Every month, we invite a new artist to take the ThinkNW logo and make it their own. We asked artist Ethan Wong, a Seattle-based graphic designer and Illustrator at the Seattle Sounders FC, to give us his take on this May logo.
How did you initially want to approach your interpretation of the ThinkNW logo? What were your thoughts and inspiration?
From the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. While working on this project, I happened to be back visiting my hometown of Indianapolis, IN. Whenever I go back to the Midwest, it is always an opportunity to reflect on where I was raised and how it differs from my current home in Seattle, WA. Whenever I am asked about the Pacific Northwest, I can’t help but just describe it as “beautiful.” Thus, it was easy to be inspired by the nature and landscape of the PNW when approaching this logo project.
But, I wanted another element that would really make this piece a little more unique. The word “Think” instantly made me think of my dad, who was a neuroscience professor in Indiana. I always grew up seeing models and textbooks of brains, but realized I have never created one graphically. Thus, this felt like the perfect opportunity to change that. I wanted to place the human brain in a natural environment because it is one of the main human components that allow us to appreciate the beauty of nature and this world.
How did the direction in designing the ThinkNW logo evolve/change over time?
I knew that the brain would be a primary element of this composition, but the challenges and evolution came from incorporating the other elements in a cohesive manner. I experimented a lot with the placement of “NW” and how it could become a part of the environment.
What are some of the specific elements in the ThinkNW logo design that you feel are unique/cool/fun (i.e., palette, illustration, overall style)?
To bounce off the previous question, I think I really enjoy how certain elements connect to others in this design. For instance, it was fun to play with the typography so that “Think” felt like it was a part of the human brain, which also stemmed from “NW”. As someone who enjoys logo design, I am always drawn to utilizing negative space in unique ways, as you might see with the brain stem/lightning bolt making up part of the “N”.
When did you know that art was something that you wanted to pursue?
When deciding upon a major in college, art seemed to be something worth trying. I was always doodling as a kid and really enjoyed art classes and crafts. After I took some introductory graphic design classes, I knew this was a passion I wanted to pursue. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else and am blessed to design for a living.
What are your biggest inspirations in your art (i.e., people, places, things)?
Instagram, cartoons, movies, museums, friends and family, nature, etc. There are so many forms of media and creative expression that it is hard not to be inspired. Creative ruts are inevitable and tough to get out of, but it’s great to be able to absorb so many forms of art and creativity.
Do you think that you have a style? If so, how would you describe it? If not, why is that?
I like to think of my illustration style as clean and somewhat minimal. But, I have recently been working on developing it to add more depth and character. I aim to keep things cohesive and balanced, approaching it sort of like a puzzle, seeing what pieces fit best where. I also like to use supplementary lines to create movement and texture.
What is most important to you when expressing your art?
I am always looking to learn and grow through my expression of art, whether that’s trying a new skill/style, or just refining an area of my process. I also believe that adding meaning and purpose to art and design can really take things to another level.
Where do you feel your art is going next?
As I continue to grow in my design and artistic skills, I want to bring that creativity and expression more outside of my computer. Whether that’s customizing shoes, building an art piece, or painting a mural, I want to start tangibly using my hands to create physical pieces of art and design.
Learn more about Ethan Wong and his work: