Excavated Design Artifact #13

I am a doodler. In the never-ending process of sorting through, and archiving, design projects from throughout my career, I am finding that I doodle a lot. I'm also learning that I must have never thrown anything away. Well, that last point has changed a bit. I've already taken 1.5 pickup truck loads of paper, cardboard and magazines to the neighbor- hood recycling center.

The other day I came across a folded catalog envelope. In unfolding the paper, I found the notes from a telephone conversation with Karen Fisher (no relation), made while she was living in Ogden, Utah. Karen is actually the mother of one of my partner's best friends from high school. She had come up with a business concept for building cupboards that would be placed in antique malls, and other suitable locations, to sell antiques, collectibles, gifts and other items ranging in price from $1 to $100.

The business name of "WhatNots" had been established; as had the tagline of "A Cupboard Collection of Spunky Stuff."

As the conversation continued, I doodled - including a small sketch of an antique cupboard; based on one I use as a china cabinet in my own dining room. My client said she would send me a photo of the one in her home (at right), which was the inspiration for her business model.

While we were talking, I was designing in my head. I immediately "saw" the business name "WhatNots" broken in two, with each half conveniently containing four letterforms. At the center of the logo would be the graphic image of the cupboard. With the description of the business, an "Arts & Crafty" type treatment was my only consideration. My cupboard illustration had a rough look to it and I felt the font Willow was a great solution. (The font was also used on a previous "excavated artifact.") I even used the period character from the font to create the knobs of the drawers and doors in the cupboard illustration.

The final WhatNots identity has always been a personal favorite. In addition, it won a LOGO 2000 award and appears in the book The Big Book of Logos 3.

(This post originally appeared on bLog-oMotives.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives