Starting from Scratch
Once we started getting serious about starting Kao Jai in mid December of 2013 (Dec 11th to be exact), I decided to get to work designing a logo. I originally reached out to designer & artist friends in the States, but because of life...things weren't getting done, so I decided to take a crack at it myself. Without any prior experience drawing or designing, I went to a local store in downtown Chiang Rai and bought my first ever sketch pad and drawing pencils. I knew that I wanted the logo to include an elephant in some capacity because of its significance in Thai culture & for it symbolizing strength, stability & patience. I got to work sketching, and the rest is history.
Needless to say, I went through A LOT of designs over the course of months before settling on our final design, which is now featured across our website, social media & coffee bags. To be quite honest, I'm a bit embarrassed to release some versions of the logo, but I want to use these as a way to emphasize that it's okay to not have experience because all that matters is that you have the passion, drive & persistence to create something out of nothing.
Tips on Creating a Logo
Since successfully creating our logo from scratch without prior knowledge, I've read MANY articles on the topic and have learned a lot about what works/what doesn't. To make a very lengthy discussion brief, I wanted to highlight a few key attributes of our logo that have lead to the success of our branding:
1. KISS - Keep it simple, stupid. Make it recognizable and easy to remember. Whether you realize it or not, our logo is just a "K" and a "J" flipped backwards to make an elephant looking image. It's a simple, yet recognizable logo that is easily drawn/designed no matter if I'm re-designing using a software like Photoshop or using a pencil on a sketchpad.
2. Pick Bright Colors - We chose red because it symbolizes energy and confidence. It's a color that stands out on our website & is easily remembered.
3. Mirror Your Brand - Choose a logo that shows who you are as a brand. We chose to make the "K" and "J" into the shape of the elephant because of its prominence in Thai culture and it symbolizing strength and patience.
4. Ask Others - When designing the logo, I was constantly sending designs to friends & family (thanks, guys) to see their first impression and listen to their feedback. This feedback was essential in the evolution of our logo.
One of my favorite entrepreneurial and creative quotes of all time is from Reid Hoffman - the founder of LinkedIn. He says: "if you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." So get out there, buy your first sketch pad & get to work. As corny as it sounds...you never know until you try. I never knew that I was capable of designing a logo that's been featured on shelves and websites across the country, but because of necessity I was forced to self-teach and unleash my creative potential.
My Favorite Design Resources
Canva - My all-time favorite FREE design resource, which I'll explain in more detail in later posts.
Powerpoint - Seriously, no joke. Powerpoint is a great tool to start either creating a logo or cool content marketing
Fiverr - Really cool website where everything, including logos, are $5. I'll explain this resource in a later post as well especially how I used this to guerrilla market our coffee.