Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WWHAD: What Went Right



Take a look at this logo. Go ahead, marvel at it....I SAID MARVEL AT IT!!!! I'm not the best at logging how many hours I spend on a particular Illustrator project. I'm still a novice and it feels like I spend more time pouring over tutorials and searching for fonts and vectors than actually producing anything. I suspect that I spent a good eight hours on this, five of which was research. Don't judge, I'm just starting.

Alphonse Mucha
This was the logo I wanted for my new business. Well, close to it anyway. I still wanted to texturize the name a little further; give it more of an old-time feel. I wanted to decorate the badge a little further in the center too. Everything is just slightly askew, it needed to get tightened up. I also attempted to put this through Photoshop to give it a look like peeling paint so it would look cool on a t-shirt. What I'm trying to say is that I wanted this to stand out. For the past few years, the style of old-fashioned signage has been coming back into vogue; a retro style that runs that gamut from late 1800s Neo-impressionism to 1950's Pop Art. In the midst of doing research, I sort of fell in love with the Art Nouveau Period. The way the function followed form
intrigued me; the emphasis on the ornate especially in advertising. In imagining my logo, I pictured an old wooden sign hanging above a bakery entrance. Hardly original, I know, but there's something comforting about this style. When I see a sign like this swinging gently in the breeze, it makes me want to come in, buy a pastry and a coffee and spend some time inside watching the world go by outside. 

Anyway, eight hours or so later, I put the finishing touches on it and met my deadline to have them printed before the weekend. All the cakes were baked and trimmed, boxes were folded, a makeshift menu was constructed and it was all systems go. Our inaugural run was met with great indifference, feel free to read all about it in the first half here.

~*What Went Right*~

The day was behind us and lessons were learned. Later on that evening, my girlfriend posted a copy of this little poster to her Facebook page. Not a few minutes after it went live than one of her more Redneckish friends chimed in:
"Cake? Oh. For a second there, I thought he was selling alcohol. My bad..."

Hours of work, of constructing a concept, of making something that I thought that would be appealing to the eye, and just like that, someone equates my logo to a bottle of Tennessee Sour Mash. Here I am thinking that I constructed a logo that's friendly and warm and inviting, now I look at and I need a whiskey on the rocks and for someone to rack 'em up on the next snooker table. I wasn't insulted because I know the person that said it. I was more self conscious. For about 10 minutes, "What if everyone thought that? What if everyone thought about Jim Beam or Jack Daniels rather than cake? What if I thought about Jim Beam or Jack Daniels when I was designing it? What if I'm a raging alcoholic and didn't know it?..." And so on as I spun out of control. Okay, yes. "Angel's Share" is a term that is used in the distillation of alcohol and has absolutely nothing to do with baking. I was completely oblivious to the proper meaning of the phrase. It sounded like a wholesome, home spun term. When I was mass producing cheesecakes for Christmas, there was a bunch of sponge cake crust ends that I couldn't use in anything except serving it with ice cream. The act of up-cycling something that was going to be nothing I felt was some psychic good deed. Good equals angels....angle's share?....is this thing on?...maybe I'm just a raging alcoholic....

But then I thought, "Hey wait a minute, that isn't necessarily a bad thing." (about the business logo, not my drinking habits) The design caught somebody's eye. Granted that person's mind went straight to whiskey, but it did catch someone's eye. It made them stop and pay attention, if only briefly. This point was validated earlier that day when a customer walked over, tried a sample and asked where we were located. As if we were and honest to goodness full fledged bakery with cases filled with treats. We had to tell her that we were just starting and everything was being run out of our kitchen, but for a brief moment, we were bigger than we actually were. And that counts as something. For a brief moment, we may have caught a glimpse of our future. For a brief moment, we were a real business, and in that one glance, there was hope.

And hope is always a good thing.