Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Logo Design: Spira Sales Corporation

SPIRA Sales Corporation was created as partners of TOTO Philippines at the onset of year 2007 to address the growing demand for high-performing bathroom and sanitary wares, fittings and accessories in the Philippines. SPIRA distributes TOTO products through a vast network of retailers that are strong industry players, like Wilcon Builders Depot, Inc. The distributorship network is strategically located mainly in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon area. Apart from high quality products, SPIRA also boasts of a talented team which is equipped and trained to excel in customer service. Products and manpower are the two main strengths and investments of the company that ensure customer satisfaction. In time for the grand opening of the new TOTO Philippines Showroom at the 1st and 2nd floor of Ridgewood Square, C5 Road, Taguig, Metro Manila, SPIRA is all set to rebrand itself in this new endeavor.

The original logo of SPIRA is an example of a direct representation of what the sales company is all about. I interviewed current employees and asked them if they knew what the graphic in the logo really was, and all of them were unanimous in identifying the image as a toilet piece ("inidoro" to be exact). I thought that the old image would have to be changed, even if its shape was quite indecipherable. This is a case, that the product may not necessarily provide a wholesome image of the company. I was asked by the management to look at their website at to look at their products, find inspiration and get a feel of the image they wanted to convey as a company.

TOTO Ltd. is the world's largest toilet manufacturer and produces the most innovative and highly technological sanitary wares around. I didn't realize until I reviewed their catalogue how much creativity, research and technology can go in producing their products. Their mission is to enhance humanity's relationship with water and with this; they strive in producing products and designs that provide seamless user experience. The image of TOTO is simply elegant (and works similarly to SONY's logo) and classic. I wanted SPIRA's logo to look harmoniously side by side with this TOTO image, and although I wanted to go for a similar typographical approach, the management was insistent with the integration of a graphical component.

I provided their management with 3 initial proposals based on key elements I drew from SPIRA's and TOTO's portfolio:

  1. PEARL within a SHELL / WATER DROPLET concept – The first thing I saw in SPIRA's website was this beautiful picture of a water droplet bouncing off from a rippled surface. I thought I should create a graphic based on this, but infusing it with the pearl-like qualities of TOTO's products, hence making it also look like an open shell.
  2. SPIRAL / WHIRLPOOL concept – The word "Spira" actually forms the root of spiral, thus a graphic based on the name might be good. Also, the "whirlpool" image evokes a dynamic personality of water.
  3. NAUTILUS SHELL concept – The products are heavily inspired from natural sources, so I looked for a natural symbol that infuses both the shell and the spiral elements.

Obviously, I was drawing references from nature, and used elements commonly associated with water and pearl/shells. Among the three, what do you think the management chose to develop?

SPIRA chose the spiral/whirlpool concept and they immediately liked the image being dynamic even without me providing an explanation of the graphic (I wanted to see whether they can relate to the logos). The comment they gave was how I treated the 2 swirls in the graphic… it seemed "deconstructed" or "dissolved". They were right. Although, I thought the effect was cool, it wasn't what they wanted to be. If there was a way I can make the swirls look more solid, while avoiding making it look like other swirl based logos.

I experimented using various treatments, from making the lines thicker, using stripes, etc. but I settled with the use of digital brush in creating the swirls. They look more solid than the previous, but more importantly, they looked organic and alive. Here it is, and the description I provided them.

"The logo of SPIRA Sales Corporation consists of 2 swirls forming a subtle upward-facing "S" in the negative space between them. The symbol represents the dynamism and harmony between the two main strengths and investments of the company: high-quality products and competent manpower. Also, the swirls represent the twin ideals of leadership and excellence, merging together with success as their goal. The color blue represents humanity's relationship with water (referencing TOTO's philosophy); while the color green represent's humanity's relationship with the earth and its brethren (a pledge to environmental and social responsibility)…"

It is wonderful how the SPIRA team feels proud to have this new logo. It is equally amazing how the new logo seems to bring out individual interpretations of the logo. Some members of the team described it as their "yin-yang", "whirlpool" or "spinning water." Cool imagery… signs that they are inspired and drawn to it – and I'm just very glad it is no longer their "inidoro." By the way, the showroom as well as this logo will be launched this early March.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Logo Design: Law of Attraction Experts

I recently designed a logo for a new company called "Law of Attraction" whose mission is to provide a constant stream of inspirational, life-changing, timeless resources including courses, seminars, audios, books, events, free stuff, etc to assist people, kids and families on their journey toward enlightenment. I myself have seen the popular self-help film "The Secret" and I'm sure people would be familiar of the onslaught of books released about the "secret" which was supposed to have "travelled through centuries" to reach the viewer. I was very curious then what the "secret" was, and I soon learned that the secret is the Law of Attraction, a principle that "posits feelings and thoughts can attract events, from the workings of the cosmos to interactions among individuals in their physical, emotional, and professional affairs." It's basically positive thinking but more. I generally agree with the principle and how it seemed to work in my daily life and complement my faith… Don't you notice how when you generally feel depressed and negative about yourself, everything about you seemed to be negative towards you to? When you start the day happy and exude a positive vibe, everything seems to go oh so well!

The company needed a logo that speaks to both men and women, is easy to read, simple...spiritual and intelligent. They supposed that "Law of Attraction" should convey the spiritual side and the word "Experts" should convey the dynamic energy of the experts: the ability to help change people's lives and fast-track them to where they want to go. With this general description they provided, I somehow knew that I was going for something that would rely on typographic design. Since "Law of Attraction" would be spiritual, it needed to use a font that looked antique and wise. The word "Experts" should be bold and respectable. I presented 2 initial arrangements, one framed in a circle and the other one, where the word "Experts" is encased in a scroll or flag:

They immediately liked the second version but suggested in toning down the ornamentations around the capital letters of "Law of Attraction".

From here on, all that were needed were minor adjustments to the font and color treatments. Notice how I modified the tail part of the "n". In the first one, the tail curves inwards and makes the "n" looks illegible especially in smaller sizes. I curved it outwards.

But in the end, we settled with the straight down version. These were subtle modifications but were very important when it comes to readability.

With the general design of the logo finished, I provided them with possible colored versions, ranging from deep blue, violet and gold.

I'm really glad they liked the logo and how it fits their company's mission. I positively believe that it will serve their company well.

Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Logo Design: KALISS

I remember years ago when I was just fresh out of college and enjoying my hard-earned salary, when friends of my parents who were very active in our local parish invited me to donate money monthly to the seminary in support of priests in the making. They said it doesn't have to be that big, so I thought I can shell out P200 every month. I thought this was enough and since I myself intended of going to the seminary before, I was in full zealous support of these kinds of charitable activities. But there were months when I would fail to commit to the pledged donation, and I can't help but imagine the poor seminarist who depended on that meager support, shivering cold and hungry in a dark corner of his room.

Of course, it doesn't happen that way. Organizations who manage these donations are usually composed of individuals, groups, companies and businesses who want to share their means by pledging an amount in monthly/semi-annually/annually to raise funds in support for religious vocation. So I'm just a small fish in a sea of whales whose contributions are being gathered together to support the activities, facilities and training required in producing priests. Recently, I was asked by Fr. Boni Chavez, through Kuya Onjie to help out a similar organization in a manner I am quite happy to oblige. Their group is called KALISS which is actually an acronym for "Kabalikat At Lingap sa mga Seminarista ng Sto. Rosario-Montalban, Rizal" needed a new logo.

The logo must bear the rosary as icon of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, a bible, a chalice, a priest or nun icon, and an open arm or crossed hands as "balikatan" symbol. Now, these are standard religious symbols that one often sees in religious seals. I thought that the way to go with this logo is through heraldry.

As a kid, I have always been a fan of heraldry, and now I realize why I am so fascinated with logos and creating them: it's because I have been creating armorial designs since I was a kid. We had these "New Book of Knowledge" (not so new really, as they are now more than 30 years old!) and the pages of the "H" volume that was so worn out were the pages about heraldry. I scan them here, and you would see that I even had some pencil marks on it, and even ballpen tracing where I thought lines should be. I think I was around 5 years old then when I studied this, and you could imagine how fascinated I was to learn that these shield designs had some real meaning behind them and were actually meant to identify the people behind the armor. What's also fascinating is how the artist tried to depict it here, some quite morbidly… and as a kid, I enjoyed it.

I remember since then, I have been making shields and insignias for imaginary armies that my brothers and I used to play in our invented board games. You would find it weird, but I make it a point to study the coat of arms of parishes and dioceses. I even went to the point of casually interviewing a bishop abut the symbolisms in his coat of arms. When Pope Benedict XVI was ordained, one of the things I was excited about was his new coat of arms, as this will be the graphical representation of his past and upbringing, and most often would bear the theme of his reign as pope. It's really quite interesting!

Hmmm, back to the KALISS logo. The symbolisms were clearly requested and it was up to me how to arrange them. I thought of using the rosary as a framing element and all the remaining four symbols would conveniently go to each quarter of the shield. As I was sketching for possibilities, I discovered that the cross of the rosary can be the centerpiece, and be the instrument in dividing the shield into its four areas.

As I went on digitizing the design, I sought for a more special treatment of the rosary – something to give the whole logo a unique shape. Since the rosary included 5 segments (mysteries), I thought of creating a semi-circular curve for the 10 beads of each segment. When combined, it sort of suggests a subtle flower… or even a star (especially if you focus on the major beads). The icons were created in a manner following the "law of tincture" in heraldry.

With regards to color, I started with giving it a generally a Marian blue color.

However, it somehow looked dull. The KALISS group suggested using the liturgical colors, particularly gold, red, green and violet. I was quite excited that they suggested these 4 unique colors as this providentially supplied the colors for each quarter of the shield.

Finally, I added the text and provided them with the vertical and horizontal options. I wanted this logo to look respectful and dignified for it to represent a group with a good cause, as this will aid them raise the funds they need. Also, since this is a parochial movement, I wanted it the logo to be something that seems to belong among ecclesiastic heraldry. I hope this logo will serve them well. And perhaps then, I can redeem myself from letting my poor priest go hungry for months…

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Giant Inside Our House (Part 2)

Here are the rest of the illustrations for a children's literature "Ang Higante Sa Loob Ng Aming Bahay" by Raymund Garlitos:


"Mano po! Mano po!" ang sabi nina Ate Linggit at Kuya Utoy
sabay kuha sa dambuhalang kamay ng higanteng hawak na ang malaking kutsara.
"Ikaw, Matt-Matt, di ka ba magmamano?" yakag sa akin ni Nanay,
tinutulak niya ako patungo sa higanteng nakangiti sa akin.
"Mmmmmaanno ppppooo ... " sabay kuha sa kamay niyang singbigat
ng basketbol at singlapad ng pamaypay na abaniko at inilapat sa aking noo,
sabay karipas ng takbo patungo sa nanay ko.
Nagtawanan silang lahat sa aking ginawa.
"PARANG NAKAKITA NG MULTO ITONG SI BUNSO," sabay bunghalit ng tawa
ng higanteng parang kumakahol na asong mataba.


Ngayon, alam ko na kung bakit itong si Nanay,
si Ate Linggit at Kuya Utoy,
ay malapit ang loob sa higanteng ita sa aming bahay.
Siya ay higante hindi dahil sa laki ng kanyang katawan
o lalim ng kanyang boses kapag nakikipagkuwentuhan.
Siya ay higante dahil sa tawa niyang dumadagundong sa lakas,
dahil sa ngiting lagi niyang ipinapamalas,
dahil sa haplos ng mahinahon niyang palad,
at dahil sa tatag ng mga balikat niyang malapad.
At ngayon, habang kami'y nanood ng TV,
ang hiling ko'y lagi na lang dito sa aking tabi
ang higante na nakatira sa loob ng aming bahay,
na mula noon ay tinatawag kong "TATAY."
By the way, I made these illustrations as part of my membership application to Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang I.N.K.). The piece by Garlitos is a fascinating story and I recommend everyone to read it. The piece in its entirety can be downloaded here:

I found the story to be quite challenging to illustrate since the story culminates in a revelation that the giant is actually the kid's father. The illustrations should also be able to evoke this revelation. That's why in the most of the panels (except the last one), the "giant" is only shown in parts and from behind, never revealing his face and entirety. I also tried to preserve the reality that the "giant" is not really a giant, while integrating the fantasy that the "giant" is so, mainly because of the wild imagination of the kid. If I had more time, there are more key scenes which I wanted to illustrate.

It's time to send these babies to the mail. Hopefully, these illustrations pass the screening process.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Giant Inside Our House (Part 1)

Here are some concept illustrations for a children's literature "Ang Higante Sa Loob Ng Aming Bahay" by Raymund Garlitos:


"Nagpunta kami sa parke, sa museong pambata,

at akwaryum na may napakaraming isda at pugita.

Pumunta kami sa mall at kumain ng hamburger at pizza.

Unti-unting nawala ang aking kaba sa matangkad kong kasama,

lalo nang nginitian niya ako, sabay sabing, "SANA'Y MASAYA KA!"


At nang ako'y mapagod, ako'y kanyang isinakay

sa matatag niyang mga balikat habang naglalakbay.

Masarap pala ang pakiramdam kapag ikaw ay nasa tuktok!

Mas lumilinaw ang panonood ng mga paputok!"

Since these are just preliminaries, and I might work on the final pieces in mixed media (basically, watercolors, inks, acrylic and colored pencils for highlight) just as I did in "Spinning"… I'll post other concept illustrations and the finished pieces soon.