In January 2018, I was commissioned by the Alaska Brain Injury Network - a federal agency - to design a new logo to be integrated. This undertaking was compelling to me, as my brother - a victim of severe heavy metal poisoning - was and continues to be a focal point to their story. There are obviously personal roots connecting the agency to myself, so my work would be from the vantage of passion.
Before all else, I needed to see what was the precursor to my up and coming design - to see what inspiration could spark my approach and if fortunate, understand what had led to said prelude. Unfortunately, there was not a terrible lot to build off of, as the logo seemed rather standard and did not tell a story.
Though a whole story was not told from the precursor logo, there was still an identifiable foundation to build upon. Therefore, I moved forward, focusing to emphasize the care and support that patients would experience.
The first logo sketch integrated the human head, but removed the emphasis on the brain... but still made the mind the focal point. I leaned the head forward, to create a calm and soothing impression of one receiving much-needed attention, with a hand touching the (in?)side of the patient's mind. This conveys more of a sense of connection and vulnerability and less of the intrinsic value of an injured brain.
The second logo sketch took more of a brain-oriented approach and identified it with Alaska. Like a great many others, I have always found the state to resemble a sentient creature. Though it is commonly perceived as resembling a mammoth's head, I instead view it as being a man missing a torso running. With that provided, I retained the shape of a brain, but integrated the Alaskan Highway, in lieu of blood vessels.
For bringing the first design to life, the greatest challenge was to identify the most ideal negative space-- this was specifically poignant for the first design. On one hand, (pun intended), the positive space being identified to the caregiver and surrounding circle stands out more. Then again, the patient is always the top priority. I conceded and designated the positive space to the hand, while the head would serve as an easily-identifiable negative space. I modeled the hand and arm after my now-fiancée, Kristin.
The second design did not translate as well as I had hoped. After etching out the shape of Alaska, I found that what is supposed to be an identifiable logo for a federal organization was now a highly-detailed map of the state. Therefore, I softened the edges and moved forward. Another difficult pill to swallow was realizing that roadway in Alaska is sparse north of Fairbanks. As such, I accepted the dire reality that the blood vessel surrogates would look more like tendrils.
As such, my personal inspiration for the first logo connected with what drew the agency's attention in the first place. The Alaska Brain Injury Network unanimously agreed and selected my design as the new logo for the organization.