A while back I designed and drew a logo for the Border Highlanders, a bagpipe band here in Moscow. Well, I was recently asked to work up some designs for another bagpipe band called Clearwater Pipes and Drum. Like the Border Highlanders logo, this one will also eventually be used on a drum head.
The logo needed to feature:
-The name of the band
-The Clearwater River
-The band's Latin motto
Other suggested details included thistle plants, herons, osprey, and a Celtic border/pattern. After cogitating on the project for several days, I worked up the first round of concepts:
Second from the top is based the medieval family crests (I used mostly Scottish and German reference images). I think this concept has the strongest conceptual tie in (given the national origin of the bagpipe and all) and also made for a nice, symmetrical design. Plus, I was able to incorporate the thistle plants in this one.
Concept no. 3 was an unconventional approach. In looking at photos of bagpipes and herons, it occurred to me that they're somewhat similarly shaped. I tried several different variations on this design, but this is the only one that was half-way decent.
Finally, a very simple layout (one of the requests for this logo was that it remain fairly uncluttered so as to be visible from a distance). Just the river and the thistle.
There were all sorts of unsuccessful ideas that I tried and abandoned for one reason or another. Mostly because they were awful. Here are a couple of the least-hideous:
There was one idea in particular that I thought was brilliant: I wanted to create an image where the curve of the Heron's neck was also the curve of the Clearwater river. I must have tried a half dozen different versions of that idea, but I could never make it work.
That's one thing I've learned from a myriad of projects over the last decade: No matter how great I think an idea is, sometimes it just doesn't translate visually. I try not to get too attached to any particular idea (I'm only marginally successful at this). If it's not working, cut it loose and move on. The value I place on any particular idea and the success of the project itself aren't necessarily related.