Back when I was still in school at Humber College we were given the task of revamping the identity for an existing Ontario-based hotel. The hotel I chose was the Woodlawn Inn in rural Cobourg Ontario, which features Victorian architecture and high end services.
Here’s a look at the entire process from start to finish:
Like any of my projects, I always start by getting out my sketchbook, and start scribbling away with pencils, markers, or anything else I have lying around. In this case I drew inspiration from the inn’s large Victorian columns and incorporated them into the letterforms.
I then selected my top 2 or 3 sketches and created digital versions of them. When creating monograms I will sometimes use a font as a starting point for the letters and then modify them. In this case I created the letters from scratch, combining shapes with the Pathfinder tool in Illustrator. Once I had a couple of designs that I was liking I isolated them (#3 and 5) and moved on to fine-tuning.
Time for creating variations. I kept colour out of the picture at this point and just used grey to separate the different sections of the mark. Next I showed the options to a few close friends and designers and the overall feedback was that #4 was working best. I agreed with them and proceeded to apply colour to the top monogram.
My goal was to combine the country feel with the elegance of the inn. In the end I decided just to go with black and white as I planned on bringing in colour and texture with the elements I’d pair the logo with.
Since I was fairly happy with the mark, I moved on to add the typography. My initial thought was to use a bold sans serif typeface, but it was competing with the mark so I went with a simple serif typeface (Dutch Medieval) instead.
The Final Design!
This is usually the stage where I spend hours obsessing over the small details of the logo, but it turned out that my original construction of the logo in the earlier steps was pretty sound. A few small tweaks were made, a knockout version was created and started thinking about applications.
As I mentioned before, I wanted to use colour in the materials that would accompany the black and white logo. I needed to find a way to bring in the rustic, country feel of the location without loosing the elegance of the monogram. In order to achieve this, I contrasted the white elements with brown paper, wood and a subtle pattern based off of the logo.
Any tips for designing monograms? Leave a comment.