Sean Farrell is a very talented creative who designs beautiful logos and envisions unique brands. He has been at the helm of Penflare Designs since its conception in 2007. His style is very unique and has constantly evolved with time. He recently got married to his sweetheart and is on the verge of unveiling a brand new identity for himself and his business. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him on the eve of so many wonderful changes in his career. Today he talks about the ins and outs of logo design, what motivates him and his early logos. He also gives us a sneak peek at his brand new identity "Brand Clay". Join me in welcoming Sean Farrell of the soon to be Brand Clay.
Thanks Sean for joining us today and answeing some questions for our readers.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. For people who don’t know you, who is Sean Farrell when he is not being a designer?
My latest endeavor is being a husband. I got married on August 8th to the woman I’ve been dating since I was 15. If I’m not designing or managing my Dippin’ Dot franchises, I’m usually taking dance lessons with my wife, reading design books, watching the Detroit red wings hockey team, playing with my dog Zoey, eating ice cream, or playing hockey.
2. Tell us a bit about your education and career. What drew you to the field of brand creation?
It is actually quite an interesting story. I’ve always been interested in advertising, good marketing campaigns and things of that sort. I first started designing because I had photoshop on my computer and was bored one day. I started offering free website designs (even though I had little experience) to charities and non profits and one thing led to another. People started telling me I should charge for these services, and so I did. I remember the first logo I sold was about $20. I thought I was on top of the world and so the story began. I found it quite easy to design logos, something that came kind of natural, so I developed it and my logos started getting better.
3. We’ve heard somewhere in the rumor mills that you might be rebranding. Tell us something about it. What is prompting and inspiring the rebrand?
Well after much feedback and logo attempts for penflare, I’ve never been satisfied. I’ve been most dissasified with the association of what people think penflare means, mostly people draw from it a quill pen or a lens flare, both things I don’t want to be associated with. I’ve been brainstorming for a few months now and have come up with the word brandclay™. It means a lot to me because of my faith in Jesus Christ, him being the potter, me being the clay to mold and shape me. It also works for brand creation when thinking about shaping a company or forming a company.
4. What was/were the first logo/s you ever designed?
5. What is your modus operandi while designing a logo for a client? What is your favorite part of the process?
The first thing I do is send a questionnaire to the client that asks them specific questions about their company. After I receive it back from them, I look it over briefly, focusing on the important parts because sometimes too much information can stifle creativity. I then start off by going straight to the dictionary or thesaurus to break down the words in the name of the company. I create a list of synonyms that often help illustrate something in my mind. After that, I wordmap and write down words that closely represent what the company is about. I then write out what fonts/color schemes I want to use. For me, it always helps to have the client select 4-5 logos to get an idea of the style they like. After I create “my moodboard,” I start sketching out concepts. I circle my top three and depending on how many the client wants to see, I’ll rate them from strongest to weakest in my opinion and present them that way.
6. What steps do you follow when creating a fictional brand? What is the value of fictional brand creating to a designer?
I don’t follow any steps, usually anything goes! I like to think about adding two elements together and creating a funny name to go with it. Fake brands should be the best brands because there are no guidelines to adhere to.
7. What according to you is the perfect logo? What makes it special? Any favorite logos by other designers?
I would say that these are the three things that make a perfect logo:
a. It works perfect in full color or black and white
b. It communicates the brand’s message, vision, and goals
c. It is simple
Some of my favorite logos are: Ogden Plumbing, Families, Dana McCauley, FedEx, Apple, Elephruit, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ribbons of Red, Logomotive, Brandberry, Message, Culturebus, Sinkit, and many more
8. Has any of your logos ever been inspired by a person?
I am not entirely sure, I hope so.
9. Name 5 things in your design arsenal that you couldn’t live without
- #2 Pencil
- Macbook Pro
- Adobe Software
- Any LogoLounge book
10. What is the most valuable piece of advice anyone ever gave you in this career path you have chosen.
It is not about making the simple complicated, anyone can do that, but it’s about making the complicated simple, that’s where you’ll be able to set yourself apart from other great designers.
11. What advice would you give aspiring designers?
I think what helped me the most was seeking real, honest advice. Don’t seek the approval of people you know will like your stuff. Seek the approval from someone who is well known, established in the design community. The idea is to get better so if you stay with what isn’t working (and never know it), you will go nowhere.
12. In less than 10 words, say the first thing that comes to mind when someone says..
- Font Gotham
- Helvetica Oh no!
- Cake mmmmm… Is that a word?
- Logopond Fish
- Negative Space Logomotive
- Kerning Tight
- Blue Water
- Sketch Moleskine
- Retro Neon sign
- Eco Green
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