The Dauntless Women: CASE STUDY
One of the great things about being a designer is the challenge. Ideally every project would go smoothly. Everything will be communicated clearly, the client will love your first draft, all deadlines will be met, and you get to see your work out in the world doing it's thing. The thing about "ideally" is that very few things in life work that way. Sometime a project takes longer than planned, costs you more time than estimated, sees many drafts, and ends in an unclear place.
I was asked to develop a creative logo design that represents the the heart of what The Dauntless Women is all about. Something that is recognizable and strong, that grabs attention without being overly flashy. It needs to be bold and fearless, while also being inviting, uplifting and inspiring. The logo also needs to be contemporary in its styling. The door is open in terms of creative flexibility.
The logo needed to speak to young women at the start of their careers. They may be in college, figuring out their potential path, feeling a bit lost and needing guidance. They may also be well established and hitting roadblocks, in need of a bit of inspiration to push through. They are women of color, and likely feeling underrepresented.
I worked through a number of solutions for this project. At it's essence, The Dauntless Woman is made by a woman of color for other woman of color. I started in a place that carries a lot of challenges and strength in our communities, hair. For many woman of color, our hair is our crown, a marker of our power. I created hair like a gem stone; geometric and multifaceted. I paired the hair with custom hand lettering. The challenge that faced this draft was it's complexity. It needed to be simplified. The next draft scrapped the hair concept completely. I created a flame like symbol that represented the "D" & "W" of Dauntless Women and stood in as a substitution. I also created another round of hand lettering that was simpler. The third draft featured a second iteration of the "D" & "W" flame symbol. The fourth draft scraped symbols all together. Lastly, the fifth draft featured a figure in celebration.
Over the course of this project many variations were tried. I experimented with colors and arrangements, as well as many typefaces, including making my own. Draft after draft, I missed the mark with the client. It was a humbling and frustrating experience, but still I pressed on. In the end the client selected her preference but I never felt "right" about it. I've grown accustom to clients walking away happy. I mean really happy. So happy they tell others how happy they are. So happy they call me, email me, to remind me how happy they are. So happy we remain friends once our experience is complete. I am unclear about my clients feelings about her selected logo. I worked hard, gave more options than our contracted time allowed for, put my heart into it, and at the end it's possible it wasn't enough. True definition of win some lose some. I walk away from this experience with a renewed understanding that there is much to learn in success and shortcomings.