The University Scholars Programme (USP) is a special course within the National University of Singapore (NUS) that allows students to enrol in courses that, in my own words (my own words, I emphasise), broaden their minds by encouraging the pursuit of curiosity. Sounds pretty general, right? I guess that’s the point, since the USP offers courses that range from the unification theories in physics, to biodiversity and even politics and philosophy. And nope, we’re not all scholarship holders; it’s just a fancy name given by our dear school.
Anyway, when I was a first year student in the USP, there were plans to start a USP publication, code-named The Cinnamon Roll (Cinnamon was chosen because, as students in the USP faculty, we’re required to stay in a hostel in University Town called Cinnamon College; The Cinnamon Roll is meant to be a pun on the cinnamon bun and a roll of newspaper). So, the organising committees started gathering writers and designers from the USP community (it was quite hush-hush back then, I remember) to contribute to the publication. I was one of the designers that the organising committee approached, and the first assignment given to the design team was for each of us to separately design a logo for the publication.
Needless to say, I was thrilled at this opportunity. I searched the internet for logo design inspirations, and got to work.
This was the design that I submitted to the organising committee for consideration:
This logo was designed using simple triangles and polygons to form the shape of a cinnamon roll (yep, I love geometric shapes). I used an image of an actual cinnamon roll as the base for this logo design, and traced out the distinctive features of the bun. Then, I overlaid various geometric shapes over the traced lines, and used different shades of colours to create a pseudo-3D feel to the bun. This stage is largely experimental, because the use of different shades of colours and different geometric shapes can result in vastly different final looks.
To give you an idea of this, here’s the base image that I used in designing the logo:
As you can see, the final logo doesn’t look exactly like the source image. But that’s the idea: you use the source image as a base, and slowly experiment and build on it. This can be the most fun – and frustrating – part of designing a logo, because you never really know when the logo is ‘done’.
Anyway, the organising committee of the publication looked through the various logo designs submitted to them, and selected my design for use in The Cinnamon Roll. The editor, however, wanted a more curvy logo than what I’ve designed, and asked me to make some amendments to my design. I was a little reluctant at first, largely because I liked geometric shapes more than curves back then, but I made the amendments anyway.
I used my logo design as the base this time, and traced it out in Illustrator using smooth lines. After that, it was back to experimenting, because I had to fill up the spaces in the logo with shades of colour. However, unlike in the previous geometric design, I chose to fill the spaces up with gradients to make the final logo fit better into the curves.
Here’s the final logo, as well as the official banner (which was designed together with the entire design team), that’s used in the Cinnamon Roll publication:
I still (secretly) like my original geometric design more =P.
The Cinnamon Roll made it’s first (and probably last?) hard copy publication on 4 March 2013. This cover page was designed by me, with the USC Cheer (the USP Cheerios) featured at the background.