Logo design: dragon or snake?

I love design, but when the design is too personal, it becomes very difficult.

Well, to design my logo, that means, I should design a logo which should represent me well. It has been a painful journey that I have so many ideas on what to do for my own logo.

The ideal logo should be something historical, with a dragon (my favorite animal), in my favorite colors, and can be versatile in usage. I love complicated patterns, but I want something modern as well.

I had thoughts about how the logo should look like in my thoughts, then I just let it go because I forgot to draw them down. Lesson learned, draw something when muse visits you.

One day, suddenly, after viewing my favorite Lynda video about how to design a logo, I just started drawing whatever came to my mind. “Why don’t I start from my initials?” I told myself.

I started with “SW”, I tried to link them and make them to look like Chinese traditional patterns or Chinese style knots. Or, a Chinese dragon.

Then I realized, “SW” was somehow too complicated, and did not look modern at all. I wanted something modern but with a hint of cultural heritage or tradition.

I found it was much easier to make an S look like a dragon than SW. So I decided to take away the W, and use S instead since S was simpler than W.

I explored a lot of S shape dragons, and found it was very interesting then kept sketching. After one hour of exploring, I decided it was time to use Illustrator when I determined the rough shape.

I designed the S shape dragon with a hint of Chinese calligraphy, preferably Weibei (魏碑, my favorite type of Chinese calligraphy). Weibei strokes are simple but with flowing chi and energy.

An example of my favorite type of Chinese calligraphy: 使平公造像記 (498 A.D.)

Using Illustrator, I could apply the shape of Weibei style stroke in the dragon body and head. The strength in strokes transformed chi into the dragon. Being a female, I did not want a very masculine dragon. Thus, I did not use very thick strokes for the dragon but thiner ones than Weibei. Since I wanted something simple, I decided just to have one stroke to show the dragon head.

I thought about having brush finish on the outside of the strokes, then decided not to since it shows the flow like water, but will loose some chi and make the logo complicated.

Now I realized my logo looks like a snake as well. It reminds me of the grand snake on the sacred snake and turtle (玄武) ancient stone sculpture by Wu Daozi (吳道子 685-758 A.D.).

The sacred snake and turtle (玄武)ancient stone sculpture by Wu Daozi (吳道子 685-758 A.D.)

Well, I would’t mind people think my logo was a snake since it was part of the sacred animal, according to Chinese tradition.

But when I used the logo by itself on my website, it did not look complete. To make the entire calligraphy complete, in Chinese culture, people put on a stamp seal after they finish the work. Usually there was a circle outside of the stamp.

When speaking about stamps, I thought about Emperor Qianlong in Qing dynasty (清朝乾隆皇帝). He collected more than a thousand of stamps. I went to a webpage with all his stamps for the inspiration to make my logo look like a stamp.

Examples of Qianlong’s stamps. Picture source: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/34847122

Finally I decided to have a simple circle to encircle my dragon (snake) when needed.

My snake look dragon in my favorite royal purple color!

When it was white on black background, it really reminded me of that cute snake on the turtle:

I start to wonder why do I even call my original dragon a snake now? I am now not sure if it is a dragon or a snake. Whichever animal the reader think it is what it is. Now the meaning of my logo sounds very Taoism thinking and ontological 😀

I wanted to use it to replace the S in my name, but it did not work out well. Even Ryan can not understand my snake represent part of my name. So I guess if I want to have a business card, it should look like this.

I love trees, so I will never print a business card. But I like the idea of it ;p

I am really wondering, do you think it is a snake or a dragon? Please leave a message and let me know since I am confusing myself as well.

Thank you for reading:)

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