Thursday, June 2, 2011


I spent years doing political cartoons. Probably drew thousands of them. Literally thousands. And of those, I don't suppose more than a handful were even worth reading. Up until recently, I've always considered my attempt at editorial cartooning to be a failure. I mean, even if I had 20 cartoons that were worth their salt, that's still a pretty bad ratio.

But now I see it as being beneficial in a couple of ways I never really anticipated. 1.) Great drawing practice. 2.) Good skin thickener (I'm thinking of selling the idea to Maybelene). 3.) All the times I spent thinking about political and social issues, most of which are incredibly complex, and trying to distill those issues down to something that can fit into a black and white 8.5" x 11" space was great design practice. Cartooning is about many things, but perhaps one of the most important things you learn is economy. Economy of space, of words, of images, etc. It's figuring out how to cram a big idea into such a small space (don't worry, I'm coming to the point).

It turned out to be invaluable for logo work, which in many ways is a similar process. A logo is often just a very simple graphic representation of an idea or a group of ideas. There seems to be a complexity continuum. A logo for a single product, for instance, might be relatively straightforward. On the other end of the spectrum are logos meant to represent more complex ideas. And that's where it gets tricky.

This logo could be one of the most difficult I've ever worked on. It's for Decagon. Specifically, it's for a new blog Decagon has started up. Check it out here:

A brief description of the blog is "The casual conversations that initiate scientific progress." It's about many things, including but not exclusive to: Natural science, conversation, ideas, innovation, discovery, excitement, inspiration, education and wonder. The blog is a great read, even for a non-science person like myself. The problem is in the number of intangible elements there. A logo for even one of those things would be difficult. This one has multiple concepts behind it.

So I thought about it. And thought. And thought. And now my brain hurts. But here's what I came up with. I'm meeting with the client tonight to go over the concepts and keeping my fingers crossed I came up with something they find interesting.

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