DSGN 320: Becoming One with the Logo(s)

Logos (from λέγω lego “I say”) is a term… derived from a Greek word meaning “ground”, “plea”, “opinion”, “expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “reason”, “discourse…”‘

… but this is not about that kind of logos.

Continuing with personal branding, I drafted 100 logo ideas. But first I began by reiterating what my brand was/is:


It can be helpful to exercise all the cliches and obvious ideas first, which allows you to get to the meaty and unexpected concepts. This kind of mass-ideation has helped me before, especially with design, and I recommend it. Once I sketched out 100 logo ideas, I highlighted the stronger concepts.


I think one of the most appealing concepts was using my family crest, which is a lion’s paw breaking a spear in half, with the motto “death before dishonour.” It’s inherently quite dramatic and interesting. We aren’t sure what the broken spear means, but there is a German saying that goes something like this: “to break one’s lance.” The phrase means to devote oneself to a task so thoroughly that you destroy yourself in the process. Art school, am I right? Jokes aside, I experimented with changing the spear into a pen. The original meaning of the crest is maintained (if we’re right about the broken spear), but this time, the crest specifically becomes about art. It wouldn’t bother me if someone didn’t understand this image if they saw it without context. I think it would be an interesting and bold choice to brand an artist with broken art supplies.

Ideation round 2 brought on many conversations about storytelling. I drafted a business card, based on one I’d seen by a photographer, that unfolded into a triptych. Though it isn’t a logo, could a narrative sequence be my logo? I will be exploring this concept for next class!

For this project, I would give myself a B.



DSGN 320: Finding Your Own Brand

Not that kind!

Hello, and welcome back to my blog, now with 100% more memes.

Personal branding is difficult. “Know thyself” has a variety of meanings, from understanding our relationship with knowledge to, perhaps, an ancient version of the phrase “check yourself.” You can’t sell what you don’t know, but I’ve also heard that you can only sell something if you can walk away from it. Can we walk away from ourselves? With the help of my classmates, we discussed who we are, in groups. This is what we came up with for my personal brand.


As a witch-of-images-and-words storyteller, I found it difficult to articulate my brand into a succinct phrase or set of words. There are many stories I want to tell, with many different tones, themes, and visual styles.  I gravitated towards defining the brand of one of my own stories, rather than my personal brand. For this reason, I give myself a C+ on this project. It expresses the feel of one comic I make, but not who I am as a person.

Pencil roughs.
Final image.

This being said, I feel like I’m getting closer to discovering what will be right for me and my brand. Often the tasks that are the most difficult are the most worthwhile!

Collaborative Design, and Working with Real Clients

Above: illustrations I created for Miiko brand collateral.

I feel lucky to have a school project that so closely ties into real-world design work. To summarize, we were asked to create collateral for a real company, Miiko Skin Co., and work with the owner, Kimiko.

I was largely an “idea person,” and I also created illustrations for the collateral and helped establish brand guidelines for future illustrations, edited other people’s work, and organized presentation structures and meetings.

I’m a huge fan of working in teams. All of “my” ideas couldn’t have come together in their current form without the help of my teammates.

Some concepts I pitched and helped develop (from my notes – bolded concepts were used in some form):

  1. Vine or instagram videos showing the benefits of Miiko skin care

“One month of using moisturizer” – see how much her skin clears up!

– Kim could sponsor people to do this (Free samples, only obligation is to post pics or videos of yourself each day you use the product) -> Alt. version: post one before and one after selfie after using products for a month

  1. Promoting product through Youtube makeup stars

Send these stars a free sample, ask if they’d make an episode / have a feature about Miiko products

Some of these stars (or “gurus”) have over half a million followers and tens of thousands of views on their videos

  1. Connecting the product to local artists

Maybe local artists could create a beautiful image of a hummingbird, and if you buy from Miiko, you can enter to win the original piece of art

  1. Youtube ad:

“If the products are this simple, can’t I just make it at home?”

“The answer is yes.”

(Video goes on to talk about how natural and safe product is, talks about going to a skin care workshop)

  1. Facebook “tag” campaign

In the style of Ikea’s campaign: post an image of a nice local scene with products placed around, tag yourself on the product you want to win, name is entered in a draw to win product

  1. “All natural has never been so easy” web banner

An image of Miiko products hanging from trees like organic fruit

  1. “Organic food, for your skin” or “Skin care that fits in at the farmer’s market.”

“You’re careful about the food you eat. Did you know that the skin is an organ, capable of ingesting chemicals, much like the stomach does? Miiko products are so safe and natural, you can cook with them.”

This could be a display in a grocery store’s organic food section

  1. “Digital tours”

Take a video that’s interactive (sort of like how you can “turn around” in google street view), where you can tour the entire process of making a Miiko product, at your own pace

  1. Ten (or 30) days of care challenge

After using moisturizer, post a selfie everyday for ten days to show benefits of care

Tag it with whatever brand you’re using (“Miiko,” “aveda,” etc.)

  1. Incorporating hand lettering and personal notes (type of Kims own writing) – testimonials could be handwritten
  1. Maybe the products come with a blank card and beautiful stationery, inspiring people who bought them to give the products as gifts, with a nice note / card (homemaker person)


The pamphlet:

I was a major driver behind making the pamphlet have an origami / Japanese art theme, but making sure that we didn’t cross any lines into cultural appropriation. The Japanese design elements I suggested we use were:

– Gentle colors

– The use of white space

– The use of a square pamphlet (like origami paper)

– The use of nuanced floral textures

– The illustration style

Finally, I created illustrations of the products and some of the ingredients, and helped establish brand guidelines for these illustrations.

I wanted the illustrations to be “delicate, feminine, fairly realistic (like botanical drawings), accurate to the product or item, beautiful… with a dead line weight, and on-brand colours. They should be a gentle touch to the design, not a hero.”

I was greatly influenced by Japanese botanical drawings. Below are some images of my mood boards for the style.

Above: illustration style mood boards. Please note that these are only mood boards, and I do not own the images.

All in all, this was a wonderful project and it only confirmed that for me, I’d prefer working on a team than working alone. I enjoyed the “small design studio” feel of our group of 12 and I think we managed to pull together a nice project in a short amount of time. I only wish we had more of it!

The Good, The bad, The Deadline

For this assignment, we were asked to create a conceptual “how to” magazine spread.

I loved this project. My favourite part was coming up with concepts: I made pages and pages of pencil and watercolour mini illustrations. But, to explain the process, I should backtrack a little.

The spread is meant to target young people, have an eco or sustainable connection, and have some avenues for visual and graphic appeal. I tried to think of topics that were inherently interesting, young, and appealing for me to make illustrations for. The first thing that came to mind was “how to stay warm like a pro.” Instead of increasing the electric bill by turning up the heat, why not cuddle up with your partner? I liked the idea of making environmental jokes with romantic undertones. The other idea I had was how to eco decorate. Found items, such as beach glass and driftwood, could make nice decorations in home, rather than wastefully buying a new product. The third idea was thrift shopping like a pro, which is self-explanatory. The final idea, and the one I tried to pursue, was “how to save your socks.” We’re living in a culture where instead of repairing something old, we throw it away and buy something new. Obviously, this causes a lot of waste, environmental damage, and a decrease in our own autonomy.

How do you show depict saving something old by repairing it? I had fun with the idea of the sock as a “Frankenstein’s Monster,” rising from the “grave” (or garbage, in this case.) This is where I tried to be as conceptual with my layouts as possible.

Eventually, I had a solid concept and a fun layout.


Now all I had to do was execute it.


I had.

To do.

This is where “the bad” comes in, and it’s my bad. I didn’t organize my time properly and I wasn’t able to finish this project, which is a shame.

I would give myself a passing grade, but not much beyond that. I’m disappointed that I didn’t organize the type. I think the lesson learned here is that conceptualization is extremely important but if you burn yourself out too quickly, you won’t have the juice to see the project through.


Assignment 3: Resume the Résumé

For this resume, I used Century Gothic because it’s sweet and whimsical, but takes its job seriously. It’s the font studio Ghibli uses in their logo.


… and then I used Caslon because a big block of sans-serif is hard to read.

It was difficult to come up with some conceit in my resume that would set me apart from others. Originally, I had my name set in Warnock, but then I decided to hand-letter it. Each person’s way of writing is often unique to that individual, so I hope this solution communicates fun, originality, and thinking outside of the box without going overboard.

Versions! And my screams.

With design, there’s so much to learn and so much I don’t know yet. I’m hoping to get a lot of feedback on this before I send it off into the world because I know it can improve. My greatest challenge was walking the line between “boring and impersonal” and “over the top.” Do I include illustrations? Infographics? A drawing of myself? I really don’t know. Some of the design firms that I looked at asked you to solve a math puzzle for your application. Some of the design firms I looked at could only be contacted by standing in front of a mirror, in the dark, and whispering the firm’s name three times. Some of the firms I looked at don’t even exist yet.

It’s really difficult to be a designer and so I give myself a B- on this, mostly for the effort and the dark magics that went into its creation.

Link: resume_Jess_pollard final3


Assign. 2: Indigenous Culture Communication Piece

Please note that this assignment, if presented, is meant to be shown as a Keynote with mild transition effects.

PDF Presentation.

Keynote Presentation.

This app takes into account the target audience, the future scope of the project, signage, aesthetics, functions, and more. I go into detail about choices like why, for example, the language options include Mandarin and Cantonese, and who would create the art for this project, if it were launched. I’ve tried to make this presentation as comprehensive as possible, to communicate what this app could really look like, and all the functions it would offer.

Self-Assessment: I would give myself a B+ / A-.



And I’m Back (Assign. 1: Design Manifesto)

After a long break from posting, I’ve returned to this blog! I’m happy to say that that the last 9 months have been incredible. I finished my first year of art school and am currently in second semester of second year. I feel bad that I stopped posting here, because it was a great place to put my sketches and talk about process. But, with the start of a new design course, I’ll be updating once again. With that, here’s a sustainable design manifesto I created for my design class.

Explanation of Thought Process and Self-Assessment

This project began with research. I read the Riot Grrrl Manifesto, the Draft Craft Manifesto, 1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design, DAM, and checked out the GDC’s Sustainability Hub. I took inspiration from these sources when I created my own manifesto, so please check them out, if you like what I made.

From my research I learned that sustainable design is more than environmentalism. The GDC website provides a good definition, which I’ll summarize: Sustainable design employs sustainability principles. Practitioners consider the full life cycle of products and services, and commit to strategies that value environmental, cultural, social and economic responsibility. The City of Marion website defines cultural sustainability as “developing, renewing and maintaining human cultures that create positive, enduring relationships with other peoples and the natural world.” This is why I included commentary on appropriation, stereotyping, and critical thinking in my manifesto.

Thinking about sustainable design prompts questions like “are you using the most environmental materials and methods?” “Does your design promote the conservation or destruction of the natural world?” At this point in my career, I’d like to specifically explore what cultural sustainability means, and integrate what we’ve learned about Canada’s aboriginal culture into my work.

In terms of aesthetic, I naturally draw “comic-book” style cartoons, and funnily enough, this style has earned me the most paid jobs! Money isn’t key, but the point I want to make is that there’s a demand for your unique style, whether it’s goofy or serious or something else entirely. Comics influence everything I create, and so I used a comic style and communication device (speech bubbles) in this piece. I would like to work as a comic artist one day, and I think this style would catch the eye of prospective employers.

Process Pictures and Final Image


With all of the above in mind, I put thought and effort into this piece, but improvement is always possible. I’d give myself a B+.

Here’s a link to a PDF version of the manifesto.

An Advertising Innovator

Thomas H. Geismar is an American graphic designer who explored visual corporate identity by designing abstract and highly symbolic logos. Geismar was part of Chermayeff & Geismar Associates, a design firm originally named Brownjohn, Chermayeff, and Geismar (renamed after Brownjohn left.) Megg’s quotes Geismar on the topic of visual identity:

‘Tom Geismar observed that a symbol must be memorable and have “some barb to it that will make it stick in your mind.” At the same time it must be “attractive, pleasant, and appropriate. The challenge is to combine all those things into something simple.”’


Above: Logos by Chermayeff & Geismar. 

Since 1958, Chermayeff & Geismar (& Haviv, currently) have created “many of the world’s most recognizable trademarks.” In 2014, they received the the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. Geismar’s work is excellent, but he also put forth a unique way of thinking about design that’s still relevant today: “Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv is known for a collaborative, problem-solving approach to design, with personal involvement by all three principals in every project and continuous attention to the details and nuances of projects as they evolve.”

Quoted from their website

A Psychesydelic Hero

During the 1960’s, the psychedelic poster gained momentum in America, fuelled by (according to Megg’s History of Graphic Design) current social liberation movements, drug culture, antiestablishment sentiments, rock music, and other “fringe” cultures, such as the hippie movement.

Wes Wilson, who designed posters for the Grateful Dead and the Association, among many others, contributed to developing the psychedelic style, which borrows the flowing, organic lines of art nouveau, the cultural references of pop art, and vibrant colours often used in op-art.


Wilson used saturated colours, warped text, and mesmerizing lines to create compelling, but disorienting, posters.

Although the psychedelic poster is associated with the 60’s, typography from this movement, and the general style, is used by businesses today. For example, I believe Budgie’s Burritos (Vancouver) employed elements of this style in decorating the restaurant – perhaps the owners were even inspired by Wilson’s art.


Image source.