Down N Durty
A logo treatment for a promoter involving all aspects of hip hop.
A friend of mine has been in the mix of hip hop since well before we met a couple years back. A DFW transplant, I met Tina at local events here in San Antonio just after I officially started my art career. Through our mutual love for art and music, we eventually became friends and began to work together at many shows. Tina has done promotions for many years and has a rich tapestry of shows under her belt including one of her last here in San Antonio, Deltron, before relocating back to DFW. The show was a huge success and a testament to what one person with strong focus and a solid network can do.
Over the past few weeks, my girlfriend had begun discussing taking on a tour to include herself and local MC, Kree23, on the road and Tina was of course onboard. As the dates and details began to come together, Tina informed us that she was starting a promotions company to include all aspects of hip hop. She had a few logos done but needed some vectorizing. I offered my help and after seeing their complexity, I felt I would take a crack at it and give her something a bit more polished (and easier to replicate at any size). I picked her brain briefly and got to work.
The first step was analyzing what Down N Durty is; what it means to the owner and what it's purpose is. We briefly discussed online what she needed and her request was simply to incorporate all four elements of hip hop. Not an easy task by any measure, considering that's FOUR pieces to one 1'"x1" square. A great logo will work at billboard size as well as a postage stamp--something many tend to overlook when creating or requesting logo work.
Beginning with a slew of thumbnails, I began to flesh out ideas using the letters DND. I did a few to include the full type that just weren't doing it for me. The biggest challenge I was coming across was that straggling "N". An ampersand would have been much easier to build around and integrate but logistics are logistics and I had to make it work. And a good artist always embraces a good challenge!
I went deep on this one creating a ton of tiny little thumbs of different combinations and shape explorations. As I stated, the text logos weren't working for me so I kept tooling away at the DND letter combination. I whittled down the page to three I felt best drove home the hip hop theme she was looking for.
I passed the three choices along to Tina and let her choose which she would like to see explored further and asked her color needs as well. She chose the equalizer logo and I went to the computer at this point. I chose a thick and chunky font to get started. I picked apart the D and began placing the symbols inside. I traced a photo of a cap and created the equalizer from scratch. I chose a softer palette for the LEDs rather than the standard green-yellow-red we are used to. This would help personalize the logo for her as well, as she wanted some greens and teals in her final piece. Jaylib said it best, "Y'all niggas must be out of your head/If your system ain't up to the red!"
I sent her this piece and she had revisions. One was to include a turntable arm on the record and to find a way to visually represent b-boys. That was the biggest challenge I faced. The quick(and super cliché) way of solving this was to include a bboy silhouette. I haven't ever been a fan of such as it's been done a BILLION times (and, I suppose, with good reason). After discussing it over with my partner Rabbit, she gave me a few ideas to try and I went with a "phat laces" concept. I also decided to remove the skinny cap (grey in color) and replace it with a grey dot (white in color) to give the logo more balance and subsequently less colors should she decide to have this screen-printed at some point; one less screen to pay for.
The logo, at this point, began to look crowded but I sent it anyway (along with my concerns). It's important your client sees their requests rather than immediately being shut down. Some people are simply visual and once they see what you were explaining, they will often fully understand. She loved it, but also agreed and the laces were ultimately left out. The final image (at top) is a dope representation of all aspects of hip hop because, let's face it, hip hop at its CORE is music.
And music moves everything...
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