Mermaid Dog Logo Development Part 1: Concept

I recently had the pleasure of working on a logo for some great guys starting up a new cafe in the Melbourne CBD. (where do they fit them all!?) Anyway we were all very happy with the final result which is always ideally what you want. I’m going to share with you the process I went through to come up with the final design. It was a special project because it allowed me a lot of creative freedom and I could also do the style of illustrating I really enjoy. Naturally the first thing I had to think about was kind of branding they wanted and the general feeling they wanted to give viewers about the cafe. The only direction given was the idea of a seal holding a coffee cup on his nose. Obviously I love this idea because it is a pun and involves drawing animals.

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These are the first sketches I did, getting a vibe for the movements of seals and what I could do with their bodies etc. A seal is not a rigid animal by any means so most of my sketches turned out rather smooth and organic. I tried to think of fun stylistic ways I could portray the ideals of Mermaid Dog. I imagined it to be a classy and professional place but also friendly and charming. So this called for some whimsy, something appealing to many people, tasteful and trendy but not too cutesy or cartoony (as I have a habit of making things.) These were in the shortlist.

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I must confess that I got help from a friend about the stylistic direction I should take and they suggested some old school cross hatching illustration. (the one on the bottom right) Which turned out to be the design that was chosen! So i really owe him and it goes to show that you should never be afraid to ask for help especially if you are relatively new to something like I am to graphic design. In any case the coloured designs I came up with were perhaps too colourful or not quite hitting the mark in terms of believability as a place serious about their food and coffee. I tried to link them to coffee but turning them different shades of brown but that didn’t work out because of the unfortunate shape of a seal. So it turned out that the final design made more sense in terms of its style because it suggests something classy but also chill and quirky; something you can take seriously. The image is self-contained and has more structure and design elements that compliment it such as its circular shape. Sometimes it can be hard to whip things up out of seemingly thin air, with so many variations available to you. Especially if you are a person known for their indecisiveness such as myself. But I learnt that you have to just trust yourself in terms of what looks good and what feels right to the project, rather than sending 100’s of variations to your client. In the next post I will elaborate on refining that final design.

Thanks for reading, if this interested you here is part two.

Katherine ❤

PS: the cafe is up and running on 50 Market lane, Melbourne. Check it out 🙂