I strive for specific reactions when I create a logo or an identity system. Usually, I want someone to say, “Ooooh,” as in, “That’s so simple, yet so elegant and creative.” Usually I get, “Hmmmm,” as in, “I wish I weren’t here being asked about this logo.”
I’ve known for about four years that the 2010 NAI National Workshop would be held in Las Vegas. (November 16–20, 2010, at the Riviera. Mark your calendars!) The event will be held right on the famed Vegas Strip, where neon pervades. As I’ve turned ideas over in my head regarding the identity for this workshop, I have thought about my own experiences in that city.
I wanted the reaction from people seeing the logo for the first time to be similar to what I felt the first time I saw the Vegas Strip light up the night. I felt that I achieved what I was hoping for when I got these reactions: “Oh my!” (Lisa Brochu), “Golly!” (Tim Merriman), “Wow” (Shea Lewis and Jamie King), and “It’s too wordy” (Russ Dickerson).
None of these reactions starts with, “I really like it!” and to be honest, that’s not really the point. The point is to evoke a sense of place by referencing the visual stimulation that one experiences in Las Vegas through the use of texture and color. The workshop will be held right on the Vegas strip, and anyone who has ever been there knows that the experience begins with “Whoah!”
Of course, as with any project, there were some false starts:
My first attempt at an identity for this event never made it out into the world for public consumption, not because I was unhappy with the design, but because one of the people involved in the discussion threatened to stab me in the neck with a fork if I used the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in the logo. (Okay, there was no literal threat of violence, but it was implied.)
Also, one of the original ideas for the slogan, “Viva Interpretation!” was ultimately discarded, and this identity just doesn’t work without that slogan.
Another concept that never saw the light of day is what I think of as kitsch overload. I thought, “Las Vegas is essentially founded on tacky visual extremes, so I’m going to break as many rules as I can think of.” I used not one but two doofy typefaces, an overstated color palette, and clip art. Oddly enough, the end result looked like a promotion for Spring Break in Miami.