The Artistic Method – Evolution of a Logo

Wood Ring Guitars Logo

I produce most of my art digitally using several graphic programs.  I do most of the artwork for profit as part of my job as a web site designer and developer. I often don’t consider what I do “art” because it is usually a reflection of my customer’s tastes rather than my own. My customers are very particular about color, layout and design and my job is to make them happy so I must leave my own particular tastes aside and go with what they prefer out there in cyber space. 

Once in a while though a project comes along when I am given my free rein and my advice is taken more seriously. Those projects I live for and get the most satisfaction from the resulting art. Such was a recent request from my son for a logo for his web site. 

Coming up with a company name, and identity is often a multi-staged process, this being the case with Wood Ring Guitars. My son is a luthier, a builder of classical guitars. The company, Wood Ring Guitars has evolved over a period of time, first as a germ of an idea and now a full fledged, full service guitar building enterprise. Creating a look, feel and presence to match the quality of the product is the overall goal. That process is an art itself, logo design aside, and is part of an overall marketing strategy. The logo should be a reflection of what the company is all about and say it as simply as possible.  Most customers only look briefly at a logo, so first impressions are important. The logo should make the impression quickly, simply and make it memorable. The web site has been out there for a while, as a resume of good quality guitars, well made and which sound great, but needed a final touch, a memorable logo, to seal the product brand. 

Creating the Logo

It started off as a simple pencil sketch and idea generated by my husband, who loves to take his mental process down on paper from time to time. Those sketches looked like this:

Kitchen Table Thinking Process

Again, not my original idea, but definitely something I could work with! What these sketches did for me was get my creative process working. 

These sketches represent some attempts at combining the WR in clever ways alone and with guitar shapes. The bottom two sketches seemed to have the most appeal. 

The second design on the bottom right (See next image below) had the most appeal due to the darker background and two tone color scheme. It was decided to proceed with that design on the computer.


Sketches Used For Logo Consideration





First a simple guitar shape, similar to a typical classical guitar was created using Bezier curves and straight lines within a graphic program.

Simple Classical Guitar Shape




I like to use a program with the capability of creating vector graphics with layers. It provides me with much more flexibility in the creation process.





Next the guitar was angled approximately 40 degrees.

Guitar Top Outline 40 Degree Rotation

Guitar Top Outline 40 Degree Rotation










Then I added the line representing the neck of the guitar, in this drawing: 

Guitar Top with Line Added

Guitar Top with Line Added





Having the flexibility to use the entire image from this point is the best part of not using a paper sketch. It is so easy to erase, or hide a layer. The line in this example is slightly off center, but it was just enough of the guitar to work to our purpose.




In this next image you will see how I have have removed the portion we want left to imagination giving us more room to add just enough to convey our message, simply.

One Half of the Guitar Shape

One Half of the Guitar Shape










At this point I experimented with the W and R letters. I wanted to make them part of the body of the guitar and still make them recognizable as letters. These letters went through several evolutions. At first I used real fonts and tried my best to resize and rotate them to work in the space. I would place them in the graphic but nothing seemed to work the way I wanted it to. I decided it was best to draw them in using a pen tool and vector lines. I also expanded the canvas size to envision the finished product as a business card as well.


First Design with Text and Letters

First Design with Text and Letters








Next, I added some color and removed the word Guitars, as it seemed redundant and was getting in the way of the simplicity I was after. I also squared up the image in this example, and further bolded the WR letters to make them stand out even more. Here I was looking for design that would also work for an icon or Favicon.


Added Color and Removed Text

Added Color and Removed Text








The final product emerged as a symbol with the hint of the guitar in a bold color matching the web site it will be placed on. The WR is very bold and is what first attracts the eye and it is separated from the fine outline of the guitar, using the bold brown-orange color to highlight that shape. The shape of the guitar and logo “brand” is centered diagonally across the simple square shape. On the web site the logo will sit next to an animated banner to get the final message across. If you would like to see the final logo, placed on the web site click here.

Completed Logo For Wood Ring Guitars

Completed Logo for Wood Ring Guitars


So there is a typical logo creation process, using my artistic method. No two logo creations are the same but evolve in a similar way, from sketch to graphic, with additions and subtractions along the way.





The Little Man Within the Brain

To create timeless works of art or fine art, the artist must have great command of his senses, that sensitivity to the touch of pressure, cold, heat and pain. Great painters, sculptures and sketch artists have all exhibited great control over their motor functions. They are able to use their hands, fingers, and coordinate their eyes to translate that creativity locked inside their brain to the object of that creativity; art. But how is that possible? Most call it talent, an ability, or a rare and precious gift. Yet, aside from the rare gift to produce such art, the workings of the human brain are the greatest gift of all. That understanding we owe to science.

Cortial Homunculus

Dr. Wilder Graves Penfield (Jan 26, 1891 – Apr 5, 1976) was an American born Canadian neurosurgeon. His work centered on the functioning of the mind, with much study concerning the surgical treatment of epilepsy. Dr. Penfield is also credited with the idea for a Cortial Homunculus, a graphic representation of the way the brain ‘sees’ the body in terms of motor perception of the Primary Motor Cortex (see illustration below). I use the term ‘see’, but this illustration is more a representation of the way neural resources of the brain are delegated to each area of the body. The primary motor cortex is a brain region that works in conjunction with other areas of the brain (pre-motor areas) to plan and execute movements in the body. If you look closely at this illustration you will note how some areas of the body are much larger than others. This indicates that these parts of the body use more of the neural resources of the Primary Motor Cortex than the other areas. 

The idea of the cortial homunculus was created by Dr. Wilder Penfield

If you pay close attention to the way your body moves, your ability to speak, form facial expressions, hearing, and eyesight, it is clear that these areas would require those additional resources. Fine motor skills of the hands and fingers are essential to most artists abilities. Loss of hands, through disease or accident can result in the brain’s amazing ability to re-establish new avenues and to redirect the fine motor resources to the mouth or the feet and toes. If you doubt that high quality art can not be produced in this manner then try this link: The Association of Mouth and Foot Artists Each of these artists has lost the ability to move their hands either through disease or accident. Yet through sheer will, diligence, and through the spirit of creativity these artists do produce high quality art work.


If you would like a clearer visual representation of the motor/sensory homunculus go to this site (from the University of Tampere in Finland). The interactive Java application on the page will allow you to move your cursor over selected areas of the body illustrated by the homunculus to see how much brain resources are devoted to any particular area of either motor or sensory activity.

My Own Conclusions 

Having mused on this subject for several hours to produce this article, I have some thoughts and questions about brains, talent and primary motor cortexes. What kinds of brains must great artists or scientists have? How must their primary motor cortexes be arranged and delegated? Would constant practice and due diligence press the brain to redirect resources to areas the artist preferred to use? I have to wonder just how Leonard da Vinci’s brain was mapped. After all he wasn’t just an artist, but also a scientist and inventor. If it is possible for someone to become an artist without hands at all, then it must be possible for the rest of us to use our hands for even more than what we perceive possible now. 

Other Related Links

Wikipedia online  article on Cortical homunculus

Wikipedia online article about Dr. Wilder Grave Penfield

Museum of Science Web Site Interactive on Leonardo da Vinci – Scientist, Inventor and Artist

     Copyright © 2011-2012 by Danny and Sandra Ringo.  All rights reserved.  Articles may not be reproduced without permission.