The Graveyard – Episode 2: Maddie’s Pet Project

Before beginning this latest installment of Creative Graveyard, where we resurrect and reminisce about past work, I must first call attention to a wonderful nonprofit whose work spans across our great state: Maddie’s Pet Project.

They just started a new three-year campaign to revolutionize the status and well-being of dogs and cats across Nevada by supporting animal shelters, engaging and empowering animal lovers, and expanding access to veterinary care, especially in rural areas. They recently held a massive, statewide adoption day on April 27 and 28, where 665 dogs and 305 cats were adopted! Give these people a round of applause! It’s this kind of ambition that really stokes the flame of creativity, especially when KPS3 partnered up with this great organization to help design its new identity.

I must introduce a particular canine, the pooch it was all named after, Maddie. Maddie was the beloved miniature schnauzer adopted by Dave and Cheryl Duffield whose unconditional love inspired the formation of this foundation. Maddie has since passed away, but her legacy lives on. Capturing her image played an essential role in our design exploration. In that same vein, another positive feature that played an essential role in our creativity was the emphasis they put behind both dogs and cats. Oftentimes, I find it disheartening when a rescue puts more importance on dog adoptions, but their mission puts felines in equal light. With these points in mind, we set about exploring options.

Without further ado, let’s get this graveyard party started! Where better to begin than with a room full of unsuspecting designers? Our entire creative team gathered into a room for the afternoon and put together as many concepts as possible. All ideas were welcomed. The purpose of this was to create a solid place to start. Whether you’re given a whole afternoon, or just an hour, having more than one person working towards the same goal tends to offer diversity in thinking and spur creativity. Regardless of how fleshed out an idea is, conceptualizing is a pathway of its own, and can have rewarding outcomes down the road. From here, all the options are gathered and finessed by one designer, who can then choose which designs to riff off of, toss aside or add on to. What you see below are the first two rounds.

Working in harmony with the client, we began narrowing our options. At first it was the typography, then the color palette, and eventually we started adding in the shape of Nevada. As with all our work, we were determined to capture the spirit of this organization, traveling down multiple roads before arriving at the right place. Unexpectedly, in a stunning turn-around, a past design — thought to have been overlooked — resurfaced to become the chosen logo.

Let’s dismember this process a bit to determine how we honed in on our client’s expectations. From the get go, we knew Maddie had to be in the picture, and over time, it became clear that they gravitated towards the pieces that represented her to some degree. In addition, they wanted a voice that was uplifting, celebratory and relatable, so I wanted to push imagery that felt heartwarming, but also had an underlying urgency to their cause. This was a tricky one, because the client loved everything we showed them, and yet we still weren’t hitting the mark. The process continued with in-depth explorations on a select few, where multiple variations were made of the same logo, but with subtle differences to compare and contrast what was working and what wasn’t. Ultimately, we landed back to square one with a concept that kept reappearing. It only needed a few tweaks to win them over and suddenly they were in love. There’s a beauty to working on so many different directions only to end up back at the start, returning full circle to an option that kept resurfacing in conversation. Sometimes the perfect solution isn’t found at the end — it might be tucked away in the beginning, needing only a few finishing touches to make it just right.

Maddie’s Pet Project is solving the world’s problems one dog and cat at a time, and now they have a logo that reflects the passionate and generous work they do. However, as we all know by now, good work is never done, so don’t stray too far and expect more branding pieces to come. Our creative team is already hard at work uncovering what it means to be a part of the Maddie’s Pet Project family, and how best to visually represent its message to Nevada.

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