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June 6, 2013

An Interview with the Queen

Sawaya Consulting recently picked up an AIGA 100 Show awards for our work on Red Queen Book Arts. I interviewed each key player on the project and think the answers are really interesting for someone considering a branding project with us or with another firm.

Interview with the client

What did you enjoy most about the logo design process?

Firstly, the communication.  I sincerely appreciated that everyone took time to get on the same page.  Then, the beginning and the end!  I loved the beginning, when creative juices were flowing and lots of possibilities were floating around.  It helped to know that I was working with talented professionals and could trust the process, and then once we settled on a direction, it was absolutely delightful to see the end result!

What did you find the most surprising or difficult?

The biggest surprise for me was that no one expected me to suddenly become visually literate.  I worried heading in that the design process would require me to have a lot of informed opinions about design, and that wasn’t at all the case, thank goodness.

The only difficult thing was settling on the final design as it meant closing the door to some other great ideas.

What did you learn about the logo design experience that you would like to share with other clients?

Be clear, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  I found it helpful to be upfront about how I communicate, and when I asked for time to briefly consider a decision it was given gracefully.

Amber, as an aside, I want you to know that I am just blown away by what you, Steve, and Kira have delivered.  The branding you guys came up with is incredible, and I don’t take it for granted.  I know that you all put in a lot of work on my behalf, and I’d like to thank you once again.

Congrats on your well-deserved award!

Interview with the designer

We’ve done a lot of logos together, what made this one stand out as something we should enter into an award show?

There was a lot of freedom with this project and I spent a lot of time. Those two things generally result in great design.

It was nice that the client was given two very different directions she had a strong feeling for one. And its awesome to have an art director that also has strong opinions and gives direct and constructive feedback (and design therapy)—and takes the time to give it to you even though she is very busy.

Other things that played in to it: the name was great and the store concept was interesting and unique. The project benefits someone I really like (and someone who supports and believes in my abilities as a designer). Creating a strong logo and identity system around a cool company makes the process much more enjoyable and easier.

Walk us through your logo design process, how long does it normally take both an effort and duration?

I think just the logo process took two months. That is a luxury! People always want to rush this process and often get a logo that they have to spend more time and money fixing later.

Once the mark was finalized the rest of the identity formed organically as small projects for the company came up. Again, not such a rush to lock everything down.

Having time to think about the project, play with it and come back to it allows me to come up with something more refined and less obvious. Most of my design drafts and concepts happen in my head when I have a minute in the shower, or in line, or before I fall asleep (or while I shop)—it’s impossible to know how much time is spent there, but it’s vastly more than time spent physically drawing or drafting it.

About the author

Amber Sawaya

Amber Sawaya is a creative director, best-selling author and business owner. She designs and oversees UI, UX, app, and website projects.