How Did You Come Up With That? Evolution of a Logo: Shear Consulting Collaborative

One of my favorite experiences is when I stumble onto an idea when doing something unrelated. That’s pretty much what happened with this logo. I was working on illustrative shapes for another completely different project, carving off the corners, adding notches, adding circles, and removing more sharp edges. Before I knew it, I had the base for what became the Shear Consulting Collaborative’s icon.

The requirements were that the logo show a sense of teamwork/collaboration. (In addition to these words, I added the words “equality,” “value,” and “fairness” to my list of characteristics as I brainstormed.) The client also wanted to reflect her alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, somehow in the logo.

My thoughts went something like this….

Clearly, the longhorn icon is off the table, as well as the tower, because those are trademarks of the university. Plus, who likes obvious references? A subtle nod is most appropriate in this case. UT’s burnt orange could be an option for an element. However, it could not be a dominate color.

I realized my accidental shape from earlier looked a lot like a clipboard. While many are moving to more electronic clipboards, they’re still easily recognized as a clipboard by the shape. It’s hard to imagine a provider or case manager without one! I had to put it on my art board to see if I would need it or what I could do with it.

Then, my real dilemma was how to depict collaboration and case management. I wanted to save the use of actual people (in illustrations) as my last resort. That would be too obvious and predictable. I toyed with the caduceus. I worked on some abstracts of that. I intertwined it with the typography. Then, I moved back to the clipboard and played using that as an enclosure for the hospital cross in hopes I could make interesting use of that element. Ultimately, I scrapped all of that except for my clean clipboard. This called for a restart…brainstorm again.

In my brainstorming session, I jotted down several categories for related words. One category was UT. Texas. The red, white, and blue flag. The Lone Start State. The star.

For several years, turning stars into “people” trended. It’s still a trend. But, I did not want to make little start people. That seemed too personal than the professional audience my client targets. I placed the star on the clipboard with a white outline. That looked nice, but I knew I wasn’t “there” yet. As I continued to tweak, I copied and pasted a star on top of the original star. I was saving my work on that start in it’s current state in case I needed to refer back to it later. I was sliding it out of my way and noticed the dual star and overlap made for a nice representation of collaboration and teamwork.

Up next was a matter of refining the stars, the positions, and colors.

While the UT burnt orange is quite powerful in the icon, I had the blue star overlap on top to tone down the color a bit and as a way to illustrate that no one element (or team member) is more important than another.

The typography is always one of my favorite parts of the process. Once i decided that I would not be using artwork within the typography I could focus on typography separately. The name “Shear” immediately moved me to look at fonts with sharp points somewhere within the letters of “Shear Consulting Collaborative, LLC”. When I found our final font choice for “Shear Consulting” I loved the sharp point of the “A”. I also loved that the other letters still have some nice width and roundness to them to soften the appearance while emitting a contemporary feel without being overly feminine or ornate. Finding an appropriate font to complement it for the remaining letters proved more challenging than I expected. However, the serif font chosen for the final version offers a nice foundation for the other elements to rest. This serif font is a beautiful update of more traditional fonts–a nod to the very traditional audience of my client.

The ideas intended for the audience to experience in this logo are, teamwork, new, creative approaches to traditional roles and healthcare management, and Shear Consulting Collaborative is very professional, knowledgeable, and experienced. I hope that’s what you take away from it!

Rhonda Wood Negard, alpha dog and graphic designer, at Fat Dog Creatives in DuPont, WA, Pierce County, Lakewood, Lacey, Olympia, Tacoma graphic design

Branding Identity MockUp: Healthcare management consulting graphic design logo by Rhonda Wood Negard and fat dog creatives

Branding Identity MockUp: Healthcare management consulting


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25 Apr 2016

By Rhonda Negard