History began with the goal to bring a tattoo parlor into a different look than your hole-in-the-wall tramp stamp factory in a seedy part of town. That being said, it’s also important to remember your audience, and the person who wants to inject ink into their skin for their entire life usually approaches a business with too stylish a brand as over-confident, corporate or without the grime that comes with real experience. Where they meet in the middle is in the personalization of the process—the privacy of the tattoo.
The logo for the client evolved from visuals that stretched the meaning of personal history into a patchwork of interpretations, literally traveling down the path of stitching and threading together the typography. Although stitches definitely came with the grit befitting the industry the threads were throwing the identity off, and the visuals were not coming out attractive (even in a grisly way). What developed was the notion of a monogram or signature, an imprint that defined their character in a unique interlocking stamp. With much experimentation in the assembly of the seven letters I came to an array that distorted the norms of typography, fastened their architecture for unification and scoured the strokes to communicate that the parlor was weathered, experienced and worldly.
Intentionally dirty and flawed, the reproducible vector form takes on the characteristics of penmanship drawn some time ago. The typeface that would be used to accompany the brand is Aldine Roman 401 by Francesco Griffo in 1929 (reproduced by Aldus Manutius here in 2000). The face reflects the antiquity but is contrasted by the mechanical adherence to geometry in the logo monogram.
While History has discarded some of the furnishings of the industry standards like portfolios filled with butterflies and tribals or the hallmark neon sign, some things still simply speak the language of the trade. Things like leather, rock & roll, and the color black. The shop gets a facelift then, and the owner considers her business serious enough to imprint it not only on the signage by the steps, but on her own body and soul. Intense, dedicated, passionate—that’s what the business is about, because after all, it’s a personal history, it’s your private personal business.