This was a fun, quick logo project that is a good example of how, with some thought and work, a “standard issue” typeface can be transformed into something personal and iconic.
The client—real estate photographer, Rosalind Guder—was drawn to clean, elegant scripts. She specifically requested Zapfino because she appreciated its casual elegance and liked how her initials looked when she tried it out.
My challenge was to harmonize the letter pairing and to elevate a typeface that’s become increasingly common (it’s been shipping with the Mac OS since 10.3) into something that makes a statement of its own.
Besides the uncomfortable collision between the descending strokes, there are a few things that bug me about this face, especially evident when just the two letters stand on their own.
I began by reworking the stem of the R and exploring the relationship between the two letters. For awhile, as you can see below, I experimented with completely removing the stem. By the way, bouncing between a couple of different approaches is a great way to move forward with a design and keep from getting stuck along any one path.
I did a few quick paper sketches,
and examined the rest of the Zapfino alphabet for stroke treatments that might fit. It’s not always possible to find something, but when I do it’s a huge time saver.
Ultimately, the top stroke of the capital J completed the R beautifully with a little massaging.
Then it was time to clean it up—the most demanding step, but also the most satisfying. It’s a process of gently and patiently using Adobe Illustrator’s vector controls to sculpt the letters into their final, finished form.
Because the client was exploring color choices as she developed her own website, I saved that for last. Besides, in most cases (though certainly not all), a logo needs to work first in a single, neutral color.
I’ve since experimented with texture treatments (like the example at the top of this post) and shared the results with her. So far and for her purposes, she prefers a flat, clean, pale gray.
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