Part 3B) Finalizing (color): The Thread Caravan Illustration Identity

Check out how we got here: Start from the beginning!

Now that we had finalized the font, we could focus on the color. Caitlin provided me with some beautiful textiles and color combinations to go off of, seen here:

Here are the narrowed down options:

They went with one of the blue ones, and this was a recent postcard I received in the mail from them:

Visit their website to view upcoming trips. Their first one is to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala August 22-29th (and another one close behind in October). I hope to get to go on one very soon, and I can't wait. It's such an amazing program they've put together, and I'm so proud to have gotten the chance to be a part of it.

Be sure and like their page on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter (on their homepage) to get updated about upcoming trips and specials! You can donate to their organization here!

Part 3A) Finalizing (lettering): The Thread Caravan Identity Illustrations

Caitlin ultimately decided to go with the hands weaving illustration. We now needed to focus on the typography. I offered several options for the text, including some hand-drawn lettering, however in the end Caitlin decided that since the illustration was so intricate she wanted the words to be simple in contrast.

Here is a peek into my very messy lettering process:

Here are a couple of the options I provided at this stage, before we decided to go back to a simpler font option:

After deciding we wanted to go back to a thinner font, she provided me with fonts she liked, seen here: 

Finally we decided this was the best option.

In the end she and her colleague decided the original font used in the first round of mockups was the one they wanted to use for "The Thread Caravan" paired with one of the lower-case script fonts from one of the most recent designs (directly above) for the byline:

Part 2) Drafts + Option Presentation: The Thread Caravan Identity Illustrations

After seeing the drafts (see her specific feedback at the bottom of Part 1B) I brought the ideas into the computer. While we talked about 3 or 4 of our favorites, I ultimately narrowed it down to the two most prominent of the ideas:

 1.) The mandala idea we initially talked about, which featured stick figures representing the different arts being explored on the various retreats that will be taken.

2.) The hands weaving with the thread. Some feature the globe, others just a strong text presence (since I felt the busy-ness of the organic, hand-drawn image paired best with a sturdy font). The script fonts used were initially just place-holders, in lieu of a truly hand-drawn byline or title (which had yet to be chosen). Since at this point the business name and byline weren't set in stone, I played with a couple different name options she provided me with while it was still in flux, including "The Thread Movement" and "The Thread Collective".

Part 1B) Sketch Research: The Thread Caravan Identity Illustrations

During this stage, most ideas are usually still on paper. I try and give the client as much insight into the research I've been doing so they know where my ideas are stemming from. In this case I explored several different cultures and primitive tools, as well as ancient patterns. Here are the sketches and notes I provided Caitlin: 

**(Also during this stage, the company was going to be called The Thread Collective, it later changed to The Thread Caravan).

1.) Tool / Pattern Research.

Tools / Pattern Research

2.) Pattern Play + Hands.

3.) Weave Study (upper) + Mandala Study (lower).

4.) Totem inspiration + Geometry involved inspired the idea of constellations, and how the stars are such an integral part of virtually all ancient cultures and religion, and how they link us to the past.

5.) At the bottom here I was trying to play with the idea of weaving or threading through the constellations around the earth.

6.) In an effort to spice up that generic image of a globe, I wanted to evoke elements that might be used at one of the retreat's destinations. Here the water is weaved like a basket creating some primitive geometrical shapes. The land was intended to evoke wood grain. 

7.) Got the whole world in your hands, duh. No, but the whole idea behind The Thread Collective is honoring the artisan's hand-made craft. (On the right, where I didn't quite finish, I was toying with adding some sort of totem-evoking eagle wings).

8.) Playing further with the idea of thread/weaving and creating by hand. Here I also end up going back to that pattern of stick figures I started (see img. 2) and begin to think what might happen if I make the stick figures doing different art practices (see scratch notes).

9.) Exploration of Mayan weaving goddess, and then stripping it down to stick figures for ornamenting the mandala.

10.) Totem sketching + stripping it down to stick figure status

11.) This is supposed to be the Block Printing stick figures ... but I'm just seeing a lot of pizza.

12.) + More Globe sketches.

Her feedback (which was super specific and helpful):

"These look awesome!! I love where you are going with it so far!! Mostly, I like that you are picking up some Mayan weaving inspiration but keeping in mind other potential retreat destinations and art forms. Great work!

Specific notes:

  • I love the globe designs with different patterns, particularly the wood-grain style. It reminds me of a topographic map. I also like the design where the ocean is a woven design, and your last design in #12, where the ocean is a compass-style design.
  • #1. like the design on the right, could be cool to incorporate a similar style into the mandala
  • #5. I love how you've made the continents on the top globe actually look rounded and not just flat.
  • #10. the totem figure looks kind of like someone squatting over the birds face to me... maybe the totem can be upright with someone working on it from the side? .... also re: stick figures, maybe there can be a dancing figure? thinking of offering dance lessons in Havana, Cuba, so that could be relevant too... won't be all visual arts.
  • #8. I was pretty set on the globe mandala idea, but I REALLY like your hand design with the weaving in between the fingers... The wings seem weird to me to be on the hands, but I could see them being around a globe instead of hands or the mandala...

So, seeing your sketches, I am thinking I definitely want to keep a globe in the picture, and I love your idea of adding some texture to it. If the globe has texture, the surrounding design should likely be someone minimal and very clean... 

I still like the idea of the surrounding design being a mandala with some kind of art figures; however, now I am also open to the design being hands or wings. 

Let's play around with the three and see what looks best. I trust your artistic skill and compass to decide which ideas you'd like to explore more."

Part 1A) Initial Client Description & Examples: The Thread Caravan Identity Illustrations

Caitlin, creator of Refunktion Apparel, has been such a delight to work with from the beginning. When a mutual friend connected us to design a logo for her next project The Thread Caravan (something I am so incredibly excited about and love that she's doing) we got straight to work. (I strongly encourage you to go check out more about what she's doing over at her site — it's nothing short of amazing). For now here's a short description about her new project, in her words, so we can get an idea of what I'm designing for:

The intention of the retreats is to promote the preservation of traditional art practices around the world.

"The first retreats will take place on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where retreat-goers will work one on one with an artisan skilled in the traditional Mayan weaving process. Eventually we will offer retreats all around the world (totem pole carving with Native Americans in Alaska, tile making in Morocco, pasta making in Italy, jewelry making out of yak bones in Bhutan, sheering llamas and spinning wool in Peru, block printing with natural dyes in India, etc.).  The retreats will be about a week or week and a half long, and they will take retreat-goers through the full creation process form start to finish. In Guatemala this will include dyeing the textiles with natural plant and insect dyes, spinning the textiles, and then actually weaving with it. We will also visit the artisans' homes and meet their families, as well as have a few optional cultural excursions to other places in the country. "


"Here are some examples of logos and branding work I like:  "their logo font is not so appealing to me, but i like the image and their overall branding" - Caitlin "their logo font is not so appealing to me, but i like the image and their overall branding" - Caitlin  "like this logo font" - Caitlin "like this logo font" - Caitlin  "simple and clean design"  - Caitlin "simple and clean design"  - Caitlin  "love this artist's style!!" - Caitlin "love this artist's style!!" - Caitlin  "great logo" - Caitlin "great logo" - Caitlin  "this chick has some cool doodles" - Caitlin "this chick has some cool doodles" - Caitlin

"I want the marketing materials to have a very clean feel, with a slight funky, bohemian flare..

I would like the font to look somewhat handwritten and organic.

I like the idea of incorporating something in nature for the image... an animal, flower, fern, mountain, tree, etc.... butttt unfortunately I don't think that is super relevant. Since the art will be so wide-ranging, a specific art tool might not work either. I think a great thing to include could be a globe, with some sort of design around it... something that looks almost mandala-like, but maybe the design isn't a typical mandala and instead has other little designs like mountains, people holding hands, little art tidbits... What do you think?"