Sandi Dez is a 26-year-old designer and owner of the Minor Eight studio, based in Bandung, a small town in Indonesia. As is often the case with small shops, Minor Eight handles everything from brand identity, print and promotional design through website design. Although just starting out, Sandi has already assembled a substantial portfolio, with our focus being on his brand identity work.
Could you please tell us about your background and how you got into logo design? What design and illustration qualifications and skills do you have?
My passion for art began while I was still in elementary school, when as a young child I liked to draw imaginary heroes. In high school this passion remained and I always felt this was what I had to do in the future.
So I began to take art courses and entered college in the faculty of visual communication design, with graphic design as my major. My interest in logo design began when a friend asked me to make a logo for his band. During the research process, using great band logos as a reference, I learned to recognize many of the characteristics and behaviors of logos. While I was not paid for that design work I did it willingly, with the knowledge and experience gained being my compensation.
As it happened, that first logo led to more people wanting to use my services, in this case some friends who had a small company. Yes, word of mouth does work. From this point on I decided to focus on logo design. With college finished I worked in several design agencies, as well as in advertising and brand consultation as a graphic designer and art director. I learned a lot during that time, with branding being of particular interest after handling projects from major clients such as Unilever and Coca Cola.
While I can't accurately gauge the extent of the skills I now have, thanks to my experience I find that creating illustrations and logos is less difficult than when I first stated out.
Logo design for European Dog Training (De Lupus Saevus), a small hobby kennel focused on preserving and improving the utility and type of the working German Shepherd dog.
How long have you been active in freelance logo design work?
Almost four years. I've always wanted to "fly solo" and build my own brand. After several years spent as an employee, I decided to start my freelance career and resigned from the company at the end of 2008. I've been active as a logo designer since then.
How do you manage the business side of your design career, such as keeping your books, figuring out taxes and deductions, and so on?
I realize that a designer is not the same as a fine artist — we don’t work according to mood or by waiting for inspiration, we seek out and create it. So to manage my creative business I always try to be productive, especially in honing my skills and marketing.
I focus on expanding my network and providing more than what clients have requested — I find that people are pleased to receive something unrequested. Create a good impression and people will want to work with you again.
I carefully document every project and always recap my target at the end of each month, as well as plan a target for the next month. I'm not too concerned with taxes and deductions, my priority is to make my clients happy with my work.
Currently I'm collecting material for my new blog, which will be launching soon. I will provide lots of tips, tutorials and freebies about design, not just for logos, but for user interface and web design. I want to contribute to this industry and provide something useful. I'll receive something similar in the future, it’s the law of nature.
Wealth Advocate is a financial advice service devoted to protecting and growing wealth. The logo incorporates the initials W and A in gold, for success. The A is represented by an arrow facing upwards, signifying progress, growth and optimism.
What tools do you use for your logo creations?
My design process is never separate from pencil and paper. I always bring both wherever I go, so I can easily get down my ideas on it; as you know, ideas are easy come, easy go. I find that the digital phase is not too hard when I already know what I'll create. For logo creation I use a Mac with a Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator.
Tubridge Ranch provides Equine (Horse) Therapy, counseling and experiential learning.
Does your logo work have a unique look to it? How would you describe your design style?
I am flexible when creating a logo but I always have the desire to create a design that’s different from the others. Other than that I focus on the small things; I love detail but also clean designs. I often use tapered lines, rather than rounded shapes, to create a logo. But we all know that when dealing with clients, sometimes we have to use another pencil for different tasks. I like to describe my work as "Heritagious," which I define as classy but grounded. You'll find lots of the color brown in my logo designs.
Do you have particular sources for inspiration, such as the work of other designers, or general sources?
I must say, the Internet saved my life. It really helped me in my career as a freelancer, since there is so much inspiration that we can find online. I often spend time searching for inspiration through the logo design showcases, as well as design books, and explore the work of other designers.
Of your own logos, which is your favorite? Why?
Tiger Room is my favorite so far, he looks brave with feathers surrounding him. It creates a good feeling for me.
Tiger Room is made for a community or club representing courage, wildness and strength. Suitable for a community of journalists or a mountaineer who often goes to dangerous/uncommon places. This is a pro-bono project.
Do you have a favorite part of the logo design process?
Of course, the best part of creating a logo is doodling, since I can feel free to explore many ideas on paper. I focus on the one final shape as the result and if I go back to the previous process it doesn’t feel right. That's why I love it when the pencil leads my hand to visualize my idea, without limitations.
And is there a worst part?
The worst part is when I think the design is in the final phase and I have to go back to repeat what I've done. Usually this is a request from a client who is not good at communicating. Bad communication is perhaps the worst part of the design process.
How important is a design brief when creating a logo?
A design brief is like a map, as designers we never know where we are going without it, so it's highly important when creating a logo design. We need specific information about the company as a starting point to create a logo design.
How important is the choice of font for the text element of the logo?
The font is one of the main parts of logo design — the anatomy of logo design is not only formed by lines and visual shapes. The best expression of this is the logotype, in which type is used as the visual. I love the masterful way some designers can do that. One of my favorite examples of type used as a visual is the Families logo, designed by Herb Lubalin, which is timeless and memorable.
Irresistible Collection is a fashion store for women. The logo is split in two, the idea coming from the initials of Irresistible Collection (IC), which I turned into a butterfly shape.
How do you determine what price to charge for a logo?
Determining the price for logo design is quite difficult at first. But as time goes by I find I'm better at valuing my work, which is based on a lot of experience and my portfolio. The more work I do, the more clients want to hire me, so automatically the prices will rise by themselves. The important thing is to become known and position myself, which takes time.
Diwatika is a luxury-class inn, in Ubud Bali, Indonesia. The brand is illustrated by symbols which are influenced by the style of Sanskrit, which means living according to three dimensions; earth, water and heaven. Diwatika offers services with an atmosphere that delivers these three elements to its customers.
How do you manage the different demands of work, life and play?
That's a great question. I try to organize my priorities and work to finish all tasks, so I push myself to focus on projects in the early days of the week, mainly Monday through Thursday, to leave the weekend more open. But there are always a few weekends that I have to work. Clients don’t care if you’re happy or frustrated, they just cares that you've created your best work. That's why they pick us, after all.
When I have spare time on the weekend, I leave my work zone and do something different. I love the beach and anything to do with nature. This refreshes me from the daily routine and give me a different perspective to start the next work day.
Should we look for anything new in the future affecting your work, such as
new design tools or the use of different design logo styles?
Yes, but first of all it's important to determine my position. I prefer to sharpen my specialties and dig deeper into what I can explore with my style before looking for anything new. After that, I try to research new styles and techniques to make better work and stand out from the crowd.
This logo is one of my latest works, representing peace, calm and optimism.
Any closing comments that you would like to share?
Life is a lesson, so love your job and do your best work. Do the research, learn new techniques, keep practicing and get involved within the community. Don't get stuck in the mind-clutter and don't chase money, chase creativity. Money will come if you do what you're best at. And follow the successful designers, who share the same secret: they never give up.
More of Sandi Dez's work can be seen on his Minor Eight studio site.