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Jason McDowell is also known as Little Tiny Fish. He is the Creative Director for OnMilwaukee. Occasionally he freelances. Mostly he rides bikes.

littletinyfish.com is not a cohesive blog, but a repository of musings on an assortment of topics, such as design, art, cycling, Milwaukee, and other personal experiences.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with a couple of different people regarding logo design: Tim Cigleske of Teecycle.org and Steve Glynn of Spreenkler.

Teecycle.org

Teecycle.org’s old logo was in need of an overhaul. The green in it was a bit dark and overbearing and it was improperly sized on the site. The chosen font wasn’t particularly strong or representative of anything. When I set to work on the new version there were two requirements for the new Teecycle logo: It had to have the universal recycle symbol in it and it had to use the color green.

I started out with a three-color logo, using blue, red and green, but eventually we decided to knock it down to two colors. I preferred the red, but fearing a too-strong association to Christmas we ultimately leaned towards green and blue.

Two fonts were used. Clarendon Black was chosen for it’s sportier, stronger look while Candice was used make the mark a little more lighthearted with a nod towards retro. The swoop underneath helps with this as well.

The swoop is also representative of a nature trail or a green river since the organization donates $1 from every purchase to River Revitalization projects.

A square, or vertical logo was also included, as well as a Favicon, however current WordPress restrictions don’t allow for the replacement of the Favicon.

ThinkMKE

The Greater Milwaukee Committee was looking for a light–hearted, more adventurous design for their soon to be released blog, ThinkMKE which is located at thinkmke.com. Since this is an offshoot of the official committee I did some research into the goals of the GMC itself. Their biggest ideals are Leadership, Community, Diversity, and Development.

The typeface is highly representative of the strength of the organization. The letters are bolder, thicker, and stronger. They are accented with thicker slab serifs yet those serifs still hold a bit of a curve and grace to them.

The varying letter heights and blocky forms are reminiscent of a panoramic skyline view of Milwaukee and the letters are spaced tightly together to bring home the essence of a tight knit, supportive community.

The colors of the letters vary between the three primary values: red, green, and blue. These colors are foundational in design, echoing strength, diversity, and possibility. And while these colors are at their essence primary, they are not perfect representations. The red is slightly warmer, the blue is a little more crisp, and the green is brighter, more welcoming.

The logo itself springs from the page positively moving forward and rising upward.

Finally, the logotype is set on top of an abstract thought balloon. ThinkMKE.

As far as it’s target audience goes, this logo is certainly a radical departure from the very corporate GMC site. It’s more fun, more active, and more exciting.

Ultimately this is not the final product. While the blog has been set forth and is currently being updated, the identity project was unfortunately halted.

Archived Comments

These comments were pulled from the archives after a site failure in mid 2014. Though I no longer accept public comments on my site, I’ve included them for posterity. If you’d like to submit a comment, send one to littletinyfish@littletinyfish.com.

  1. I’m more than happy with my new logo. The ThinkMKE logo is really sweet, too.

    Teecycle_Tim · 2008-10-30 12:06 · #

This weekend I went out with Tim from Teecycle.org to do some tee-shirt modeling. Our location, this time, was Klode Park, located at the top of Whitefish Bay. It’s a small park with “No Dogs Allowed” signs posted everywhere but with plenty of dogs still roaming around. At one point a police officer staked himself on the road, but given the relative fanciness of the area and lack of ticketing the dog owners (thankfully) I had no idea what he was there for and he soon left.

Once I we started the photographic process I noticed a small problem starting to develop. At the Bike Co-Op we call it “The Syndrome.” That is I inevitably want to purchase everything I put on. The camera Tim uses is quite simple, but it does a bang up job of capturing the right saturation of colors and a nice, subtle grain. I’d also like to say it does a great job making me look good, but I’d like to take at least some of the credit for that.

While we were there we were met by a very forthright miniature ground squirrel who popped onto the park’s path, throwing himself in the way of our oncoming feet, bicycles, and other tee shirt modeling gear, and demanded food. He made a good case for himself; he was just too irresistible to turn down. I had the scraps of a peanut butter sandwich from earlier and tossed a crumb his way. When he finished he demanded more. I put the crumb in my hand and he hopped on and I picked him up. “This is probably not the greatest idea habituating these little guys to humans. It’s screwing around with nature,” I said, but it provided for the perfect Teecycle shot. Me in a Boy Scout t-shirt, communing with furry woodfolk.

While we continued to shoot in various locations around the park the little guy kept following us, and we kept his belly stocked for the winter. We even saw a brother of his in the parking lot, following so closely behind a family he almost get stepped on. “Watch out,” we warned. The family turned around and, spooked by their pursuer, screamed and jumped into their SUV.

We all laughed at how freaked they were by such a small (though admittedly demanding) creature until, without realizing it, they put the car in reverse, backed out of their spot, and crushed the back legs of the tiny squirrel.

It all too uncomfortably illustrated the point I brought up earlier. That puffy–tailed squirrel learned that the parking lot was the easiest way to get food and as a result, tangled with something much larger than he ever anticipated. As the poor guy was struggling to figure out what had just happened and how he could get out of the situation, we knew the only answer was to finish the job.

Feeding that little squirrel gave us the syndrome. We knew we couldn’t take responsibility for this animal, and we knew it wasn’t wise, but we did it anyway. And the reality of the gravity of the situation was much harsher than a closet full of t-shirts.

Archived Comments

These comments were pulled from the archives after a site failure in mid 2014. Though I no longer accept public comments on my site, I’ve included them for posterity. If you’d like to submit a comment, send one to littletinyfish@littletinyfish.com.

  1. This is such a well told story. I was interested all the way to the end, worried about what would happen to this squirrel.

    Excited to see Tim’s pictures 😀

    Ashe Dryden · 2008-10-01 07:40 · #

  2. Great Story. Question: Isn’t that a baby gray squirrel? I thought a ground squirrel was a colloquialism for “chipmunk.”

    Heygabe · 2008-10-01 13:27 · #

  3. That picture and story are adorable… but your arm looks strange.

    It Girl · 2008-10-02 09:06 · #

  4. @Heygabe It could be. I guess I didn’t think it was a gray squirrel because it had red fur. Maybe it’s baby fur? I don’t really know, as I am no expert on miniature woodland folk.

    littletinyfish · 2008-10-02 15:11 · #