Birch Studio helped Allen Hoover, founder of Invisible Dog Productions and 7-Train Productions, develop a brand for his new film company. An early adopter of our Cobalt Web Package, Invisible Dog went for a logo, website with video and a stationery suite.
Our first conversation was around the name. We ranged between the founder’s values of reliability and extreme playfulness. The two aren’t necessarily incompatible, but they usually aren’t served on the same plate. Either way we went, we needed to show ingenuity and creativity on his part, with a touch of video-something thrown in. The name could have been a made up word or concept.
After some much-enjoyed back and forth, Invisible Dog sprouted up as the best name ever! It’s on the silly side of fun and quite memorable for it. We quickly rolled into generating ideas for the graphic concept to go along with this name: a dog in a trench coat, a dog hiding behind a newspaper on a park bench, a dog behind a tree reading a newspaper. Hoover chimed in with the gag invisible dog leash from the 80s. Bingo.
But it doesn’t say what it is that Invisible Dog does. It made sense to add Productions to the name for clarification. That was easy to agree on. The next step of course, was how to represent that in the logo.
Productions is a large word. So big that it competed with the primary name, Invisible Dog. The challenge was that people aren’t going to say “Invisible Dog Productions”. It’s just too many syllables. So we wanted to diminish “productions” visually to match the aural sensation of the word. It needed to be able to be made small verbally while still being legible graphically.
[ Fig #1 – image of sprawling words ] We explored ways to reduce the impact of Productions while retaining legibility. Productions was very legible and competed with one’s immediate understanding of the primary name.
[ Fig #2 – some examples ] We pushed harder on Productions to produce the difference of emphasis that we wanted. We added dimension to the logo by rendering Productions as the shadow of Invisible Dog. In an effort to be true to life, yet still not settled on the relationship between “Invisible Dog” and “Productions”, we reversed the direction of the shadow so that the base of it originated from the base of the other letters.
[ Fig #3 – added reversed shadow] Here, the two rows of words have a completely inverted orientation but that helps the cause. It has the shadow feeling because of the way we rendered the text in the shadow. But still, “Production” needed to have a smaller presence in the mind than “Invisible Dog”. That allowed us to make the text smaller, and in doing so, make “Production” less readable.
[ Fig #4 – final ] Finally, we adjusted the perspective of the text and shadow to match that of the invisible leash photo and customized the colors. The first things one sees are the words “Invisible Dog”. After a few seconds of looking at the details of the logo, the details of the word Production emerge. The three-dimensional aspect is reminiscent of the Hollywood sign.
This is a technique from classical painting. Like M.C. Escher’s “Three Worlds”, this logo composition uses obscured elements to stretch out the viewer’s perception over time.
Three Worlds, 1955. M.C. Escher
The slow reveal is an underused way to add dimension to your work.