In SMU, I was lucky to join an overseas trip to Vietnam for my community service. I have Moses Yong and Agnes Lim to thank for pulling me into the team. Before the trip, there was about a semester’s time worth of planning to complete. I was part of the marketing team and I sought to change the branding of the team by introducing a new logo.
Logo Design Process
From what I understood, Phoniksa has something to do with Phoenix. So, I began to think about how this symbol was fitting for the community project. Perhaps it was the re-birth of a particular place?
Subsequently, I began my work on the logo with one requirement: a Phoenix that appears to be landing. Below I will describe my design process for creating a Phoenix illustration.
The Mythical Creature
The Phoenix is a mythical creature. I believe it is a creature imagined by people from all over the world. Phoenix is seen in many traditional Chinese arts and is illustrated in the movie Harry Potter. In the Chinese illustrations, the Phoenix has Peacock-like tails that show eyes at the end of each feather. In the movie Harry Potter, it was simply a big red bird with a rather long "hair" starting from its forehead and down to its back.
I took these as pointers as inspirations for my illustration. Since Harry Potter had a very detailed drawing of the head of a Phoenix, I mainly followed its shape and detail, including the long hair I’ve mentioned. I made it a point to include the Peacock-like feathers for its tail. Now, I’m just missing the body of the Phoenix to complete my illustration.
After browsing the web to look at the different adaptations of Phoenix, I figured the body of a Phoenix can be inspired by the body of an eagle. Additionally, by using an eagle, I could find a lot more poses that are more ideal for my needs.
With that, I’ve managed to find the 3 parts of a Phoenix that I could draw my inspiration from.
My Drawing Process
As a huge fan of vector art, I naturally opened up Illustrator to start my illustration. Firstly, I traced the head of the Phoenix using the pen tool and layered them appropriately to show the different details. At this point, I coloured all the layers differently simply to show the different layers.
Subsequently, I used a picture of an eagle landing.
Since this illustration would be used as a logo, I try to fit my illustration into a circle. I believe the circle mask forces me to customise the drawing and really make it my own. With this constraint, I had to change the shape of the wings slightly for it to adapt into a circle. The most tedious part was the wings. Since they are made up entirely of visible "strand" of feathers, I had to detail each of these feather and layer them appropriately. On hindsight, I could have use a customised brush stroke that is easier and probably better.
Lastly, I was left with the Peacock-like tails. Fitting it into a circle was easy. I just had to make some feathers of varying sizes, warp them around the bottom of the circle to fully fill it. And with that, I was done with the illustration.
At this point, I’ve sunk about 8 hours into this illustration and I was only left with the colouring. I took my palette from the Harry Potter’s Phoenix by using the eyedropper tool on various shades of red inspired by the following picture.
It took me approximately 2 hours for me to be satisfied with the outcome. I used mostly gradients of red on each layer, to properly show shadows and highlights on various parts of the Phoenix and I was done.
Using the Logo on Multiple Medias
Besides the logo, I had to produce a 3m x 1m banner and a shirt design. With the logo drawn, it was easy to use it as a reference for designing the banner and the shirt.
Thank you for reading!