Fragile, but golden.
Today I’m sharing a recent logo project I completed for the City of Starkville Department of Environmental Services. I’m posting it because it was a fun public project and because I think it’s a good design solution. But, I’m also sharing it because Starkville, MS is doing something special, and I always enjoy applying good design to good ideas.
The project began as a logo for the city’s Curbside Recycling program. Several years ago, Starkville began a free program of picking up recycling at the curbside with no sorting required by citizens. That’s a pretty common service, but in our area, the fact that it was free to citizens was pretty groundbreaking. We were one of the first communities in the state to offer it as a free service.
In our initial meetings on the project, however, the tone of the conversation began to expand beyond just recycling to the concept of environmental services as a whole. In addition to recycling, the department handles sanitation, as you might imagine, but also rubbish & debris, a landfill (like most communities), and city landscaping. The committee members shared their thoughts on the ways sanitation and recycling are tied together and their goals of creating a community where the days for recycling pick-up actually outnumber the days for garbage pick-up. We recognized together that the underlying goals were really bigger than just recycling. The work of the department is really about creating a positive environment in the community, and about doing that responsibly with greater citizen involvement and buy-in.
We changed the program of the project to create a logo and brand image for the Department of Environmental Services as a whole, so that all the elements of creating this “clean community” are represented by the same image. With the visuals, we wanted the logo to be about more than trash — just as the department is. And, we wanted the brand to reflect that Starkville is growing something positive with our environmental services — in both mindset and the physical environment.
Enjoy this first look at the solution the City of Starkville embraced!
I’m closing in on the one-year anniversary of Small Pond Graphics in the next month or so. I’ve been thinking back to a year ago, and I find myself so amazed at this crazy process of starting something new. The idea of starting my own design company had never really occurred to me. I was very happy in a job that allowed me a tremendous amount of creative freedom and the opportunity to work with a varied mix of clients, learn new things and work closely with the confidence of a good friend and mentor. It just didn’t occur to me. Then, in this crazy whirlwind of a month’s time, I found out my company was closing in thirty days and the concept of my own new venture plopped into the brainsphere (so to speak).
Literally over a weekend, trying to allow my heart to catch up while meeting a PR deadline for an announcement of our closure that could also include contact information for my new venture, I decided to go for it. Then, I decided on a company name — largely based on the whisperings of that little voice in my heart telling me where I really enjoyed focusing my attention. I suppose it worked to my advantage that I didn’t have the time over-think it, as I am SO apt to do! Is that how most small businesses start? With a swig of circumstance, a shot of serendipity and a splash of passion — all on a deadline?
On this date in 2010, I decided to name my company Small Pond Graphics.
I was looking back through some of my thoughts surrounding that decision and thought I might share a portion of my journaling through the process. As I read it again, it really reminded me of my own head a year ago. It’s made me think through the impact a year has had on that passion, those core ideas, and the areas where I wanted to focus. I’ve seen opportunities I never would have predicted… opportunities for collaboration, opportunities for creativity, opportunities for building something and helping others do the same. I can’t think of a better way to spend a year! Thanks for letting me share an unfiltered glimpse into the Haley mindset…
May 22, 2010
I’m thinking of Small Pond Design or Small Pond Graphics. I have a logo pictured in my mind with a frog. I love frogs. It’s something that’s been publicized that I like. So, I wanted one in the logo. I like the idea of embracing the small pond — the boutique concept, a place where individuality can be addressed, individual solutions. I was also thinking of the idea of small world. It has a focus on networking, the power of relationships, a relationship-based approach to service. And the small world kind of talks about the realities of digital technology — mainly how I’ll be doing business, I can work with near and far, etc. Locally, the small pond idea can speak to choosing local services. But, it can also work in the concept of addressing your needs in your specific pond — a niche with small businesses and business start-ups. Those are the types of clients I love. Entrepreneurs, innovators, helping people give their dream a successful face and way to communicate.
It’s that time of year again. The daycare end-of-the-year program is tonight. Back in December, I wrote about the last installment of the daycare touring show — the Christmas program. And just like that experience, exuberance has again been rearing its head around my house.
Granted, exuberance comes standard where Bug, the four-year-old is concerned, but it’s so much bigger and well, exuberant when there’s a performance involved. Especially a performance he’s been practicing for.
So, this morning I was informed, “Today is next Thursday!”
There’s been quite a buildup to “the program,” as we’ve come to call it. His teachers instilled in Bug the idea that “the program” was happening on Thursday, and ever since, I’ve been asked to explain all things relative to the particular Thursday in question.
Today’s the day. Exuberance struck this morning in full force with major jumps around the kitchen, speed chasing through the hallway, volume set firmly on ten and umpteen questions about who’s coming, did we realize it was tonight, wait is it tonight, my teacher said it was tonight, and so forth.
I found myself saying, “Bug, we need to calm down.”
“Bug, settle down.”
“Bug, we need to lower our voices inside.”
“Yes, Bug, I know it’s Thursday.” (insert sigh)
“BUG! You’re too excited! You need to calm down. RIGHT. NOW.”
He stopped. He searched my grim face for a moment. His giant grin dropped to a blank expression. He looked away for a moment. His face colored slightly. Then, he smiled at me again. Maybe a little weaker, but a smile.
That’s when it hit me. WHAT am I doing? I’d rather see his vibrant grin than a blank stare any day. Any moment. Every moment. This was something he had worked for. Something he had practiced. Something that was just his. In a year of big firsts for his older brother becoming a kindergardener and his younger sister learning to talk and do so many things, this was HIS moment. He was the only one of us in “the program.” This was HIS program.
And he was excited about it.
Dare I say, exuberant. And I want him to be. I want to celebrate with him. I want him to know that I can’t wait to see him shine. And I told him so. I grabbed him for a big hug — the kind mommies give when they know they’ve handled it all wrong. The kind with the prayer under my breath saying, “God, please don’t let him remember this.” I told him I was SO excited about his program. That I couldn’t wait to see it. And he bounded off again with exuberance somewhat in tact.
Yes, I understand self control. I understand appropriate. I understand time and place. I understand how frenzied those exuberant moments (and days) can be. And, I understand how they stretch even the most patient mommy (which I am not) during the daily morning routine. Still, in a world where folks pay big money to attend seminars devoted to helping them find the motivation to do things they already say they want to do… In a world where the self help aisle is burgeoning with ways to get yourself on target with that next big idea… In a world where it seems to take an inordinate amount of effort to defy the inertia of lives plugged in to this technology or entertainment or the other… In that world, I WANT to see exuberance. Blinding, unfiltered, self-generated exuberance.
In my Bug, I want to mold it. I want to season it. I want to train it. I want to channel it. And, yes, at times I may even want to contain it. But I never want to squelch it.
Instead, I want to celebrate it. And tonight, I will.