Damn Good Brand, LLC
damngoodbrand@gmail.com
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Philly Koji Co.

 
 
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CASE STUDY

Philly Koji Co. Logo


Philly Koji Co. is a Philadelphia-based startup run by Jim Clarke. Jim and I worked together to create a flavorful logo mark for his business that was approachable and professional. Our goal was to create a unique aesthetic that could be built into a highly marketable brand.

 


Logo Design
Color Palette
Social Media Branding


Discovery and Mood boards

Every new logo project begins with a discovery phase, wherein we work with our clients to understand their business goals, target market, and brand vision. We then create visual mood boards like the ones seen below that are meant to hone in on a clear visual direction for the logo design. Approval on a specific style at this point is critical to ensuring too much time isn’t wasted when it comes time to actually start putting pencil to paper, and has also proven to reduce our client’s uncertainty about what to expect from the first round of logos.

Fig. 1 - Mono-Color

Fig. 1 - Mono-Color

Fig. 2 - Two-Tone

Fig. 2 - Two-Tone

Fig. 3 - Neat & Tidy

Fig. 3 - Neat & Tidy

Fig. 4 - Geometric

Fig. 4 - Geometric

Concepts Sketches

The discovery and mood board phase helped Jim Clarke and me narrow down the design aesthetic to both the “Mono-Color” (Fig. 1) and “Two-Tone” (Fig. 2) design aesthetic. We discussed creating an approachable, and inclusive logo mark that was fun, but not too silly that could expanded further in the future as the company grew in size.

I started by exploring simple illustrations with animals and miso at the focus, but ultimately decided that a character design in the below styles would ultimately be too childish and too far removed from the agreed upon direction of the business.

Fig. 5 - Character Explorations

Fig. 5 - Character Explorations

Fig. 6 - Hands with Soup Bowl and Stamp Overlay

Fig. 6 - Hands with Soup Bowl and Stamp Overlay

Fig. 7 - Octopus Character Designs

Fig. 7 - Octopus Character Designs

Drawing from Jiu Jitsu Inspiration

After exploring animals and a few faces of fat kids eating noodles (not pictured) I turned my attention to Jim’s love of Jiu Jitsu. The idea was to connect the owner and his brand to his two favorite things: cooking and martial arts. Jim loved the idea, but expressed some concerns about the character design as a long-term mark, and I agreed that it would probably be better to boil things down a bit more. I dropped the body from the mark and explored a few different facial expressions of just the bowl-face, and a real vision for the brand quickly began to reveal itself.

Fig. 8 - Early Character Design Explorations and Facial Expressions

Fig. 8 - Early Character Design Explorations and Facial Expressions

Exploration of Typography and color combinations

The next step was pairing the right type-face to the brand and exploring more with the color palette.

You’ll see from the images below I looked at number of different type styles ranging from playful, to more utilitarian in aesthetic. I was originally torn between using a type treatment that would blend with the design and a style that would contrast with it.

Fig. 9 - Soup Bowl In Koji

Fig. 9 - Soup Bowl In Koji

Fig. 10 - Blue and Red with Sans Serif Type

Fig. 10 - Blue and Red with Sans Serif Type

Fig. 11 - Type Explorations

Fig. 11 - Type Explorations

Fig. 12 - Dark Colors

Fig. 12 - Dark Colors

Fig 14. Aggressive Type and Texture Exploration

Fig 14. Aggressive Type and Texture Exploration

Fig. 13 - Reverse Colors

Fig. 13 - Reverse Colors

Fig. 15 - Aggressive Type and Wave Pattern

Fig. 15 - Aggressive Type and Wave Pattern

Fig. 16 - Full Body Character Design

Fig. 16 - Full Body Character Design

Simplification of the mark

After type and color explorations Jim chose to go with the friendlier, less contrasting typeface called “Komika”. This pairing pushed the brand further down a more playful route that will do an excellent job of setting up exciting possibilities for future brand collateral like t-shirts, menus, posters and signage.

The next step was to create a few lockup variants that combined the final logo mark and the type pairing in different orientations. Whenever I design a logo, I rarely ever just create one version. In the landscape of ever-changing digital formats I find it’s best to have a log that can adapt to various placements. Below you’ll see vertical (stacked), horizontal (landscape), and circular versions of the design.

I also got sign-off from the client to go forward with a three-color mark that could be boiled down to, two or 1 colors.

Fig. 17 - One Color

Fig. 17 - One Color

Next we see the introduction of blue as a secondary color.

Fig. 18 - Two Color

Fig. 18 - Two Color

And finally the full three-color branding of Philly Koji Co.!

FIg. 19 - Three Color Final Logo

FIg. 19 - Three Color Final Logo

Summary

From start to finish this logo project was a real labor of love. Working with Jim Clarke on his startup’s brand was an honor, and his willingness to collaborate and engage in honest conversation about his vision for his business yielded what we both feel is an incredibly unique brand.

Thanks for reading!


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Questions?