I was fortunate to receive some cash from my 2012 SoundCloud Fellowship. I used some of the money to hire Yuchen Zhang to create a logo and brand design for Tiny Spark.
Yuchen and I worked together for several weeks. We pored over a wide range of photos, colors and fonts. Mainly, I told her, I wanted to convey in my logo a seriousness of purpose. I also wanted to highlight the investigative aspect of my reporting and the notion that I would be delving into areas that others might be overlooking.
From the outset, I assumed Yuchen would play off of the “spark” idea. I pictured a logo with a spark or ideally, in my mind, many sparks flying everywhere! But Yuchen discouraged me from being too literal with the logo, making me realize that such an approach could appear unoriginal or worse, cliched. (Do a Google search for “spark logo” and you’ll see what Yuchen’s talking about.)
Eventually, Yuchen put pen to paper and began to sketch out some more creative logos, which had more specific connections to the work I’m doing with Tiny Spark:
Yuchen then refined the owl you see in the middle of the page and presented me with this:
Once we’d agreed on the owl, Yuchen provided a range of other materials, including this business card:
And she also redesigned my website, elements of which I will incorporate in the weeks and months ahead:
Finally, Yuchen urged me to consolidate my original tag line, “Igniting Debate About the Business of Doing Good”. Her recommendation challenged me to evaluate the past year, to look at the future, and whittle my mission down to its bare essence. The biggest realization I’ve had is that I am committed to investigative journalism above all else. So the new tag line for Tiny Spark is simply, “Investigating the Business of Doing Good”.