The first time I spoke with New York-based editorial portrait photographer Sam Ortiz was when I called him to talk about his work and the vision he had for his brand. It was immediately clear that Sam is a very engaging and passionate guy, and that he takes his brand very seriously. His existing logo had a lot of inherent character, especially because it was a rendered signature by Sam himself. I knew Sam was therefore very attached to it, so this was setting the bar pretty high to start–but I was up for the challenge.
When I spoke to Sam, he gave me his take on branding. He described that the logo he was looking for could be compared to a simple ensemble of jeans and a t-shirt—classic and approachable, nothing too formal. But a clean and simple logo wasn’t enough. The interest he was looking for in that logo would come with pairing that simple ensemble with a solid pair of boots, or a suave leather jacket—something with a unique spin and some fundamental character. Putting boots on a logo sounds silly (especially when you take it literally), but it’s actually a great metaphor for what a brand should do: look good, compliment what you’ve got going, wear well with time, and be chock full of character. So that’s what I set out to create for Sam.
The first round of logos was about exploration, where I came up with different directions and some various aesthetic options. Sam and I whittled those down, and even looked at a few options as they might appear on his website with his actual photos, which is always extremely helpful. That led us to our winner.
Once Sam chose a logo, we moved on to the color palette. We selected a black, grey, and white palette for Sam, to remain sleek and masculine, and to compliment his work without distracting from it.
Sam was extremely pleased with the result of his graphic identity, but don’t take my word for it. I’ll let him speak for himself:
Initially, handing over control was more difficult than I thought. Being a visual artist, I often have thoughts and images in my head that are hard to put into words. The brand that I currently had, I was very attached to. It was something that took long hours and it was a symbol of my passion and dreams of being a professional. After reaching out to WM, I was contacted by Melissa. The minute I spoke to Melissa, my fears and anxiety went away. I felt like Melissa really cared about giving me the very best brand I needed for my business. Best of all, she took the time to listen and understand exactly what I was looking for!
When I received the first few drafts, I already felt like I had so many options. My fears of letting go of my old, self-designed logo were gone. I honestly felt like I couldn’t go wrong with either of the first drafts. Melissa was very patient with me as I went through the process of choosing an idea and deciding on a final direction. She kept a constant line of communication open and was never late with a response. The back and forth and overall process of finalizing the branding felt seamless and took a load of stress off my already filled plate. Everything I asked for appeared to be carefully thought out and executed. I was thrilled with the results! If for nothing else, just for the outstanding customer service. The fact that the final logo was awesome made it that much better!
I’m very grateful for Melissa and the team over at Wonderful Machine. I’m proud to show my new logo and confident that my business will benefit in 2014 as a result!
Visit Sam Ortiz’s website to view his work.
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