It Takes More Than AI or Fiverr To Build a Brand
From a simple question to a bold logo
“Do you have a graphics person?” A simple question, but one that implies more details are coming. A good friend, Ed, was about to ask for a favor and, luckily for him, we do have several talented designers. In fact, we just added a wonderful team member, Valenzia Cina.
“We went super cheap and used Fiverr …” The results weren’t what Ed and his team had been hoping for to brand a new single day conference in Nashville. As someone who has started conferences from scratch, I know funds can start out low – likely before going even lower. I responded and told him we would help him create his logo (and brand) in exchange for a sponsorship at his event. After assuring him that we would, in fact, get value out of being associated with the event we agreed to take on the project.
We got a list of wants and needs and I prepared to feed those to Valenzia the next day. Before I could even get to our daily team meeting, I had an email from Ed. A well-meaning soul at a 13,000 person global consulting firm had prompted Midjourney, an AI Image Generation Tool, to output some colorful pieces of generated clipart featuring guitars and swooshes along with the occasional skyline.
“I was thinking we could put the conference name in a cool font and be done. What do you think?” If my friend was happy, then I could be happy. I encouraged them to keep going down that route. Except there was an issue. He still had to find a cool font and get the name to round over the top of one of the logo choices. Would we be willing to help design the rest of the logo? “Of course.” If you played around with AI Image generation, you’ll no doubt understand that text is something it’s not great at. Especially if you want control over what it says, say the name of your conference for example.
By our next email, the guitars were gone and the starting point we had to work with was a screenshot of another Midjourney creation. This time a circle with bar charts that looked roughly like a skyline and instructions to put the conference name over the top, with city name and year around the bottom. Ed lamented the loss of music as a theme but thought this was cleaner, more compact, and more usable.
I happened to meet with Valenzia in person shortly thereafter. I fed her the requirements as they had been relayed to me. Without missing a beat she pointed out that we didn’t have the original artwork from the screenshot, which wouldn’t have been high enough quality to do what we needed. We researched a couple other examples for colors that Ed had shared, and I was out the door. I knew Ed had a desire to have the logo completed ASAP. We were also doing him a favor in creating the logo in exchange for exposure. Most importantly, this is the first impression that many people will have of a new event. Done well, this branding is going to attract attendees, sponsors, and attention. To that end, I didn’t give Valenzia a deadline.
About four hours later, she had recreated the Midjourney creation in vector form allowing it to be scaled as needed. She brought the theme of music back by framing the circular logo in the outline of a music pick. Valenzia provided a few options for fonts, which we whittled down to one internally before sharing it back with Ed. Knocking out a logo in a day, even with a little bit of inspiration, is a huge accomplishment.
Valenzia shipped it off to Ed later that day. The only feedback was that since we’d gone this far, could we stylize one of the bar charts in the skyline to mirror a famous part of the host city’s skyline? A request that we knocked out,including a little more quibbling about placement. After which we delivered style tiles with hex codes, the logo, an alternative lockup, all of the logos in reversed colors, and the individual elements that make up the whole.
I am proud to share with you the logo Valenzia created for DataTune Nashville 2024.
Note: My team wants you to know that this is not our normal process and not how we would engage with the vast majority of our clients.
If you’re looking for a team to help you discover the right thing to build and help you build it, get in touch.