Breaking Brand


In late 2005, I sat down at my brand new HP desktop media center computer (which turned out to be a total piece of junk) and began working on a new logo for the company I was about to create. For years I had tinkered with the idea of using a pair of swimming dolphin as the graphic symbolizing intent of my brand, but it never felt right because cetaceans have absolutely nothing to do with land-based creative endeavors. I loved the look of dolphin, reluctant to abandon them. They made me feel good. It was a struggle finding another feel-good symbol. A feather quill pen kept popping into mind as that symbol as I fiddled around with the company name FLUXFAZE in various fonts. Its odd spelling came about thanks to Microsoft's disk operating system (DOS) being incapable of handling file names longer than eight characters for so long–about the only good thing to come out of too many years trying to put MSDOS and MSWINDOWS to constructive use in any positive manner that wasn't maddeningly frustrating. Finally, a pair of feather quill pens representing the two Fs in the company name settled in and seemed to work well as a logo, simply and clearly communicating uncomplicated purpose of a small creative services company. I knew I never wanted to grow the company into some huge corporate machine cranking out expensive creative solutions for high-profile clients. I wanted to run a one-person operation capable of turning out affordable creative solutions of unique quality for smaller clients operating on tight budgets. I also wanted the brand to express intent to enable clients to take those affordable solutions of my creation and run with them on their own after delivery. This was paramount because I did not want to be interminably saddled as a servant to anyone's creative assets maintenance. I wanted to help clients discover how easily they could do it themselves going forward using readily available open source tools costing nothing to use. The quill pens were pleasant to look at and memorable, resembling two Fs for easy recall of the odd company name. Sweep of the feathers in a smooth curve instilled a sense of positive motion regardless of which way the logo is oriented (quill tips to left or to right). Use of gradients was frowned upon in established and emerging logo design at the time, but solid vane fanning out from the rachis (shaft) just didn't look right, and their gradient reinforced sense of motion. It's been a good logo. Fun to create and a good brand symbol for my little company.

Years later I struggled to create a logo for an outfit I contracted with at the end of my career: Collins Lake Ranch. The founder of that non-profit organization expressed a desire to use the C and L of Collins Lake in the centerline symbol (℄) utilized in mechanical drawings. I resisted this notion for a long time, thinking some symbol using the shape of a human brain would work better. The executive director suggested something along the lines of a tree made of puzzle pieces (per Gerald Gasson's 1963 adoption of puzzle pieces as the best symbol for The Society for Autistic Children). The brain and tree were too complex (at least for me) to render in a simple logo design, so I went back to tinkering with the centerline symbol.



Finally, the solution came back to the centerline symbol and puzzle pieces now being used. I never had a chance to render it as a scaled vector graphic as cataracts advanced at end of the contract before I retired, but that can easily be accomplished by anyone in the organization using a nice, powerful, free open source tool called Inkscape.