At FITC Toronto in May of this year, Shawn Pucknell, FITC’s director approached James White to develop the creative for the following year’s event, FITC Toronto 2012. “I’ve spoken at FITC twice so far and being a huge fan of the event and the entire crew behind it, I jumped at the opportunity to work with my friends,” said White. With creative freedom to develop the bits and pieces needed to promote and showcase at the event next year, James started looking at everything including the FITC identity which, at the time, he had no idea would be used. Here we go…
“Those bums didn’t even give me one. Ha! I’m kidding. I’ve attended and spoke at several FITC events over the last 3 years so I’m quite familiar with what they do, how they do it, and what their overall vision entails,” said White. Through conversation, Shawn was able to express his vision of how events carry out, so to James, “experience WAS the creative brief.”
When James begun the creative process, the thought burning in his head was "What is the FITC identity I would like to see? What would set it apart from other events out there?" James wanted something clean, fun, inviting, cool and highly usable on different printed items and merchandise. “BUT, my biggest priority was making this thing FUN,” said White. His first idea was making something in a "semi-script" that had a nice flow from letter to letter without being a straight-up script font. This was a challenge since James has rarely developed anything close to a script before. So, out came the Field Notes. Time to start sketching…
Drafting and Development
Since James had a general idea in his head of what the logo might look like, he dove into drawing up some letters. “I tried a few different approaches with how letters might connect and flow into one another, a few different capitals and swooshes, and it wasn’t long before I arrived at the forth sketch which had the vibe I was looking for,” said White. “I didn’t want a "font," nor did I want a manipulated font; I wanted the new FITC identity to be built from the ground up – from nothing.”
Okay Illustrator, Let’s Do This
Before James dove into building the letters, he did a bit of typeface research in order to understand a bit better how letters connect, and how they flow one to the other. “As I said, this was kind of new territory for me so having a look before I started definitely helped in the long run,” said White. Above are a few examples. “Yes, that’s Giddyup. It helped. No heckling.”
Keeping other typefaces close by for reference, James started building the FITC identity. “I knew how I wanted that F to look pretty early on, but everything else was a total crapshoot,” said White. “I always begin by using some simple shapes like circles and rectangles in order to build the letters.” Keeping those shapes separate from each other allowed James to slide them around and duplicate them while keeping width consistency. Not rocket-surgery, but it sure helps when building the silhouette so you can visualize something onscreen. He built the letters completely upright, knowing that down the road he’d be skewing them a bit to add movement.
After a while of noodling around with the letters, James found they started to take the form he wanted. “I’m not going to lie, that C gave me all kinds of problems but eventually landed on a form I liked,” said White. So he threw on some FITC Red, rounded some of the corners to soften things up and added the skew. But he felt things still looked too loose, or ill-aligned, or whatever. “I had a long, hard look at the form and made some notes of little tweaks I needed to do – bolts that needed tightening,” said White.
After messing with every Bezier point in the logo design, James finally managed to bang it into shape. “It had that flow I was chasing, letters joined up nicely, it was readable, and was scripty without being a script,” said White. “My favorite part is actually that tiny space between the T and the C. Details, man.”
But the logo wasn’t there, just yet. To give Shawn and the team a few different options, James threw the word mark into a solid circle. Even though it was an afterthought, it happened to really jive. “Bit of a secret: for whatever reason I’ve always wanted to design a logo that resided inside a circle but never did. Or I tried and it always looked like trash. This one happened completely by accident at the last minute. Always leave yourself open to that happy accident, man. You never know,” said White.
Above is the final FITC circle logo in red, black and white. “This logo process was a series of mishaps, accidents and a whole lot of playing around and having fun. I’m happy with it, the team is happy with it, and I can’t wait to see this thing land onstage at the next event I attend,” said White. “I’m super proud to have been able to help out my friends who have done so much for the global creative community.”