The Wild Parrot logo has always bugged me. It is something I made about a year ago as a placeholder and it looks like something created by a guy who spends his free time making beer and writing blogs. Everyone wants their logo to be unique and fit their brand, but finding an appropriate style to accomplish that is beyond the skills of most people. After mulling this over for months, it turned out the answer was staring me right in the face. Seriously, our neighbor across the street who’s house I can see as I write this blog was the answer.
Ben Balistreri is a beer-loving, toy-collecting, artistic wizard. The man has won an Emmy, an Annie, and has beer artwork hanging in his living room. After hearing about his drawing skills, I tracked down his blog which features a decade's worth of his awesome drawings, comics and characters. The style and quality is fantastic and I knew immediately that I wanted to see if he would be willing to take a crack at creating something for Wild Parrot. Armed with beer, I popped the question and he said yes! I had some scattered ideas of what I thought I wanted, but nothing that really excited me. Ben, being the drawing genius, pointed me in the direction of a mascot - a singular character that would be the Wild Parrot.
Before getting started, we discussed a few parameters to get the mascot headed in the right direction:
A design that reflects the fun attitude that represents the Wild Parrot brand
Something simple and clean that could be reproduced at a small scale
A style that maintains a hand-drawn, animated look but not something you would see on a cereal box
A flexible design that could be customized to each beer - For example, an Oktoberfest beer could have the mascot dressed in lederhosen or a dirndl
We went through a few iterations and talked a lot about the body shape and facial expression. Should it be happy? Goofy? Mean? Should it be drinking a beer? (yes, yes it should) To give you an idea of where we started, here are the original concept sketches, alongside a picture of some of the local parrots (man, those things are freaky looking).
And here is the the final result! I think it nails each of the bullet points listed above. It is a fun design; kinda goofy but not over the top. There is some detail but overall it is simple and will hold up whether it's an inch tall or plastered on the side of a building. The pose and body style allow for easy customization for future iterations. Finally, we maintained some of the irregularity in the mug lines to show off that it is a hand-drawn design (The look is so clean that it's kind of hard to believe that each pen stroke was done by hand). The coloration is a work in progress as we flesh out the rest of the logo, but we are working with the palette of the actual birds.
Here are a few words from the man himself:
1. How do you feel about the wild parrots of Pasadena?
I for one welcome our new parrot overlords and hope they show mercy on us all.
2. How would you describe the look of the mascot?
When designing the parrot I wanted to come up with a simple iconic image that has a strong appeal without looking too childish. Balancing graphic shapes with some structural forms helped to achieve that look. As far as his personality I felt like he should be a parrot that you’d want to sit at the bar and have a drink with. Chill but not drunk looking.
3. Are there any logos that you took inspiration from when coming up with the design?
Not really any in particular but I researched advertising mascots and logos from many types of products. I particularly centered around designed from the 50’s and 60’s.
4. Other than my beers (smiley face emoji), what is the most delicious beer you've ever tasted?
The pint of fresh Guinness I had at the top of the Guinness Brewery overlooking Dublin was a transcendiary experience, but honestly every pint of Guinness I drink has similar effect and makes me glad to be alive.
The balance of the design will hopefully be finished up in the upcoming weeks. Can't wait to start putting this stuff on shirts and glasses (and eventually cans and growlers!).