Michael

Michael

I was born in 1978 in a small town in South Carolina. My mom is from Germany, and my father is from South Carolina. Art has always been my gift and led me to become a designer. Later, I studied web design and development. I've now been working in these fields for more than ten years. Also, I'm happily married to my wife, Tina. We married on 11-11-11 in Fort Lauderdale. My wife is Indian, and we like to say we had a big fat Indian wedding. We have two children, a boy, and a girl, ages three and six. My side hustle is marketing and advertising for small businesses here in the Raleigh area. Lastly, I can say that I'm a "Jack of All Trades", “Renaissance Man”, or an "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" type of designer/developer.
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Schoolhouse Farm

Giving A Family Farm a New Visual Identity

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A gentleman recently approached Red Circle Marketing interested in designing a logo for his family farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. The logo was going to be a surprise to his wife. It wasn’t for product marketing or business promotions. I was for some of the farm vehicles and signage. It’s not a regular thing to do a visual identity for a family farm or as a gift for a client’s wife, but this is the exception.

What You Need Versus What You Can Afford

It gives me a great chance to explain why you need a visual identity that you can afford rather than what you need. Every brand company or brand agency’s job is to make your brand a success. A brand should be memorable and everlasting. Time should never affect the design. It should communicate your identity. The logo should be appliable to any surface and retain its structure. If it’s dark outside, it should be bright. If it’s light outside, it should be dark.

Wo wo wo, hit the brakes man! I’m just designing a logo for a family farm.

I don’t have the budget or patience to go full Ogilvy on the client.

That brings me to the most well know phrase in design. Keep it simple stupid. If the budget or request is just for a simple logo, I’ll block out a small portion of time for it. Then both the client and the design get a fair deal.

Sometimes it’s just not going to work, and a client will look for the lowest price. There’s nothing wrong with this. I think today, rather than outsource your design to an overseas freelancer, maybe try some of the great DIY logo makers out there. One I particularly like is from Placeit.net

If you are wondering where you can find a free logo? Check out their freebies.

Client Vision

The farm is in a rural part of Saskatchewan, Canada. Not too far from the US and Canada border. The owner had recently purchased the farm for their family. The name of the new farm is Schoolhouse Farm. On the farm property, there is a vintage schoolhouse from the early 20th century. The owner intends to restore the schoolhouse to its original form and preserve the history of the farm. They originally wanted to incorporate the school in the logo and have the name Schoolhouse Farm.

Creative Process

For every project like this, we try to do a little bit more research. What is the scenery like in the area? What’s the history and community? I like to see where this logo and brand will live. Try to get to know the people. Google was our friend in this process since I have never traveled to Saskatchewan or Canada. Just looking at the scenery and historic image began to tell us the story of the area.

Who knew that Saskatchewan is mostly prairie, very flat, and as far as the eye can see?

The Sketch

I like to start designing on a blank screen. Before, I would sketch on countless paper sheets and draw shapes and formats of the logo mark and the logo text. Today, I’m digital. I have a display tablet, which lets me draw with a specialized pen on the screen. It’s saved a lot of paper since.

3 Variations

The sketch process is key to my design method. I come from a fine art background. So I can be very creative with just a pencil and paper. My way doesn’t limit myself to what I can create by only using Illustrator and Photoshop tools. Anything is creatable. During the sketch process, I begin to form some of my favorite designs and design what the client will like as well. It’s best to have options.

Revisions

Revisions is a very unpopular word among designers. But, this is where I disagree. Designers don’t like revisions. Designers will charge for additional changes. That’s how much they dislike them.

“I mean, what does the client know about design?”

“You can’t do that!”

After you have been in the field long enough, you learn that many design requirements have very little to do with design. Most are market-based and based on if the media asset with has the intended result. A result that will make the business profitable. And when a company is generating revenue, designers get paid more. So don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I spend a reasonable amount of time designing the logo mark with the schoolhouse. I brainstormed what would work and still look sharp. Then the client came back and said they wanted the schoolhouse to have perspective and look more like this. The client supplied a screenshot of a schoolhouse they liked. Also, remove the bell and add a fence. So, back to the drawing board. Or, in my case, the display tablet.

Final File

It was great to get the feedback because I prefer the schoolhouse with perspective. I think the new logo for this family farm came out great. I hope to see how the logo gets applied around the farm.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read about one of our latest projects. I hope to have more for you in the future.

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