The Evolution of a Logo

My logo was not designed by a person sitting in front of a computer-it evolved from a sly photo shoot that Susan Young and I participated in many years ago. Here is the story in Susans words on how the logo came to life:

Creative inspiration. It can sneak up on you, and sometimes you don’t recognize it until the charmed moment has past.

I was recently reminiscing with Cynthia about a time we were lucky enough to experience this type of creative inspiration. It was a slap-dash, impromptu photo shoot that gave birth to one of Cynthia’s most iconic images. The image went on to inspire one of her logos and has been used for countless marketing pieces since the day it was shot. The image I’m referring to is what we fondly call “The Wire Skirt Image”.

It was the early days of my involvement with Cynthia’s company, probably around 2002. A time when we searched for ways to get things done that didn’t cost anything. This was one of those times.

Cynthia had produced an inspired collection of felted wool coats and sheer silk dresses, which we needed to photograph for an upcoming wholesale event. We searched for a great location when we heard about an empty, turn-of-the century, 4-story brick building on Chicago’s West side.

The building was vacant. The owner was trying to sell and felt the scrappy artists and musicians who rented studio space there would be off-putting to prospective buyers.

Gaining access to a building like this was a rare opportunity and we had to get in. Our friend, who once had a studio in the building, supplied the code to the front door. We armed ourselves with an antique dress form, a spectacular wire-tape skirt that Cynthia had made for a fashion show, a camera and a bag of clothes. We were in business.

We entered the building, making a quick sweep of the premises to determine if we were alone, and to find the area with the best light and most promise. We had to move fast. We didn’t know who might still be entering the building and we were trespassing.

Upon entering we found a crumbling, dirty, paint peeled, litter strewn, gorgeous wonderland of visual delight. We got to work.

Even though our initial search revealed a deserted building, we still jumped at every sound. What ghosts real or imagined inhabited these premises? When might the owner appear?

We worked quickly, leaving things as we found them and working with what we discovered. We took advantage of an old claw foot bathtub that was bathed in light near the windows on the fourth floor.

It was exhilarating, scary, inspiring and one of my most memorable photo shoots. But best of all, the images are pure accidental, unplanned, magic.