Puppy Eyes, Peppers, & Mom

Spicy Puppy Studios is a brand new music production conglomerate specializing in audio production for film, television, worship, with 5.1-7.1 surround sound and spacialization capabilities.

Mark, the owner/founder of Spicy Puppy Studios, needed some help with his logo…here it is as it existed on LoopCommunity.com

So, he knew exactly what he wanted his new, non-emojified logo to be…”What if it was a puppy with a pepper head? You know…you know how a puppy’s head looks kinda like a pepper?” Hmmmm. I was up for the challenge. I mean, I’ve made a mountainous sunset out of a tooth, so I can swing a puppy-headed pepper!

Obviously, when a client has a firm grasp on what they are wanting in a logo, it cuts out some otherwise critical pieces of certain steps in the development process. The amount of research needed is cut considerably because instead of coming up with a logo from scratch, there’s a base there from which to work. And it’s already something the client is passionate about. This is usually a good place to be…unless the client’s idea is less than favorable. You know, as in, it’s just not a good idear. Then, it’s important to convince them otherwise and come up with something that will serve them better. (How exactly that is done is an entirely separate post…I’ll file that one away for later.)

So, my base with Spicy Puppy was a puppy head resembling a pepper. That’s already super fun. Right? Let’s keep it here. No need to change anything. But not a banana pepper (too fat and long…plus, it’s not spicy). And not a bell pepper (too short and fat…again, not spicy). Not even a chili pepper (too skinny and long).

Habanero…thaaaaat’s the pepper we’re looking for here. (So, I did have to do a little pepper research…and some puppy head research.)

I’m not an illustrator (as evident in those pepper tracings you just witnessed). I don’t even play one on T.V. When I have illustration needs, I hire my illustrator buddies. (#AlwaysSupportYourBuddies) But, simple illustrations, shapes and stuff, I can usually hang. And if I get in a bind, I call in the big guns. For puppy-pepper-head, though, I worked it out myself. I did it, Mom!

So in the initial stages, I thought he’d end up with a body to go along with his cute little head. But after getting into it, and knowing that the head would have to translate as a head while also translating as a pepper, attaching it to a body just seemed superfluous and confusing. But, I also couldn’t have it looking like a floating head. After tossing around some options, I decided to use a shadow of sorts to anchor him.

Since this logo will be used on the web 99% of the time, and most probably never embroidered, I decided to add a subtle shadow along the bottom of his head/pepper for some visual interest. And since it’s mostly used on Loop Community, I changed the green on the stem to match the green that Loop Community uses on their logo-encompassing-circle. 

And Mark suggested making his eye a bit “cuter” and less “beady”.

Boom. That made it!

While there are no plans for an apparel line just yet, I think it’d make for some pretty sweet swag!

“I absolutely LOVE my Spicy Puppy logo! Carla took the time to get to know my target audience and my needs, and the spirit of my company. She supplied us with all the formats we needed and even did a little education, explaining the application of each format. Well done!”

- Mark E., Owner/Founder of Spicy Puppy Studios

When Things Don’t Go As Planned…In Life and Logos

So, last week obviously didn’t start out as I had planned. (This can happen from time-to-time, yeah? Yurp.) So, long-funny-story short, I got my very own ambulance ride to the hospital around 3am last Tuesday morning. (Just a heads up. They’ll take you there when you complain of chest pain in addition to numerous textbook heart attack symptoms such as pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, back; nausea; cold sweats; feeling faint; uncomfortable breathing; etc.)

I was released a few hours later when all the blood work, chest x-rays, and EKGs came back clear.

“Everything is fine with your heart. It looks GREAT, actually.”


“Inflamed Chest Cartilage” was to blame for my little “episode”. It’s something that I’ve been aware of for the past couple of years, but it’s never presented itself in “attack” form…ever. Lawzie. So…that was weird. Crazy weird. But I’ll know for next time to just wait 8 minutes and pop 800mg of Motrin instead of having Matty call the bus, and giving him a heart attack in the process. Wacka wacka.

That little venture Tuesday morning threw my entire week off. I was fatigued all week, missed my morning workouts, and just couldn’t seem to get it together, in general. My week was severely thrown off-kilter.

And I hate it when that happens.

But… sometimes, when things don’t go as planned, it opens us up to allow opportunity for better things to happen. 

This often occurs as I work through logo projects with clients. Last year, I knocked out this logo for my friend, Carrie. This year, her husband, Chris, contacted me about doing a logo for his new home inspections business, Appalachian Inspections, in Western North Carolina. I love Carrie…I love Western North Carolina…so I figured Chris and I would hit it off just fine with his project.

Chris had a working idea of what he was wanting in a mark for his business. He had sketched out a few ideas, but just couldn’t land on anything he liked…

He knew he wanted an “A” to be represented. He thought working it into replacing the “A” in “Appalachian” could possibly be a solution. He also liked the idea of working an A-frame house into the “A” since A-frame houses are prevalent in Western North Carolina. I was diggin’ this idea of his. (A-frame houses are cool, y’all. I never really paid much attention to them, but I think, like anything else, they just have to be given a fair chance to make their statement in the world. That’s right. Look at that green one! Mmmmm.)

So, let’s sit here for a minute. Most often, allowing a letter to be the mark (symbol) in a logotype (word in the logo) is not a favorable solution. It can be messy and can lose it’s luster on a small scale. It also locks the client into having to use a logo that doesn’t have a stand-alone mark. It always has to be supported by the logotype when used in any application. This can present problems at times. But…there are times when it can work, and work well. But in those cases, the logotype is usually short in length.

See? They’re short. So, they work. Imagine a long word, let’s say “Appalachian”, for instance, on a business card…and the “A” is a symbol such as a house. (Okay, okay…an A-frame house since we’re here.) Of course, as the word shrinks in size to fit on the card, the symbol (the “A”) must shrink proportionally. Uh oh…now we have a mess. And when we hand over our fancy new biz card to a potential client, they’re going to be holding it at arm’s length (if they’re approaching 40 or already over it), or smooshing it up to their face (if they’re a young whipper-snapper) as they strain and try to figure out what exactly they are seeing on that “A”. That’s embarrassing. No one has time for that in their lives. And whether he had time for it or not, I didn’t want Chris to have to deal with a logo that was going to treat him poorly. Logos should always treat people nice. Yeah, they should.

So, instead, I worked with the “A” and the “I” together to create a monogram for “Appalachian Inspections”, but still gave the shape the necessary treatment to subtly resemble an A-frame structure. Chris was very pleased with the result and is now happy to present his business card to anyone…anyone under the age of 40, or over the age of 40.

I love making people happy. It’s a great, great thing to do. It’s especially fun and rewarding when the outcome is so much more than what they imagined when they started those first initial sketches during their planning phase. 

So, don’t be bummed the next time your plans seem to go awry. Don’t close the door on a potentially great thing. You might miss out on something greater.

Summertime Laments & Logos

I’m sitting in Barnes & Noble Café with my soon-to-be-5th-grader who is self-entertaining with this month’s edition of Girl’s World while I try to get some work done…i.e. knock out this blog post. This is how a large percentage of our summer days have been spent. (Now that Matty and I are both self-employed, work-from-home, grown-ups.) But the spans of boredom are outweighed by the perks that come from neither of us having a “real job”. Not many families get to have a midday trip to TCBY for Waffle Cone Wednesday, or a quick hike at Paris Mountain, or a bike ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, or just simply have lunch together on the front porch, or, or, or, or….

Yes, the trade-off is the security of regular income. Have no fear, friend. I realize this. (The Lord does, too…as He and I have regular conversations about it. LOL)

And, while I love the “looseness” of summertime, I find myself missing the structure that comes with school days. (I’ll deny having said this come October.) School starts in three weeks.

I think we’re going to be okay.

I should probably write about some Fuzzy Bison stuff since that’s more than likely why you’ve landed here. I’ve been working on some logo projects recently with some great clients. I’m going to take the next couple of blog posts to write about each of them as they were all equally fun and rewarding…

  • Appalachian Inspections : A home inspections business in Western North Carolina
  • Spicy Puppy Studios : A music production conglomerate specializing in audio production for film, television, and worship, with 5.1-7.1 surround sound and spacialization capabilities 
  • Elberon Amplifiers : An amplifier engineer/builder bringing quality, handmade audio products to musicians and music lovers alike…focused on delivering the best experience through clean designs and superior sound and tone

Thanks for hanging out and check back in soon!

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