July 1, 2008

Branding part II - Developing a Logo

The first step we took in establishing the Pass It On Plates brand was to create a logo.

Wait - Before telling you about creating the logo, I should explain why sometimes I use the term "Me" or "I" and sometimes I use the term "Us" or "We. Even though I'm the chief cook and bottle washer here at Pass It On Plates, and I'm pretty much "it" when it comes to producing plates and PlateWraps and things in the Oregon studio, I've got a crew helping to develop this business in our Wisconsin studio. The reference to "We" and "Us" includes the whole group of talent at Pass It On Plates.

The head of our Wisconsin studio is my smart and clever mother, Donna. Yes, this is a mother-daugher project, 1,763 miles wide. She not only creates plates and works with making PlateWraps and Pretty Little Doo Dads, but she works tirelessly on our marketing, sells plates at local art shows and at the Hayward Flea Market, and works with local business development experts to put Pass It On Plates on the map, so to speak. Donna also found some local talent to help make PlateWraps and help out with other related creativity.

Back to the logo:
Our first step was to decide on a logo to use. Since this logo would be plastered on everything sent out of our studios, it had to be simple, easy to recognize (not some obscure shape or random photograph,) easy to put on our plates - which means it has to be easy to draw by hand, and unique. We did a little brainstorming and Donna came up with this:

Logos 1, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
Sketches from the first brainstorming session to figure out a logo for Pass It On Plates.

Logos 2, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
More logo sketches. The idea is starting to come together. Donna got several friends involved to see if they could figure it out.

Logos 3, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
Still playing with the concept of the plates and working out some kind of visual graphic for a logo. Even if they don't fit our criteria to be simple and easy to duplicate by hand, it was important to sketch out every single idea. You never know which idea will lead you to the one that ultimately gets used.

PIOP+Logo1, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
Here is the very first incarnation of our Flying Plate logo.

From here we tweaked it and made minor adjustments. We showed it to friends and business developers and asked for their opinion, then we made a few more adjustments. In the end, our logo developed into this:

The Pass It On Plates logo, originally uploaded by passitonplates..


  1. I love your design and it's so interesting to see how designs evolve.

    I’m having difficulty deciding on a brand and company name. Currently I’m using Willingham Digital Boutique.

    How did you design on the brand for your company?

    I enjoyed the pics. of your brainstorming session.

  2. Hi -

    Thanks for the comment!

    You know, I think the flying plate design came about when we were still figuring out exactly what we had created. We knew it was a gift that is supposed to be re-gifted and re-used, but didn't want to focus on those words because despite a surge in popularity with re-using items, there is still a stigma with giving and receiving second hand gifts.

    Since we all agreed that the main point to this product is to have the plate travel from person to person, the quicker the better, the drawings of the plate sprouted wings. Donna did all the drawings shown and would email them to me for my opinion. She and "her people" did all the brainstorming and with each drawing we'd talk and I'd tell her what I liked the best from each idea.

    As for a business name and figuring out how you want to brand yourself, I'd suggest starting by making a list of things (and you can have a list for each answer):
    1. What is your core product/service?
    2. How do you expect to provide that product/service? (This pertains to delivery as well as your quality and style.)
    3. Who is your customer?
    4. Why would your customer choose you over your competition?
    5. What is it about your business that keeps you so excited that you can't sleep at night?

    From there, use your list(s) to decide on a business name and see if you can think up any imagery that may translate to a logo. I realize your business is more abstract than a traveling plate, but there may be some answers in your list(s).

    You may also want to keep your name on your business, and you could design a logo using your initials or the initials of your business.

    Good luck with the process - I just checked your blog and it will be fun to check back and see how everything develops for you.


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