Personal Logos as Human Tree Rings

May 15, 2018

Let me explain.

I’ve always had a fascination with personal logos and have created four of them over the course of 22 years. I’m not much of a painter, but I do enjoy dabbling in the graphic arts, and these are the closest thing I have to a self-portrait. These expressions of my “personal brand”, before that became a thing, are abstract snapshots of my identity.

VT Logo circa 1996

Around 1996, I made my first logo in middle school. It was a soft and curvy V combined with a T and surrounded in a oval and written with a single stroke. Two parallel lines at a jaunty angle sit above the curved V, forming a silly smiley.

VT Logo circa 2004

The second one, codenamed NXNE, or North-by-Northeast, was created sometime around 2004. It was a play on the South-by-Southwest conference. Carved out of a rounded rectangle, the V pointed to the Southwest, while the T was transformed into an arrow that pointed Northeast. After seeing a similar logo emblazoned on a soft-serve machine, I felt measurably less clever.

VT Logo circa 2009

In 2009, I created Reflect, which was a more abstract monogram cut into a solid-colored rectangle. The inspiration came from the two slashes following HTTP in a web address. Years later, I’d find Mozilla Foundation doing the same thing.

VT Logo circa 2012

I gave the reflect logo a bit of a refresh in 2012 by tossing it in a circle, as was the style at the time. So, while it’s a big improvement on the original, I don’t really count it as a completely new logo.

VT Logo circa 2018

And now in 2018, I finally have a shiny, sparkly new logo. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but I think it’s my best yet. I dig that it’s minimal, scalable, and flexible and can’t wait to experiment with other treatments, colors, and cutouts. I made it in Inkscape, since I’m on an open-source kick lately and didn’t want to rely on Adobe Illustrator, yet again.

Logos from different stages of my life, like rings on a tree. Thankfully, I’m the only arborist that can fully interpret them.

by Vance Tran
purveyor of varied digital products