Being a cliché is a constant worry of graphic designers. There are so many of us out there being inspired and influenced by the same things, making it more and more difficult to create original content. I’ve always been aware of this but it wasn’t until I started creating my personal logo that I realized just how difficult it is to create a unique piece. After sketching over 50 logos, I researched my initials and about 5 of my sketches were already being used for different corporations/businesses.
So how do we get past this? As a designer my aesthetic is very simplistic and I believe the best design is the most obvious design, a theory I got after reading, Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug. With the vast internet, everyone has already designed the most obvious design and it is your job as a professional designer to make it your own without ‘over doing it’. I read this great quote that really pushed my creativity to make something I know for certain is original:
“Tell yourself at every step in the design process that someone has undoubtedly already thought of this and what can you do to really set it apart. In design, and particularly logo design, the pessimistic axiom that ‘everything has already been done’ is becoming more and more true, and it is only the virtuous designer who can continue to stand out in a sea of sameness.” — Mike Davidson
One of my favorite professors gave me some great advice my freshman year about creating original content. After struggling to make some fake bubbles in photoshop for some background texture for an assignment, she told me to do it myself. This had never crossed my mind before she suggested it to me. I used to think, I’m a graphic designer and I have to create everything on my computer but obviously this isn’t true. I am a designer and my only constriction is my own creativity.
Now I have a sketchbook full of logo designs, some unique, some cliché and some just plain bad. I eliminated all my cliché and unappealing logos and was left with three solid ideas I wanted to explore more. I wanted to do something hands-on with these ideas because I believe that’s a big part of me as a designer and I want to be sure no one else has the exact same logo as me.
One idea I had was to create a logo out of maple syrup, I thought this would be a good way to show my unconventional/creative style and express my obsession and history with maple syrup (I worked in a maple syrup sugar shack through out high school). Even though this didn’t come out as I imagined it, I wasn’t deterred.
Another idea of mine was to bend wood into a swirl that would form my initials CP but this is proving to be much more difficult than I had originally imagined. I worked on my own, watching way too many youtube videos trying to figure out how I can execute this but realized I was way over my head. I hope to get in contact with a woodsman who can give me some direction in this task because I feel it would ensure a unique logo for my personal identity.