I’m excited to welcome Vlad Polchaninoff to the blog today. You’ve seen a lot of his photography on this site recently here, here, and here. So I thought it was time to introduce the man behind the lens. I’ve known Vlad since my equestrian days, and it has been a pleasure getting to collaborate with him.
This post will be comprised of two parts. Today the logo for Living in Steil will be unveiled, and Vlad will be talking about how the logo concept came about from start to finish. And on Friday I will be sharing a post that includes the logo and a giveaway. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
Photographer’s Phocus: Genesis of a Logo
By: Vlad Polchaninoff
Vanessa and I are both very proud of how this logo turned out, and she invited me to write the story of its creation.
I’ve been a commercial photographer for over twenty years. I’ve worked with some brilliant artists and art directors, collaborating on a broad spectrum of projects in advertising, editorial fashion, packaging, annual reports and most importantly – branding – how to make a concept or entity into a recognizable, marketable, and memorable product.
Since I started working with Living in Steil I saw great potential in Vanessa’s work and in looking at the blog, realized that one thing was missing – a logo!
Nothing screams “brand identity” more than a strong and meaningful graphic – it has to be simple, yet bold. It defines the brand. Where would Nike be without the little check mark?
I didn’t set out to create the logo, but rather to get Vanessa thinking along those lines. Here was an opportunity to put everything I’ve ever learned about the “Creative Process” to work, so I decided to pitch her some ideas.
It all started in the aftermath of our Neely Bag project. One image stuck in my head, as defining her bold, confident and ofttimes snarky attitude. In my mind, her edgy “sass” combined with a “brooch style” profile image would produce something both classic and contemporary.
In a fit of inspiration, I grabbed the ball and ran with it. Job #1 was to pull that bold and confident head off of her shoulders to get the concept rolling. That involved a lot of Photoshop tools — magic wands, lassos, marquees, erasers and clones. I also tipped the angle of her head, so the eye is looking straight ahead. I’ll say this very often — “it’s all in the details!” Now — a floating head might be disturbing, especially in color. So I made the decision to go black and white. Slowly, a photograph became a “graphic.” Then it was all about brightness, contrast, and shading. I think that what made this into a memorable logo was the decision to lose the “edges,” something a photographer never wants to do.
I thought about the Billy Idol song, “Eyes Without a Face” and found my direction. At this point, it became a lengthy back-and-forth with Vanessa, exchanging opinions on tweaks and other edit options. Every revision made the fledgling logo that much closer to a keeper. Note the subtle changes, once it morphed into a “graphic” – the choices of shading and definition, and Vanessa’s idea of “a splash of color,” which became her red lips. We agonized over every detail but in the end – we both think it’s a winner!
And it’s still a work in progress, as we incorporate it into new applications.
But that’s what the “Creative Process” is all about.