Back to Curio as I home in on some exploratory sketches and final directions. This client is clearly out of order, but that’s par for the course on this blog, and frankly, the reality of a design business as well. Curio is a boutique gift shop with an edge for tactile, eccentric and enjoyable gadgets. Their products are hand crafted, well-designed, and often originate from classic box puzzles, tangrams, or illusions. The process has come a long way, and when I last left the visuals I was hinging on the expression of boxes as a fundamental form, with a perspective quality that both insinuated a quality of dimension but also had the opportunity for something mysterious.
What I’ve discovered, to my own delight, is that while in the sketching process of this brand I began combining these three-dimensional letterforms I was designing a puzzle for myself. I knew I had the inclination to not only connote a sense of space and also a boxy nature to the objects in that space, but that I also needed an indication of illusion, of a backwards or misleading mystery that is at the root of the client’s philosophy and products. So, after I had decided on the dimensional route (as opposed to the long tangent of flat logotype ideas), I began building these box-letters into different arrangements that had to be legible to a certain degree, with a distinct foundation of curiosity. Legibility became a game for the sequence of letters and their juxtaposition, while the use of multiple vanishing points for the perspectives of the box-letters helped bolster the intrigue of their existence in space.
The letter i in particular has been the most challenging form as it does not particularly like to play in boxes like the other letterforms do. C, u, r, and o have a negative area to their forms that evoke a sense of holding or containment, while the letter i, for lack of a better phrase, sits outside the box.
The game continued, however, when I took that pun a little further and attempted to combine the i in such a way that it interacted with the other letters through its course of difference. Effectively, I put the dot inside one of the other boxlike letterforms. After that, it was a matter of discovering the most flattering arrangement of the letters in their contextual spelling, manipulation of perspective, and making that letter i feel comfortable in the midst of the other hollow letterforms.
Eventually, the perspective became the true puzzle. I was torn between designing the disparity as a difference in depth, or a difference in perspective. As a single two-dimensional shape, such as the Penrose Triangle, is easy enough to manipulate interpretive space, like an illusion, but the combination of several illusions can quickly seem too convoluted to express their point. So I continued down the path of differentiating the letterforms’ depth to detail their mystery, but eventually decided that it was too subtle. Back to manipulating perspective was a chore, but by using a simple proportions and committing to some backwards upside-down quality to each letter, some iterations floated to the top of the list as final contenders for Curio. Next step is refinement of graphics, supporting text, color and then on to the application of the identity to collateral. Finally, I feel like Curio is breathing.