Growing to Give official logo [portfolio project]

Published November 15, 2018
Author: Max Mogensen, owner and creative director of Maine Creative

It’s a bit crazy to think that it’s been more than 18 months since we worked with Growing to Give to create their official logo, style guide, and website. That was an awesome and involved project, that saw us collaborating with long-time friends and partners, combining lots of different aesthetic sensibilities, and going through a lot of style revisions.

I’ve been writing some long posts recently, so I won’t belabor this one. But I really wanted to (belatedly) give some more background on this project and throw up some of the drafts we went through.

In our introductory meeting with the group’s board of directors, we talked about some of the motifs they wanted to incorporate into their logo, which initially included hands, a barn, a farm house, sprouting plants, fruits, and vegetables. Early on we hit on the image of the carrot, which everyone seemed to like.

An early round of mockups, based on ideas presented by the board of directors.

The directors, not to mention us designers, weren’t blown away with these first drafts. Some of the visual elements were working, but overall the designs seemed a little stale. However, I had started to work on a kind of weird visual idea that had developed during those first drafts:

The thought was to split the logo vertically, with one element (the carrot) straddling the halves, and somehow use the carrot to play with some of the letters. After a couple iterations, we started to perfect this idea, figuring out how to represent the “W” and the “V” without making the whole image too clunky, playing with silhouettes, and starting to define the basic color.

The board was pleased with this unique idea, even though we had gone in a totally different direction. The incorporation of the carrot (keeping vegetables visually represented) also seemed to please everybody. So the next step was figuring out basic colors. We did several iterations of this, but the board was pulled towards a subdued (almost like an old coat of paint) three- to four-color scheme. Something like this:

The group was quick to settle on a blue/green/orange scheme, and liked the ‘scraped paint’ look that we finished the mockups with. The final design decision, which we put to the group, was about typography. We knew we wanted something comfortable, not too sharp, but also with some weight so it would stand out against the colored background. We had settled on two choices: one that was more bold and traditional, one slightly more playful.

Some of the Growing to Give board members were also curious about how the logo would look if we added a fourth color and a border

They decided to go with the more traditional typeface (our preference too) and they also liked how the brown border brought out the orange in the carrot and tied the whole logo together.

The whole project took about two weeks and included a lot of collaboration and input from the Growing to Give board. In the end, primarily for use in email newsletters and social media, we created both a square and circular version for the organization to use. Additionally–great for internal docs, letterheads, etc.–we gave them a simplified version that would look good in monochrome (in flat and stacked versions). Having been the primary designer on the project, I was really happy with how this came out. I think adding the border could have been too much visually, but, maybe it’s because of the color scheme, it just works here. All the colors play nicely to give the impression of a wholesome environment and fertility. Plus I totally love the scraped look, like the logo was stenciled onto a building or has been done in fading paint. Again, it just works great with the overall idea and aesthetic of the organization.

This sort of work is why our company began: fun people doing worthwhile projects, passionately collaborating to create new things. This was an excellent project to be involved with and something I’m proud of every time I visit the Growing to Give website (which, braggart alert!, we also created).

If you want to make your own perfect logo, or if you have any other design project that needs expert attention, get at me!

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