Miami-based Robert Geffert has been contributing designs to StockLogos since the early days of the site and has built up a significant collection. He brings deep experience in the world of advertising to his logo designs, which he tells us he creates "for the pure joy of it." Which would seem to be a winning approach, given the popularity of his work on StockLogos.
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?
I have always been a visual person. I remember when I was a kid and saw the movie Mary Poppins, I walked out of the movie and said, "Why doesn't life look and feel like that?" So I've always wanted to make the world a more idealized, visually perfect, Disney-like place. I won't even get into how elaborately my school book reports were designed.
I was also inspired by the world of design, being amazed as a kid by the visually stimulating Expo 67 in Montreal; such amazing graphics, with industrial and architectural design that still hold up to this day. I studied journalism, architecture and graphic design at Penn State University. After graduating I knew I wanted to focus more on advertising and design, so I took evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York. When one of my working art director teachers showed the class one of her marker comps for a print ad, I knew that's what I wanted to do. I pulled a portfolio together and hit the streets, and got a job as an art director with McCaffrey & McCall Advertising in New York.
It was the early '80s and advertising was still advertising — copywriters typing on typewriters while smoking cigarettes; big budgets; big clients; big ideas; and big presentations. It was a full service agency, so I was exposed to all aspects of advertising and created TV spots for Hartford Insurance, print ads for Tiffany & Co., package design, logos and radio spots.
After a few years, and between jobs, I remember reading an article in a 1989 Interview magazine about a quiet little place called South Beach (I knew I wanted to get down there and be a part of it). I pulled my portfolio together, moved to South Beach and got an art director job at Crispin Porter & Bogusky Advertising in Miami. I worked there for a couple of years as an art director and have been in Miami ever since, working for many years as an art director at Beber Silverstein on national and local accounts, such as the Helmsley Hotels. Yes, I worked with the "Queen of Mean."
When the economy slowed down, and work slowed down with it, I started focusing more on logo design in my spare time. I wanted to get back into the simple and pure design of icons. I was moving at such a fast pace for so long that I simply stopped and reminded myself how I would design just for the sake of design and really enjoy it. So I started designing logos again for the pure joy of it, to see what came out of me, without having to please a client, just having to please myself visually. That is when I started uploading logos to StockLogos. It was perfect timing because StockLogos was just starting and it was the ideal outlet to sell the logos that I was creating for pure design pleasure.
Do you supplement your design income from StockLogos with other design work? If so, please tell us a bit about it.
I am still working in advertising in Miami. I work full time for a hybrid ad agency/magazine/restaurant group where I create print advertising, collateral and logos for high-end clients. These days I still get super excited when I sell a logo on StockLogos. The money is a plus (great for gas money) but I'm more excited to see which logo sold. I have built up quite a library of logos over the years so I am always curious which logo sells and why. That is still the big mystery. So often my favorite logos will not sell and a logo I thought would never sell is snapped up in a minute. So I still get a rush every time a message comes in that says, "Congratulations, your logo has been sold."
Doily Tree - Sold
Does your logo work have a unique look to it? How would you describe your design style?
I came up with the name Logosoul because, again, I am not creating logos for any specific client. I just sit down at night and see what comes up from my soul at any moment. As a designer I think we all evolve; our influences and taste change. The phase I am in now I would call "deconstructive." I like taking bits and pieces of design elements and coming up with a unique view of things. I am also using very bright colors; I think living in Miami brings that out. I also see my logos as being very urban. I always picture my bright logos showing up on some dark, moody urban shop doorway. I also picked the name Logosoul because I find that a lot of logos that get too "techy-looking" lose their soul. Don't get me wrong, there are great chrome and 3D logos out there, which I love and would work perfectly for many applications.
How important is the choice of font for the text element of the logo?
I love using unusual fonts. Once a design is finalized, I come up with a unique placeholder name. The name I choose for a logo then leads me to my font library, where I preview the name with tons of different fonts. I keep my logo open on the screen next to the font preview and compare fonts to see which is the most unusual and compelling combination.
Do you have a favorite part of the logo design process?
Yes, when I nail a design for a client and am just as happy with the result as the client is. Then I know that I have done my job.
The worst part of the logo design process?
When I sit down one night and try to create a logo and nothing comes out, the well has run dry. When that happens I usually take a few days off and then start again. I find that the logos will just flow out sometimes, while other days, nothing.
Pine Throne - Sold
How do you determine what price to charge for a logo?
Since StockLogos charges commission, I figure that into my price. The way I look at it is, a logo is such an important part of any business and you will have it for a long time, so for what you would pay for a few dinners out you have a logo that will build your brand for years. Also, your logo is created by a designer with years of experience working in ad agencies with national clients, so you are getting professional logos at a relatively low cost.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of creating logos for sale on StockLogos?
Try to find your own unique style. Look at Nancy Carter and Melanie D — their styles are beautiful and they are always experimenting and creating great new styles weekly. And they sell! Also, challenge yourself and mix up your styles. Sometimes I like to take a break from detailed designs and I will switch to a completely different bold and simple style. I also like to switch styles for selling purposes — if a potential client hates intricate, colorful designs, I am losing a client.
How do you manage the different demands of work, life and play?
I like to work hard and play hard. My passion is travel. I live by the motto, "Every year take a trip of a lifetime, because you never know how long your lifetime will be." I get so inspired by travel. I always come back refreshed, inspired and with a new perspective. Over the past few years I have traveled to Iceland, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the Yellow Mountains of China, Lima, Mexico City, climbed Machu Picchu — that diversity helps. And of course Miami is so visually stimulating. I have lived here for 20 years and the city gets more visually stimulating every year.
What countries are purchasers of your StockLogos designs located in?
I have found that most of my clients come from overseas. I get a lot of requests for designs from Australia, England and China, in that order. That is what I love about StockLogos; it is so fulfilling to work for clients from around the world. I love the idea that my logos are getting out there and building brands globally — all from my little desktop in Miami.
How has StockLogos helped build your brand?
What's great about StockLogos is that selling even one logo can open the door to many more design jobs. I would say that half of the clients who buy one of my logos will ask for additional work, whether it be designing a business card or something like creating additional logos for a line of clothing. Also, a lot of clients will tell their friends about their logos. So, often a person I sold a logo to will ask me to design a logo for a friend. I also find that clients will get back to me for additional work, even a year later. You build relationships. So StockLogos is a great place to get the ball rolling, even if you sell just one logo.
Any other advice for a new stock logos member?
Yes, as with any business, treat your new client like gold. When they ask for changes, make them right away. Any client you sell to has the potential to become a bigger, long-lasting client and word of mouth is very powerful. Also, don't get discouraged if your logos don't seem to be selling. I will sell a number of logos in rapid succession, then weeks will go by without a single sale. That's what's so interesting about selling online, you never know. As Ivan always says, build up a library of logos and eventually they will sell.
More of Robert's work can be seen in his StockLogos member area.