Goatacado Interview

For my Food for Thought blog project, we are required to interview somebody. There have already been several interviews from the people involved with the Food Pantry, so I decided to choose a local food cart that started a couple of years ago. I’ve always really liked their look, and their logo, so that’s what I set out to find. Here are a couple of pictures of them, their food, and their look:

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Unfortunately, I recorded a video of the interview, but my camera wasn’t working right and kept cutting off at points during the interview, so only part of it recorded (still uncertain why it did that). I’ll probably post the longest parts of the interview later, but for now, I’ll post the interview Q&A. Through my notes and the video segments, I’ve recorded as accurately according to the interview as possible.

When did Goatacado start?

“Two years ago on Earth day, we got involved with a lot of the events there, and just, things started taking off from there.”

How did you all come up with the name?

“The name actually came from the nickname of the owner, a grandpa, the old goat, and that wasn’t quite fitting enough, and we wanted to use avocado in everything so it wasn’t really a good name in and of itself, but it works. And we called up a good friend of ours, Jordi Tropp (one of the menu items, the Mountain Tropp, is named after him), and he made it happen with the logo.”

Why did you want avocados to be an important part of the logo?

“They are really good and good for you and that’s kinda what we’re about. That middle ground of what’s good and good for you.”

How did you come up with the design for the logo? Were there failed designs for it?

“Honestly no, it was all very spontaneous. I mean we just ran with it, kind of a company policy really. Get something that works and go with it.”

What do you want your image to be? What do you want customers to think of when they think of Goatacado?

“It’s a group of friends first and foremost, and it’s very much community based. Any time we see people doing things are awesome we try and help them do them and they usually reciprocate. Also looking out for the environment, we compost our food scrapes, we use biodegradable bowls, and just do as much as we can.”

So is your food all-natural?

“Well I guess that depends how you define all natural.  Avocados are hard to source locally, but we try and source locally as much as we can. I actually grow Arugula a lot myself, and we get a lot of our food from Origin Farm here in Richmond. We try and look for local whenever possible.”

So you paired with Lamplighter?

“Yeah, they really helped us out when we were small and I think that was just from the owners of that company really liking the type of people that work here, and they’ve been nothing but helpful for us. And their product is awesome which is what we’re all about, it’s all about organic and fair trade, and it’s a pretty good pairing of businesses.”

Was the person who created the first logo the one who altered the Lamplighter logo?

“No, actually, the alteration of the logo was actually done by another person, our friend Brian, and he’s done a lot of our logo stuff too. We all kinda have a hand in everything and everyone has a say in the final product. Anything you see in print has been discussed by everybody before it came to print, it’s definitely a team effort. Brian did this alteration here, and he’s been doing all the print work.”

What’s his last name?

(NOT A QUOTE) I met Brian later that day and when I asked, his response was, “You know I’m not even really sure. Different sides of my family pronounce it differently.” So, that is a mystery lost to time.

Do the people working at Goatacado have an artistic background?

“I think, not necessarily an artistic background, but I think everyone has an artistic eye, and an eye for aesthetic. Like I said, everything really gets discussed through and through by the whole group before it comes into being. Brian actually graduated here from the school of advertising and Ian graduated with a philosophy major or religious studies I believe…Just the purpose of aesthetics I think.”

That cart really does have a very clean and Earthy feel to it. Was that purposeful?

“I think it’s just what we’re drawn to, we don’t have a specific set of guidelines or anything, I think it’s just what we think looks good. We tend to think there’s a lot of like minded people, but yeah, we tend to stick with like, we like the contrast between stainless steel and wood, and we tend to stick with earthy tones.

Why did you decide to create a logo? There are other food carts that just have the name on them, why did you go one step further?

“I think it makes what we do specific to us. All of our items aren’t too far from normal, but you cant really find anything that we do anywhere else exactly. We kinda just try and have our own way about us, and I think the image goes along with that. I think it’s worth it to have an identity that helps you stick out.”

So kind of like, I don’t want to say a brand because you don’t seem corporate, but just something to help distinguish you from others?

“Yeah, it’s not a brand in the sense of, we’re not trying to corral people or anything like that, but it is definitely, we’re trying to create an image that’s is ours, and seems to ours, and is inherently ours.”

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Hilariously Terrible Logo Designs

In the spirit of creating bad logos, I recommend everyone check out this site:

http://logodesignerblog.com/bad-ugly-worst-logo-designs/

Always great to look at if you need a good laugh. If you don’t feel like going through the strenuous task of going to the site itself, here are some of my personal favorites:

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All silliness aside, I think these teach a very important lesson in getting second opinions and taking a step back when working. If the person creating the logo is working on it alone for hours on end, ridiculous problems can slip past without being noticed. On a happier note, their struggle is my joy. These made my day!

How NOT to Create a Logo

After all the research and trial and errors I’ve been going through, I’ve made some observations about creating a logo.

These are some things to keep in mind:

1.  I say this first because I really mean it:  Unless you are making a logo for an anime/manga related project, DO NOT INCLUDE MANGA DRAWINGS IN THE LOGO. DO NOT. Not to be cruel, but especially don’t if your work is of poor quality.Image

2.  Personal tastes are a part of life, but you shouldn’t let them completely override your design. The client is important, and while you are the designer in charge of making smart aesthetic decisions, their opinion still matters.

3.  Font and typeface choices are IMPORTANT! Do not choose “Rosewood STD Regular” or the dreaded “Comic Sans” to show you’re fun and creative. Nobody wants to see those, and something like “Rosewood”  is difficult to read from a distance. If you are creating a logo for a professional environment (or any really), keep that in mind. Your logo will reflect the purpose and personality of the company, so don’t make your clients look bad! Very often, simpler is better.

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4.  Similar to the typeface rule, clip art and word art are generally a no-go. Otherwise, you could end up with this:

I do not believe any further explanation is needed.

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5.  Avoid overcrowding your logos! They are made to be instantly recognizable images and are supposed to be easily legible (from close up and a distance). If too much detail is included the point will get lost, and all most people will see is a blob of color and lines.

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6.  Color choice. Make wise color decisions! You should avoid choosing colors simply because you like them. There has to be thought behind all of a designer’s choices. Very often it’s good to limit the number of colors in a logo as well. I’m sure there are exceptions, but if you have every color in the rainbow present, it will probably overcrowd or overcomplicate it. Below is an example of an exception to this rule. Choosing a myriad of over saturated colors can cause problems as well, as seen above.

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7.  As demonstrated earlier, don’t only give your client one option, but also don’t berate them with too many. My general go-to is usually between 3-6 choices. Even if you think you just created the best logo in the entire world, Frank might not like your Hotdog logo.

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8.  And finally, you should avoid scoffing off feedback or suggestions from your client! Make smart aesthetic choices, but nobody knows the company or organization better than the creators/owners! Use their feedback as the base. Conversely, don’t let your client run the entire operation. You were hired because you possess skills HE/SHE doesn’t have. Use them to your benefit. If something goes wrong with the logo’s design late in the process you’re going to be the one held accountable. Be smart!

****Now, I feel I should provide a bit of a disclaimer here. I’m not saying I am an absolute professional for creating logos and brands. No, if anyone reading this wants to hear and see works from a professional, I recommend designers such as Paul Rand, Paula Scher, or Bob Wolf. In fact, here is a link to a list of iconic logo designers for anyone who is interested in looking them up: http://www.logosdesigners.com/

My point is, part of what I’m focusing on in this blog is my own personal journey through creating the logo myself. I’ve created a couple before, but this list is based not just around logos themselves, but general aesthetic and artistic rules people should keep in mind, as well as previous experiences I’ve had working on commissions for people. With that in mind, I shall end this post!

Don’t overcomplicate things

Overall, I’m happy with the second round of logos, but there were definitely a lot of mistakes made in the process…

1.) I learned it’s good to give your client options, but not TOO MANY options. Excuse my French, but that just gets too damn confusing for everyone involved. I limited myself to 6 different options, tops, after almost sending them this nightmare:

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Look at that monstrosity! Thankfully, I had more common sense than that, and this never saw the light of day. If you get to this point, I don’t think the variety is being helpful so much as it is obnoxious. Unless your client specifically requests something like this, I don’t recommend it. No need to confuse anyone. Even just showing everybody the six options ended up backfiring a little bit. When I showed everyone the scans, the feedback was very positive, but everyone at least had a distinct favorite of the group (which helped narrow things down). After sharing the more detailed files done in illustrator, almost everyone told me:

“Wow! I originally really liked [insert random logo option here], but after seeing these I can’t decide! They’re all great!”

That was very flattering, but it essentially erased most of the narrowing down that I had gotten, and put me back at square 1. Oops!

2.) So far this project has been going along fantastically, but I do have one regret. The third logo option, the fork and people, has become the bane of my existence. I do not like that logo, and the other two are considerably stronger. It getting voted into the top three caught me completely by surprise. My advice to anyone else doing something like this is to not create additional stress for yourself. I should have scrapped that logo ages ago, and even though it’s highly unlikely that it will be chosen over the other two, it still weighs on my mind.

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Depicted:  My feelings toward the third logo.

VCU Food Pantry Logos: Round 2

As promised, I’ve updated my logos! After the last sketchy pictures I posted, everyone voted on a top three, and those are what I focused on. The current plan of action is to have VCU students themselves vote on which logo they want, which will help spread the word for the logo. Once I have the top vote, I’ll tweak and modify any loose ends the winner may have, and then it can be sent to VCU branding to be approved. 

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As always, giving your clients options is good. I’ve also made it easy on the eye by labeling everything. In this particular case, most of the people I’m working with don’t really have a visual eye. Instead of having them waste their time playing a game of spot the differences, I’ve just simplified it.