I have to imagine a meeting with the client, I have to role play with the objectives of this fictitious brand in order to make the final decisions. I feel confident that many of the directions I’ve sketched out can push forward and become attractive graphics. However, I need to find the graphic that is just right for Hot Stuff. This is where Monthly Brand, as a concept, is weak. There is no real client, there is no one in charge who will ultimately make the decision from compositions. There is only me. I suppose therein also lies the strength to Monthly Brand. I’m the one who gets to decide which direction is strongest.
The following are more sketches and comps at the fork in the road. You can see that several concepts fell through upon exploration. The route of the blocky thick characters ends up appearing like a cheap Mexican restaurant logo, or even something like Scooby Doo or The Brady Bunch. The diamonds and the zagging ideas come off as either too ordinary or too outlandish (after all my thoughts about Charlie Brown and his beloved zig zag shirt it turns out to be not unique enough for the brand).
I started thinking more about Heinz 57 sauce, and even about Altoids, from which this brand idea sprouted. Hot Stuff wants something that really makes them stand apart, something that is in a division of its own. Sure it’s still mustard, but it’s a strange sauce at the same time. I’m feeling like one of the words I appropriated to its qualifiers at the beginning isn’t quite right: stimulating. The product might very well be stimulating, but that’s a strange word choice, and I think we could use something that provides more character. I think the brand would rather be bizarre, or curious—that they offer something that is a bit off the normal course for their product. I think Altoids has the corner on “curiously strong,” and I don’t think of Hot Stuff as weird or bizarre, but maybe something like mysterious. Okay, there it is, mysterious. It’s like a secret recipe or something. Every sauce they put out is a new twist on something classic. But I don’t see Heinz 57 or Altoids or Nutella or Lea & Perrins having any real distinction to their visual branding. The creators of Hot Stuff think their recipe is from outer space, and they want it to look that way. They’re banking on it esoteric. You might say that the Heinz 57 sauce can speak for itself, but if it looks like all the other sauces it’ll be considered the same way. Despite the success of that recipe, Hot Stuff would rather appear distinct as well as taste distinct.
With that said, I’ve decided to travel down the route of the illustrative skate egg form, as mentioned in the previous entry. The weekend has been concentrating on that, and some development has occurred. After committing to a general form I brought it into Illustrator and traced it, cleaning up a lot of curves and making the shapes consistent. The two t’s and the f’s were building so similarly that I duplicated their forms and altered them judiciously. The logo began to take a more controlled structure than the first few drafts, and I can’t help but use a double f ligature for Stuff. The alien articulations began to creep out with consistency. I suppose I’m a bit inspired by the Lovecraft I’ve been reading lately, but the motif certainly seems applicable and lines up with some of the inspirations I had from the beginning. Finally, the awkwardness of the H was really the only form that had the serpentine terminals, so I felt they could be represented at the final strokes of the ligature adding a bit of symmetry to the piece, while giving us a very peculiar set of characters.
This is where I’m at after the end of the weekend, and technically the end of the month. I always want to give a good sleep on a final design. The morning could bring a different light. Not that I have a choice since I need to get on with the next brand. I definitely know I would have liked more time to polish this up. Definitely taking notes for next month.