Laying Down the Tracks: SOHO
I want to give a big HELLO to all of you out there reading the Burning Oak Studios blog. For today’s post I have decided to take things in a very different direction. The company confronted me with a very interesting task a couple of months ago involving making studio music for artists to listen to as they create. And I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to make an album by myself and publish it through the company.
I LOVE MUSIC. Always have and always will. Ever since I was a child I would always beat on things trying to keep timing and sing along to everything that I heard. I started playing guitar and bass when I was 16 and it became what some called an “unhealthy obsession.” I played for hours everyday, taught myself many techniques by figuring out songs and watching other people play. When I went off to college and majored in art, I did not have as much time to devote to music unfortunately. I was able to take a few interesting music classes along the way before graduating. One in which I learned old time music on the banjo. Through all this time I have been hanging in there, occasionally playing with some of my best friends from high school in a band called Two Layne Highway.
So needless to say, I try to keep music very fresh on my mind and practice when I can. Writing music is perhaps my biggest passion. I used to write bits and pieces of songs every day. So when I was approached about this project, I was quite enthused. The first subject I was to focus on was music for the urban artist, and the themed title for the first album was “Somewhere South of Houston.” Working on this collection of songs by myself was an ENORMOUS task. I had the theme and some ideas, but there is an amazing amount of work that has to go into a production like this, especially considering one person is doing it. I must say that this project kept me on my toes every bit of the way and I am thankful and pleased with the way things have turned out. Conceptually, the album started to evolve as sort of a “day in the life” of the urban artist. So track number one being titled Early Morning Zen is the start of the artist’s day. It’s a nice relaxing way to start off the album before getting more into the groovy-techno side of things to bring out that spontaneity in your artwork.
I also had the task of designing the packaging for this CD, which was another unique challenge as I have only done a CD design once before. It may sound pompous but I listened to the music I created over and over while brainstorming design ideas in order to see if the album worked like it should, inspiring me too create something with an urban feel. I came up with many different images and layouts to choose from and got help from the guys in the studio to narrow down the designs. In the end, I came up with the cover below.
Somewhere South of Houston will be available to the masses soon. In addition to the CD in the flesh, digital downloads will also be available through Amazon and iTunes. So if you are interested, by all means go out and pick up a copy when they are out and leave me feedback, I would love to hear opinions and suggestions.
When thinking about logos, you always have to keep in mind that you are striving to create an image that will instantly represent the entity you are designing for. Whether it is for a product, a company, a band, or anything, the ultimate goal is to make sure the viewer remembers this image and will always associate it with its respective brand.
This will always be a fairly arguable point, but I believe that it is in every designer’s best interest to design logos in vector drawing applications versus raster based programs. I don’t want to completely throw out the idea of pixel-based logos, but there are several really great points to back up the theory of why vector is more effective. Below I will list some basic things that should be considered when designing a logo:
ScalabilityWith raster images, you are limited to working with the size that an image is designed. Since these images are made up of pixels and have a set resolution, if you try to scale up, you can, but only a little bit before you start loosing quality. Some businesses, might not want a logo that can be used only business card size. Maybe they want a design that can be scaled up enough to make a sign outside their office, or even a billboard. With vector graphics, you can make a design as big or small as you want without having the quality diminish. This is where vectors really win, quality.
Changing Color and ValueA good logo needs to be able to work in black and white in addition to its original design colors (which may already be black or white). You never know where or what surface that this logo may need to be printed on. Maybe someone has to print only in black, in these cases, the logo should be able to stand on its own in black instead of its original color. This point can be argued but it is definitely something that should be taken into account when designing.
LegibilityOnce again, depending on how big you need a logo to be, vector programs are still your best friends. The mathematical paths of vectors present far better quality and scalability than pixel based graphics, so any text you may have in your logo design will be sharper and more legible with vectors. You want to make sure you pick out good fonts that fit the needs of the clients and will appeal to the intended audience. Basic form follows function principles (Bauhaus), or in other words, the design should work well before looking pretty. The basic need of the viewer is to be able to interpret the logo as quickly as possible. We have short attention spans. This is not to say that a design has to be all business and no aesthetics, just that this should be taken into consideration before the final choices are made.
Winning Over the Client & AudienceMake sure that the logo design will appeal to the audience base more so than the client. The client may know what they want, but sometimes they can get confused on what the viewer/audience needs to see. Granted, the client will probably know their market/product better than you. So they should have a great grasp on how to guide you to the most desirable design ideas, but should is another interesting concept that I may discuss later on. This is where your design process comes in handy. If you are following one, the most important part of the process could possibly be the research. If you are doing client-based designs, you most definitely do your research on the company/product, its past/future/how far it hopes to go, the desired audience, etc. Make sure you know what you are doing before you do it.
Also, keep in mind how long the company would like to be identified by your logo. It needs to have a strong “staying” power, so something that is trendy now, might not work for the company 5 years later. Or vice versa, maybe the client will want something that is “in” now and trendy enough for just a couple years or so. They may be planning on a re-design in the near future, it really depends on their objectives.