The Rabid Roadrunners are a running club with members from .... well all over the place! They were in need of a new logo design for their team at the upcoming Ragnar Napa Ultra 2015 relay going from San Francisco to Napa Valley.
The design elements they were looking in the design were of course the roadrunner bird itself, the Golden Gate bridge, some wine or grapes, the team name and the event name.
My first step was to do some research on what actual roadrunners look like by doing a Google image search for them. What caught my eye first was the mohawk of feathers on its head. Then I noticed how small of a bird they are. Those old cartoons with the Roadrunner character made me think they were larger and more ostrich like but in fact that is not the case.
Once I had all of the reference images and a better understanding of the actual bird I began working on all different types of sketches of them. Some more realistic and then slowly I began to make them more stylized for this fun event logo design.
As I was working on the sketches I found that it could sometimes be a bit tricky to visualize the angles of the beak for example if the roadrunner was at a slight angle. So I did what any artist would due and I turned myself into a model bird and took some selfies to help me get a better idea of how to draw the designs I had in my mind.
I worked on countless sketches and concepts for the bird. I am not sure why but I just could not seem to find a version I liked which also worked within the framework of the overall design challenge here. I tried actual feet on the bird, I tried wheels on the bird, other mockups where the bird had on gym shoes. Some had really crazy hair, others he looked a bit too furry and not feathery. I just could not get into the right groove with him.
I actually started to get concerned as this sort of struggle with drawing had never really happened to me before and I did not want to let these folks down!
So I just kept working my way through design after design. Close friends/family would get text messages with the latest creation and give me thumbs up or more often than not, thumbs way down on many of them.
But then I took a few days away from the project and when I came back to it I told myself I would have something I liked by the end of the day. And I stayed focused that entire day and a design for the bird started to come together finally! Previously I kept trying to draw a bird that was speeding along and trying to drink up wine from a glass that looked like it was tipping/spilling in front of him.
When I returned to the project and took the approach to anthropomorphize him and suddenly he started to look like a runner and the wine became a perfect form of hydration during his run.
Once I had the road runner I liked (and my friends and family really liked) I starting trying to come up with how to work in the Golden Gate Bridge with him. So I once again pulled up reference photos from a Google image search of the bridge.
At first I kept thinking of it being to the left of him and coming out of the dust he was kicking up from running. But that looked more like a book illustration and not a t-shirt logo design.
And that is when it struck me that if I was to create a circle around him (or part of him) which had the team name and race name in it. that would give me the perfect framing to then place a Golden Gate Bridge in the background scenery.
I immediate got to work on that part of the design in Adobe Illustrator and it all starting fitting together just the way I had imagined it.
I created the logo as both a four color and single color version for them to review. They were planning to have this design silk screened and I wanted to give them some options as the cost will vary quite a bit with each added color that has to be screened onto a design.
I sent them off via email for review and then anxiously awaited to hear back on any comments/feedback etc. I got the news that the team loved the design and were going to move forward with it!
I was so happy they liked it because it had been such a hurdle for me to tackle for some reason and I wanted to make sure they had gotten the best I could give. I told a friend there is a lesson to be learned from the internal struggle I faced on this piece - I just have not figured out what it is or why I needed to overcome it but I am sure one day I will!
I can not thank the Rabid Roadrunners enough for working with me and being patient through my longer than usual turn around time on this one.
I wish them all the best of luck on their journey from San Fran to Napa!