When it comes to creative endeavors, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a solid one on a creativity scale of 1 to 10. So, it wasn’t too surprising that in-house ideas for a logo did not span much beyond variations of the usual travel logo images – airplane, the earth, suitcase, etc. None of our ideas really piqued our own interest or got us excited. And getting a logo design from the pros reflecting the fun & unqiueness that is Gen X Travel proved to be much harder than it should be.
We reached out to the creative professionals with the expertise and experience to easily help us create a cool logo different from all the other usual travel logos. Gen X Travel Club is all about unique, thoughtful small group trips different from the standard touristy travel options out there. We wanted a logo that represented the same basic philosophy – much different and way cooler than the rest.
We contacted a logo development company. We thought we could quickly pick one logo design, maybe refine a bit, and we’d be off and running. We ended up reviewing rounds and rounds of logo concepts. We felt none of the logo designs reflected the trips we do - unique, cool, fun and very different from the standard, unimaginative fare out there. My typical feedback included, “Even I could come up with those logo designs. And as a completely non-creative person, that is telling you something.”
The frustration of not being able to come up with a simple logo was the topic of conversation walking in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of DC one afternoon. I looked across the street and saw a sign for the Tabard Inn with a graphic image/painting. I said, “Now look at that logo/sign. Just look at it.” As we stood their gazing at the sign and the image, I continued, “Doesn’t it just make you smile. It’s fun, cool and VERY creative & different. If someone asked you to design a graphic image for a hotel & restaurant, you would never come up with it. Why can’t we get a logo like that?”
Fast forward a few weeks and I’m riding my bike down the street in front of the Tabard Inn and I see their sign again and I said to myself, what’s so hard about getting a creative image like that? Next thing I know, I find myself at the front desk asking who designed the image for the sign out front. The receptionist gave me the manager’s card to get more information. I emailed the manager who says the image was done by a pretty well-known painter from Brooklyn, NY who is a good friend of the owners. They commissioned him to do a painting and that’s where the sign came from.
Well, that was a dead end. No established artist/painter is going to want to design a company logo and certainly not for anything resembling a reasonable going rate for logo design. Or would they? I emailed Jonathan Blum in Brooklyn NY & explained how I came about him. He graciously replied to my email and said he would consider designing a logo painting for Gen X Travel Club. He said he sells his paintings at his studio in Brooklyn as well as in Eastern Market in DC a few times a year. We met up with him at Eastern Market and talked more about our crazy idea of having him commission us a logo painting. He loved us, our story and the concept of Gen X Travel Club - unique, non-touristy travel and the friendships made along the way – and agreed to work with us as a discounted rate under the premise that he’s not a logo designer per se.
And the rest as they say is history… a few months later we had our logo painting commissioned just for us. An image that oozes fun & friends, unique & cool, adventure, and very different from the rest – just like Gen X Travel Club.