Branding: One Hundred and One

 New logo, new font, new beginning. Hi, I'm Kevin Hartmann.

New logo, new font, new beginning. Hi, I'm Kevin Hartmann.

My initials, as letter forms, are quite stick-like, possibly boring and plain (not unlike me in the 80s).

If you think about your initials - if you write them out and stare at them - depending on your handwriting, your initials are probably stick-like, too. It's the ease and nature of our 26-letter alphabet - many horizontal and vertical sticks and a few fancy, think-they're-better-than-the-others round shapes. My initials, in basic form, are just sticks, no elegant anything.

At least that's what I thought for years, having used just my initials for as my personal logo. They work well in that regard, just colored sticks on a colored square (or other shaped background), and depending on they typeface chosen, generally legible, purposeful. I like simplicity, modern, ease-of-use, clean type and all that. Think Helvetica (yeah, I know...but, it works well).

I had recently wished to up my logo game. Let me first say that I'm not a typographer nor am I by any means a whiz at logo design, even with the few I've created and which are still out there somewhere today being used by others. So not being that logo whiz, I've always vowed to keep my personal branding consistent so I didn't have to rethink it.

Well that never happened. I'm not a big brand, not a big name or influencer. With sketchbook and computer sitting around, I always find the fidget time to update the logo, to my detriment,  perhaps.

Branding 101: Be consistent, stay consistent. I would say to myself, Self, your current branding is good branding; leave it alone. One year later I'd change out the design. One hundred and one logos later, it feels like, I am back to where I began.

Since 1999, when I started my original blog, my colors were blues. Since then, I have used black, blue, golds, grays, and all accented by various colors. I've even used wood backgrounds when I went through a mid-century logo phase (logos placed on top of wood as a banner and content separators). The consistency of colors have been my only constant over the years. As my website focus has changed as well, the logo varied with its purpose. From blogging to photos to blogging to introspective blogging to music to photos and photo blogging yet again, I tried to keep up with the trends, and myself. 

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 At left: A recent, late-2017 (short-lived) logo with combined color palette from Just Like Humans music and a darker blue which mixed past colors to form a new hue. At right, Kevin Hartmann Stuff with full name spelled out which was hard to read at reduced sizes.

At left: A recent, late-2017 (short-lived) logo with combined color palette from Just Like Humans music and a darker blue which mixed past colors to form a new hue. At right, Kevin Hartmann Stuff with full name spelled out which was hard to read at reduced sizes.


I decided to go back to what I knew, and what worked: Use just my name. No gimmicks, no fancy pants logos or logo marks or implied camera graphics or anything that would reduce the logo to something other than what I needed it to be. 

I went through many iterations in the past months: Too modern a font and the logo could look dated in a year or more; too thin a font and it would look like my music branding for Just Like Humans (below). I found that geometric letterforms were harder to do with KH as these letters didn't mesh well together, and at small sizes many looked like cattle brands. Trying to represent all of the things I do or have done (photos, electronic music, video, drawing, websites, graphics, writing...) proved too difficult for my little brain and skill level.

So, as I said, in the end, I opted for the most simple idea: Using my full name (and initials to represent same when my full name would not work for spacing, such as with some social media profile restrictions, or website favicon). I fully dropped all graphics and pretense I was building up into the logo and just used the most simple idea and branding. Which is what I should have been doing all along.

I am liking my new logotype these first few weeks I have been staring at it here on my site and on other platforms. Does it work for you? What do you think of the new branding? Let me know!

 A discarded idea from a few years ago, which represented how an old CRT would display letters, complete with cursor. At right, the current Just Like Humans logotype.

A discarded idea from a few years ago, which represented how an old CRT would display letters, complete with cursor. At right, the current Just Like Humans logotype.

 Fierce Brosnan! Made me want to use this free one just for the cool name.

Fierce Brosnan! Made me want to use this free one just for the cool name.

 This coulda been a contenda.

This coulda been a contenda.