The end of a six month struggle…
If you saw last week’s post about the logo I created for Spanish Horses Canada, you may remember reading there are a few reasons I go into creative overdrive and can’t sleep until something is done. Hopelessness is another one of those reasons.
Potra is not a horse business. It is a high-end, mainstream apparel and accessory brand founded by a mother who’s originally from Argentina and her daughter, Melody. They are utilizing master craftsmen and age old techniques to create fine Argentine leather goods such as jackets, belts and high-end handbags.
The name ‘Potra’, translates to ‘unbreakable filly’, and with the persistence and grit of this amazing mother-daughter duo, it’s definitely a fitting name.
But herein lies the issue, Melody and her mom are not horse people. They chose to name and brand their company using equine symbolism due to the strength, beauty and mystique of the animal, but they really didn’t know how to convey what they were wanting.
Imagine being fully ready to launch a company – all of the time, investment, preparation and planning – DONE. All of the materials, supplies, the production team assembled – DONE. All of the research, the marketing plans for launch – DONE… and the last piece of the puzzle before flipping the switch to set everything into motion is the brand identity itself.
“Why would they leave that until the end”, you may be wondering… they didn’t.
The first designer was hired last year, then the second, the third, and so on. In total, 10 logo designers preceded me on this project. Although this is not a horse business and they’re not familiar with horses, they do know horses are beautiful, and they also knew the concepts they were presented did not represent them as such.
But they couldn’t explain why.
I saw all of the other designs and I can’t explain why either. Overall, they weren’t bad concepts, they just didn’t ‘feel’ right. To me, branding is all about a ‘feeling’, and none of them felt remotely fitting for the story behind the brand. But how do you put that into words?
This is an unshakable and tightly bonded mother and daughter… a woman owned business founded on dreams, determination and Argentine culture and tradition… a luxury product line that needs to exude class and quality… but how do you convey that in a logo design?
During our brainstorming session, I mentioned the idea of drawing two horses instead of one like those who came before me tried to do. I wanted to use the horses in the logo to represent both mother and daughter and the special bond they share. Melody loved that idea.
Then when we talked about how to incorporate the heritage of Argentina, I pulled up photos of the flag and immediately fell in love with the uniqueness of the Argentine sun in the center. By the end of the conversation, Melody felt a ‘ray’ of hope (pun intended) for the first time during this branding endeavor. She had no idea what to expect (neither did I), but she trusted me and of course, wished me luck.
For the horses, I chose to draw two interconnected Criollos to represent the powerful spirit and amazing connection shared between the founders. If you’re not familiar with Criollos, they are a stock horse breed in Argentina that originated from wild horses heavily influenced by Spanish bloodlines. The closest breed we have to a Criollo here in the US would most likely be a Kiger Mustang, but they’re still quite different.
The traditional ‘turn out’ for the modern Criollo is to have a roached neck with a long forelock and unshaved mane left at their withers, which is how I drew the rearing horse at the bottom. The top horse could be viewed in a couple ways – you may see a wild flowing mane, you may see a sun, or you may see both.
When you look at the Argentine sun symbol, you’ll notice how unique the sun rays are. Every other ray of light is straight and sharply angled, and every other sun ray is curved. I pulled this into the sun/mane to show a recognizable nod to the country in which the products originate.
The shape is pretty cool too. Here’s an image of how it will look embossed on a leather handbag:
This logo combines mono-line art (the thin lines that are the same thickness – the sun and the border) with my more traditional line art style (the horses). It also lends to a lot of flexibility with the font. The P can be used as a stand alone element for something tiny, such as a snap or button, and the font can be positioned in an array of placements or even used on its own, as can the art.
I initially talked to Melody on a Friday and called her for the big reveal that same Sunday. It’s almost as if the more someone has struggled in the past, the more quickly the ideas flow for me to be able to help put them at ease as quickly as possible.
EQ logos run so much deeper than they appear on the surface. I’m getting to help people who feel so hopeless see the identity of their dreams for the very first time. There’s truly nothing else that brings me as much joy. Thank you to everyone for your trust and support for what I do. Your comments, shares, and interactions with these posts are helping us grow, and we greatly appreciate every single one of them. -Jackie