HOPE FOR HAITI – Logo Emblem Design Walkthrough

Not many designers relish the late evening call from a client as it invariably means one of two things. It’s the client’s eleventh hour and the design agency they were previously using hasn’t come up with a suitable result (and the budget’s all spent), or it’s the eleventh hour and your client needs something from you by the twelfth hour (and we’ll discuss the budget after). The common theme here is always the ticking clock.

Well, this was the later case, but with a difference; it was the eleventh hour but there was no budget at all, and rightly so. We were asked at a moment’s notice to come up with an emblem for the Hope For Haiti iTunes album. This was an album to be made available of some fantastic performances by some of the best known global artists working today. No pressure then!

We started with some very quick sketches. We were trying to represent the notion of hope and help without it feeling sanctimonious. We were inspired by images on TV of stories of great sadness coming out after the earthquake in Haiti, but also stories of elation as a person emerged from the rubble of a once standing building. So, hope was a reoccurring theme. This was reinforced by the line from the song, Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) – ‘We won’t leave you stranded’ – as in, we will not forget you, we will support you.

Early drafts were both typographical and illustrative. The image of an upturned hand underneath a heart was one that came through.

If we were to use the upturned hand underneath a heart, the heart had to easily represent Haiti. Haiti is renowned for is its art, it is abundantly colourful, mostly figurative and beautifully decorative and so the notion the multi-coloured heart came into play.

We also wanted to make sure that the hand underneath was somehow an emphatetic one. So the hand couldn’t be aggressive, it needed to demonstrate sympathy and understanding. And so the fingers are long and tapered, they have a sense of gentle movement. Importantly, the curved shape of the hand between index finger and thumb mirrors the shape exactly of the heart above it.

The final touches to the emblem were the introduction of the scattering of paint across the surface – to add a sense of texture. And so as the clock struck twelve, well more like 2am a day and a half later, we got the ok through from Jay-Z and Bono’s people. Emblem approved, good call.