Presentation Week: Ashford Development

I went in to present my town’s logo without a great deal of confidence in it. Below is the idea I had and it is a little awkward to look at. The thing is it’s strict and demanding edges that I deliberately chose to define speed and directness and their contradicting relationship with the calm and earthly leaf. It is uncomfortable because they don’t work together and you aren’t told whether or not it is an intentional irony or not (it wasn’t.)

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The feedback didn’t really give me a great deal of help with this regarding how to resolve it. The one useful piece of feedback I did receive was when I was asked whether I had a tagline. I replied “It’s hard to say that Ashford was a great place and it is placed well too.” I didn’t realise it but that was my tagline!

“Ashford: a great place, placed well.”

Almost immediately after I presented, in my head, I decided that I would return to the drawing board for this logo. I had done my research and had decided that I wanted to portray its central position and though that the best way to do this would be two objects meeting in the middle. I spit-balled as to what the actual soul concept was; Speed, Direct, Meeting Place? All of these are such hard and aggressive words, words that are tricky to mould into an attractive image.
I soon realised that these were all by-products of the town but ultimately the town is Central and well Connected, with great links. The words Central and Connected lead the next stage of logo development.

I drew the below series of starting points:

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The common theme was partially lead by my intent to distance myself from dynamic and harsher shapes. This theme was spherical objects.
I tried turning these, laid back, spherical objects into dynamic arrows (top right) but this had no real foundations. I thought about puzzle pieces and perhaps having two shapes side-by-side as if they were connecting but this seemed so obvious. I accidentally created a World War II German flag, very nearly developing the idea further. That would have been bad!

From this, I had two ideas that really stuck. One was one that I thought of originally in the presentation lecture. It was the idea that among a collection of circles (towns) there would be one circle, brighter and larger, in the centre of them.
Below is this idea, it works because it plainly says: “Ashford, in the centre of loads of other places.”
I decided not to have a capital ‘A’ for the town’s name because it is quite an aggressive shape for the image, it almost disrupts the invasion curves (an invasion you don’t mind because they’re easy on the eye.) This is also the same reason I individually lowered the ascenders on the letters.

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The second idea was one that formed in a heartbeat. It was an impulse of doodling, depriving from my thought of linking together. I drew a series of loops and shapes that merged, then it occurred to me that these shapes could serve the same purpose as the above image: they could be towns. These towns all have their own links and some are larger than others, but Ashford is the largest. There is a single, gigantic loop that swoops round the whole of the image, connecting everything together. This could represent the rail networks.
This really expresses the message of Central thanks to that loop. It also plays on the idea of growth and the “coming together” of surrounding towns. This is something I said from the start that I should avoid but I think I have put a positive spin on it. It is an on-going process, it is the future.

Or…

It can be seen to simply be a case of that loop is Ashford. All that is inside is a variety of things to do: a choice of shopping, activities, places to visit etc. This choice is portrayed by the mixture of ‘anoglyphs’ and ‘transparent links’. Two logo trends that emit choice, unions and optimism.

Also, visually it is very interesting, forces your attention and the combination of the colour and the shapes is far more welcoming than any other idea I have come up with before.

I think, thanks to it’s subtle layers of meaning and bold aesthetics, this logo is a winner!

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