March 11, 2024

The Project that Forever Changed the Way I Design Logos

Liv Strawbridge Profile ImageEden Clarkson Profile Image
By Liv Strawbridge
By Eden Clarkson
Min Read

I want to tell you a story about the design project that forever changed the way I design logos.

It was the very first project Liv and I worked on together, and I was a young graphic designer at the start of my second year in the industry. My role in the project was to ‘ghost’ Liv, asking questions and observing the way she approached the conceptual design process.

The project brief: redesign the logo of an established special education school. I remember talking to Liv about the logo concepts, and she explained the first concept was a tidied up version of the school’s current logo. The second was similar to the first idea, but pushed and developed a bit further.  

The third and final concept, she told me, was a bit of a punt out of left field. It included a clean, circular motif with long, curved lines growing to form a koru with a small red circle in the center. The circle represented the special education students and how they are the “heart of the school”.

This idea of portraying the kids at the school in this way wasn’t an instruction given by the client during the briefing, but was something Liv had heard the Principal say in casual conversation during the meeting. She was actively listening and taking notes, and when she reviewed her notes, the remark, “Our kids are the heart of the school” stood out as an incredibly meaningful statement, from a Principal who was clearly very passionate about her pupils.

Presentation day came around and I was lucky enough to tag along to the school. It was actually my very first time in a logo concept meeting with proper printed presentations – it all felt very formal and official. (Also it was my birthday, so happy birthday to me!)

We sat down and Liv handed out the presentations and began going over the concepts. The principal really liked the first one and also appreciated the little push forward shown in the second concept. Then she turned the page and Liv told everyone the story of the third concept.

The Principal listened and looked up from the concept with tears in her eyes. “That’s it” she said. “That’s our school.”

Experiencing the spark of this moment was equal parts incredible and overwhelming. Designers dream of their work being ‘love at first sight’ for their clients and here was that exact scenario playing out right in front of me.

The Principal stood up and called in more staff members to look at the concepts. Everyone was unanimous that it was the one. Very little in that concept needed to be tweaked before business cards were being printed, the updated website was live, and it was emblazoned across school uniforms and signs.

That day instilled something special in me that I hadn’t previously observed. As creatives, we might not be saving lives – but we can change them.

Our work may not be life or death, but a meaningful, well-executed and perfectly suited logo can both mean the world to someone, and represent their world.

This is the magic that Liv pours into her logo design process.

Like any process you learn, sometimes you go backwards in order to move forwards, or mess up a few times before it becomes really ingrained in the way you do things.

But keep going and I promise – you’ll soon be confidently creating your own meaningful magic in your designs.

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