The Lions Club’s new vision.

The Lions Club’s new vision.

I just completed a logo and illustration for the organization, Lions Club International. As in my case, you are probably familiar with the name, but not always up to speed with who they are or what they do. Every time you drive into a new city, you’ll see the LCI seal on the community’s Chamber of Commerce sign along with the Rotary Club, Elks Club and others.

Lions are an international network of 1.3 million men and women in 202 countries and geographic areas who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world.

Known for working to end preventable blindness, Lions participate in a vast variety of projects important to their communities. These projects range from cleaning up local parks to providing supplies to victims of natural disasters.

To get this rolling, the Chicago agency Lipman Hearne was hired by LCI to revamp their very established brand.

Initially, I was approached Lipman Hearne about illustrating the new lion for the logo redesign, but as we got further into the project my role extended into the design of the familiar crest and typography as well.

Lipman Hearne had done a very thorough job of researching the past logos as well as how the different charters had ‘interpreted’ the usage of the organization’s logo. One of the main objectives would be to establish a new logo design that was bold and very versatile to make sure that the graphic standards would be easy to follow.

Since LCI’s conception in 1917, there have been quite a few logos over the years, but mostly in an evolutionary sense. Most of them stayed in a crest shape and had the familiar lion’s heads and initial capital ‘L’. in the center. The typography appeared to be a different story, seeming to change with the font popularity of each era and even overrunning text into the crest – ruining readability.

After some of our initial discussions, we agreed that this should be an evolutionary assignment with a good deal of clean up involved. One of the latest logos had almost a bad photocopy rendition of the lions, obviously making the transition from photostat (print) version to digital. Clean-up indeed.

Delving into the project, I soon had a dozen or so sketches of the new lion, with variations of the lion’s mane, teeth, expression and so on. Further decisions had to be about the crest shape and which influences I should use to create the shapes. I started off somewhat simple and we pared down to even simpler – almost basic.

A lesson in full-circle. My original design starts on the left and slowly ends in a cleaned-up version of two of the originals on the far right.

My versions of the lion’s head started off as a very modern illustration and style. Some modifications were to try and balance the look of the open mouth and to avoid being too aggressive. Slowly, as the different directions were presented and the many clients gave their opinions, I was asked to do an overhaul on the ‘bad photocopy’ version. This would be quite the challenge.

Some crest and type explorations for the new logo. These particular versions were trying to interpret some cleaner art-deco influences.

So, as you take a look at the work, realize that in all the subtlety of the refinements there was a lot of thought and design that went into keeping the integrity of the LCI crest. Lipman Hearne has done a great job in bringing new life into the Lions Club International brand with their different applications.