Posts Categorized: Design
Designer, My Profile

How We Did It—Snappy Scrubs

We recently had a client approach us, asking for a logo with an illustrated turtle. The assignment fell to Paul (and a couple of others) here in the Design Studio. And here’s how one of his concepts came together:



The customer asked for a Speedy Turtle for their car wash. I started with a quick sketch of a pose.



Locking it into illustrator, I used the Shape tool to create some shapes that matched the round shell.



Then I used a red stroke for visibility to trace the rest with clean lines.



I realized my sketch didn’t have the legs sprouting from under the shell. Who cares? Turtles do. Plus, I didn’t want anybody complaining about the inaccuracy of my wheeled reptile. l decided to make it somewhat more realistic with the legs coming from the same area.



Then I added the inline skates. They wanted the turtle on wheels, but gave us the freedom to decide what kind of wheels.



Then I filled the strokes with white, and converted the black stroke into a fill for easier coloring.



I united the black in pathfinder, and released the compound paths. Now I’m ready to make it colored.



Then I threw in some eyes.



I added some thin strokes on the underside using the pen tool.




Again using the Shape tool and Pathfinder, I added some bubbles to imply cleanliness.



So far that gives me 5 spot colors: Black, Green, Blue, Light Blue and Brown. I want to bring that down to 3 at the most.




There we go. Using tints of the darker colors for lighter colors, we have 3 spot colors now. This will be cheaper to print for the client. And maybe I’ll make these colors a little brighter to cheer up the logo a bit.



Now we can use those darker colors for some text, using a nice readable script to imply motion. With those colors still on the cool end of the thermometer, he still doesn’t look very cheerful and fresh…there’s something missing…




Some highlights (brought down to 50% tint) bring out a shine and give us a nice freshly-washed turtle.


So there we have it. A quick and professional illustration that will represent the business and can be used in all their branding. Maybe even a turtle costume for special events….

Next time I’ll post the other option I gave them where I got rid of those pesky legs altogether. Here’s a sneak preview:


Rob Marsh

Logos I love—Buzzword

A few months ago, we were approached for a logo by a new start-up. They asked for an icon that would incorporate a bee, but wanted something more artistic and abstract than just an illustration of an insect. In addition, it needed to be a mark that could be used for several different companies, all using the same name: Buzzword.

The client chose our most affordable logo package and received four different concepts, plus six additional tweaks to their favorite concept in their first round of revisions. One of the concepts we presented incorporated a yellow and black color scheme to represent an “abstract bee” and combined it with quotation marks, representing the company name. It is one of my favorite logos we’ve created lately:



Ultimately, the client selected another option we presented, that is perhaps more applicable across other business applications. In it’s final form, the icon is combined with a type treatment of the company name. But here, you see just the icon:


UPDATE: In the years that have passed since this article was posted, our design shop has closed and reopened under new management. However, the talented designers who did the work featured above can still be found at We’ve updated the following link to reflect that.

To put the talented designers at The World’s #1 Logo Design Portfolio Collection to work on your next design project, visit us today.

Rob Marsh

Monk Logos—A Meditation

UPDATE: Since this post we closed our little design shop. However, hope is not lost. Many of the talented designers who worked for us then are featured at Want to work with them? Check them out there.

Last week it was monkeys. This week it’s monks.

We recently took on a project for a new start up called Monk Networks—a technology company that mixes software, systems, and network management for small to medium business start-ups. For their logo, they asked to see cartoon style monks in most of the concepts. They also asked for an icon that could stand alone, without the rest of the logo (a good idea if you are set on having an iconic logo).

We presented them with seven concepts to choose from (they purchased our most popular Gold Package which includes three designers and guarantees at least six unique concepts).

Here are a few of the concepts we presented.

First up is a fun, cartoon-style monk icon matched with a strong, bold font—exactly what the client requested:



Of course, we like to present as wide a variety of concepts as possible (this is one reason we put several designers on each project, instead of having a single designer crank out several concepts that end up feeling too similar). So, we also presented a few concepts that were a little more serious feeling. This next composition of a buddhist monk includes a brush stroke of color and a stylized, calligraphic-feeling font.



We presented another more serious option, though this one might look a little too much like a jedi or grim reaper. Still it has a good strong font and a memorable icon:



Lastly, another, very different concept. This one uses a thinner font treatment and a more abstract icon or a praying monk which the designer placed where the “o” should be in the name. It’s not exactly what the client requested, but as occasionally happens, they liked this one the best.



Rob Marsh

Semi-regular Design Team Gathering

Every couple of weeks, the artists here in the design shop post on the walls a bit of their favorite work from the previous ten days or so. Then the design team “votes” on the best work of all those that are submitted. Each of the designers with the best work gets a small gift card as well as the applause and respect of their peers. (I say this a little tongue in cheek—in truth there is usually much joking around and the good-natured ribbing you’d expect). Often times the designs that are presented were not selected by the client—but are amazingly good and deserving of some recognition. Thus the reason for the get-together (it’s definitely not a meeting).

We’ve been doing this 2-3 times a month for almost ten years, and the incredible quality of the design we hang up on the wall each time we get together never ceases to amaze me. It’s a good reminder of the incredibly talented people I get to work with every single day. Last week’s gathering featured about 30 logo, stationery, and website designs. Here’ are two of my favorites (in both cases here, the client ultimately selected another composition)…

The first is for a golf course restaurant called Tomasso’s that uses lettering to suggest the idea of spaghetti in addition to a nice icon that represents both golf and a pasta bowl (I’m getting hungry just looking at it):



The second is one of my favorite logo designs I’ve seen in a while. It is a simple, custom lettered, logotype, and in my opinion, a great logo…



See more great logo design in our gallery. (Or try your hand at designing your own logo at that last link).

Rob Marsh
Filed under Design, Small Business.

7 Ideas to Help Make Your Brochure More Effective

This article originally appeared last week in the Logoworks Small Business Newsletter. If you like what you see, you can subscribe on the right side of the page.

7 Ideas to Help Make Your Brochure More Effective

If you need a brochure to help promote your business, product or service, there are a few things you should keep in mind to help ensure it is an effective marketing piece. Some of these suggestions are common sense, but it’s surprising how often we see companies create marketing materials that could have been far more effective, if they had done the following:

#1 Work with Professionals.
While it is tempting (and easy) to sit down with a Word template and pound it out, your brochure will look and read much better with the help of a designer and a copywriter. A professional designer will make sure the layout of your brochure matches your brand identity and communicates visually, while an experienced copywriter will help make your message more attractive and readable to potential buyers.

If your budget doesn’t allow for professionals, make sure you choose a template that matches the style of your brand identity and can be customized with the colors in your logo. You’ll want to make sure you can change it enough so that your customers won’t see the same brochure from the business across the street.

You can do it yourself, but hiring professionals is a wise place to spend your marketing dollars and may help you save more money in the end.

#2 Choose the Right Format.
Brochures come in dozens of shapes and sizes. If you need to mail your brochure or place it in an information rack or display, you should consider using standard sizes like the tri-fold or executive layout. If you’ve got the budget for something different (generally requires a professional designer), you can play around with fold-overs and die-cuts to make your brochure unique and appealing. There are even options for using gimmicks like pop-ups to engage your customers.

#3 Make Sure Your Brochure Looks Professional.
Think of your brochure as a salesman pitching your product or service to potential customers. How do you want to come across? What image of your product do you want your customer to walk away with?

Choose fonts, photographs, and a layout that supports the look and feel you’ve developed for your brand (in fact, use the same fonts and colors used in your logo if appropriate). Avoid clipart, fonts, and images that don’t fit the overall feel of the brochure.

#4 Don’t Use Too Much Text.
A common mistake many business owners make when creating a brochure is trying to share everything about a business or product. Don’t do it. Your brochure should have one purpose and one purpose only (more on that in #6). You don’t need to share your company history, your entire product line, references, testimonials, product specifications, product and lifestyle photography, contact information, and on and on. Plan on about ½ page of text for every designed page. For the typical two sided, tri-fold brochure, plan on ¾ to one page of text—no more!

Limiting the number of words in your brochure helps make sure the text is readable and can be laid out in a way that appeals to potential customers. And it leaves plenty of room for photography, white space, and call-outs to emphasize the most important message.

#5 Write Stories, Not Descriptions.
You could describe all the product features and reasons why a customer should buy from you. But a better approach is to tell a story about how your product helps solve a problem. See if you can note the difference in this example from a company called Amazing Back-ups:

Description Approach: With Amazing Back-ups, you have 24/7 access to our exclusive server co-location for data storage and recovery. If you ever experience a crash or loss of data, simply connect through our secure network and download the data you lost. It only takes a few hours and it will be like nothing happened. It’s fast. It’s secure. It’s easy.

Story Approach: It seemed like a really bad dream. Halfway though the project, the servers overheated and we lost more than four weeks of work—with just seven days until our delivery date. Missing the date meant losing our best customer. But Amazing Back-ups had us up and running less than 4 hours later. No data lost. It was as if nothing had happened! Our ability to deliver on that contract led to even more business. We are growing faster than ever!

See the difference? It’s the same information but the story engages, while the description falls flat. Stories show benefits. They engage your customer on an emotional level. They make promises without being slick and salesy.

#6 Say One Thing and Say It Well.
The best brochures have a single message. Imagine for a moment that you are a mechanic. You need a brochure to promote your emission testing service. Great! Don’t confuse the customer by adding information about oil changes, tire repair, bodywork, biographies of your experienced team, and reduced summer hours. Focus on one thing and its benefits. You may miss a few bodywork customers, but you’ll make up for it with emission testing work.

And make sure that your brochure is written from the customer’s point of view, not yours. What’s in it for her? What benefit does she get? Will she understand the jargon or technical details? If not, don’t use them.

#7 Tell The Reader What You Want Them To Do.
This is what it all comes down to. Your customer has read your brochure, now what? Should they call and place an order? Visit your website? Stop by your tradeshow booth? Bring the kids into the store for lunch? Don’t assume that your customer will know what to do next. Tell them. Then watch it happen.