Who is Sean Heisler?
In the creative world of design, Sean Heisler is a familiar name. He’s one of the most prolific logo designer you can find on the internet. Google “typographic logo” and you’ll inevitably encounter one of his many ingenious creations. And if you haven’t guessed already, the reason I’m featuring him is because he’s the genius who conceived the wanderlass logo!
I’ve been in search of a clever logo for my clever name for the longest time. At first I tried designing one myself experimenting with several fonts, but was never happy with them. So I resolved to just use regular Arial font in my blog title. But since I decided to makeover my blog, I find myself again on a logo quest. I racked my brain, bugged my sister and artist friends. I was even referred to a Manila based graphic artist whose work I really like, but unfortunately, I don’t find myself connecting with the studies sent to me. I was really embarrassed but I had to reject all of them despite suggesting few revisions.
I want a “that’s it!” feeling. I don’t want to be convinced with an explanation. After all, a logo should be a representation and not be represented.
One time I was discussing my logo dilemma with designer friend, Denise. I told her I wanted to do away with cliché icons such as earth, airplane, or luggage that have been used again and again by the whole travel industry.
To be simpler, I wanted just the word wanderlass as logo, thinking of the distinct images of Coca-Cola, IBM, and Google. Or maybe with a small marking is fine, thinking of Citibank and Nike. And she introduced me to the term “typographic logo”.
When I googled this term for the first time, a whole new world opened up! Googling “logo” and “typographic logo” brought different results. Try it! I was overwhelmed with all the beautiful creative logos but what struck me most is a logo for certain Killed Production. It’s so simple using an Helvetica Bold type with the letter i lying horizontally. It was so brilliant I almost died.
Then I poured in hours upon hours browsing logopond.com, typeface.com, and such sites hoping to find inspiration for my own logo. But I decided it’s a job for professional. I email the logo designer Sean Heisler, the inventive creator of Killed Production. Within 3 days, I received the Wanderlass Logo Rationale from Sean. And just like that, at first try, I got it – my That’s It! moment.
I knew it! I wasn’t looking for something that cannot exist.
I knew it! I would know when I see it!
I was stunned for many minutes. I didn’t even write so much when I asked for quotation, only mentioned that Killed Production logo killed me and gave him my blog URL.
I was stunned. Then I celebrated. And then finally thanked Sean for his brilliance. I told him I wanted to pick his brain if he’d allow me and feature him in an article. And I’m so happy that he agreed. So here, not a travel related article, but totally relevant to my website.
Without much further ado, may I present to you, Omaha, Nebraska based design genius, the Excellent Sean Heisler.
1. How did you become a logo designer? Has this always been your path as an artist?
I have a degree in Graphic Design and so I acquired the skills to do logo design through my education. I have worked in the field for about 15 years now, working on all kinds of graphic communications, and have had the opportunity to do a lot of logo design over the years. I realized early on that logo design was something I really liked.
2. What is it about identity development that interests you?
I love the challenge of trying to summarize or tell a story in just a small little mark. There is something really great about evaluating a company and trying to get the heart of who they are or how they are different from everyone else, and then capturing that in a mark that is their face or identity.
3. Do you have a work flow in designing a logo? What are your inspirations?
The most important thing for me is gathering as much information as I can about the company or individual I am doing the mark for, because the biggest pieces to the puzzle are then right there in front of you. I tend to let that kind of simmer in my brain for some time, jot down spontaneous notes when I can and try to soak it all in without forcing it. Sometimes things will hit you and you have a moment, but then other times it takes a lot of chin scratching, pencil and paper. I can’t recall a particular unique moment of inspiration, but I can recall many times laying in bed trying to sleep when I will suddenly jump up out of bed to find the nearest piece of paper and a pencil to get down a word or a quick sketch so that I don’t forget it!
4. What is the first logo you ever made? Which one is the first logo you created as a professional.
First logo I ever made was in an early graphic design college course. I recall it was for a fictional home audio speaker manufacturer I named Ambience Acoustics. The company name was flying around an illuminated object in the center of the type. It was fun!
The first professional logo I designed was for an arts and crafts department of a home and lifestyle magazine. I recall it was a stitched star shape holding together colorful shapes that filled the star, in a loose and misaligned fashion. I was interning at the time and when they picked my design, I couldn’t believe it!
5. Which one do you consider your most brilliant logo? Which is your favorite logo by another artist?
Well, I designed a logo called Killed Productions, which was really a creative exploration for me at the time, not for a particular client or paying job. I shared the design with some friends on a couple web sites and people loved it. It’s the most simple logo I have ever created. It’s really taken off, people seem to love it. That logo will hopefully come to life in a full brand very soon. One of my all time favorite logos designed by another artist that comes to mind is a logo by Josiah Jost called Horror Films. The logo is pure genius and so simple. It’s those simple logos that are so memorable to me. There are so many though, I have about 500 favorites.
6. Who do you design for mostly? Do you get your clients locally or do they usually find you online? Is there a specific industry that you consider you’re an expert in? Alcohol perhaps?
Ha ha, who doesn’t love beer? I get nearly all my work from online. People will typically find me through the various logo inspiration and portfolio web sites and then contact me through there. I can’t say I really focus my work on any one particular industry. One thing I am proud of in my work is the diversity of industries I have done work for, which is broad. I like any kind of challenge that comes my way.
7. How has the internet affected you as a designer? What are your aspirations, future plans, as a designer (if any)?
The internet has affected me profoundly as a designer. The internet is obviously a great research tool which helps you in solving problems and gaining knowledge. The other big thing that has affected me is social web sites centered around logo design where I can interact with other designers, get feedback from them on my designs and see how other designers are solving problems. Obviously the internet is a great way to get your work out there and to get noticed. As I have said before, the internet is also where I get work, that clearly affects me profoundly! I see logo design as a big part of my future. I have always taken logo design seriously, but it wasn’t until only the past few years that I have started to really push my skills and exploration hard, so I see myself still in an infancy stage as far as where I hope to go with logo design.
8. Anything else you would like to add? Favorite beer?
Well, as of right now, my favorite beer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Mmmmm, it’s so good. :) I like spicy food a lot too! No, but seriously, I would like to say thank you for having the interest in interviewing me, I appreciate it. I am very pleased that you like your new logo and I had a fun time developing it.
Lilliane came to me wanting a very simple yet clever logo and I think you referenced the Killed logo if I am not mistaken? (Lilliane’s note: yes i did, i said it killed me!)
Those simple and clever logos can be so hard to do at times. Often times it’s simply a movement of a letter, covering up a part of a letter, overlapping a couple letters, those little things that suddenly reveal a message in a clever way. It was one of those moments that just hit me, I saw that joining the two S’s in Wanderlass formed a winding path which was a perfect way to symbolize you and your quest to lead a life not ordinary — a winding path. And that was it, I knew that was it! I’m so glad it worked for you! Thanks again and good luck on your journeys!