Last year, Penny-Arcade.com created a Kickstarter campaign to try to make their website ad-free. I love Penny Arcade and everything they do for the gaming community, and I visit the site religiously for the new web comic every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I figured that for all the hours of entertainment they’ve provided me over the years, it would be a good thing to toss a few bucks their way.
As I scrolled through the list of rewards, two options caught my attention: One was to have the PA design staff create a logo for your company, and the other was to have Robert Khoo, the business mastermind behind PA, do a review of your company’s business plan.
If you’ve read through this blog, you know why these two options appealed to me. The business plan option was almost twice as pricey as the logo, though, and I felt the logo could provide an immediate return on that investment in the form of branded merchandise, so that’s what I chose. PA’s Kickstarter campaign was tremendously successful, resulting in a removal of the ads on the PA home page and a lot of free PA content.
The campaign closed in August and I didn’t hear anything from PA until just after the start of the new year, when they sent me a survey asking more about my company and what I was looking for in a logo. I took my time answering the questions and I was as detailed as I could be. Perhaps excruciatingly so.
During the Kickstarter campaign, they estimated the completion date for the logo would be March 2013, so I waited a couple of months.
Then I was laid off.
Suddenly, merchandising seemed like a really important thing for me to look into, and anyone who knows me knows I have zero patience when I want something. I fight hard every day to keep in check my need for instant gratification, so I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I sent an email inquiring about the status. I REALLY didn’t want to be “that guy” who’s asking them every day, “When’s it gonna be done?”
Yesterday my unusual bout of patience paid off in the form of an email from Robert Khoo, complete with images attached in a ZIP file. I read what Robert had to say, double-clicked the ZIP file, took a deep breath, and these are what unfolded from within:
A few things struck me right away. First, the M-V part of the logo is eerily similar to a sketch I did about a year ago. Second, the cross-section of the tree was unexpected, but perfect, for reasons I’ll explain later. Third, I love seeing the Washington silhouette. “Made in Washington” is very important to me.
With the logos came a “brand guide” that explained the choice of designs. The brewery mascot is an owl, so they included this little dude as a supplemental element. Becky opened MS Paint and started messing with his color and texture almost immediately.
Finally, another supplemental element with more focus on local.
I like them all, and I appreciate that Penny Arcade listened so closely to my survey response. I felt like I was really taking a chance by having my logo done this way, what with doing everything very impersonally over the Internet and all. I’m stoked that it worked out.
There’s a lot going on in the main logo. The M-V, in addition to representing the brewery’s name, also represent the mountains and valleys of the state, which is right up my alley. We can take just that piece of the logo and use it on its own or use it in combination with new elements.
The cutaway of the tree trunk was an awesome surprise. I wanted something within the logo that would reflect the meaning behind Madera Verde, but my mind fixated on trees and branches and roots — that sort of thing. The choice of the cutaway trunk is more meaningful than what I had envisioned because of the generations of my family who worked as loggers here in Washington.
I’m also very happy with the owl. It’s not literal. I dig that it has a shield feeling to it, almost like a family crest. Within, I also see mountains and valleys and water.
“Rooted in Auburn, WA” is a great motto, especially when combined with the cutaway of the tree trunk. In the brand guide they suggested using it for coasters, and I agree!
Now I can start work on a few things I’ve been thinking about, like business cards, growlers and apparel. I can’t sell any beer, but some early merchandising might bring in a little capital.
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