Hotel that seemed like a perfect fit and was the inspiration for Angie’s identity. It’s a common pattern that I see used as a facade on mid-century buildings even here in San Francisco (you can see the initial sketch in my notebook) but to make it a bit more unique, notches and a bigger and thicker square were adopted, making the symbol more “ownable”.
One of the other sketches shows the other idea presented and the layout used for the typography in the final design.
Angie liked the alternate, but it lacked a real connection to her business. It could work as a mark for an Interior Designer, but it didn’t really say Photographer. I always try to incorporate real meaning into the brand identity. Clients often ask for something that is completely unrelated to their business just because they think it might look cool. For example, if Angie would have asked for a logo with an elephant in it, I would have politely said no. If her business was wildlife photography, then it might be appropriate but as a wedding, interiors and food Photographer, it wouldn’t fly. You’d be surprised how often this happens, but part of our jobs as designers is to help educate and guide the client to what makes most sense for their business.
So when I presented the two ideas I explained why the logo, the one that ended up being chosen, was the better choice. The mark looks a bit like camera cross hairs, appropriate for a Photographer. It signifies accuracy, precision and detail on Angie’s part. It can also be seen as a framed picture on a wall.
Presenting the Idea
It’s important that there is meaning behind an idea. And, if possible a story. My story of the Parker Hotel made it that much easier for Angie to love the logo and brought an extra layer of meaning to the logo besides just it’s shape and symbology.
Ian obviously did his research on me, my photography & the message I wanted to convey. Ian sent me two designs: both I loved and have chosen one that perfectly suits my style.