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The Keyboarder Logo

This is not a full logo process post as this particular logo design was born whilst working on a previous logo project '52 Keys'. I'll just run through the thinking that got me from one logo design to doing something different.

This often happens, whilst working on one project, exploring options, sketching and tweaking vectors, playing with type, twisting and turning objects in a seemingly random manor until something tangible appears. Usually this 'something tangible' has nothing to do with the logo project I should be focusing on, but a totally new idea and concept. The same thing happened with the 'Hotel Chain' logo. It serves no purpose other than to fill my portfolio.

The Keyboarder logo

Fifty Two Keys

Fifty Two Keys was a logo project for a events management company and the name came about from 52 weeks in a year, events happening each week of the year. With an emphasis on music, hence keys. One of the concepts was trying to style the wording to look like piano keys. Not an original concept, but trickier due to the number of letters. Realising this was near impossible, I focused on trying to single out a few letters instead, namely the 'y'.

To cut a painfully long story short, I abandoned this idea completely for Fifty Two Keys, but not before I glimpsed a rather fun concept idea and pulled this kicking and screaming from the ashes.

Fiddle and grope

Before I had the actually 'keyboarder' idea or name, I was merely fiddling around with the 'key' portion of Fifty Two Keys. Determined to find an idea in there somewhere.

A quick fiddle with the 'y' first gave birth to the middle idea below. A rather fugly descender, but it did look like a key, and looks even better in reverse. Then from somewhere I saw the potential for a human form, then moment I saw that image, I then saw a dinner jacket type look.

From this, the name 'The Keyboarder' evolved which was a perfect fit for this idea. But 'The Keyboarder' was headless, this quickly stirred my mind, this is rare, and I conveniently plopped a square dot on top. Ta daaa. A human form, with head and black suit.

The things that go on in my mind is not something you would ideally want to see, it can get messy. Needless to say, my mind was now kicking into overdrive, figuring out how far I could take this idea, maximise it to the max.

The Keyboarder

Thinking along the lines of 'The Godfather', I imagined that 'The Keyboarder' was a musical genius but also a evil musical killer. Think Dexter. A seedy evil person playing in clubs and grimy bars, sitting at his keyboard, carefully observing the audience, looking for his next victim.

Dexter Dude - aka Dexter

So character history established, I was missing a few essential details to really create this killer vibe. Borrowing from my Dexter Identity Crisis Dude, created some blood splashes and voila, Mr  Keyboarder after a fresh kill, dressed in his black suit, white shirt and tie. The seemingly stocky shoulders help give this little character a sense of presence, quite formidable.

All that was left was a suitable tag line. From somewhere in my head, the quote from Jaws The Revenge appeared "This time... it's personal". Swap 'personal' with 'musical' and job done.

The Keyboarder - This time. It's Musical.


Oh, and mustn't forget. I used Helvetica Neue Black Condensed.

The Keyboarder Logo

More Logo Process Posts

If you are interested in reading further logo development articles, then you can view a selection from recently completed logo design projects.

You should know by now that my ability to announce winners for my giveaways are rarely on time. But this time I think I have out done myself by leaps and bounds. Over a month late with the results. Incredible.

Kinda disappointed with the turnout for this one, thought more people would be interested to take part, so interesting to see what really 'turns' people on to participate in giveaways. Will stick to my usual nerdy/geeky 'prizes' next time round. :)

The Winners

So the 4 winners from the Apple iTunes Music and Video Voucher Giveaway are as follows...

First Prize of £50 iTunes Voucher

Sarah Madyson - @MadysonDesigns

Runner Up Prize of £10 Vouchers

Bob Orchard

Henry Bennett

Luke Jones

Winners - How to claim

Please send me a email with your own email, then I will 'gift' the vouchers to you direct from the Apple Store. Congrats, let me know what you buy.

George Michael Portrait Illustration

George Michael - Faith

As with my previous portrait pencil illustrations, Kate Bush, Hannibal Lectar and Elvis Presely, this one of George Michael was copied from a photo, in this case, a record sleeve (yes, not CD, a record) from the "Faith" album.

I loved the general moodiness and darkness of this portrait, but translating that level of darkness and shadow into pencil can sometime be a bit tricky. The challenging part of this illustration was the eye area. Creating it so that you could imagine the eye being in there, and allowing the mind to actually see it, when it's not actually there. I know it should be there obviously, because that is where eye's usually go, but in terms of filling in the pieces.

George Michael CD Cover

So the surrounding features had to be reproduced almost 'identically' to the photo to pull it off. I did have to go through more than several tries to get it looking right. Patience as always is somewhat of a virtue when drawing.

As with the other illustrations, a combination of charcoal, Indian ink and the full range of pencil weights were used to pull this one off.

Some TLC

As with all my original drawings, many have seen better days.There has been a slight use of Photoshop in this version. As these were drawn some years ago, the original sheets have become slightly soiled, the odd crease and pencil marks being worn away. Not to mention light fade. So a high resolution scan then some retouching to bring it back to close to how it originally looked before the soft 'B' pencil marks were rubbed and faded away. I have really boosted the shadow areas in this version, but the pencil marks in the mid-tones and highlight areas still very much visible.

Zulu Safari Logo Design

Zulu Safari Logo Design

This is just a quick overview of  a logo and identity design I finished for a project called, Zulu Safari.  A brief and to the point information on that design and a full logo process article will follow.

The client is a family missionary, zipping around Africa and who needed an identity to distinguish himself. To try and modernise the sometimes antiquated perception of missionaries as a whole.

The challenge was to avoid any obvious cliché associations with safari, zulus, africa, religion etc. It was a potential field of cliché mines. Yet not to make it so clinical or generic to have no meaning at all. I instinctively went down the route of the obvious at first, herds of animals, zulu warriors, desserts, trees, tribal patterns and then once suitably hacked off with the amount of clichés on one pasteboard, we moved on.

After many sketches and head banging sessions, I developed this very symbolic icon that has several meanings and associations. .

The main logomark consists of the initials, 'Z' and 'S'. Yet, when drawn in a certain style, creates the impression of a face, the eyes and nose.

Zulu Safari Logo Idea

Unusually, this logo often appears without the the logotype, so it's a very symbolic picture, that at it's heart, is full of history and culture and multiple meanings. People have seen snakes, some have seen subtle Zebra associations. It's designed to conjour up these associations in a loose and friendly way.

This was an early design for me yet remains one of my all time favourites. This sums up so much in one memorable mark, it evokes a number of emotions and associations.

You can see the Zulu Safari logo in use as a Twitter Profile image @ZuluSafari

Last fm Black Chicklet logoLast fm Black Chicklet logoLast fm red Chicklet logoLast fm red Chicklet logo

I have only just recently signed up to myself, so if you are a avid user, do get in contact, love to hear from you. So following my fascination with making these small chicklets and badges, I thought that it was about time to do some that would satisfy my music craving. After doing one for Fuzz, seemed appropriate.

Since the chaps at Profilactic started using the one I did for them Powered by Profilactic badge that was previously knocked up, I have been enthused to do further Web applications and social networks.

So feel free to use and abuse this logo, small request at bottom of this post.


Ofcourse you are free to use these however you wish. It would be appreciated though if you could find somehow to link to this page or at least my site. Nothing obtrusive, just maybe a link in your Blogroll or something. That would be nice.