The Process of Creating a Logo
As a writer and editor, I’ve been observing a lot of issues in the traditional publishing industry for quite a few years. It’s hard for fiction authors to query agents, but it’s equally hard to self-publish a book and market it effectively. On the reader side, avid bookworms have a hard time finding enough time to read. On top of that, extremely voracious readers, who read 5 to 10 books a month, have a hard time sticking to their personal book budgets.
These are just a few of the issues that inspired me to try and fix them. Back in October 2020, I had an idea to create a symbiotic community where authors can monetize their novels and readers can pay a lower-than-average subscription fee for unlimited access to edited, curated novels. I started chatting with a small team of my fellow writers, editors, and designers and we gave this idea a name and a business thesis.
Fiction Stop will be a serialized ebook subscription that gives avid sci-fi and fantasy ebook readers unlimited access to curated, edited fiction from diverse authors. Readers can broaden their horizons by reading stories from unique perspectives and authors will have the opportunity to monetize their novels.
Back in December, I created a placeholder logo for Fiction Stop.
And I’ll be the first to admit it—I did everything wrong.
I only made a sketch or two and then I went straight into Illustrator—precisely what I shouldn’t have done. I experimented with some different icons, some simple shapes, a few random stock icons, and only a few fonts.
While having some placeholder is better than nothing, I’m excited to approach redoing this logo as a proper design study. I’m exploring different ideas, approaches, and spending a lot more time and thought on what types of font and overall visual direction would be most suitable for this project.
Now, I’m going back to the drawing board and doing things right.
First, I played with a logomark approach.
One silly idea I had from the beginning was to implement a stop sign in the logo. I don’t know if this is quite the best idea since it would almost necessitate a red color palette for the logo, but I wanted to explore this idea with a few sketches. I don’t think it’s something I’ll move forward with visualizing digitally, but I wanted to get this experiment out of my system.
Second, I went for the classy, literary look with logotypes and combination marks.
I have a tremendous soft spot for beautiful, script fonts and elegant serif fonts. I also feel like some of the classical imagery you see with writing like books, quills, and pens are powerful icons that jump out at writers and readers. As I worked through these pages of sketches, I tried to recreate classy, bookish versions of my original logo ideas.
Third, I explored the modern, minimalist look.
I’m heavily debating the best type of logomark for Fiction Stop. It could be possible to take a modern take on one of the quills or fountain pens that is minimal enough that it doesn’t look dated. The tablet or phone screen idea seems like more straightforward, but it’s also not the most visually pleasing option.
Fourth, I tried to figure out a suitable combination mark.
I’m quite fond of the idea of ultimately settling on a combination mark with both the text and a simple, relevant logomark. For a prospective company that would be marketed to avid readers, it feels like it would be helpful to have some kind of eye-catching combination mark that reveals something relevant about the service.
I wanted to experiment classy, bookish look in Illustrator.
In theory, this didn’t seem like a bad idea. It looked rather nice in some of the sketches, so I wanted to experiment with visualizing it in Illustrator. On one hand, I feel like a more classical look with a serif font could appeal to people in the literary community.
However, I don't think I was able to capture that essence very well in Illustrator. The sketches weren’t bad, but formalizing the design didn’t work out so well. I tried two different fonts that I felt like might evoke that classical bookish feeling, but I don’t think this is the direction to keep exploring.
For the next iteration, I’m going to work on visualizing the sketches I did that were more in line with the modern look and feel.
I think I might be better off concentrating on the sleek, modern aesthetic. I want to keep experimenting with potential logomarks that are suitable for the brand. The more modernized, minimalist look with sans serif fonts feels like it’s been more common for apps and startups in general over the past few years.
Since Fiction Stop will be an app once we can secure funding, this seems more suitable for a piece of technology striving to make the reading community more universally available.
I also want to experiment with a few more logomarks that work with digital elements a bit more cleverly. I do think some type of icon involving a tablet or cell phone might be best to convey what Fiction Stop will be, but I’d like to make the logomark a bit more creative than just a stylized version of a device.
After a group critique session, I’m looking to take the icon in a new direction.
A big part of what I’m struggling with is fusing classical writing elements with the modern look and feel of a combination logo suitable for an app.
For these icons, after a brilliant suggestion from a classmate of mine, I’m experimenting with depicting a quill as a ring around a planet.
Ironically, I could see this ultimately fusing a bit with my original idea.
However, if I can pull this off, this might be a fun way to evoke a sense of sci-fi, fantasy, and the idea of books as a whole.
I’m really eager to keep exploring this idea and figure out a combination mark that feels like it embodies the brand identity I want to convey.