So far, the start-up phase of a business has really boiled down to making a lot of decisions. Those decision can be summed up pretty simply: Do it ourselves and how? versus Have someone else do it and whom?
Aaron and I both consider ourselves capable, and love saving money where we can, so we tend to try to do a lot ourselves. But from the beginning, there have been a few key areas that we’ve wanted to get right the first time. For example: forming an LLC? Lawyers can do that faster and better than we can. On the flip side, consultants offered to do market research or help us come up with a budget. Nah, we can do that. Research and math are our strong suits.
One thing we can’t do is graphic design. We have a lot of opinions about graphic design, and had a strong vision about the look and feel that we wanted, all of which drove us toward finding a designer who could bring it to life. Enter Amy McAdams, an AWESOME freelance graphic designer in Indy who had created logos and artwork for multiple local businesses. We knew we had our design partner.
When we changed our name to Ash & Elm (see previous blog about this), we were at a loss of what direction to go. Amy came up with a solid idea to have typeface only, and we loved the idea of laying it over a cross-section of a tree. Amy was in, and took it a step further, suggesting we find an actual piece of a tree and make a print instead of trying to create everything through technology.
This was our typeface logo which we used as a jumping off point. I called a tree-service company that had tree cuttings at their disposal and picked up a few cross-sections (also known as tree cookies!). Though I’d requested a piece of an Ash or Elm tree, they only had Cottonwood available (sad face).
Next, I went to a friends’ wood shop and sanded these bad boys down. I had a near death experience when my scarf got eaten by the sander while I was still wearing it, so this may have been something I should’ve had someone else do. I also took a blowtorch to the sanded cookie to make the rings really stand out (Google suggested this).
Then, Amy came over, we had coffee, rolled ink onto the cleaned cookies, and made multiple ink pressings. It took a while to find the ideal method (paper on top of inked cookie, rub with fingers over and over again, use just the right amount of ink, and carefully remove).
We took our best pressing and then Amy worked her magic by digitally scanning it in, correcting a few issues, and overlaying our typeface.
We love the finished product, and are so glad we called upon an expert in this case! Hopefully this logo and brand will become synonymous with great, hand-crafted, ciders put out by a company that is active and engaged in their community.