Branding: The Belmont Inn

Maine is the New England state I’ve unfortunately spent the least amount of my time in. Who knows why; everyone is always raving about the beaches and the forests and the quaint towns with their lobster rolls. This is probably a side-effect of being a child of Cape Cod; summer vacations rarely strayed far off Route 6 growing up. We did go to Kennebunkport once! If I were to spend some time in Maine though, the town of Camden would be first on my list to visit; and I’m pleased to say I will be doing so in July!

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This came about by way of The Belmont Inn, a historic bed and breakfast which is under new ownership this year - a perfect time for a brand refresh! I was so excited when the proud new innkeeper, Kim, reached out wanting to give the Inn’s look a facelift. The elaborate Victorian script and lilac illustrations she had inherited were feeling a little dusty.

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The Belmont Inn is a big, gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian home tucked away among bursting gardens on a quiet street just a stroll away from the ocean, and I wanted to make the logo all about that iconic structure. Kim agreed. Making the Inn the face of the brand seemed obvious; it was the image that welcomes vacationers first to their home-away-from-home, and what they anticipate returning to summer after summer. So, I made a little drawing of the Inn and it quickly became the logo.

Kim didn’t want to lose the nautical culture and tradition of the location as well, so we complemented the logo with seaworthy blues, whites, and greys, as well as a fun sailboat pattern that really brought the branding together.

This is best seen in the Inn’s print suite, where the logo, pattern, and pallet come together and really shine on business cards, letterhead, a postcard, and note cards. The envelope is actually my favorite part, with sailboats peeking through in the lining.

I can’t wait to see The Belmont Inn’s new branding be put to work this season, welcoming new travelers from around the world. Including Jake and I, when we venture out to coastal Maine at the end of July!

Some logo outtakes for your consideration: still love that fly fishing gal!

Logo Design: Riverwood Farm

The day I met Diego, I hopped in his farm truck and he drove us down a winding wooded path in Haydenville, leading to his one-acre plot of farm land along the Mill River. Riverwood Farm was in the August thick of it’s first full growing season, and it looked to be going well: tomatoes hung full and ripe from their vines, corn reached towards the towering trees above, and baby fall greens were already popping up in straight rows.

Diego had reached me through Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, CISA, which is an incredible resource for farmers in the Pioneer Valley. He’d been receiving support towards developing his business through their Beginning Farmer’s Program, which had guided him towards effectively branding his farm. That begins with a memorable logo, and I was so glad to hear from him when he saw my work and felt like it’d be a good match.

I was impressed by how much Diego was accomplishing on his acre in the woods; Riverwood Farm is truly a one man operation. He runs a no-till farm, as a means of keeping the soil healthy and fertile. The farm supplies vegetables to several local restaurants like Bistro Les Gras and The Freckled Fox Cafe. He also runs a farm stand up at Valley View Farm, making his fresh vegetables available to the community throughout the growing season.

Diego wanted his logo to be deeply personal, speaking to the hands-on, sustainable, small-scale operation he was running. His connection to the community and to his land needed to come through. So, what better way to do that than to put the farmer right in the logo?

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This illustration came to me first and most easily when I first began the process for this logo. I just drew what I had witnessed when I visited Riverwood Farm: Diego working his land by hand, under the shade of the forest by the river. Paired with a friendly hand drawn font, it instantly became full of personality. I was so glad he went with this option, I felt it suited his vision for the farm so well.

I won’t soon forget the other concepts for this project, though - here are the other three I presented to Diego.

They all paint a picture of Diego’s farm in their unique ways, but it’s the farmer in the chosen logo that really lets all that is at the core of Riverwood shine through.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Diego now that his brand is coming to life! Beginning farmers: make sure you get in touch with CISA, they have some incredible resources and grants that can take your farm and business to the next level. Take advantage! I’m looking forward to doing more with them in the future.

Images courtesy of Riverwood Farm

Logo Design: Rockingstone Farm

Rockingstone Farm in Barre, Mass. has just the kind of story I love - old local farmland being reenergized by a new generation. Lindsay Higgins first got into contact with me in the spring, looking to create a logo for the farm she and her family had been developing over the last year.

This effort has been particularly exciting for Lindsay because it is a new chapter in her family's history: the land was originally her grandfather's. The farmhouse was built in 1776, and now Lindsay and her husband Liam were working to create a farm and home of their own on the 100 acre property, and raise their two children there. They'd already been bottling and selling maple syrup from 350 trees, and opened a farm stand on Route 122.

The name Rockingstone Farm is after a natural landmark in Barre, just minutes down the road from the farm. Two boulders are balanced on top of the other in a seemingly impossible way; a teetering monument in the woods. The spot has been visited by generations in Lindsay's family; she sent me this photo of her mother at the rocking stones in the '70s, and also one of her children playing there today. 

For this reason, it was important to Lindsay that the rocks be incorporated in the logo, and the unique namesake was immediately where I wanted to go with the project. It proved to be no easy task though - rocks aren't always the easiest subjects to draw. After pages and pages of doodling and countless attempts from every angle employing several mediums, a few renderings were finally starting to do the rocking stones and all their natural wonder some justice. 

Here's the final logo we agreed would be the face of Rockingstone Farm:

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The detailed ink drawing of the stones went beyond my typical style and comfort zone, but definitely described the rocks best. Maple leaves fall around the the rocks, speaking to the farm's current focus on maple syrup production. The traditional serif font nods towards the rich heritage and history behind the farm, but a clean, sharp layout keeps things modern as the next generation builds a future. I think this will be the start of a strong brand for the farm, representing all it has been and all it's going to be. 

I came up with a wide variety of options for this logo, playing with the best ways to describe and incorporate the rocks, and suggesting some different directions all together. Both Lindsay and I liked the concept that incorporated the old red barn on Route 122, but agreed the rocks should be given priority. Hoping we can still use the barn illustration in some future pieces!

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I'm very excited with the concept Lindsay chose, and can't wait to see how she uses it to brand her farm. 

Photos courtesy of Lindsay Higgins

Logo Design: Cedar View Polo Club

It's always nice to reconnect with old friends. I was so happy when Debi Gale got in touch a few weeks ago - my sister and I rode horses with her for years when we were growing up, and leased a wonderful quarter horse named Kramer from her for a while. She and her family had since built their own gorgeous farm in Somers, CT, and her son Drew is in the process of establishing a polo club there. Games would be starting soon and they were in need of a logo. 

I came out to their property on a sunny afternoon, a quiet haven among towering cedar trees. I was so impressed to see the polo field they had been grooming for the last five years - it sat finally ready to see games this season. Debi and Drew showed me around as we caught up, and described the logo they were after - something classy and fun and built around the iconic pines that would become the symbol for the team: Cedar View Polo Club.

This was one of those logos where the inspiration and creativity just flowed, especially after I was just off of a trip to Lexington, KY for my full time job, where life revolves around horses. I was excited to draw some polo ponies and bring in elegant fonts that would be the core elements for this brand.

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I was so pleased with the design they chose - a crest logo that gestures towards traditional, preppy branding for the sport of kings, but is softened with retro, fun touches. The focus remains on the horse and cedar trees, and I think the whole logo will remain very versatile for all sorts of contexts - particularly for team shirts and hats, which I am eager to see!

I was excited about some of the other concepts too, but definitely felt like they went with the strongest design. Here are some of the alternates:

Still kinda in love with the one in the middle though. Hoping to pull elements from it for something else someday, we'll see.

Looking forward to developing this branding further - and for games under the cedar trees this August! Thank you Debi and Drew!

Logo Design: Stephanie Boyd Works

When Stephanie Boyd led me down the stairs to her pottery studio in Williamstown, I was blown away by the depth and breadth of her work, and the evidence of an intense practice. Finished mugs lined shelves, several works in progress awaited colorful patterns and a final glaze, and new ideas were sketched out not far from her throwing wheel. Stephanie was particularly excited about a new process she was trying out involving monoprinting right onto her clay, creating funky patterns and interesting textures.

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I get so excited to see other artists' workspaces, getting a window into their unique creative process. There was a lot going on this one; Stephanie has played with an impressive variety of styles and methods since she devoted herself to pottery full time four years ago, creating an exciting body of work under the business Stephanie Boyd Works. She was feeling like it was time to start bringing it all together under a recognizable brand though, so we started on a logo!

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We wanted something clean and versatile that would speak well to her wide breadth of work, from timeless tablewares to bold statement pieces, as well as whatever new direction she may take next. It was important to keep things fun, too, because Stephanie's work is super fun. Did you see that monster plate?! 

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The final logo makes use of one of my hand drawn potted plants, with a little Matisse flair that Stephanie has been infusing into her own work lately too. Each element of this one is brush stroke heavy, reflecting Stephanie's artistic approach to each piece and the confidence and freedom she does so with.

Here's a few alternates that I will not soon forget. Pottery is so relaxing to doodle, bringing me back to freshman year drawing class where hours were spent with in front of colossal still life sets with dusty charcoal in hand.

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The empowered mug hand was meant to speak to some of her more socially and politically focused work. Stephanie is organizing an impressive collaborative art project called Vessels for Change, in which local potters and artists are joining forces to create and sell mugs to benefit the Berkshire Immigrant Center. They've already sold out on the mugs, but you can still make a donation!

This was such a fun project to work on; developing brands for artists is particularly important work to me and I'm happy with the direction this logo took. Thanks Stephanie!

All images courtesy of Stephanie Boyd Works

Logo Design: Kelly & Co.

We are so lucky to have a robust community of makers and creatives in Western Massachusetts that is growing every day. A few months back, I came across one such local maker Kelly & Co. on Instagram, and fell in love with the handmade clothing and home goods like this linen pinafore apron. I was so excited when Erin reached out, interested in revamping her logo and further developing some branding. 

Simplicity, durability, and beauty are crafted into every one of the small-batch goods available in Erin's shop, and she wanted the logo to exude those ideals in a single mark. 

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The flax flower is a significant symbol for Kelly & Co., and Erin was keen on incorporating it from the beginning. Erin crafts most of her wearable goods from natural linen, which is woven from the fibers of the flax plant. The final logo utilizes a silhouette I drew in effort to complement the calssic serif font. 

I played around with a lot of other flax symbols leading up to this though, and even a little doodle of the everyday dress. Here are some interesting alternates that came about in process:

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The entire project of crafting a clean, elegant logo that spoke to Kelly & Co.'s goods for good living mantra was so much fun; it's always most satisfying to design for a brand you already believe in and admire. 

All photos via Kelly & Co.

Logo Design: The Rooster Film Festival

The Rooster Film Festival is a new initiative in Newtown, CT organized by local film enthusiasits in celebration of independent cinema, local creativity, and community fun. They were in need of a little branding to get their name out there and spark some excitement around the event, and asked me to create a logo that puts the town's mascot behind the lens:

I'm glad they went with this option, but was a bit partial to a certain "chicken butt" concept I created as an afterthought. Here are some alternate options: 

The Rooster Film Festival will be held October 20 at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown. Until then, they are looking for submissions! Click here for more info. Wishing The Rooster Film Festival the best of luck as they set the stage for what is sure to become a local favorite for years to come.

Logo Design: Belchertown Farmers Market

The Belchertown Farmers Market is a fixture on the Belchertown Commons on Sundays during the summertime. To kick off their 2016 season, they wanted to rebrand and start the year with a new eye-catching logo. Here's the final design they chose:

The simplicity of the layout makes this logo ideal for applying to a variety of signage, market bags, t-shirts, and more. They wanted a rustic, vintage feel as well and were pleased with the way the tomato, banner, and neutral colors achieved that.

Just for fun, here are some of the other options we presented them with:

I'm pleased with the direction they chose and look forward to seeing it on display at their first market of the season on June 19th!

Logo Concepts: The Ashfield Farmers Market

It was opening weekend for a few of the big outdoor farmers markets in the area, and plenty of others will be swift to follow as April eases into warmer temperatures and gives way to sunny May. The Ashfield Farmers Market, a seasonal Saturday Market held on the Ashfield Town Commons, wanted a fresh look to start their season. I put together a few logo concepts for their consideration:

The blackberry theme was carried over from their old logo and refreshed, treated a little differently in each version. I also got out my brush pen for this one; the calligraphic hand lettering gives the logo a handmade, personal feel.

I'm eager to see which direction they choose to kick their 2016 market season off with!