Interview With Jon Stapp
Q:Where did the idea for this logo come from?
I was hired as a subcontractor for a Fort Lauderdale, FL based marketing agency to redesign the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale logo. The church was looking to revamp their image, and wanted a stylized, illustrative logo that was more contemporary, friendly, casual, and upbeat than their previous attempt. They specified a rendering of the church’s architectural arch and cross in the perspective in this photo, and required an emphasis on the church’s nickname, “First Pres.”
Q:What application did you use to design this logo? E.g., Illustrator.
Brain, pencil and paper, Adobe Illustrator CS5.
Q:What was your design process for this logo? I.e., Did you start out with pen and paper then move to the computer?
For each logo I design, I always start off with a word-mapping exercise, followed directly by a pencil-on-paper thumbnail stage. My best thumbnail ideas get fleshed out on paper first, then scanned, then vectorized.
In this redesign, I chose a high-contrast, crisp, exacting vector style to emphasize the architectural soundness of the church — a metaphor for the concept of faith as the solid foundation in one’s life. This design makes use of dramatic diagonal hatching to add gradient dimensionality, enabling it to easily reduce down to 1-color.
Q:What font(s) were used in the logo?
PAG Revolucion, Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 20, Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 18
Q:How did you choose the color scheme for the logo?
Colors are indicative of the building itself, which was built in 1942 in the Mission style of architecture. One feature I definitely wanted to emphasize was the building’s vibrant terracotta roof.
Q:Do you have any sketches of the logo in the early stages?
A few different rendering styles were initially submitted, which can be seen here. Aside from the chosen option, one option depicts the building surrounded by palm trees (iconic trees of Florida), and washed in the warm glow of a warm Floridian sunset (or sunrise). Another proposed option makes use of a continuous line style to coincide with the feeling of connectedness one gets from religion.
Q:How long did it take to complete the logo?
About a month start to finish.
Q:What do you feel was your biggest challenge in designing the logo?
My biggest challenge was my lack of control over the creative decision process. Since I was hired as a subcontractor, I had zero involvement in the initial design pitch, nor was I involved in any subsequent client discussions. A few weeks after submitting my initial designs, I was asked by the primary contractor to make a few really bizarre edits that disrupted the original integrity of the artwork. These edits came about from a series of design-by-committee client discussions that were apparently way out of the primary contractor’s control. After making these edits, I submitted my final art, and after the project was closed out, the church’s in-house designer made further edits to the artwork, completely botching all semblance of the original design. The result of this in-house designer’s handywork can be seen here.
While the “final” client artwork now exists as a sad parody of its former self, at least I still retain full rights over my original work, allowing me to display it for self-promo purposes, and for submission to awards and book publishing consideration.
Q:Now that the logo is finished, is there anything you would change about it?
I would not change a thing about my original work. People seem to like it, since it has received a multitude of positive feedback on various online galleries, and will be featured in the upcoming books, ‘Logonest 02,’ and ‘Logopond V1.’ What I would change would be my level of involvement in this process. If I could do it all over again, I would have stipulated in my contract that I would be present for the initial creative pitch, as well as subsequent discussions. I feel that my presence during these discussions would have resulted in a different outcome for this logo.