As part of my initial site evaluation and proposal for the Woodland Community Service Center, I suggested the design of an organizational identity. Subsequently, the organization was re-named Woodland Action, and I got a burst of energy around the name. I worked through a design transformation based on the new name, and developed a full proposal. At the next meeting of the board, I came prepared to present my work. However, in the interim, the board had apparently tried to develop a new logo by committee, and I found out I had arrived just in the nick of time to save them from an absolutely abysmal logo. Friends don’t let friends design by committee. It was basically the most ugly and bland bank logo from the 50s.
I was able to present my competing proposal and to gather some feedback. I realized I would have to pull out all the stops at the next meeting. I re-presented not only my original proposal, but also I provided a primer and picture of the whole design process to give the board an idea of just what goes into the process. I also developed from the process a fully articulated narrative story, meaning, for the visual design.
Here’s my successful presentation to the board back in July 2014 which resulted in the board adopting my design for the organization.
Website and Social Media
Since the last meeting, I designed and implemented a website for the organization. I also created social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for Woodland Action, in accordance with the proposal’s Website and Social Media Strategy sections.
Due to a particular technical step necessary in signing up Woodland Action for Google Apps for Nonprofits, I was forced to prematurely switch the speculative website into production, so there are still some areas of the site which need to be more fully developed, such as text on the About and Services pages, for example.
However, the site is up and running. In addition to hours, location address and map, and other essential contact information, there is now a functioning PayPal donation button which can be used by members of the community to create one-time donations or subscription pledges in whatever amount they are comfortable.
The site can be found at http://woodlandaction.org and people who accidentally go to http://woodlandaction.com/ will be redirected to the canonical site.
Additional Logo Design Exploration
At the request of the board, I spend several additional hours engaged in further design exploration based on specific suggests, to give them a reasonable test. In case you were curious, here is a representative sample of rejects from my sketchbook to respond to the ideas of stretching “action” to fill the overhand space, which removes the ability to snuggly fit the arrow there.
A few example rejects which are responsive to adding text about specific services, and which then make the logo specific and inflexible for use with other services, including those to be introduced.
A few other representative examples of rejects which were from stepping back in the design process to see if I could derive a now option from some of the earlier sketches from which I had moved beyond.
The Story So Far
My initial design is described in the Organizational Identity Proposal from May 7th, which I include by reference, and here is the primary representation of that logo.
Shortly after the board meeting in June, I was asked to whip up an example with what immediate changes I could in order to have those for display at the Garage Sale and feedback from the community. The feedback I got from this design iteration was entirely positive, especially that some concerns about the arrow having unfortunate connotations were resolved.
Primary changes were to add drop shadows to text and internal design elements, improve the gradient based on a more solid colour palette, and to address the issues with the arrow by decreasing the vertical on the path (trail/road/river/landscape) and increasing the relative size of the arrow head (tree/mountain).
There is actually also a few pixels of space between the lines of text, but they were so conservative they don’t appear to exist.
Current Design Recommendation
At this point, the primary design example for the logo has developed significantly over the month from my initial proposal. I have included not only several suggestions from the board, other feedback, and some of my own additional design explorations, I propose the following logo for adoption.
I have increased the boldness of the design, through colour, color separation, and placement of new elements. There is obvious visual separation between the lines of text through both increased spacing and the use of two nearby hues. I have introduced a further refinement of the arrow, somewhat increasing the vertical spread on the path again, but have further decreased the horizontal area. I have also incorporated the idea for italics into the angle of the arrow head, instead of the text where it did not work well. I have also included a new horizon design element to further suggest that the arrow design is related to landscape, and also to justify the angle of the arrow head, which otherwise would be a tree in danger of falling, a dangerous mountain cliff, but, in any case, would break the narrative and symbolism of the logo. By including the horizon, the narrative and symbolism are not only preserved, but enhanced.
Further examples, related to the previous discussion of certain use case scenarios, can be seen in these organizational mastheads, which use the logo with and without the additional text which speaks to specific services offered and demonstrates the use of the icon design.
One specific issue that was previous addressed, but which I wish to reiterated here is that these are extremely scalable vector images which can be printed in many sizes, including large signs all the way through to letterhead and business cards. Further, the logo design is ideal for use on other collateral materials and tchotchkes such as lapel buttons, challenge coins, window clings and bumper stickers.
In one final example of how flexible this design is, and which was also previously discussed, can be seen in the way that alternate vector source images in high contrast can also be used against light and dark backgrounds as well as in cases where printing the logo in a single colour is desired, such as for extremely small sizes, silkscreening on shirts, or for inexpensive letterhead.
The name Woodland Action is our concise and clear call to action in the local community, and encapsulates the mission of the organization to actively support people in need in Woodland, WA and surrounding areas. Our logo design is intended to reflect the mission of this organization and our connection to the region. The design was derived from the initials W. A. and through a design transformation the letters themselves suggested a shape that reflected the local landscape with river, valley, tree, and mountain.
The curved tail arrow is derived from the initials, but also suggests the two rivers, Lewis and Columbia, on which Woodland sits. It suggests the wonderful landscape of river, earth, trees, mountains, and sky. It suggests the professional and recreational paths and trails on maps of the region. But this arrow also suggests the path of life which can include times of need as well as times of success, and therefore the necessity for community support systems and mutual aid provided by caring neighbors for those in need. In summary, the arrow is a symbol of our mission of local philanthropic action, and the final upswing suggests the goal and triumph of hope and renewal.