Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Whitest Haoles

Jess asked me if I could design a logo for her and Sam. They are part of a local canoe club here in San Francisco and they have come to calling themselves the "whitest haoles". The word "haole" originally meant foreigner in Hawaii but it has come to mean "white foreigner" and not always used in the spirit of aloha. I tried explaining to Jess that you can't actually be a "haole" IN California but she's already sold on the moniker and ain't listening to me.

Hawaiian/Polynesian culture and designs dominate the paddling scene, at least from what I've seen, so I've tried to capture that feeling in the design. I hand drew everything including the letters and it was a lot of computer work once I imported it in to a program called Adobe Illustrator - the whole project took a lot longer than I anticipated but a lot of fun. In retrospect I should have based my letter sketches on an actual font. I work with type all the time but I'm no typographer. I should have either made the letter forms really funky (graffiti like) or traced them from an actual font. As it is, it is somewhere in between and a good designer will be able to spot the awkward not quite right sections in the letters. I needed help with the "O" and the small case "e" and ended up tracing those from an actual font anyway. It was then that I realized I should have worked it that way from the very beginning. It was a really fun project and I learned a lot. It took a long time but I didn't mind so much because I was enjoying myself. Besides I owed Jess and Sam, Jess especially. Jess has been my crew chief for my two summer 100-mile ultra-marathon races - it involves driving around in a car and meeting me at the checkpoints, getting me whatever I needed to keep going and staying up all night until I finished. Sam was my pacer on my last race, running miles 75-100 with me, from about 11am Saturday night to a little after 5am Sunday morning. So you see it was my pleasure to work on the project for them.

I was always taught that a logo should work in black and white first. The coming of web and interactive design has blurred that rule. I'm old school though, I've kept to the original rules that was handed down to me. Even in this day and age we still need these identities to survive in one color applications, i.e. the back of event t-shirts, faxes or a yellow page ad.

sam haole.jpg
The logo in color. Looks a bit washed out, I hope it's just the photo. Image courtesy of Jessica Fewless.

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