One of the best parts of my job is getting an inside look into businesses outside my field of work. When I begin my research for a new client I try to learn everything I can about what they do. This helps prepare me for the branding process, but it also allows me to get a peek into a business I knew nothing about previously.
Associated Painters contacted me a few months to create a new logo for their airplane painting business. They are opening a new facility in Spokane Washington and wanted to find a local designer to help them update their logo. I was delighted to be contacted and always appreciate other groups looking for local talent. To give you some background here is a brief summary of just what they do:
[fancy_box]For over three decades Associated Painters, Inc. (AP) has been in the business of painting commercial aircraft. With over two thousand aircraft painted to date AP has emerged in the aerospace industry as ‘the’ service provider of choice for aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, modification centers like Aviation Technical Services, Inc. in Everett, Washington and AAR Aviation Services – Oklahoma…as well as scores of international and domestic airline companies.[/fancy_box]
The work they do is both challenging and creative. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with the process of painting commercial airplanes. Needless to say I was excited to start brainstorming ideas.
As always I started off by having Associated Painters fill out my logo questionnaire. This helps give me a background with regards to their business, competition, how the logos will be used, etc. Reading over the questionnaire and after a few phone calls I put together a list what they wanted a logo to convey:
- Superior Quality
- Painting Airplanes
- Timely Delivery of Services
On the top of their list was a logo that conveyed the idea that “these guys paint airplanes”. Based on this concept I created an initial round of logos that clearly ties together the imagery of an airplane with painting. While I knew they did not paint the planes with “paint brushes” I knew that this would be the most easily recognizable graphic to relay the idea of painting.
Understandably, Associated Painters did not feel the paint brush was appropriate (or accurate) so we decided to look at designs that were a little more abstract, but still gave a clear indication of their work with planes. The second round (shown below) produced logos that they felt were more appropriate and interesting.
I took the second round of logos and played around with the idea of using various shapes to produce the outline of the plane. I was also inspired by the way Associated Painters used different sets of shapes to paint the various images onto their planes. This lead to a logo design that Associated Painters chose to finalize.
The plane’s outline is seen within the negative space of the three arrow-like shapes. I find that logos are always more interesting if the viewer has to take a few seconds to realize what it is they are looking at. This also gives them an “Aha!” moment once they see the shape of the plane.
To give the logo a unified structure I made sure that all of the elements shared the same angles. This helped make the shapes cohesive and allowed repetition within the mark.
As always I present the initial logo ideas in simple black and white (or grayscale when appropriate). I don’t like to move on to color until the logo has been approved. This is because color options alone can be infinite and can distract from the design of the mark which should be able to stand on its own.
Looking over the various competitors for Associated Painters I decided to use warmer colors that offered some depth to the logo. Many of their competitors had gone with what I like to call “business blue” which is a basic medium blue. It is a safe and professional color, but does nothing to differentiate you and your business. I played with tint and color combinations to give them a few variations to look over.
The final colors that Associated Painters chose are a dark blue and a copper. This combination gives a professional feel that is unique within their industry.
Final Logo Design
We played with a few different typefaces for their name and settled on a clean font that helps add to the forward moving feel of the logomark.