Help-Portrait Logo Design


hen one of my favorite photographers, Jeremy Cowart, made a call for a logo for his new project, Help-Portrait, I knew I was in.

Add to that a bunch of passionate local talent doing a good thing for the poor, and it just got better and better.

Help-Portrait intends to match photographers with needy families over the holidays to give them family portraits they would not otherwise be able to afford.

I am a big proponent of using one’s talents to encourage and love people, so I was excited to see the great response Jeremy received when he asked the local scene to pitch in with their different talents.

Logo design by Jeff Dolan

I submitted the above logo, and I hope it speaks for itself. It was definitely a phase two logo, once I got the junk out on my first attempt.

The shutter inside the heart shape represents the love these photographers are showing to their neighbors while the portrait is what they are giving.

I suggested using a hand-written font to represent the organic nature of community and volunteerism with a personal touch.

I found this logo project much harder than I normally run across, due to the nature of what I had to represent in one iconic image — helping the poor by giving them a free family portrait.

Not an easy concept to communicate without some explaining.

I was impressed with all the submissions. Matt Lehman’s logo was ultimately chosen, for his concept of an open hand holding what looks like a Leica, a classic camera body and probably the simplest to use in a logo. I love the lines Matt used. Very tight, clean and simple.

Now, all the designers (and other similar creatives) out there know where this conversation leads next — spec work. The ugly kind of free work that supposedly ruins careers and puts people out of work.

For example, Company X puts out a bid for a logo on “spec.” Several designers compete and spend hours designing for it, with only one getting paid for their work.

The debate is intense over this. On one hand, Company X gets a lot of free work and ideas, it begins to see quality design as cheap, and in a way, it disrespects the artists.

On the other hand, designers are given an opportunity for exposure, the best ideas surface, and it’s crowd sourcing at its best.

Professionals argue that they don’t need the exposure, they have better things to do than work for free, and the more companies rely on this type of work, the less money is out there for them to make a living, especially if they begin to spend a large portion of their time doing work that has no guarantee of payment.

Of course, I did take all this into consideration before deciding to design a logo for Help-Portrait, and I felt that this project has three distinctions that set it apart:

  1. There is no money in the equation at all.
  2. It is for a worthy cause.
  3. I chose to give my time.

I wish the best to Jeremy and everyone involved. I fully intend to help some portraits very soon.

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