Creating branding for my freelance illustration studio was a personal challenge, as graphic design has never been my strength. Even though I have years of experience assisting in design and branding projects, the actual discipline of graphic design has never been my focus.

My approach to crafting a logo was generic and amateurish: mash my initials together in a "crafty way", a challenge since J and P are two very different, and uncomplimentary letters. One night, while doodling around in a gridded notebook, I scrawled "JP" in an isometric fashion, and immediately knew that I had hit on something: as an illustrator, I do a lot of isometric drawing, and the style of these letters was a fitting identity for that.

What followed was a near-obsessive foray into design and branding, normally grey areas for me. Embracing a development-based creative process, I ventured into logo composition and construction, colors, font selection, typographic treatments, usages, and collateral application. The result was not only a brand for my studio, but also a wonderful personal exploration of design and branding, two areas no longer "off limits" to me.
My color palette is based on Prismacolor Premier markers, which I use for visual meeting notes and hand-rendered visualizations. The colors themselves mimic the Neuland markers used in graphic recording and facilitation.
Business cards: in my branding, I wanted to indicate my love of sketchbooks, and the extensive amount of work I do in them. I also wanted an interactive feature on the cards. The back of the card covers both areas; it's a great touchpoint when I had a card to somebody, and an absolute joy when people send me photos of the drawings and doodles they do on them.
My website (, built in Adobe Portfolio.
On the left side, you can see the initial spontaneous doodle of the "JP", which sparked this entire personal branding project.The page on the right shows how I jumped on the concept. In addition to exploring the "JP" as isometric elements, I also wondered if it could mimic the logos found on the head tubes of high-end racing bicycles (bicycles and competitive cycling are big passions of mine). Of course, I also saw the risk of the logo resembling that of a bad 80s metal band.
More development followed in the gridded notebook where this started. The notebook itself, a pocket-sized model from the IBM booth at a printing convention, was given to me by Tony Ciccolella, the head of the Creative and Branding team at the American College of Cardiology. Tony is a branding pro, and a great friend, from whom I learned a great deal about branding.
After the initial exploration in the smaller notebook, I took my final designs into a larger Rhoda gridded notepad for further development.
The final logo design. One criteria that became apparent was that the logo had to be quickly and easily rendered by hand. After the final logo design was decided upon, it was on to color exploration.
Refining the color choices; I whittled the palette down to the colors that I use most in sketchnoting and hand-rendered visualization, two mainstays of my business.
Final color choices. Though this was an personal project in every sense of the word, I shared these final three choices with colleagues in the creative community, and friends on social media. We all agreed that the middle option was the winner. The blue on the descender of the J, and atop the P, anchor the design, while the arrangement of the orange-green-purple draw the eye from the descender of the J, up through the J, over to the stem of the P, and finally to the end of the P.
Font exploration - another of those "grey areas" for me. In my earlier amateurish approach, I just searched for "good looking" fonts on my computer. This time, by writing out the characteristics of the font I was looking for, and drawing those characteristics, it made finding the right font much easier and more successful.
Exploring and critiquing font options.
Seravek was originally ruled out, but on further exploration, revealed the J and P that I was looking for, as well as typefaces that weren't too stiff.
My good friend Yehuda brought me this wonderful pack of small notebooks, with vintage bicycles on the covers, as a birthday gift. The gridded notebook was perfect for further developing the branding. On the left, I'm exploring the layout of the lockup, and on the right, the illustration for the back side of the business card.
Further exploration into the illustration on the back of the card. There are plenty of pens that I use, and in the end, decided on the popular Sakura Pigma Micron pens, of which I designed an isometric icon to match the isometric icon of a Moleskine-style sketchbook.
Thanks for viewing; feel free to check out my website at, and to contact me about freelance illustration (and branding!) projects.
Personal Branding

Personal Branding

Personal branding developed for my freelance illustration studio