Taming the dragon – A study in logo design

A local English writer was preparing to start up a small independent Publishing house, mainly to publish her own work in ebook format. She approached us to design a logo for her publishing business “Dragon Tree Publishing”. Our starting brief was to produce a black and white logo featuring a dragon tree.

The Dragon tree is a variety of tree that is indigenous to the canaries and somewhat endangered. They are not strictly trees not having growth rings and only produce branches each time they flower. So a Dragon tree transforms from a thing that resembles an gigantic loo brush when it is young to what looks like an old oak tree from a distance when old, in steps each time it flowers. More information on dragon trees can be found on La Palma Island

I set about gathering reference photos of local Dragon Trees, as well as ones on other islands, in including one on Tenerife that is reported to be over 1000 years old. From these images I produced the following set of silhouette images that were sent to the client.

DragonTree First Client Sheet

The client felt that although silhouette 1(the 1000 year old tree) was probably the most famous Dragon tree in the islands, it’s silhouette was less recognisable as a dragon tree and that the best representation was tree 2. At this point I suggested to the client that the addition of a dragon to the logo would possibly enhance the portrayal, as the dragon tree is restricted to the local area and not known wildly, the combination of dragon and tree would portray her company name better.

I went for two possible styles of dragon – both more stylised than say the typical Chinese or historical dragon. One option used a heraldic design with spread wings, the other was more of a cartoon style dragon. These were placed with several of the dragon trees and again sent to the client for her to chose the variant that she preferred. These variants were not finished items but digital sketches produced to allow the client to decide on the idea that she preferred for her logo. DragonTree second Client sheetThe one shown below was chosen as the final design.

DragonTree Client Choice

The finished logo is shown here.

DragonTree Final Logo

This design was done in adobe Illustrator, which is a vector drawing package. The advantage of this over a raster (pixel) type package like Photoshop is that the resultant illustration/logo can be easily reproduced in almost any size without degradation in the image.

We also provided the client with business cards, a website banner, and a T-shirt design utilising this logo.

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