Case Study

Case Study: Manchester Guitar Tech Logo

Steve Robinson, aka Manchester Guitar Tech, is a friend and a fantastic guitar tech. So, I was delighted when he asked me to create a logo for his redesigned website (using WordPress). I wanted to share some of the thinking behind it and the steps that went into creating the final version.

Steve preferred not to give me any initial ideas, to see what I’d come up with. My best guess was that he would prefer a minimal, sober look with a muted colour scheme and I submitted a few ideas.However, nothing grabbed Steve. Although it can be disappointing to completely miss the mark in this way, I’ve found that initial ideas are invaluable in giving both client and designer something to react to, even if it’s only a case of “I don’t want anything like those”. It’s also a valuable lesson to not get too attached to any of your designs too closely at this stage!

So it was, quite literally, back to the drawing board.

After several more discussions, Steve said he’d like a more cartoon-like image and suggested a screwdriver/guitar “chimera” as being an interesting visual representation of his job.

I thought about this for a while and made some rough sketches. I didn’t want anything too visually complex for logo use, so I concentrated on simplicity:

From these I used Illustrator to create a first attempt at the cartoon logo.  Although this was along the right lines, something was still missing.

The hybrid guitar/screwdriver did not work well enough and it didn’t look enough like either element. The problem was that I did not want to add anything that would make the design more complex (tuning pegs, strings, controls etc.) while making it look more like a screwdriver (that handle wasn’t working!) would remove the guitar connection altogether.

After some thinking I remembered a college lecture, where we learned that an object is often defined not just by physical attributes (shape, colour etc,) but by it’s proximity to other objects. This gives a sense of scale and, more importantly, context.

Thinking about the classic image of someone “playing” a tennis racket along to music gave me an idea: Why not have someone playing the screwdriver? This would enable a more screwdriver-like shape with the guitar element being provided by the player.

I made another quick sketch, just to see how it might look. I kept the roundel shape but thought that a foreshortened screwdriver would look a bit more dramatic and add to the cartoon feel.

Rather than a generic silhouette, I wanted to be ambitious and create a realistic caricature of Steve as the player. He liked the idea and I felt confident that it would work so I was happy to spend a lot of time in Illustrator drawing the final version. Steve gave a lot of input into various elements such as the colours, typeface and even what he wanted to wear!

And here’s the final version:

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One thought on “Case Study

  1. Pingback: Case Study: Manchester Guitar Tech – Logo | BashBlog

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