Who knew that something that seemed so right, could look so wrong?
It was going to be quick and easy. We needed a logo for Inspired Minds, so we hired a talented, young, graphic designer fresh out of Baylor with an impressive portfolio, and…well…Susan had just been inspired!
You see, we’d just toured the gorgeous Lost Pines Art Center in Bastrop, TX to gain insight and ask for guidance in developing an art center for Hays County. By the way, whoever had the idea to add a coffee shop to the Lost Pines Art Center building plans is genius! We have a difficult time resisting caffeinated drinks, baked goods, and fine art.
Behind the barista was a beautiful painting of a head exploding with imaginative swirls of color. Yes! It was an INSPIRED MIND!! Our new logo was right there staring us in the face!
Queue angelic music.
We found every image on the web of heads exploding with imagination and emailed them all to Caitlin, our graphic designer and hero in this story. Tons of images! This was it! We had made things so easy for her and we were sure we’d have our new business cards, t-shirts, and other awesome schwag printed and ready to share with the world in no time.
But, no. It turns out that if you want your logo to even closely resemble an exploding head, you’re better off being in the business of a medical profession dealing with the brain box region of the body. While fine art can be quite cerebral, it just wasn’t right.
Enter Sinéad and her brilliant if not obsessive idea that if you take Inspired Minds’s initials, “I” and “M”, and place them next to “art”, it can read like “I am art!” What a telling logo that would make! Off it went to our hero, Caitlin, along with a few rudimentary mock-ups and much enthusiasm.
All for nought. No matter how Caitlin arranged it, IMart does not read like “I am art.” It reads like “Eye Mart.” Nope, we would not be peddling cheap eyeglasses no matter how much they’d benefit both our local artists and greater community. (Although, you can be sure that I.M. Art will be appearing on some amazing t-shirts in the near future!)
But, Susan and Sinéad had not been defeated yet! They came back to Caitlin with the coolest sounding acronym - IMAC. There was something familiar about it…comforting yet sleek. Something almost…a little bit like…maybe a little bit too close to…iMac. But, we really liked the IMAC concepts that Caitlin had drawn up, and we were determined that Apple would not win this fight!
And then all smooth and nonchalant as if not to step on our toes and egos, along with her IMAC concepts Caitlin snuck in a new little series of jpegs with a note that read, “Just for kicks, I went with something completely different but still works as an adaptive logo that can represent different media types. I know its completely different but I just wanted to throw it out there in case it caught your eye!”
Queue angelic music for real this time…
Just like that, she’d struck gold! She’d done it, and we knew immediately that it was perfect! Simple yet complex. Creative yet refined. Bold yet versatile. It is the logo that embodies Inspired Minds Art Center. While we’re sure that the whole, long, generative process of failure - namely us throwing bad ideas Caitlin’s way - was vital to the final outcome and somehow inspired her create exactly what we didn’t know we wanted, we were reminded that sometimes during the creative process, the most important thing to do is to let go and get out of the way.
The key to creative collaboration is to understand when to speak, when to listen, and when to quietly allow ideas to fester and grow until they explode from one’s head and out into the world in imaginative swirls of color.