In August 2022 I met Ali, Wigan Wildlife Gardener. New to running her own business she didn't have a logo. After seeing some of my work Ali wondered if I might try my hand at designing her logo.
I expect logo designers around the world are groaning and covering their eyes at this point!
Ideas, sketches and building the character
Ali is fun, energetic and happy person. She knows her plant stuff, she's full of ideas and she brightens my week.
I tried to capture all that in a small character logo. Not a caricature, but a fun representation of Ali in her hat and overalls. The only preference Ali asked for is a painted look, rather than a flat colour vector style design.
The hat, hair and face were sketched from the photo. I prefer to build my design in Adobe Illustrator; it gives me more options for scaling a design up if needed.
Here you can see our design inspiration, original photos of Ali, and my rough sketch of her hat, hair and head. Finally, four iterations of the character, with rough colouring ideas, before the final one heads into Photoshop for that painterly look.
Below are four "sort of" progress images. The first I have labelled "Absolutely ages to get this far!" as I was testing out brushes.
I was almost finished when I realised something was missing. Ali is a "bee-friendly" gardener and we needed a bee. Here he is full size where, but he gets added to the patch on the hat, flying across the sun.
This final working file has the brushes I used listed, because I guarantee I'll forget how I managed to create this painting. There's also the main colours in swatches, and a note of the typeface used for the text.
Finally, I added a little green grass and blue sky behind Ali; there's a bee flying off to the right. The text can be with shadow, or without, and with the circular design will make great stickers. If ever Ali wants to have some stickers.