Dolly Dahl Logo Process

Dolly Dahl Logo Process

June 4, 2010  |  Blog

One of the things I like to do on this blog, once in a while, is post about my creative process. I find it gives clients an inside look on what to expect when working with a designer as well as opening up conversation between my design peers and myself. I always enjoy seeing how others work so why not share a bit of my approach. And hey, you never know if someone may have some worthwhile suggestions or criticism to offer. So feel free to comment on what you see. I’m always open to conversation regarding creative process!

For this project, I was very lucky to work with the lovely Dolly Dahl of (website is coming soon). I find that the client’s general outlook on work and life accounts for about 50% of how enjoyable their design projects can be. When working with someone who is open to the creative process as well as understands how to communicate their expectations, needs, and direction — well, it’s a beautiful thing. Dolly made my job incredibly enjoyable and I definitely looked forward to the hours I spent on creating a look for her mark.

Onto the design! First, I begin with sketching and brainstorming. Here’s a look at how those ideas look on paper. I don’t get too detailed at this point. Just a loose session with pencil and paper to get the ideas flowing:

Kissing paper? Yep! I wanted to get an authentic shape and feel to work from so I went ahead and S.W.A.K’d a sheet all in the name of design!

Once a general direction has been decided upon, I begin designing logos in Adobe Illustrator in black on a white background. It’s very important that the mark reads well in black and white or one-color. You will find it necessary during the life of your logo that there be a one-color version that reads well for different printing applications (t-shirts, coasters, etc). By creating the logo in black and white (or one-color) the overall shape and impression is the focus. One can better judge those aspects of the mark by implementing this process. Below you will see the logos in color for the full final effect.

A few of the keywords and phrases regarding the feel of what Dolly wanted to achieve in her logo were:

• glamorous, but fun!
• sparkly
• luxe
• vintage

With those descriptors as well as a full creative brief including other points including color preferences, audience demographics, etc. I sent along my first draft designs.

For each logo above, I drew the accompanying graphics, scanned those drawings into Adobe Illustrator, cleaned them up and created vector graphics for use in the logo design. The lipstick tube made for a fun way to incorporate a sort of pin-up, retro-girl signature for Dolly to incorporate into her brand. The diamonds leaned more toward the glam/luxe feel described during the brief while keeping it light-hearted and fun.

Dolly enjoyed the idea of a lipstick signature, but was interested in finding a way to make that message come across without using the lipstick tube. After a bit of discussion, we thought it communicated more of a make-up shop rather than a full retro empire. Dolly sells everything from retro clothing and housewares and everything inbetween. We had to make sure the logo wasn’t so specific, but she liked the idea of the mark being a signature of sorts. By tweaking the previous compositions, we came up with a mark that salvaged the script of the lipstick logo combining it with a new illustration. This time, it is insinuated that the mark was made with a tube of lipstick — sealed with a kiss! Here is the final solid colored logo Dolly will be using:

In addition, we created a version that incorporates Dolly’s love of all things sparkly. She has a personality that shines and we love it! Here is that version (to be used on darker backgrounds):

Since the logo will be used in different sized environments, we like to include different versions for those applications. The logo won’t always work stacked as it is above. So, we included a horizontal design with Dolly’s final package (all versions are delivered in black & white as well as full color):

And there you have it! An inside look at our process. If you like what you see, please do not hesitate to contact us for a quote on your upcoming design projects. We look forward to hearing from you. To all of my designer buddies, please feel free to discuss in the comment section. I would also be interested to hear your thoughts regarding process and the way you approach your projects. Until next time! Cheers!

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  1. I couldn’t have enjoyed working with you any more than I did. You were so much fun to collaborate with and your turnaround time was incredible.

    I highly recommend Nicola to anyone looking for something amazing! I know I’ll definitely be back for more goodies once the site launches.


  2. Aw, thanks, Dolly! I really appreciate that. It’s definitely one of my favorite projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on. I look forward to working with you again!

  3. Betty Darling, glad you like it! 🙂

  4. Thank you for another informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

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