I’ve been clogging my own process without pressing it on the blog, so this is a bit of a deposit of sketches, ideas and paths that are shaping up to be the identity for the tattoo parlor History.
The stitching, the blackletter, the calligraphy, all ideas that haven’t worked out for some reason. Stitches, although an interesting idea, I feel is too far departed. Calligraphy just seems expected, no matter how I cut it. I then went on a small journey where I thought that the effect of drawing on your own skin was an interesting visual. When developing a single-line typographic logo, I came up with some intriguing letterforms. This would be drawn on the skin, in ink so that the darkness spreads into the cracks, creating a sort of fractured and thorny effect. The effect was meant to be recognizable as ink drawn on skin, a natural exposition of tattoo artistry. The continuous line idea was meant to cover the concept of history’s tendency for repetition, and singular path.
More and more I’ve drifted from these ideas. While decent thought exercises and provocative routes for graphic identity, I’m still not sure they really represent the company, or really, tattoo at all. I’m trying to think in context as well—this identity will most likely be on a boutique sign, probably dark with knocked out type. Though the temptation to produce the continuous line concept into a neon sign is high, we decided early on that History was attempting to transcend that representation of parlors. They’re looking to be a more comfortable, though dark and intense setting.
I am growing more and more fond of my current direction however, though I am reluctant to continue with my own personal style affectations. This concept centers around History as a monogram of sorts, though not through acronyms of course. I was pondering personal experience, personal identity, and recalled a gallery show I was at just recently at the Swann Auction Galleries, where several Dürer prints were auctioning. I hadn’t seen a Dürer print in some time, and was instantly drawn into his world, not just by virtue of his line quality and imagination, but, as a graphic designer magnetized to typography, his signature monogram. I remembered how powerful and personal it was, and so I began drawing the logo for History in a fashion that evoked signature, experience, and unity.
The collection of the letters began to become symmetrical as my influence over them grew, but then I also remembered how unique something feels when an asymmetry brings conviction to the form. I am, but probably shouldn’t be, a tad worried about how close the forms are to the previous client, Haiku Den, specifically the bracketing of the letterforms. I just feel it brings it antiquity and some sense of dark reflection, possibly nostalgia even. From a distance it may confound, it may intrigue, it may even bring a little apprehension. This is perfect for the audience seeking to mark their body with past events and special passions. The following are sketches of where I’m driving History now, and a refinement composition at the end. If you have thoughts on them, let me know.