From the Founders: Creating Our Logo
Back when we were starting Blue Trunk one of the first things to do was create a logo. We had next to no budget, so we started the process by sketching out our own ideas. However we knew that a sketch on the back of scrap paper wouldn’t be enough, so we turned to professionals. We reached out to crowd sourced design services as well as other graphic designers. Having never done this before, we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, but we knew that none of the designs we were getting back resonated with us. Since this was our first attempt at creating a logo, we were going off nothing but our intuition and they just didn’t feel right. You can see some of our rough sketches below (including some drawings from Rupa's daughter!)
That’s not to say the designs weren’t helpful. Many of the ideas guided our thinking and helped us get to our final logo. We later realized that we were happy we didn’t go with some of the designs that were proposed to us. One particular elephant featured in a design started to pop up everywhere, from gas trucks to t-shirts. We also realized that many designers were focusing more on the elephant than the travel aspect of our logo. We wanted something that brought these two things together in a subtle way. As we were trying to figure out our own logo we started noticing other business’s logos everywhere we went. The local logos and the design proposals that inspired us the most were abstract and minimalistic.
Once we realized that we couldn’t put what we wanted into words we decided we should try to design the logo ourselves. So with no graphic design training we downloaded a trial of Adobe Illustrator and went to work. The ticking clock on the free trial served as even more of an incentive to come up with something quickly. We started by taking inspiration from some of the designs we had already received, but superimposing the elephant on a suitcase felt forced. As you can see from these examples we clearly had some failed ideas.
Although Blue Trunk started as a project we engaged in on nights and weekends, we had big aspirations. Blue Trunk was, and continues to be, an organization we believe in. We wanted it to grow and we were taking the logo seriously. It was important the logo was enduring and could reflect the organization for years to come.
At the time we worked at UVA together, and after work we would drive to Barnes and Noble and then sit in the cafe working for hours. One night while sitting in the cafe we were trying to think of more subtle ways to represent an elephant and to make the logo more cohesive, instead of it being two unrelated things smashed together. Claire’s mom kept us honest by pointing out we were using a suitcase, not a travel trunk. And then while Googling we came upon a picture of an origami elephant head and the logo started to take form—at least in terms of concept, not in colors!
After lots of input from family and friends and tweaks to the design (and many cups of caffeine from the Barnes and Noble cafe) we arrived at where we are today. Since then Lucy’s mom created a 3D rendering of the logo to use at events and another friend made us handmade tote bags inspired by the logo.
As you can see we went through many ideas and it took us a while to get to a final product. Years later, looking back on some of the things we tried creating makes us cringe, but our final design still makes us smile.