You may have noticed this little emblem popping up in my Instagram feed, pictures on the site, and refreshed packaging. I went through quite the process to create this, and thought I'd share the various meanings behind it. I also provide some suggested steps on creating your own at the end of the post :)
1) NORTH STAR: This represents the North Star as a symbol for having focus and direction. Because the North Star always appears due north and the angle it makes with respect to the true horizon is ~equal to the latitude of the observer, it has long been used by explorers for navigation. I don't say "direction" to mean we necessarily know our exact destination, but rather that during our journey we are guided by principle and purpose. For me, the symbolism is not just for direction in what we choose to do, but what kind of person we choose to be. As the saying goes, whatever you are, be a good one.
2) ANTLER BRANCHES: A lot of the symbols in the emblem obviously refer to nature, which is my greatest source of inspiration. In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, the shape of antlers and branches remind me of the way our life paths meet, segment and diverge. You never know where the paths may end, get worse, get better, etc. So to me, it's best to make the most of what you have where you are, and let the past and future be a source of motivation rather than a source of worry and constraint.
3) DTLA: We are based in DTLA and I have long held a strong attachment to this part of Los Angeles. I first started being a DTLA enthusiast when I interned here in 2007. It would become deserted at 6 pm, streets were gritty, and there were very few cool cultural centers, bars and restaurants like there are now. But as a native LA girl with a love of urban cities like NY and SF, this is what we had. And I loved that if you simply looked up in a lot of places, you'd see that there used to be beautiful buildings here, just waiting to be rediscovered.
Now that's what's happening, and it's so exciting to see DTLA changing and becoming ever the more vibrant. Getting to be in the midst of such change and being a part of an evolving rather than settled identity is a special thing to me. Also, I love a balance of urbanism and nature, and wanted to reflect that in the emblem by including references to both.
4) MOUNTAINS: Mountains represent the rise and fall of our experiences, its peaks and valleys echoing challenges and opportunities. It also conveniently looks like an M :)
5) M: Self-explanatory, hopefully. I wanted this representation of the mimochai logo to fit in with the rest of the elements, to be gracefully noticeable but not overly dominant or obtrusive. It's how I like a lot of things, I suppose.
6) LAURELS: Another hat tip to nature, these laurels represent growth. In addition, the two opposite styles parallel the creatures in (7), and both hint to the contrasting styles I aim to marry in my own: clean and modern mixed with whimsical and organic. I have long struggled with whether to be more one or the other, and finally came to realize that we can be both. It's a surprisingly long and often difficult journey to come to understand who you are and be comfortable with that. And that's just the start!
7) CREATURE FRIENDS: In addition to the symbolism mentioned above, the lion represents strength and courage while the bird represents fragility and grace. For most things in life I think there's not a clear right or wrong, but a happy balance. I'm also a Leo so that's a bit of an easter egg there :)
8) DIGITAL, ANALOG, MAGIC TOOLS: I rely on both analog and digital tools to create. I also am generally fascinated by new technology and gadgets but have a nostalgic love for the hand-made. The stylus and pencil symbolize both with equal importance. The middle tool is a magic wand, mirroring the North Star above. It serves as a double nod to the tool in Photoshop as well as the fairytale tool of choice :) Technologies like VR (virtual reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) are blurring the lines of reality and fiction, and I think some old-fashioned belief in magic is always good.
So there you have it! Brevity is not my strength, clearly.
An early sketch of the emblem I shared on IG.
I thought I was close to done, but you can see
I ended up simplifying it a lot!
Making an emblem is a fun exercise in both design and also synthesizing what's important to you. If you'd like to make your own, here's some basic steps on how to get started!
1. BIG PICTURE: List out some overarching themes that are most important to you. Exploration? Creativity? Technology? Nature?
2. FACTS AND INFO: Consider any facts you want included, such as your year of establishment, location, initials, etc.
3. RESEARCH: Determine the overall style and feeling you want the emblem to convey. Simple vs elaborate, edgy vs cute, vintage vs modern, etc. Research emblem designs you like on sources such as Pinterest, Behance, Dribbble and branding books. Collect the ones that speak to you most in terms of shape, elements, etc. These can be a source of inspiration, but make sure your design is your own work.
4. SKETCH/IDEATE: Take what you've collected in steps 1-3 and start creating small rough sketches. Try as many as you can; what you think you like may turn out to be totally different from what you end up using! If you have a clear vision already, great. If not, don't give up! Just don't get too caught up being stuck on one.
5. FOCUS: Once you have some thumbnails you like, start revising them with more detail.
6. REVISE: Step away from your drawings and come back to them with fresh eyes. Ask people whose taste you trust for their opinion. Throughout the process, go back to your list of themes, facts and symbols that you wanted to include and convey. Does the emblem do its job? Is it giving off the feeling you wanted?
7. FINALIZE: Revise and iterate until you are happy with it. This may take a while!