Zimmer Children’s Museum, Los Angeles
Show & Tell: the Art of Pop Culture
2012 Art Auction & Fundraiser
Beginning in 2008 we began working with the Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles creating logo designs and publication/collateral design supporting its Show & Tell fundraiser series. The latest identity design is for their 2012 event: the Art of Pop Culture.
Above is the final 2012 logo design along with six alternative concepts submitted to the client. All have their merit, but only one winner is chosen in logo design.
In the course of the project we also designed layouts of catalog covers for the Art of Pop Culture. It’s now been decided this year’s event will be online instead, but we designed a beauty for the Art of Language in 2009. Link to additional Xeno logo designs. – c –
by Shicana Allen
The Zimmer Children’s Museum, located on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles, is one of those hidden educational treasures that you wish all children and families had access to, whether across the nation or across the globe. If that were the case, this world would be a different place. A non-profit institution, the museum caters to kids from birth to age 8, and is the only museum in the City of Angels to do so. In addition, Zimmer’s “YouThink” school and community programs reach out to the teenage crowd, helping youth to foster critical thinking skills around social justice and contemporary themes.
Dedicated to teaching the “BIG IDEAS of global citizenship, community responsibility, and cultural sensitivity,” the Zimmer Museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits in imaginative and inspiring settings. Their mission? “To make a better society through interactive learning, creative self-expression and art experiences” for their youthful audience.
It’s no wonder that Xeno Design has been thrilled to contribute toward the Zimmer Museum’s goals. For the last four years, creative director Chris Garland has created eye-popping logos for their annual Show & Tell fundraisers, as well as a masterful print catalog for their 2009 Art of Language benefit. Logos may be small, but as any promotional expert will confide, they are a driving force behind the success of a marketing campaign or public relations push. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, and logos, after all, are just little pictures. Little pictures with BIG messages.
Explains Chris: “A logo is a vital, important component, absolutely. It is an anchor of attention, setting the pace, leading the way, engaging people’s interest and giving them something to align with. Of course, the process of success is multi-faceted, but a good logo sets a positive tone for the business or organization behind it.”
When hired to create a logo, the first conversation or brainstorming session with a client is key. “In the beginning, I introduce them to my look, my style, by showing other logos I’ve produced that carry an appropriate tone. I’ve done quite a broad range, so there’s a wide variety to choose from.” Chris then makes sure he understands a client’s reason for wanting a new logo and any expectations as to what it should accomplish. “There’s a playing field in which each project lives. I don’t necessarily start from scratch, since a favorite client icon, color scheme, or established font may come into play. For example, people should be able to instantly recognize an organization’s logo when it arrives by email or a postcard.” Next, Chris designs three or four options up front and observes the response. If necessary, it’s back to the drawing board.
“I do hit home runs sometimes,” he chuckles. Chris Garland will himself admit he has a flair for creating innovative, effective logos. He is not one to boast; his comment leans on a long track-record of satisfied clients and, as he proudly admits, several fulfilling decades in the graphic design field. His talent is as much a gift of nature as the result of a lengthy refinement process. “I’m of a certain age, literally. I’m not a kid that just started this recently, so I’ve got a lot going on in terms of experience and maturity. I know what I know, what I think I know, and what I don’t know – I don’t know,” Chris laughs. As for his unique brand of design, the Xeno style has been described as everything from jazzy to deco. Chris takes it all as a compliment: “It’s somebody’s way of expressing their feelings and why they like my work.” His own perception is that “it’s an interesting combination of contemporary and period. My work has a certain precision to it, there’s no doubt about it. That’s one reason why my style really doesn’t look like anyone else’s.” As a college student, Chris was an engineering major before switching over to straight design. “Most graphic designers rely on a subjective, artistic point of view. My creations emerge from a lot of technical thinking that other designers usually don’t engage in. That’s just the way I get a job done…with that sort of precision.” But precision aside, the true artist emerges when Chris speaks from his inspired heart. Although not a performer, he waxes poetic about his love and passion for the art form of music and how that is incorporated into his design. “A logo speaks in tones primarily. Some marks are more descriptive or literal, others are more iconic. But either way, a logo needs to resonate…and inevitably it does, any which way. If you draw just a line on paper, even that resonates.” As he continues, it becomes evident that Chris has perfectly merged his engineering mind with the sensibilities of a painter. “I choose certain colors because they represent tones and they vibrate. There is light energy that radiates from them…whether orange or green or blue. I coordinate those vibrations, those signals, and that’s why they buzz. I’ve learned to control that in my own way.”