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What is that little symbol in front of Loudon Design Logo? I have been asked that many times. Some presume it’s just random but random design is never my thing. I like to think and to base decisions on what is meaningful.
That being said the Loudon Design logo will not make sense to you unless I explain what is going on. The best way to explain my branding is to break it into percentages of influence. There is no singular idea that led to the complete brand. It was a fusion of ideas, interests, values and traits that I am known for.
The three main sections are Japanese Influence (40%), Hidden Meaning and Symbology (40%) and Values (20%).
Close friends and family will be well aware of my love of Japan. I have studied Japanese history and am pretty much obsessed with their culture.
Japan is a country with a huge history in design, personalisation and quality led craftsmanship.
If you have ever watched ‘The Last Samurai” you may have picked up on the ideas and culture in japan during the Edo period. An archer would wake every day and practice with the bow. Honing his craft until he bends it to his will and has the experience to be classified as a master. This was not only in the military and Samurai classes.
Everyone from rice chefs to fishermen would build towards mastery of their own craft.
It is something I admire about the Japanese. In a world where most of us want our cake from the very first day, it’s rare to find anyone setting out to be the best at anything. I think this is also the reason why I gravitate towards people who have a joy and passion about their job. Taking pride in even the boring tasks to make up a rounded experience in their given sector.
When I set out to learn about web design I was very much in this school of thought. I wanted to learn everything about my passion. I wanted to code, design, lead clients and help them achieve results through my projects.
It took me 4 years to become a Senior designer and I had dedicated so much of my life to becoming a rounded senior that I found by the time I was ready to step up, I skipped a full level and went straight from Middleweight to Head of Design. I was 21 when this happened.
It’s very unusual for anyone that age to be trusted with a large design team.
It meant a great deal to me, but it was earned through giving up a lot of my free time and dedicating myself to becoming the type of leader I would have liked to work under.
I set out to integrate the values of attention to detail and mastery into the final result of the Loudon Design logo. I expand on how this was achieved in the Symbology and hidden meaning section below
Japanese design can be complex but its implementation is often simple. There is a balance and a celebration in simplicity. Only the Swiss are close to Japan on this level of design. The best graphic designers in the world are Japanese in my opinion.
I have many great design books that come from Japan, their dedication and pleasure are showcased in nearly every design I flick through. In the west, we are guilty of overdoing design often putting in a little too much and losing that important balance.
I love that Japan focuses on simple, elegant design that communicates its purpose brilliantly.
With the Loudon Design logo and branding, I used simple shape forms, angles and kept the colour pallet to a bare minimum. Giving the logo impact without overdoing things.
Almost everything I own is red, black and white. It’s become a thing for me. My wife will see a red car and be “oh it’s very you”. That’s how you can tell you have a colour scheme when a range of colour pallets are shown to friends and family and they can pick out the exact ones I would use.
The Loudon Design logo and brand inherited my colours purely because it is a personal brand. The fact that those became my choice in colour may well be to do with the Japanese flag. I love Japan and it was great to get to use so much Japanese influence in my businesses branding.
My wife and kids mean the world to me, but more than that I am very proud of my family heritage. I am lucky enough to be one of the original Clans in Scotland. We have our own tartan, history and family crest.
It’s a rite of passage in my family for the men to have our crest tattooed onto their body and to have the family kilt for when they turn 21. I was married in Campbell of Loudon tartan, I sport my family’s crest on my arm, and I even went as far as to have it carved into solid mahogany for my home library.
I wanted to try and showcase this heritage and idea of family but Scotland is not known for making things simple and elegant. It’s almost like we set out to be as loud and as proud as possible. Tartan and Plaid can look very over the top when used on websites (unless you’re selling kilts). Also, crests here are very ornate affairs sporting animals, belt buckles and old Latin.
I love my family crest and have made many modern renditions of it over the years. The Loudon Design logo had to convey this idea of family in a much simpler method. So I turned to my love of Japan. Like Scotland Japan has a deep history of lineage and family crests, only they chose to focus on simple shapes and patterns.
The Loudon Design logo symbol is based off the idea of a Japanese crest, rather than a Scottish crest. The shapes inside the circle are not random, though. Everything inside the circle is relevant to me or my business.
I really enjoy ambigrams and have designed many of these just for fun and so based on the idea of the hidden word or letters and simplicity the centre of the logo displays my initials JL for John Loudon. You can see there is also an upwards arrow below the initials?
Below my initials there is an upwards arrow (^) a chevron that denotes rank. Think of the UK and US army, the higher a soldier is ranked the more chevrons are displayed on his arm. As mentioned above, becoming a Head of Design was one of the biggest goals I ever set myself.
Achieving this was akin to becoming a professional designer (being paid to work in my passion), or becoming a father. It was a key milestone in my career and that’s why I decided to include a subtle nod to it within the Loudon Design logo.
Before I really knew what design was I spent my time painting, sketching and crafting.
I spent years of my childhood creating with my mum. Art was a huge part of my life growing up. In art history, the circle is well known and respected as an object of true skill.
The story goes that the Pope instructed a messenger to challenge a great artist Giotto to prove his skill. The artist proceeds to render a red circle with a brush without moving his arm or using tools such as a compass. Thus showcasing that he greatly surpassed his contemporaries as an artist.
Giotto is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Renaissance.
The circle is seen as a symbol of perfection. I felt this well reflected my love of simplicity. A level of design I personally refer to as ‘Polished’.
The Loudon Design logo is rotated 180 degrees to make a target. The perfect shot, snipers, and targeting are all about precision. This is an abstract way of communicating attention to detail as a symbol.
My business is mostly about relationships, but the work I carry out for my clients is performance focused. The idea of having KPI (Key Performance Indicators) is something that I personally love, as it takes something which is non-measurable and open to opinion and interpretation and makes it tangible.
Lastly, I want everything I work on to generate a return on the investment a client makes in me. The reason I don’t make personal sites for clients is purely down to the difference in results.
Would my clients receive a stunning website?
Yes, of course, I would take pride in giving them the same quality of work. The difference would be they would never have a chance of seeing that money they gave me come back to them. I love that the clients I do work with see their investment returned to them many times over. This positions me as a professional they can trust to spend money with, as I am never seen as a commodity or nice to have supplier of services.
I work with businesses, I want to help you grow your business. If I can’t help you generate a profit I have no business tendering for your work.
If you have got this far into the article you should be congratulated for reading arguably one of the longest posts on the meaning and decisions made for a web designer’s brand.
The Loudon Design Logo and overall Branding means the world to me and I wanted to share the thoughts and ideas that sit behind it.
If you are looking to build your own brand it is a core service I offer my clients. You can learn more about how I work on my Logo Design services page.