Logos, symbols, and emblems share a common purpose: to embody a greater, often abstract concept. Yet choosing one object that can accurately represent our multifaceted individuality can seem an impossible task.
Thankfully, our parents have done most of the work: by naming us.
We are hardwired to respond to our names (first, last, or both) in both public and private correspondence, regardless of context. This is due to the implicit egotism effect: we are inexorably drawn to things that we associate with ourselves.
Personally, I am captivated by my surname. Call it superstition, but it was no coincidence that I was born on the 14th day at 14:00 hours with the 14th most popular Chinese surname. To simply cast aside my roots would be a great disservice to the Shens of old.
As my first foray into design, I wanted to challenge myself by restricting my logo designs to basic geometric shapes. More specifically, I would only use the quarter-circle and rectangle. These were arbitrary restrictions influenced by my love of the Fibonacci spiral and quadrilaterals.
I knew that I had to break down the characters into modular components — a lot easier said than done. I found it immensely helpful to purchase a design journal and sketch out every single idea in my head, regardless of quality. Connections were most easily made when similar ideas were grouped in close proximity on the paper.
Key takeaways after my brainstorming session:
1. Design is really hard.
2. Slight variations on the same design prevents tunnel vision.
3. Chinese characters are notoriously difficult to modularize.
4. Design is really damn hard.
As someone who detests cliché endings, it pains me to say that design is truly about the journey rather than the final product. As human beings, we are wired to find clues and patterns behind everything in order to build compelling narratives that we can relate to. Without tales of triumphs and tribulations, even the greatest of designs will be forgotten with time.