Deanna Miller


Exhibition: Spread v1

The Process

UnderDog Music Company was a small independent store (one of the last in Canada) fighting against the giant corporate chains. Their name said it all. The store was conceived, owned and operated by real working musicians, in the spirit of live music; a little rough around the edges but with attention to detail. Not slick – but polished. Honest, strong and grass roots – but cool and rebellious at the same time. They needed a logo needed to reflect those qualities.

This phase of the design process showed the movement beyond initial ideas and the progression through interaction with the client. I expanded on the ideas to create a family look that would extend into further designs used for in-store signage, posters, apparel, etc. – fun but edgy, friendly but gritty. Things that influenced me – old record labels, motorcycles, hot rods, rock and roll, mom n’ pop shops, a play on the word underdog. The brand also had the opportunity to be non-corporate and playful, which made it unique, like the store itself.

The direction the logo continued to take was decidedly more toward a word mark therefore the typefaces were primary components and of critical importance. A retro-style face was chosen for the name that was easy to read and reproduce. Also influenced by a dated colour palette, a mellow shade green was incorporated. In the final stages of the design, the logo adopted a distressed look to represent the patina of long-lasting quality.

The final design was a throwback to old school motorcycle branding while still being family-friendly. It was important for the logo to evoke an emotional response in the viewer – reminiscent of the glory days for older clientele, while hip, cool, and retro for the younger market. It would represent the independent music store like a badge of honour.