Every month, we invite a new artist to take the ThinkNW logo and make it their own. We asked Gabby Nguyen, Graphic Designer at A Kids Company About in Portland, Oregon, for her take on the January logo.
How did you initially want to approach your interpretation of the ThinkNW logo? What were your thoughts and inspiration?
My first thought was to really lean into doing something fun and imaginative with the logo remix. With this project, there is freedom to be as imaginative and illustrative as you want, something that doesn’t usually happen with other logo projects. I wanted the logo to be bright and playful!
How did the direction in designing the ThinkNW logo evolve/change over time?
Originally, I was going to do the whole “Think NW” in the raised isometric illustration style. But once I did the word “Think,” I realized I wanted to add more dimension and levels to the piece. When I decided to create the “NW” as a whole in the ground kind of style, I realized this opened the door for adding plants coming out of the whole as well. In a way, I think this is a nod to “the roots” of design in the Northwest; while we are building new styles and trends each day, none of that would be possible without looking back at where it all started.
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)?
One of the aspects of my logo that I think is fun is all of the greenery. I really wanted to include nature in some way because it’s one of my favorite parts of living in the Pacific Northwest. I think that it lends itself to the concept of growth very well!
When did you know that art was something that you wanted to pursue?
As a kid, I loved drawing, painting, and just making things, so the thought of working in the creative field always felt like a dream. But it wasn’t until high school when I took a couple of design courses and was part of our yearbook team that I realized that dream could become a reality in the form of graphic design. While I love being creative, I also love order and structure. I found that graphic design was a perfect blending of creativity and imagination within constraints and rules. It can be really daunting when the canvas is completely blank, but with graphic design, I found that grids, bounding boxes, and margins were a good starting point.
What are your biggest inspirations in your art (i.e., people, places, things)?
One of the biggest inspirations for my design work is women! I love to use my artwork to celebrate, encourage, and inspire women of all kinds of backgrounds. My biggest design inspiration has always been Jessica Walsh! She has always created exciting, provocative, and bright work that I could look at all day. I really love her use of bold colors and the fact that she is so unapologetic about who she is or what she does and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers. I hope to embody that within my work and within how I carry myself as a creative.
Do you think that you have a style? If so, how would you describe it? If not, why is that?
I think that I have a few stylistic tendencies within my work. I tend to lean more towards minimalism, simplistic and clean lines, and love bright and bold color palettes. However, I don’t think I have a super distinct and recognizable style. I have been told that my work always has a tone of joy, which I think is the ultimate compliment as I love the idea of using my artwork to spark joy within the viewer.
What is most important to you when expressing your art?
When I’m designing, one of my main goals, and favorite parts, is to pull some kind of emotion from the viewer. That emotion can be overwhelming joy or surprise nostalgia, and sometimes it’s just basic human empathy. Lines, colors, and typefaces are big elements of design, but using those tools as vessels to communicate with the viewer is where the real magic happens. One of my favorite parts about designing is that we can make pieces that aren’t just beautiful but tell beautiful stories as well.
Where do you feel your art is going next?
I don’t know if I have a clear idea of where my art is going next. I know that I am still very early in my career, so there is so much for me to learn and explore in this craft. I want to keep creating, both in work and in my personal life, and trying new things in order to continue growing and expanding my portfolio. I want to keep learning from the creatives around me, and I don’t think that will ever change!