Really excited to work on this project along side everyone. It comes at a nearly perfect time, having really needed an excuse to dig into a little branding. I am both a graphic designer and touring musician, this project is a great opportunity to kill some birds with some stones or whatever people say.
First, a little history:
Lawrence, KS has an extremely rich history of art and music, the trend continues. Since I moved to Lawrence in 2005, I have watched a collective of artist, by the name of Fresh Produce, create spaces for them to collaborate and cultivate their art on basically no budget. Their continued success yields bigger and/or better spaces with each step. Not to say there haven't been hardships, but the perseverance keeps the playing field somewhat level. Noise ordinances in Lawrence have become more strict over the past decade, effectively stomping out the raging fire that was the house show circuit. Proportionally, it became difficult to practice at home without getting noise complaints/crazy expensive tickets. We desperately needed a solution.
About three years ago, some musicians piggybacked on a new spot the FP artists were opening up in an old warehouse that had sat empty for years. This building, along with a few other projects being developed were part of the first phases of East Lawrence's new 'Warehouse Arts District'. Our space would be coined Seed Co. Studios, paying homage to the early 1900s Seed business that existed in the building. It was pretty dingy, with the charm of a quaint dungeon. We loved it. As artist occupancy rose, musician involvement continued to increase. The groups were really starting to mesh together. Unfortunately, as gallery and event attendance rose, so did the fire marshall's attentiveness to the situation. The building wasn't zoned for anything but storage, being waaaaaaaaay behind on fire code.
Eventually, we were asked to get the building up to code or leave the building. Fortunately, the developer of the area agreed to build out a space for us in the newer warehouse, complete with tons of individual artist studios and three rehearsal rooms. Now we are in a much 'cleaner' space, but the dungeon days will never be forgotten. The new space has been great, but is nowhere near its potential. We can house so many more musicians, but some things need to happen first. Its time to expand our reach. Seed Co Studios is still the name of the new spaces, but the music/rehearsal spaces need to develop an individual identity representative of its goals.
Organic growth has given us so much, but I think with a bit of branding, and outreach, we can truly achieve our goal of creating a non exclusive safehaven for anyone to cultivate performance art. Neighboring a train yard, we have decided to name the spot, Switchyard Rehearsal Spaces. This project will be my first step in creating a visual identity for Switchyard.
^My first sketches were playing with different shapes for some dynamic type, but as I got further into the letters, I became less focused on overall shape, but more the internal relationships. "Switchyard" is a great opportunity to explore ten different letters within the same logo, with no repeats.
^ I continued to doodle, just to feel out some possible extensions of tails/crossbars. Pretty simple stuff but just trying to see which extensions felt nice.
^The more I drew the letters, the more I wanted to push the "S" and "Y" to mimic a traditional railroad switch. As of now, I want to explore tall, rectangular letterforms. From what I have experienced with these sketches, how the corners are treated will drive the overall feel of the logo. With very tight corners, the long curve of the "S" and "Y" have some serious potential to become recognizable marks and even interact with one another in a separate mark.
^Here are some further tests of how the letters can start to create an a nice grid that is pushed/pulled/broken in a few places. Next step is to bust out the trace, start adding weight, play around with x-height and work on some curves. I should have those up tomorrow.
Starting to set up guides^
Once I got all of the letter skeletons built, the kerning needed a lot of work. Also felt like the letters were a bit too thin.