Yale Cabaret

by jbyron

I did some work for Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls) a while back – the below illustration may not be exactly the one she went with but it’s close – Mrs. Palmer has connections with Yale, (perhaps she went there, i haven’t really looked into it) and when their school of drama needed a logo for the cabaret division, somebody talked to somebody and that somebody emailed me.

amanda palmer design

amanda palmer design

The fine folks at Yale sent me their mission statement, which is beautiful, and asked that i capture it with a simple image. They wanted something that balanced innocence and angst, whimsy and danger. In their mission statement, they compare their style to a ballerina with dynamite and we both thought that was a great place to start.

Yale 1st draft

Yale 1st draft

But as i like to give several options, plus put my own spin on things – i played with the idea of balancing the two contrasting notions and how to best project that without complicating things.

The following 2 images were submitted but in the end, we all preferred the ballerina. Although a major tweak would be necessary…

yale jack/bomb

yale jack/bomb

yale red & the wolf

yale red & the wolf

I have a bit of an obsession with Little Red Riding Hood – i’ve done several illustrations and even written a poem or two about her. The idea of innocence, danger and sexuality all wrapped up in this gothic/werewolf thing has always captured my imagination. I thought this Yale logo would be a good opportunity for me to release that demon yet again. They didn’t go for it.

The jack in the box idea provided many icons and variations which we both liked. They asked that i do some specific tweaks and resubmit. However, it was clear that the favorite of the three was the ballerina. But there was one big problem – the dynamite vest read as political. Something they understandably wanted to avoid. So we talked it over – threw some ideas back and forth – basically we both wanted to be a little more abstract with the idea. So i told them i was going to ignore Jack and concentrate on the exploding ballerina idea.

Which led to this…

yale dynamite/fairy

yale dynamite/fairy

This one didn’t fly. I admit, i strayed from the path a bit (see, little red riding hood) But I loved the hell out of it  and have since decide to use it in a fine-art piece. I’m sure i’ll be posting that eventually. But back to the drawing board for yale…

The following image was on target.

ballerina aflame

ballerina aflame

They were happy – nearly – the only tweak being that they wanted more separation between the figure and the flame and they wanted her to be on her toes, literally.

So this is the final version, which i was happy with. That, in a fiery nutshell, is the logo process. One of many that i’ll be posting on this blog. Thanks for reading. And thanks to Amanda and Yale (big up to Devin).

yale final

yale final

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