Hello ladies and gents.
It sure has been awhile since I lasted posted and for good reason!
Last post I shared how I came up with my new product idea and explaining what I planned to do for the next steps.
So what have I been up to since then?
Well, let me catch you all up a bit… If you don’t want to read about my recent travels and just care about the logo stuff, then you can skip to here.
After spending two months in the US, I took off to the Philippines to meet a good friend whom I met while living in China.
We spent two weeks in Manila, getting a feel for the city and what it would feel like to live there.
Since I left China I’ve been trying to see where my next “home base” might be, so this trip was a way to get an idea if it makes a good place to live. Rico is also considering leaving China later this year and has his sites set on Manila.
We met some really cool guys here doing all sorts of business ranging from Amazon FBA to consulting and digital marketing. I noticed that it has a much more “high level” feel than that of places like Chiang Mai—not nearly as many backpackers passing through Manila.
After my “workation” in Manila, I flew to Seoul to meet my girlfriend and stay with her family. I also got a chance to go to Korea last winter but this time we saw a lot more!
My girlfriend’s aunt let us borrow her car and we drove all the way up north to visit her hometown which border’s the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). We drove up and visited one day which was quite surreal looking over at North Korea.
I’ve only been to Korea during the winter and one thing I noticed is that there does seem to be a constant “grayness” in the sky due to pollution that flies in from China as well as some of the factories in Korea.
This definitely put a damper on my mood and reminded me of living in Guangzhou. I’ll have to go back in the Spring or Summer so I can form a more complete opinion about South Korea as a country.
After another two weeks in Korea, my girlfriend and I flew to Hong Kong for a quick trip to visit some friends.
My buddy Carl is a good friend of mine who I lived with in China for about 2 years. He was visiting from the US so I had to make the trip and come see him. Plus, any excuse to visit Hong Kong is good enough for me.
We chose to go to Phuket for a few reasons.
- We heard good things about it and still had never been to any Thai beaches yet.
- I knew I could just put my head down and work here, free from distractions
So, what was it really like?
My girlfriend and I stayed in an area called “Chalong” which was quite far from the more touristy areas of “Patong” and “Karon Beach.”
We both signed up for a month of Muay Thai classes and trained three times a week.
And it was f*cking awesome!
I forgot how much I enjoy competitive fitness—doing something physical other than just lifting weights.
It was meditative in a sense because for two hours I did not think about anything but the present moment and improving my technique.
That being said, I probably won’t continue to train Muay Thai as it’s too easy to get injured. I ended up pulling my oblique (yeah I know, weird as hell), and messed up my ankles from kicking slightly wrong.
Going forward, I’d love to try Brazilian Jujitsu as it utilizes more of the entire body strength but also lower impact, compared to Muay Thai boxing.
Besides our training, we worked most days out of various coffee shops or restaurants and then took off days to go explore the mountains or hidden beaches on motorbike.
We saw some incredible viewpoints, enjoyed some iconic white sand beaches and crystal clear water. However, after 4 weeks, I was ready for the next spot!
That brings us to now.
We’re currently in Bangkok and planning to stay here for April and possibly May, if we like it.
That brings us to why you clicked on this article…
Branding & Logo Development
Okay, if you made it this far congratulations.
Starting in January I started to brainstorm brand names for the new company I was building.
This part can be fun but also incredibly draining. Ultimately you want to make something that is easy to understand and remember, has an available domain, and if possible, an actual story behind the name of your company.
Obviously, there are thousands of brands out there that have virtually no meaning at all. Maybe the founder just picked a name because it sounded cool or unique. This is also ok.
I thought up hundreds of names, some were okay, some totally awful.
I quickly realized how difficult this would be as a solo founder—I had no one to bounce ideas off of or share what was on my mind. Sure, I asked friends and family but you’re always going to get different feedback when you don’t have somebody who is as invested as yourself.
That’s when I realized I needed to turn a branding expert. I knew I would need a logo design at some point so I figured there had to be people who specialized in the whole nine yards…
And I was right.
After posting a job on Upwork looking for a branding and logo professional, I found dozens of people whose exact job is to help new startups come up with their “story” and “branding.”
I narrowed down and eventually interviewed 5 different experts.
What I was looking for was someone who had a solid track record, could communicate well, and truly understood my vision and what I set out to accomplish, beyond just a logo.
Once I selected my guy, he sent me a thorough brand questionnaire. This included questions about what I was building, who I planned to sell to, competition, inspiration, and why we were unique.
Luckily, I had already spent weeks doing research leading up to this point, collecting images of bags, logos, different photos of inspiration, and competitor ads I saw on Instagram.
Coming Up With A Name
Part of the agreement was to help me come up with a name. As I mentioned earlier, it was important to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
After week one, he came back with a list of roughly 20 names. Through several discussions and verifying that the domain was available we morphed a few of the names together that seemed to roll off the tongue and fit the overall brand image that I am shooting for.
Creating A Logo
Once the name was decided, he began the design process.
After another week, he came back with 22 logo variations and 22 typeface variations.
Now this made my job difficult!
Typically I’d like to have less options to choose from as it makes it easier to narrow down. Choosing one logo down from 44 felt a bit daunting.
I gathered feedback from friends and family and narrowed down my top 3 choices.
From there we moved onto Phase 2. In another week and a half he came back with a few variations on the previous top picks.
Rinse and repeat.
Again, I got feedback from people I trust and narrowed and narrowed. I also utilized an awesome polling website called “Pickfu” which allows you to ask the public what they think.
It really helped me when I couldn’t come to a conclusion on my own.
Finally, after about 1.5 months and LOTS of back and forth, we came up with something that we both felt really good about as well as what represented the brand the best.
I’d like to introduce my new brand name and logo:
What you see above is the base logo but there are number of variations that will be used depending on the medium.
For example, the logo that shows up on the website might just include the typeface while logo that is actually depicted on the product might only include the monogram.
What does it mean?
We came up with Oak & Rove based on a few reasons.
“Oak” is a sturdy wood that stands for strength and durability. Furthermore, it is symbolic of our commitment to sustainability and utilizing eco-friendly materials in the production of the bag.
“Rove” is pretty self explanatory but this has to do with the “travel” nature of the brand. After all, we will be creating a product that is used primarily to carry objects from point A to point B.
Together, “Oak & Rove” is an elegant, yet premium sounding name that we feel suits our overall branding goals.
I decided to include “Los Angeles” because this is the city I found myself in when I came up with the idea. I also envision myself working out of and hiring in LA once we get up and running, so this made sense.
I hope this post was interesting and useful as you can see what went on behind the scenes in creating a logo that, at face value, appears quite simple.
As far as the actual product, the design is being worked on now. I’m in the process of building out the first landing page that potential customers will see when they go to our website.
Don’t worry! I plan to share all of this as I go and keep you updated on the happenings as I build this brand up from scratch.
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Let me know what you think in the comments below!