Three months ago, I posted how I was looking to develop a signature to use in my art work. These were my first 2 tentative attempts:
Rachael Farrow gave me some useful feedback. Although a signature is not a logo, there are some similarities between them. Rachael shared a piece on logo design which helped me frame the development process so that, with myself as my own client, I could create a signature that suits my needs rather than just being driven by my wants.
For the design brief, I listed these needs:
- Unique and identifiable. A name usually meets this criteria, and would be preferable over a nondescript pattern like my TH monogram above.
- Aesthetically pleasing. I’m interested in creating beautiful art that is nice to look at. The signature should reflect this.
- Rich and characterful. I want to inject character into my art. The signature should be fitting.
- Personal. It’d be nice if the signature has something personal to me, more than just my name.
- Simple in form. It has to be simple enough to paint repeatedly, without unintended variation.
- Longevity. I’m not talking about hundreds of years, but I wouldn’t want to grow sick of it during my lifetime. Although I can easily change it any time, unlike a tattoo, it’d be a shame if I decide to.
I played with this set of criteria, and thought of doing something in line with my English/Spanish/Basque heritage. As I described in my earlier post, my Spanish surname – Hards Vicente – is identifiable. My forename is optional. So “Hards Vicente” is a good choice for the core of my signature.
As for creating a characterful signature, it occurred to me that I could use the Basque lauburu symbol, as shown here. The lauburu, which means “four heads” in Basque, is on old symbol possibly dating back to 200BC. It is frequently found on old graves and can be seen around the Basque country on buildings and in other places.
After trying out various combinations, I found this arrangement quite pleasing:
It meets all the criteria I set out.
BUT! … and it’s a big, huge, massive, but … the lauburu is one of various forms of swastika used around the world. In the Basque country, it is instantly recognised for what it is. However, out of context in my signature, it is prone to be mistaken for the swastika appropriated by the Nazi party – a horrendous association.
So, as much as I like my lauburu signature – I’ve been living with it for the past 2 months – I think I’ll have to rule it out as an option.
I was about to publish this post, but today I’ve found something else that might be suitable. I was thinking about other things that are personal to me. In my early years growing up in Suffolk, I was surrounded by wheat fields and have always associated wheat crop with that time in my life.
For example, this is a scene typical of Suffolk, from near Stradishall, which is 20 minutes from my home town, Bury St Edmunds:
My gratitude to Bob Jones for the use of the photo. It is (c) Copyright Bob Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I sketched 3 examples of wheat, simplifying each time, and came up with this first attempt at a wheat-based signature.
The sketch was quick – the letters are shakier than intended and the wheat symbol could be refined further (made a bit skinnier perhaps) – but overall I think it isn’t bad. I’ll have to give it more time though to see how I feel about it.
I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on any of the above.