Of secret plots and organic logos
A few months ago, one of our favourite people, Sunil Manaktala, asked us to conspire with him on a birthday present for his lovely wife, Rita, who runs an organic farm a ways from Mumbai. And we do love a good conspiring so we jumped right in.
Shivom Organic Farms is a lush, vibrant and picturesque property nestled along a river with a picture book farmhouse and a majestic 200-year-old banyan. Sounds magical. Is magical.
From our conversation with Sunil and reading through the property’s website, we quickly realised Rita’s deep connection with the land. It is a space reminiscent of her childhood on a similar farm long ago — memories of running around fruit orchards, playing with her cousins, eating freshly-picked fruit under a tree.
Bee and I tapped into these memories for our mood boards and decided to give Rita a slice of her childhood. Of course, it helped that Shivom Farms had all the inspiration we needed for our interpretation of a little girl enjoying fruit under a sprawling tree.
We also decided on two other visual directions – one classic and representative, with the logo showing off the thoughtfully built farmhouse at Shivom juxtaposed with the lush produce from the farm. The other, a simple and organic farm to table approach focused entirely on the farm’s fresh, organic produce. We got our preliminary sketches to Sunil in time for Rita’s birthday, so she could also participate in the feedback process.
The first round of feedback ended with us ditching the carrots entirely (but not from our dinners, obviously – they’re very good for you). Then, we moved on to refining our ideas and building the colour palette. Here’s where I started experimenting – I first decided to play with clean lines, flat colours, and halftones… essentially the opposite of my signature style. I was pretty pleased with the dimensions I was able to achieve – but Bee wasn’t convinced. My halftones worked quite well for the banyan tree, but not for our classic round logo – the fruit felt flat and nowhere close to as inviting as we wanted them to be.
So I went back to the drawing board and started painting from scratch – because I’m beginning to realise I do in fact do some of my best work when I’m relying on instinct and muscle memory. (Something Bee tells me each time she gets a chance. So repetitive.) And this time, I got it just right – fruits that jumped right off the page, mouth wateringly so, and a tree that looked wonderfully welcoming.
Rita and Sunil loved our second option, with the farmhouse and coconut trees complementing the fresh produce. They only asked that the produce accurately represent the fruits at the farm, which meant adding more mangoes and modifying some of the other fruits for better accuracy. And while we were about it, the farmhouse could be more accurate too…
In the meantime, we’d also chosen a font that added to the style of the logo instead of muddling it more, and played around with the background colours to induce a warm, inviting vibe. All that was left now were some final tweaks focused entirely on the colour of the all-important mangoes.
And so, after several rounds of hunting down the perfect shade of yellow-orange for the mangoes (and consequently, the shades for the surrounding fruit), we had our logo! A classic circle-badge form, with complementing elements and a carefully thought-out colour palette, but something that in my opinion jumps right off any product at first glance.