When we started the blog in 2010, we had no grandiose ideas of it growing into what it has. Before long, it had become clear that we were doing something important (even if only for ourselves). One of the challenges that confronts you in those beginning stages of starting a blog (or website) and, ultimately, a brand is to come up with a logo.
While the three of us were comfortable behind a camera, design was not a real strong tool in any of our skill sets. The result was an ever changing mishmash of free templates and poorly photoshopped “looks”. One of our earliest custom website headers was a cropped picture of the Jungle Cruise sign with our namesake. Like many people, we carried the excitement of the new with every “improvement” we made. That excitement is a special thing and I wouldn’t trade it. At the same time, that lens comes not only in a bright rosy shade, it brings some distortion with it.
Later on, when the lens is gone, you find yourself scratching your head and wondering what you could have possibly been thinking. For example, when Christmas rolled around, that cropped Jungle Cruise signage got itself a lovely layer of snow! What’s that? It doesn’t snow in the jungle? Preposterous! Look for yourself:
See? It’s snow. Yes. Yes, it is. It glistens and, by definition, that makes it snow.
It didn’t take long to get that “what were we thinking?!” feeling and a new header was put high on the to-do list. I started in on our next idea, an actual graphic homage to a different sign from the Jungle Cruise. This one actually stuck around for a long time and it probably looks familiar to many of you:
I was (and still am) quite proud of this one. It was my first graphic in Photoshop and I had a blast making it. I found out through many hours of work putting this together that I had a taste for graphic design; very little skill yet, but I was hungry. You know how I knew? Those hours of work didn’t feel like work. Not even a little. The entire process was creative and organic. I enjoyed seeing how much I didn’t know and figuring it out. I enjoyed trying to find aesthetic balance. I would call myself a “learner”. That’s the technical name for it. It may even be Latin…
For some reason, I tried to use this banner for an avatar icon across our social networks. You know what happened? Through no small amount of squinting, I discovered it didn’t work. It’s really important to be recognizable across the web and this wasn’t. It was more like an eye-exam with no hope of success.
It was back to the drawing board for something that could easily be recognized at various sizes. This time, inspiration didn’t come from the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Instead, it came from the Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World (a place we’ve never been). I found a globe in one of the queue posters and I knew right then. That was it.
With my skills progressing here and there between editing pictures and my own aesthetic tastes changing, I became restless and wanted to have another go at the globe. I knew I could do better and it was eating at me. I worked on it as I had time for a couple of months, going back and forth on this and that. I couldn’t decide on texture or color or how much character to give the ribbon. I discovered that sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, getting too caught up in your head analyzing something.
I even fooled around with an animated version, intending to use it as a bumper for future film projects.
It wasn’t just the logo that needed a facelift. It was the whole website. In light of that, we migrated roughly 800 blog posts over from Blogger to Squarespace to allow for all of the changes we launched last August.
Why the retrospective, you ask? Well, because I’m restless again. I was restless almost as soon as I finished the most recent globe. This time the inspiration didn’t come from any Jungle Cruise or from Disney though we are maintaining the globe theme. This time, I’m really putting my own stamp on it and it feels good. I’m getting pretty close to being done with it and I’ll do a post sharing my process from sketch to reality when we launch it with a few aesthetic changes to the site later this month. Stay tuned!