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Committed: Designing a Prohibition-Era logo for RUM ROW

by  in Comic News Comment
Committed: Designing a Prohibition-Era logo for RUM ROW

A few months ago I was commissioned to design a logo for the upcoming comic book Rum Row, by Andrew Maxwell and Michele Bandini. I thought you might be interested in the process of designing a logo, from brief to research, to sketching, through to the final logo (pictured on the right, click to view it enlarged).

When we met, the authors already had their story and art, they were looking for a logo to speak to the prohibition-era story using media from the 1920’s and ’30’s as inspiration. Initially we researched posters and periodicals from those times, adhering to the styles in fashion at the time. Then as the designs progressed we began to look at ephemera of the era, specifically liquor bottle labeling (appropriate for the subject matter). (See below for examples.)

Bandini’s art is filled with elegant, voluptuous curves, and I wanted to try to echo this in my logo design. Simultaneously I wanted to experiment with harder, more art-deco inspired shapes which would contrast against the art, and so with a large range to choose from I presented an unusually broad selection of design options to Maxwell. (See below.) It was important throughout to keep trying out the logos on the cover art, testing whether the shapes would work and trying out a variety of color palettes which either complimented or contrasted with the colors in the cover art.

Once a logo was decided upon, we embarked on an examination of the colors, frame styles, and shadow treatment to use in the design. In most jobs, it is important to filter the designs before showing them, so as not to overwhelm people. But in this instance, working so closely with the writer and the artist of the book, it made sense for them to be more deeply involved in the design process. (See below for examples.)

Giving Maxwell and Bandini so many options allowed them to make an informed decision about the final design of the logo which would brand their book.  You can see the chosen logo in the image above, at bottom right. Rum Row can be pre-purchased here.

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