Getting to the Finish Line – The Branding Process

If you are local to Eugene/Springfield, you have probably heard of Rick Dancer. Former News Anchor. Attempted Secretary of State. Resident Goofball.

I ran into Rick at the gym a while back, and we started talking after a class. He is now running a media company and is building a great audience online via Facebook Live. Monday through Friday, he meets with people from the community to talk about their event or business on the show. The response has been very positive, as the shows are fun, informative, and do a great job of capturing that local feel without the overtly high gloss of “news”.

I mentioned to Rick that I was starting to get into graphic design and he was interested in seeing what I could do. So I took a look at some of his work, and thought it would be a great exercise in branding.

One of Rick’s shows that he is building is called “Real Adventure with Rick Dancer. Since he is a media personality, I was gravitating toward the vintage microphone feel as a part of the logo, with his name “up on the marquee” as it were.



I think I missed my calling as a hand-letterer. Look at that amazing and clear handwriting….

So after that quick sketch to make sure I had the rough idea down, I spun up Illustrator and started mocking up the design. I liked the idea of the circle with the rectangle going across it, but something just wasn’t sitting right with me. I hadn’t  even gotten to the microphone piece when I realized that it really wasn’t what I was looking for.


The colors weren’t working like I wanted them to, I wasn’t having the tight tracking on the curved type, and nothing really sat well with me except the shape. I also wanted to limit the color scheme and the number of fonts used, so I dropped all of the color and made some significant changes.

In the back of my head, I felt that the overall look wasn’t capturing the “adventure” aspect of the piece. So I dug around and found this great bicycle – something Rick enjoys doing – and added rounded strokes to various sections to give it a feeling of being in motion. Skewing the bike by just a few degrees also gave it that sense of fast-paced action, so I matched it with the shape of the background and the text angle as well. Moving the title of the show to the center marquee made more sense for making things fit together better, and in general the piece looked more balanced.You can see here that it has made some real progress, but we’re not quite finished. While I removed all of the extra colors, I still technically had a two-color piece, since both the white and black were both visible. The black outline around the outside felt too heavy and unnecessary, as I already had a white one. I could also see that the skew of the text and the rectangle needed to more closely match each other, and Rick’s name at the bottom felt too overbearing.

So I took another crack at it, and I am so happy with the resulting changes. I reintroduced a color in the background, and mocked up the logo to show what it would look like if printed on a t-shirt.



The last thing I wanted to try was to see if I could animate the logo into a usable title card for overlay over video, as that would be something Rick could use for the show. After Effects allows Illustrator files to be rendered without changing formats, so I could quickly drop my animation in and start playing. The final animation is quick and clean, without being distracting or carrying on for too long. Gifs are great ways of making sure that your animation works, and they are easy to send to clients for them to review.

I sent the finished file over to Rick, and he was very happy with the results. For me, it was a great lesson in designing something that will have multiple uses, so it therefore has to be flexible for each possible use. I’ve continued to refine my After Effects tool set and look forward to the next project where I get to play!