Process: How I made a punk rock mouse
Small White Mouse was a new site that we launched while I was Director of Marketing at Chesbro Music Co.
To get started, I photo referenced a lot of mice trying to figure out what it was that actually made a mouse look like a mouse. The ears are actually quite a bit smaller than many cartoons would have you believe. It was difficult to make sure that the mouse didn't end up looking like a bat, rat, dog, etc.
I started sketching the logo and just tried to get a bunch of ideas out. It was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be because quite a lot of what I initially drew looked like Mickey Mouse or Deadmou5.
Sketches: Round One
Sketches: Round Two
I let my sketching get a little more refined and less “logo-y” here. I was starting to like what was going on. At this point, I’m was pretty sure that I wanted circles to be involved; maybe something along the lines of a seal or something that would go well on a patch. I wasn’t quite there yet.
Sketches: Round Three in ink
I had to cleanse a little bit, so I drew a few rock stars as mice. At this point, I was still experimenting with ear and nose shapes. What was it that made a mouse look like a mouse. If I could get a human to look "mousie" then I'd be onto some of the elements that indicate "this is a mouse." These were done with a Pentel Pocket brush and some drafting pens.
Vector: Round One
After getting that out of my system, I felt like a had a handle on what makes a mouse look like a mouse. You'll notice that I played with different nose and ear shapes in each ink drawings. I hit the computer and started refining the specific shapes of the face, nose, eyes and ears. Initially, I was going for a guitar pic shaped face, but it was too narrow, so I widened it. Most of these are still awful looking and a few of them looked more like koalas and dogs than they did mice.
Vector: Final Round
I developed the final three versions of the logos by further simplifying the images and refining the shape of the face and placement of the objects in relation to each other. Here are the final three logos.
Then we built the site, made a bunch of icons, patches, pins, shirts and stickers and launched it. The entire concept of the site is a nod to the Hitchhikers’ Guide, thus the reference to the mouse and number 42.
Video: The Rise of the Small White Mouse
As a bonus, here is the video I produced to set up the story of the brand. You can see the logo treatments at the beginning and end.