Olive as a logo?
Meat the Master herself, Chevy Altman, where she takes us on a live tour to gain a deeper understanding of logos and branding.
The ups, the downs, the challenges, and the excitements every designer faces. The beginning and finishing steps of how your work comes to fruition…
Read on for yourself.
When Olive approached me to schedule an appointment, I could not begin to imagine what a fantastic process I was in for.
The road was not easy, and there were bumps along the way where I promised myself I was abandoning the profession and becoming a fisherman on the Mediterranean coast. But in the end, when the reactions came, and the customer’s satisfied feedback reached my ears, I declared that I was crazy over my profession and never quitting.
The client came to me with a sparkle in his eye and a whole lot of dreams, which would hopefully materialize once construction at the Peninat Chemed mall in Yerushalayim was complete.
It was going to be a very unique appetizing store selling pickles, smoked fish and an assortment of quality smoked meats. They would feature a selection of spicy sauces, a refrigerator filled with aesthetically packed quality salads, and a vast selection of exotically spiced schmaltz herrings.
A look at some of the mood board content I built for myself:
Sounds like a deli? Well, no, this was nothing like the classic noisy deli. The plans were already in the hands of a talented interior designer who was working diligently on turning the small rented area into a luxury store full of ambiance and style. The client described to me warm lighting and lots of dark wood with elegant marble.
I thought so, too.
I was getting excited. Luxury businesses are my unique and comfortable niche, and minimalism and style are my great love.
I felt my fingertips tingling with the challenge, and the wheels of my brain were already turning vigorously.
I knew there would be black, color of luxury, elegance and food. I informed my client immediately that I would probably not use gold.
What then? Time would tell.
The client had already thought of the name OLIVE for his store.
I’m not a big proponent of English branding in Eretz Yisrael for no justifiable reason. Still, in this case the target audience is English-speaking; the store is set up in the heart of “Little America,” as I like to call it: Shamgar Street in Yerushalayim.
I liked the name right away. Its connotations do the job: it conveys food in general, conveys what the store sells, and conveys luxury.
After thorough research on my part, answers on their part, and a contract - we began.
Date: Most delusional, two weeks before Pesach.
Deadline for Logo: Before Pesach!!!
After working my way through the brief and summarizing the details, I tackled the Internet.
When it comes to searching for inspiration, I become hyperactive, opening dozens of tabs in my Chrome window until I can barely toggle between them because they are so tiny … moving from one to another, sorting, and closing everything that might be beautiful but is not related at all, and then saving as pictures the relevant sources of inspiration that receive my approval to become a part of the impressively-sized inspiration folder I open.
Here’s a look at the inspirations I started downloading:
Each one of these contains the core of an idea that sprouted within me, waiting for me to develop it further.
The following day, I sat down in my messy corner (i.e., my work area) with a cup of Spring lemon-flavored iced tea and some oatmeal cookies. I opened a fresh, new Illustrator page and went to dig through the folder I had worked the previous day to fill with various brandings from around the globe.
Switching between the mouse and a blue Pilot pen, I scribbled a lot of sketches in my sketchbook, scribbles that a stranger would not be able to decipher but in which I see entire worlds.
(After reading the post, scroll back to the sketches and find the sketch that led to the final logo :))
After scribbling and scribbling, I returned to the white artboard waiting patiently for me in Illustrator and started working.
The first obstacle sprang up immediately -
Olive is a word that represents a tangible, non-abstract object. An olive. And not just any object, but one product out of the vast selection the store sells. I found that very limiting.
Putting an olive on the logo as an icon would be the silliest thing, for two reasons:
- One of the most idiotic things is when a logo addresses its viewers as idiots:
The name is Olive, the icon is an olive? Doesn’t really show any respect for the viewer’s intelligence.
- Such a logo does a terrible disservice to the store, focusing on one minute product out of the huge variety the brand sells and then emphasizes it in both the text and the icon.
Okay, then, there would be no olive icons.
Predictably, the only idea that kept surfacing in my mind over and over again was an olive in different variations.
Reviewing my work, I don’t like anything. Why was it that I had gotten so excited about when I received this project?
I sent the entire collage to a colleague, as a test.
“What do you see here”? was my question.
Her answer surprised me greatly and helped me see the logo from the perspective of an outsider.
“Looks like something nutritious, natural, maybe creams (for the body/face?), or quality olive oil?”
I informed her that I was disowning her as friend.
After a square of chocolate, I felt ready to tackle the challenge again. Then it hit me:
The combination of the word Olive and the clean, upscale design draws people directly into the world of grooming, soaps, and nourishing creams.
See inspirations I collected
I realized that I needed to distance myself from the soaps and grooming look as much as possible. I upgraded the sketches that I’d already developed a liking for. (A huge mistake, by the way: speaking from experience, a designer should not admire his work before it is finalized by the client.)
I introduced the color red in order to move away from the grooming world and get closer to the food world, but I retained the minimalistic design. I inserted a jar into the logo, intending to portray pickled products.
I was so busy, so immersed in my work that I forgot that there are a variety of jars in the world, with a variety of contents. Not necessarily food …
I emailed my colleague again (yes, the one I was no longer friends with).
“It’s beautiful and elegant, but if the stuff this store sells is very tasty and not just pretty, then this logo isn’t a fit. It doesn’t taste good to me.”
Terrible, right? But that is exactly why I am her friend.
Looking back, I agreed with her that the logo seemed to be of a particularly high-quality poison … especially the one with the jar.
After some more experiments that all led to the same frustrating results - beautiful logos, but not talking to our taste buds - I decided to try adding seasoning and juiciness.
But then, guess what? The prestigious look was gone.
I mean, not really, because I had kept the lines very clean, but the elegance I was aiming for eluded me.
I felt like a yoyo.
If I tugged in one direction, there was a hole in the other. Whichever way I sliced it, something was missing.
Three days before Pesach, when even the advertising agency I work at acknowledged that women could no longer be required to work these days, one particular brander
made up her mind that come what may,
this logo would be sent to her client before Pesach, with Hashem’s help.
Eventually, I came to the most important and accurate conclusion:
The logo must have distinct food-branding characteristics as its basis.
I set out to explore food properties in logos. I looked for inspiration again and compared the common denominators among them.
Here is a sample of the logos I checked. I only saved some of them at the time:
That is how I arrived at the perfect font.
That is how I came to the conclusion that chalk texture would add a lot.
And that is how I discovered that a logo in a curved line is a distinct characteristic of food logos.
After countless changes and refinements (with the dots? Without the dots?)
B"H, the final logo was accomplished.
Minimalistic, clean, with distinctive food characteristics, strong visibility and very memorable, differentiated within the specific market share, luxury, and matching color.
On the thirteenth of Nissan, the day I started working on the presentation (!), my son came down with fever and we spent a night at the hospital due to the suspicion of meningitis (which ended up being viral, B"H).
The next day (fourteenth of Nissan, 7 am!) with my eyes closed and a jelly-like brain, I built mockups and a presentation.,
And — I hit Send.
On the further development of the distinct and attractive brand language, how it interacts with the logo and what it broadcasts, and how it functions in the customer’s sea of materials -
In the next article, BE"H.
- One of the most idiotic things is when a logo addresses its viewers as idiots:
Volvo last edited by
Indeed very interesting, and well done. loved the inspirations that got you thinking.
What an eye opener!!! it was fascinating for me to read about these kind of stuff that i would never have known what headache and heartache is involved… kol hakovod and heads up to you for getting to the point of “enjoying the challenge”… i guess that’s what real effort and work is… ups and downs and never giving up!
let alone the effort- the work is nothing short of a masterpiece… done very to the point…
good to know…
loads of further hatzlachah!!!