Paula's Donuts

Paula's Donuts - student project

This is Paula. She's rad!

Current logo/branding for Paula's is simply set in Cooper Black in a red & white color scheme

Brief History 

Established in 1996, Paula’s Donuts is a family owned and operated business in Buffalo, NY. They have some of the most incredible donuts. Everything is made by hand and baked fresh daily on the premises, the old fashioned way.


• Traditional - Paula's has been in business nearly 20 years; a local favorite and have steadily grown as a national attraction all while remaining true to their beginnings. A nod to what's come before while giving it a slight modern touch.

• Old School - When I think donut shops I think of cheap coffee, locals, great conversation and of course the donuts. I think an old school feel would go a long way to emphasize this. 

• Handmade - There's something about these donuts when you get them fresh that just makes them totally killer. They've been making them by hand for quite some time and the logotype should reflect that in some way, even subtly. 

• Family/Community - No matter what you always feel at home at Paula's and there's something really special about that. A lot of people have grown up with this place and it's important for the logo to reflect the family-friendly/community vibes that this place radiates.

Sketch Update 1

Been busy sketching and trying to come up with a rough skeleton for the next steps. I think I've found a direction I like and it's the third sketch below. I think it's got something old school feeling about it but could easily have some modern flare to it. I'd love any and all feedback and if there's something y'all like that maybe I'm not seeing I'm open to it. I tried not to spend more than a minute on each little sketch and working in a small notebook helped to keep me from getting too detailed.

Ultimately I landed on a script because they have a lot of nice character and can be really playful when messing around with the thicks and thins. There's a lot of work to be done balancing all of the letterforms out but this is pretty good for now. Next steps will be to continue refining this sketch on paper and maybe exploring some more styling for the rough skeleton/layout that I chose. I'll be sure to keep updating as I go and hope to keep pushing this further!

Sketch Update 2 

Further exploration of the third sketch photo from above. Wanted to refine the layout as well as try some various options for the letterforms. I still don't think I'm quite there but I'm feeling really good about this direction. I chose this direction because it's got an old school diner/soda fountain vibe going which I really like. 

After starting at this for a while and letting it kind of soak in I ended up playing around with the initial P as I thought maybe it could use a little more. Mackey's Sketch 3 video also made a good point of a brand sometimes only using the first character of a logotype for certain applications which got me thinking of showing it a little more love. I quickly sketched out a bunch more P's in pencil and then drew one out with a marker that I had laying around. I'm going to explore this treatment a bit more but I'm really excited about where this is going. As always I'll keep this updated as I go!

Sketch Update 4.11.15

I think I've finally settled on my final sketch; it's pretty close to the sketch above with a few slight tweaks. I'm excited to get this one finally onto the computer and get cranking on the vector and eventual final! I really appreciate all the feedback that got me to this point and look forward to seeing all the awesome stuff everyone else makes.

Vector Update 4.11.15

Had my first go at trying to vector my sketch and let me tell you my sketch was super whack! I had to play around with trying to set up a baseline which worked out pretty well but a bunch of the letters were slightly different scale. I definitely need to keep working on the spacing and widths of everything. Just wanted to keep this as up to date as possible and show as much process as possible. I may even print out this vector and draw over it to work out how everything should feel. Here's the first go at vectoring!

The more I look at it the more I notice things to work on, like that darn 'a' to 's' connection as well as the lowercase a's are feeling a bit heavy but it'll get there eventually!

Update 4/17/15

After accidentally taking a few days off from this project I've been fine tuning each and every little thing and adjusting the strokes and angles and spacing and I think I've reached the final version! I've attached a couple versions, one with a slight angled rise and one just straight across. I'm currently partial to the one that sits straight across but would love to hear any and everyone's feedback. It's been a great process of back and forth throughout. I wouldn't consider this fully done yet as I have a lot of mock ups I want to do for how this thing could look living in the real world. And who knows, this might end up as a real thing someday!

Thanks so much to everyone who took time to comment and give feedback. I'm still trying to keep up with everyone else's awesome work and leave comments and feedback when and where I can. As always keep an eye out for that last update with some cool real world implementation!

*I've got some good news and some unfortunate news. First I showed this to Paula and she loved it and was blown away but second and more unfortunately they recently signed a contract with someone else to do some rebranding and other work :( 

Lover of Letterforms