Case Study · Hand Lettered Logo Nina Kardia

Nina Kardia square

Nina Kardia is a Brisbane-based art company in its infancy. Kamina, its owner, describes it as:

“a place to connect with other creatives, trade skills and make heart happiness together. A place to inspire people who think they can’t Art to try making something, even if it’s just a noise.”

Initial Thoughts

One of the main focuses of this business is to help young artists of all disciplines connect with each other. 'Nina Kardia' is the major aspect of the logo. Kamina wanted the logo to essentially represent different facets of not only her business but of her personality - connection, class, boldness, strength, simplicity. In order to represent as many of these aspects as possible, I chose to hand letter 'Nina Kardia' in a serif style.

i. Lettering

I kept the shapes and the serif edges quite clean and sharp to highlight the classiness and boldness aspects. I gave the letters quite wide stances so they look balanced and bold. The client also wanted the logo to evoke a sense of openness and friendliness, as opposed to the stuffiness and exclusivity portrayed by some art companies' logos.

So I achieved this by keeping the hand-lettered feel of the letters, digitally tracing the outside edges of my lettering very closely, rather than smoothing everything out perfectly.

Rough Nina Kardia sketches

Rough Nina Kardia sketche

Nina Kardia in Photoshop

Kamina & I discussed how she wanted people to feel inspired when they looked at the logo, so I knew that I wanted to incorporate some subtle aspect that would make people look twice at it.

Having an interaction between the 'K' and the 'A' in 'Kardia' achieved this - at first glance, you don't notice that the bottom of the left stem is missing from the 'A', but on the second glance it becomes apparent. This interaction also highlights the concept of connection in the logo.

This concept is further enhanced by the interactions of the tops and bottoms of most of the letters - the letters are literally connected with each other, imperfect and beautiful.

Rough Nina Kardia sketches

ii. Illustration

Connection is such an important part of the business - bringing people together, and helping them to build relationships and connections.

At our initial meeting, Kamina was thinking of using a heart illustration to incorporate this element into the logo. Another important aspect of the business is our city - Brisbane.

Nina Kardia is based in Brisbane, and the culture of the city is something that will play an important role in the shaping of the business. So I decided to incorporate both of these elements, connection and Brisbane, together in the logo, by creating an illustration of 'Brisbane's heartbeat'.

Using an image of the Brisbane skyline as a rough guide, I drew a heartbeat-like shape, with the peaks and troughs representing different buildings and landmarks.

I kept the peaks of the buildings square and sharp, and rounded the troughs, so as to suggest an image of the buildings over the Brisbane River, and their reflections in the river.

Heartbeat 1

Heartbeat 2

After trying out this concept with the logo, though, it didn't look quite right. It wasn't 'Brisbane' enough. The Storey Bridge is an iconic landmark of the city, so I decided to incorporate it into the heartbeat, to add a stronger Brisbane flavour.

So I landed on this final sketch for the heartbeat:

Heartbeat 3

iii. Tagline

The final aspect of the logo was 'Heart Adventures'. The client wanted this text able to be read in two ways:

Art Ventures · Heart Adventures

These two phrases describe the ethos of the business pretty concisely. Already having two quite intricate elements drawn by hand, I wanted to use a clean, simple, sans serif font for this element. Aesthetically, this would provide a contrast with the sans serif 'Nina Kardia' lettering, and also allow Kamina to use the font on her website to create brand consistency.

In addition, I wanted to find a font that was made in several width variations, so that I could use the contrast between heavy and light type to make 'Heart Adventures' and 'Art Ventures' readable. This font also had to be a web font, so that it could easily be used online.

This narrowed the choices down quite a bit, and I was left deciding between Lato and Open Sans.

Nina Kardia in Photoshop

As you can see, they're quite similar, but I went with Lato (on the second line).

The letters are, appropriately, a little more 'open', and rounded than Open Sans, which I thought hit a perfect balance of friendly and professional. I decided to use it in uppercase so the logo remained balanced and grounded - lowercase looked a little unbalanced and like the logo might topple over.

Putting it All Together

In terms of colours I kept the logo completely black on white to ensure a sense of crispness and boldness. After ensuring that it was readable at very small sizes, and making final adjustments… here it was. I made a horizontal & more square layout so they could be used seamlessly in different situations.

Nina Kardia square

Nina Kardia horizontal

Check it out in use on the blog - and have a read through if you like, it's pretty magical!