Mar 05 2019

Good Artwork is NOT Good Logo Design

Whether your business is new or you’re re-visioning it, there’s bound to be a lot of excitement and energy around it! In fact, you may even have a very specific idea for your logo, with lush colors, and watercolor effects, and beautiful, finely detailed linework, and…

Okay, hang on. There may be room for really involved artwork in your brand, but for your logo? We’ll need to scale it back a bit.

Keep It Simple. Seriously.

logo redesigns for business rebranding
Over time, logos get updated to cleaner, simpler, and more communicative designs.

When you take a look at the most prominent logos in the world, or even in your industry, you’ll notice pretty quickly that many of them are simple. There is room for some detail, sure, but they’re designed to communicate the brand in a clear way. And there’s a good reason for that: if you shrink a detailed artwork down to a smaller size, it often turns into a weird, shapeless blob. n>

Take a look at some of these redesigned logos at a smaller size. If you look at the older logos on the left, you’ll notice that, while there is interesting artwork involved, they often have so much detail that you can hardly tell what they’re for. Even a figure as iconic as the Morton’s Salt Girl reads much more clearly when the artwork is cleaner and more simplified.

These organizations have all updated to much cleaner logo designs in their modern branding, and you’ll see that it’s much easier to see, identify, and remember them now than it used to be.

Can You Read This?

Frilly details in your type can also derail your logo design. Decorative cursive and script fonts can look great in design–but only if they’re at a large enough size to take advantage of the style and details. Some of the more decorative fonts become nigh-illegible if you use them at a smaller size, which makes them a dicey proposition for a logo.

Your logo needs to look good and be easy to read, whether it’s on a billboard or a business card. That means you’ll want to be careful about the fonts you use in your logo. If your customer can’t read the name of your company, how will they ever remember it?

Use Your Detailed Artwork In a Better Place

If you have an idea for eye-catching artwork that fits your brand, you shouldn’t shoehorn it into your logo. Instead, look for other parts of your visual brand that can really take advantage of it! A distinctive illustration could make a lovely background or hero image for your website, or it could make a promotional postcard really pop! Both you and the artist will be much happier seeing that artwork in a form where it can be fully appreciated, and that art can still make your brand memorable without muddying the waters of your logo.

A critical mistake that many less-experienced designers make is putting beauty before function. Good artwork always has a place in our world, but it doesn’t do us any favors if its visual appeal takes away from its reason for being. One of the biggest challenges in design is bringing beauty and function together, and you’ll get better results if you stay in touch with your brand. In the long run, you’ll find that your brand is more memorable when it has both clear purpose and an aesthetic to match.

Aug 04 2017

Portland Business Spotlight: Janet Price, Makeup Artist

Janet Price is a Portland-based professional makeup artist with over 13 years experience in film and television, as well as print, stage, and theatre makeup design.

Janet Price grew up in Los Angeles during the reign of Mouseketeers and The Gong Show. As a kid, she felt surrounded by the entertainment industry — it was normal for people she knew to go in for auditions, and shows that she saw on TV were being produced right down the road. Her involvement in the industry felt natural. It wasn’t strange to think she’d  grow up to be a Mouseketeer, because that’s what LA kids did.

Artist applying makeup on a woman's face.
Janet Price at work. Photo credit: Gary Norman,

In 1984, Janet moved to Oregon with her family and got involved with high school drama productions. Fascinated by the parentally-forbidden art of makeup, she studied library books to teach herself how to work with theatrical makeup while secretly painting her face at school and making sure to arrive home before her dad did to wash off the evidence of her artistic rule-breaking.

While Janet chose not to pursue makeup artistry as a career, she continued to expand her knowledge about new products and techniques as a hobby she couldn’t shake off.

Some years later, Janet was flipping through a Northwest School of Film class catalog and found a 3-month intensive Makeup for Film + TV class and was excited to get formal education. The class instructor, Christina, began to casually mentor Janet after the class ended, no doubt seeing Janet’s talent for the work and her affinity for the industry. Christina was preparing to retire, so she gifted Janet makeup and tools that she wouldn’t need once she retired. Christina recommended Janet for her first job as an assistant makeup artist, on a Paramount Universal film that was shooting in Portland. It took just the one recommendation from a veteran artist, and Janet’s work as a makeup artist  took off from there, booking jobs of all sizes in film, TV, theater, and studio settings.

Janet Price Logotype by Upswept Creative, 2016.
Janet Price Logotype by Upswept Creative, 2016.

We worked with Janet in 2016 to create a new logotype, business card, and brochure website, which resides at She hoped to modernize her brand, and make her work easier to find. Now, when professionals in the film industry are planning Portland-based productions, they can easily find Janet’s work and contact her through her new website. That means less of her time spent looking for work, and more of her time spent doing the work.

What is your passion? Whether it’s a side-hustle or your main gig, we’d love to help make your brand shine and spread the word about how awesome you are. Whether you want to revise your website, change your branding, build a strategy for marketing more effectively, or you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with us to schedule your FREE consultation, and we’ll use our extensive online experience to help you get clear on your next steps.