Pledger Guitars Rebrand

A new custom logo for a local artisan that creates hand crafted guitars

Clayton reached out to me to redesign his branding into something more simple and elegant. He was looking for a new monogram design to engrave on the headstock of his hand made guitars along with a new emblem version of his logo that could provide more details on his business.

November 2015


Clayton Pledger


Time Spent: 22 hrs
Research: 5hrs
Drawing: 8hrs
Digitalization: 6hrs
Presentation: 3hrs

Project Duties:
Hand Lettering
Art Direction

Case Study

Below is an outline of my process from start to finish. Here you will be able to dig deeper into my design decisions and see for yourself how I ended up with the final result.

PG Process Mood Board

Mood Board

I started my process by creating a Pinterest Mood Board full of typography, logo and monogram samples to inspire an art direction for this piece. After our meeting, we decided to go with a simple, thin monogram similar to the Joe White examples from our Mood Board.

The letter CPG would be vertically stacked so it can be placed easily on the neck of Clayton’s guitars. Then I would include supporting typography for his full logo emblem that would include, “Pledger Guitars”, “Portland Oregon”, and “Hand Made by Clayton Pledger”.

PG Process Thumbnails


When creating this design I started with the monogram first since it would become the focal point of the brand. I drew pages and pages of sketches trying to find the perfect composition for this monogram. The design not only needed to fit neatly between the frets on the headstock of Clayton’s guitars but also needed to anchor well in the center of the emblem design.

I played around with various compositions before landing on my final stacked monogram. The CPG layout that ended up working best was one that had a stacked PG encased by the letter C. This worked nicely because the dominant C represents Clayton’s first name, and helps illustrate ownership.

PG Process - Monogram


Once I had my main concept picked out it was time to go into Illustrator and refine, refine, refine. Once I had my basic anchor points, I put my design on a grid to make sure it was perfectly balanced and centered.

I tweaked each edge and curve to make sure they were consistent while leaving enough negative space to distinguish each character. I had to make sure that the PG inside the C could remain legible even when scaled down to as small as 50×50 pixels.

I made two different concepts, one being made up of lines and the other filled in. I created both because the stroked version started to lose clarity when used in small applications. The monoline version would be used on the guitars’ headstock to show added detail while remaining subtle. I thought it was important to make sure that Clayton’s guitars alone could still shine and not be overshadowed by the logo mark.

PG Process-logo design


For the main emblem, I wanted the monogram to take center stage while still allowing room for additional type. I used Playfair Display as the main header type for “Pledger Guitars” and a similar serif font Bentham for “Portland Oregon” and “Handmade by Clayton Pledger”.

I choose to stick to a serif typeface to not only stay consistent with Clayton’s current branding but to reinforce a classic feel for his brand. I used two different serif fonts because although similar, the height of Bentham ended up being a more appropriate size than using Playfair alone and gave the design more variety.

PG Process-website

At first I included an updated version of the green accents in Clayton’s current logo but ultimately ended up removing it because it made the overall design too bulky. Also when the type was encased in a shape like an oval or rectangle, it forced the type to be smaller and less legible. Without being engulfed in a shape, this design can be used more freely especially when placed as the header image of Clayton’s web presence.

PG Process-embelm


I created three different color options for this logo so it could be read easily on both dark and light backgrounds. The main version of the logo is the charcoal grey and brown on cream and should be used whenever possible. The two bottom options could be used on shirts, business cards, product accessories, and printed marketing to give the brand more life.

I chose browns, tans and a dark grey for contrast to help complement the same colors of wood Clayton uses to make his custom guitars. This would help bring together his marketing when showing different images of his work.