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Logo Design for Kimono Komono

Updated: Apr 20

Here is my logo & branding design process over many weeks.

Before I started as an independent "artist," I was working as a graphic designer, mainly designing apparel graphic designs, but I have also designed quite a few logos for various small businesses.

When I opened an Etsy shop HUT in 2010 as a side hustle, I did not give good enough thought into my shop name nor its logo. I honestly intended to close this shop when I started operating as an artist. But recently I have realized its potential, and started to shift its direction from cotton fabric accessories to vintage silk kimono upcycled accessories, I decided the shop name and its image needed to change. *Please keep in mind... even though I talk a lot about the importance of branding, my Etsy shop currently needs some SEROUS revamping! It's a good example as bad branding.

The importance of branding

Here I speak from my experience as a graphic designer, small business owner, and a consumer only. I did not study branding or marketing extensively, though my experience from one advertising design class during my uni years had trained me to pay attention to branding.

I want everyone who has or is starting their own business to understand the importance of branding. There are still many people looking for logo designs for AU$30 on airtasker! I actually think the price people are willing to pay has gone down since anyone can come up with some sort of a logo using Canva. But if your business is important to you, please HIRE A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER. A good designer will get to know your business, from its visions, values, target market to locations, and spend a chunk of time in researching. Canva will give you a generic logo in seconds, but it will not stand out among hundreds if not thousands of competition. A professional designer who knows the value of good branding will charge you probably more than you were expecting to pay for something physically so small. By "branding," I mean a logo, maybe an icon, fonts, colors and general vibe of it all a.k.a. "brand identity" which will be carried through the business' products, shops, packaging, websites, socials, etc. In reality, it's not super easy to have a great branding throughout, but it's easy enough to start with a great logo.

Here are some examples of great branding. MUJI and MooGoo.

A page from MUJI Japan website is simple, elegant, and immaculate.
In my opinion, MUJI has immaculate brand identity which allowed them to expand their business to hotels and even houses! Yes they will build a house for you.

The front page of MooGoo Skincare website notifies the customers "The paddock is now closed until January 3rd 2024!" in a speech bubble coming out of a cow with sunglasses.
The best part of MooGoo branding is its fun use of words. They incorporate the cow reference in most texts including emails. It's just fun to read them.

Great logos is easily recognizable and timeless. Nowadays the simpler the better for it to be seen clearly as an icon on mobiles and as a favicon.

Name Kimono Komono

Since my focus is on upcycling used Kimonos, I wanted to use the word "Kimono" into shop name. The word "Komono" is not a known Japanese word in the world, but it means "small items" or "accessories," plus it rhymes with Kimono, so there it is.

Logo Design

The first thing I have noticed about Kimono Komono is that the only difference between the two words were "o" and "i" and that there are lots of o's. So how can I use that? And also, I didn't want the highly sophisticated, traditional Japanese design image with it... I wanted it more playful and modern, as I am upcycling traditional clothing.

I imagined a simple sans serif typeface with accents on I and Os in playful colors. Then also thought of using the O shape to signify the fact that the main selling point of the business is re-using old items to make something new. Tried the O to incorporate an arrow-like shape. Then I noticed it kinda looked like a bird... wait, doesn't phoenix signify rebirth? So I designed a phoenix in the shape of an O.

My idea sketches of Kimono Komono Logo
The first sketching phase

I kept trying different ideas to make the Os in the logo look like bouncing balls, as I love designs with a sense of movement, if it's appropriate. But I could not make it work.

Then I rendered my ideas on the computer and played around. As always, if you work on any design or art for a long time, you no longer know what is good or not, or where to stop. Deciding on colors took me the longest. I kept walking away from it for a few days so I can see it with fresh eyes. Sometimes I cut out each printed designs, then take photos to see it in a different way. Interestingly, via computer screen, printouts, and photos of printouts all give you something different. I decide on the design that looks good on most of them.

I really love the phoenix, but sadly it does not go with the font or the logo I was most happy with. But I think the way the two words KIMONO KOMONO looks like a one word, still legible and with a movement with the playful geometric shapes, turned out pretty cool. What do you think?

The final designs of Kimono Komono Logo in chartreuse and purple color combo and black and white




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