Design Profile: Pique (part 1)

I’m currently in the process of putting my design business together into a meaningful thing. Since what I aim to do is to help people discover and refine their own brand and visual identity, I am quite literally my own first customer. So here’s a little peek (pique?) into my process.

Step 1:

This involves a lot of questions. Who are you? What do you want to accomplish? What do you have to offer? What are your goals? I might come back to what my own answers were later, but I think it’d be more interesting for the moment to skip ahead to the next step.

Step 2:

Creating a visual identity. Ah, here’s the part where I get to show you pretty pictures. I don’t have any of my sketches scanned at the moment (those will be added later), so we’ll start with the first steps at the computer.

I like to start by playing around with text. I like the way words look, and I frequently find my inspiration through the shapes of letters. So I began by taking the name of the company, Pique, and playing with fonts. As Ben will tell you, I am a font addict. He thinks I have thousands. In reality, I cut back a whole lot after college. Did you know that if you have 450 fonts installed, your computer slows to an unusable crawl? I now try to keep my currently installed collection around 200 (although, right now my notes show me I’m at 286).

Above, you will see Fontdinerdotcom Sparkly (minus the sparkles), Century Gothic, Triforce, Ubuntu Title, and Sniglet. After some playing, I really liked the friendly look of Sniglet. Pique is a word that, if placed in all caps in some of the wider fonts, can have a fierce look. Sniglet helped it feel softer and more approachable. So I played from there.

Well, okay, I didn’t completely stick with Sniglet yet. I played with the fonts some more. I tried removing the “ue”, and it looked like a strange face. So I made it a face. And I stuck the word in a box. And felt like I was getting nowhere.

As with most of my designs, the next step was sort of inscrutable. I decided to try Lilit as a mascot. So I made a cartoony cat and stuck her in a circle. Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Some further refinements to the cat and a change in direction. Note the paws and head shifted to be more active and the tail a little less droopy. A change in color to my signature orange (although a bit too pale, I think). The tail still isn’t right, and it doesn’t shrink down very well yet. But still, progress nonetheless.

Let’s try losing the circle and fixing the tail. I’ve always loved how an inquisitive cat’s tail resembles a question mark. One of the connotations of Pique that we’re trying to emphasize is “pique your curiosity”. I positioned the cat so she was “peeking” over the name. I also played around with question marks, using one of the paws as both the dot of the question mark and the dot of the i. Good, but it now looks like ?-catface, as opposed to a tail. Tilt the tail to use the head as the dot… better, but still it looks too amateurish for my tastes.

Well, let’s play with a business card design anyways. There’s a very real trend in design right now for colorful, playfully cluttered designs, so I wanted to try my hand at that.

(The numbers at the bottom are the remnants of my phone number. Sorry, Internet, I’d rather you didn’t call me.)

Ugly, isn’t it? I don’t like it one bit.

Okay, okay. Start from scratch. At its absolute bare element, what do I want to say?

“I wanna see that! What are you doing over there?”

So how about a face popping up and “peeking” at the name?

Let’s bring the cat back. And what’s with the pastels? Let’s get some real color in here.

Much better.

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Posted on August 6, 2010, in Art & Design and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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