Strange Native


The Making of Strange Native

Jan 24, 2009

Creating a new identity is always a lot of fun, especially when it’s for yourself. So when it was time to sit down and re-brand my online portfolio and blog I spent weeks coming up with names. A lot of cool, weird, and just plain terrible ideas crossed my mind but, alas, fate was conspiring against me. Almost all of them were already taken or the domains already purchased. Unwilling to spend the money to broker a domain purchase, I vowed that I’d have to come up with something uber-original that didn’t feel too trendy or out of left field.

The Brainstorm

snlogo_sketch1Initially I was playing word games, trying to match one adjective and one noun that worked well together a la ‘Happy Cog,’ ‘North Kingdom’ or ‘Big Spaceship.’ Eventually, I happened upon ‘Strange Native,’ which spoke to all the right connotations. I sat on it for a few days, asked the advice of friends, and decided it was the one. I started sketching logo ideas almost immediately. These are a couple of my early attempts. I wanted it initially to play with the letters ‘S’ & ‘N.’ I wanted to find a way for them to combine in a simple and elegant way.

snlogo_sketch2After a while though it felt a little boring and I changed tacks. If this was going to be my personal portfolio and blog, why not have a logo that spoke to specifically about me? About a year ago I went from wearing thin metal frame glasses to wearing a, shall we say, bolder pair of tortoise shell, thick-rimmed plastic frames. I thought it might be neat to turn them into a sort of trademark. Now, having spectacles as a trademark is pretty dorky, so I figured I’d run with it and take some design inspiration from a 1950s chemistry kit.

Run With It

snlogo_aisWith the basic idea in hand, I took it into illustrator to do some more brainstorming and sketching. Having the chemistry kit inspiration and the constant element of the spectacles was key in the brainstorming process. It helped give me a direction a central element to play around with. In exploring the lightning bolts, I realized that it didn’t make for a particularly succinct logo, so I attempted integrating the bolts into the frames in a few ways. I also explored the idea of a ‘spark’ in the frames, which was signified by the red circle with zig-zagged edges. In the end I really liked the simplicity of the frames with the spark.

The Result

snlogo_finalWhen it came to colors I really loved the bold contrast of black and yellow with red accents that I saw on the chemistry kit, so I knicked ’em. I loved that “Porter Science” seal on the bottom right of the kit as well, so I thought I’d add some elements to the logo to turn it into sort of a seal. After a bit of fiddling I finally arrived at the final logo which incorporates my trademark spectacles, a spark in the eye, all wrapped in the context of a kind of personal seal.

I’m really happy with the results. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on the logo!


  1. Nice work! I have strugged for years to work on my personal brand, as I am constantly falling in love with new styles and also lack the drive to focus on “just me”, for guilty reasons. Seeing your site is a real inspiration, and I’m very impressed with the logo and layout!

  2. Hey. Great logo! It’s also nice to see the process. I’m trying to figure out a logo for myself and quite frankly it’s hard.