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February 2009

Logo Design: Soft Shelter Hats, Toppers That Give Twice

What a rare opportunity it is to create a new business as well as its graphic identity. This has been my winter undertaking, and it is now happily launched. Last fall I began to think about sewing embellished fleece hats to sell, after having made them as gifts for friends. This idea developed further: I would give 10% of the purchase price of each item I sold to two shelters, one for people, one for pets. Thus, the name Soft Shelter Hats came into being. The little millinery shop is online using the fantastic ETSY platform for artists, artisans & suppliers. Here are a few images and notes to show you how I went about designing the new company's logo and the little pictorial icons to go with it.


My original sketch of the letterforms came easily. I wanted warm, friendly, highly-legible letters. I experimented with incorporating little images within the letters themselves. I also quickly sketched the beginnings of the separate iconic images I wanted to use in the identity.


To the left you see my original finished lettering, which, although it fit my original concept well, I was not happy with. It looked too juvenile for how I wanted the business to be seen: one that would provide hats for all hat wearers. I had already drawn some of the icons using the same writing tool: a Speedball B nib pen, and was happy with those icons, so how was I to resolve the fact that I didn't like the name done with this same nib? They needed to match. The solution: start over using the same nib:


I liked this much better. I think the new lettering has a more expressive, contemporary feel. I incorporated the original lower case e and a, both of which worked for me. I feel that the new lettering is also friendly and legible, but not juvenile. To make it lively and fun, I bounced the letters, and used a dot instead of a crossbar in three letters. I alternated upper and lower case letters to create variety that I think helps. Below is the collection of Soft Shelter Hats icons and their verbal equivalents. It was lots of fun to draw these and I intend to use them in a variety of creative ways:

SSH Icons 

Please visit the online Soft Shelter Hats shop at Etsy. To the left of this central column you will see a representative sampling of the current collection. The hand-dyed cotton hats are by Christine, my partner in this start-up collective. Here's the completed banner for the little online hat shop. Please buy a hat and support the shelters!