Monday, September 13, 2010

Its all in a name

As an artist, one of the most important images that belongs to me is my signature.  It defines who I am, it is legal proof of my identity, it my signature of authenticity on my work, it confirms my place in history.  It is my logo.

In branding myself as an artist I always considered images of my work. Then I thought that the images can and will change over time, but the image that would stay consistent would be my signature, so why not use that as the brand for my art.

I have created my signature image here and am now trying to decide on the final wording and although I likely know the answer, I still seek input from my peers.  The two taglines on the signatures above define what I produce.  Both are fine art but one has the addition of gyotaku to it.  This is where I toss out questions into the ether and seek other perspectives.

  1. I seem to have found a niche in the world of fish and gyotaku, but I wonder if I will continue to do so into the future?  
  2. Does 'fine art' cover gyotaku as well and make the addition of the word to the tagline redundant?  
  3. If I move into another avenue of art in two or five or ten years time, will this make what would then be an established logo which represents me, outdated?
  4. Is the signature the image that defines the logo and brand and the tag line something that can change or are they inextricably bound to become one unit?
  5. Are the colours of the logo and the tag line pleasing and readable?
  6. Does a graphic need to be added to the image?
  7. Are there any safety concerns about using a signature as a logo?  i.e.  can it be 'lifted'?

And speaking of all in a name, I am happy to announce that Elaine of Cedar Knoll Farm was the winner of the small 'Uncle Vinnie' original print that I offered in a blog  post draw last week.  Thanks to all who participated and shared their stories about their own 'Uncle Vinnie'.  I appreciate you taking the time to comment and share.

And for those who have not seen the update for the bluegills print, here it is.  I blogged about it on Watermarks yesterday.  This is a sneak preview of part of my gyotaku project that I am currently working on, generously funded by NLAC and due to be completed in April 2011.


Ann said...

I like the second one best. It seems to me that if you are going to clarify 'fine art' further with gyotaku, then why not add painting, drawing, etc. The colors look really good to me. About the safety of using your sig as a logo, I have no idea and will be interested in what other responses you receive.

S.G. Chipman said...

Be as generic as you can be - your customers don't know wtf gyotaku is. Hell, I figured it had something to do with all the fish you've been producing lately, but still looked it up to be sure.

I had branded my site "fine portraits", but then I started adding drawings of pears, shoes, and your oranges, so that became something I needed to change.

No graphic - simple is best. Personally, I dislike serif fonts, so I'd use whatever font (helvetica?) you used in the first logo.

I might also consider dropping the red in favor of black - that way the signature on your paintings (lest you intend to use red every time) matches your logo.

As for worries of it being lifted? What an awesome problem to have ... forgeries of your gorgeous work. :)

Rose Welty said...

Very good idea Jeanette. I say just "fine art" for similar reasons to Steve. I know that Susan Carlin used her signature for her website banner - also using it like a logo. I haven't heard that she has had problems with security but you might ask her. She is very friendly.

Billie Crain said...

I also vote for the second logo. I consider your gyotaku prints fine art.

Personally I'd worry about putting my actual signature out there. Too easy to copy and Photoshop onto a painting, print, etc., whether it be a forgery of my work or something else entirely. Maybe something that I wouldn't want my name attached to.

Anonymous said...

My preference would be just your name, as your tastes, interests etc. will likely change over time.

I also found when deciding on how to sign my work that I didn't want it written in script i.e. signature because that is difficult to accomplish with a paintbrush. Much of my work starts out in a traditional medium and finishes as a digital piece of art, so I wanted to find the right balance of something I could sign with my pen tablet as well as a paintbrush. Just my thoughts...
Stay inspired!
Brain Angles - Invisible Ink

sue said...

As with all the previous responses, I believe the second example is best.

I don't use script for the same reasons as Michelle. I don't paint, but I do work on a variety of surfaces - sanded papers, velour, drafting film etc which makes it difficult to stay consistent so I'm boring and stick with my name written in capital letters which is simpler for me.

Jennifer Rose said...

I would just use fine art as a lot of people do not know what gyotaku is and while it might get people asking questions about your art and what you do, it might just confuse more people.
the sig looks better without a graphic, but maybe just use a simple black instead of red?

Anonymous said...

Ditto second image. Glad I'm not the only one who thinks about these things. I use some form of a signature on big pieces, but just my initials on smaller ones. I need some continuity, so thank you for bringing this up to serve as a reminder.

About security of using signature as logo... I think it's ok as long as that is not the official signature you use on legal documents.

Jeanette said...

I agree Ann, the more generic the better.

Steve, thanks for the input. I agree too that leaving it at Fine Art gives a lot more flexibility for what I do now or in the future.

Yes, the cleaner font in the first (can't remember the name right now) is better.

As for signature being 'lifted', my concern wasn't about forging my signature on pieces of art, as I'm far from well known enough for that to have any impact or influence on anyone. My thought was more around the concept of identity theft.

Billie, I think we're all moving on the same path here in terms of being general instead of adding specifics to the tagline.

I presume that the logo could be broken down and the signature taken, but its pretty unlikely. However, I'll have to make sure that its in a format that is not able to be copied or downloaded as an image.

I understand that Michelle, because I know my signature on oil paintings is different than on any other medium, simply because its more difficult to manipulate a brush. I now use a Sharpie on the final dried piece before varnishing. That way my signature remains consistent.

Thanks Sue. Yes Fine Art is what the concensus is and it makes perfect sense. I'm going to play with some signatures and see what works best.

Agreed Jennifer and yes, I'll try a signature in black and perhaps other mediums (this was done in a red sharpie) to how they look. Clarity, good visuals and longevity is what I'm looking for in this logo.

Jeanette said...

Tracy, we must have just posted at the same time.

Yes, the more generic fine art is what I'll use.

As for signatures, we all use varying ones on varying pieces of art it seems, but our legal signature - our day to day version - is the one that counts. And I realize that I write out my name on anything official, so using J. Jobson shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for that input.