Identity design process for a personal rebranding

Mike Tittel, an independent photographer approached me looking to take his personal brand identity to the next level. Mike Tittel Photography, an adventure sports/active lifestyle photography company based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, decided that if he wanted to move from his “basic Verdana [all type] logo” that he needed to work with a professional — something unfamiliar to him and his previous marketing efforts.

Mike was a follower of mine on Twitter and after discovering my portfolio, decided to fill out my online Logo Design Project Worksheet. After reading his responses and a few initial phone conversations I felt that Mike and I shared something very similar, and not because we were both independent workers; we both had extreme passion for what we do and also valued thoughtful, relevant design. Continue reading below for a look into Mike Tittel Photography’s logo design process.

MTP logo

Design Brief

Again, Mike, a freelance adventure sports photographer [ view his portfolio ], shoots both editorial and commercial assignments, as well as maintains a stock collection which contains over 45,000 rights managed images. His primary goal, and main reasoning for getting in contact with me, was to reach further into the commercial photography industry and work for clients such as Nike, New Balance, etc. Essentially he was looking to expand his presence and market reach.

A few notes from my clients Logo Worksheet:

  • Simple, clean
  • Memorable and approachable
  • Easy to work with across various mediums
  • Something that reflects and works with his portfolio and current colors; background of current website is black


After reviewing Mike’s portfolio and worksheet responses, my first initial response was to make the logo bold and dense to compliment the beautiful and powerful extreme sports photography he produced. I also felt that a bold logo/mark would lay well over busy images, since the logo would most likely be overprinted on top of busy background and photographs.

Like all my designs I started off with a sketchbook and pencil:


While many of the above sketches are completely unrelated to the produced concepts, sketching is important as it let’s a designer get as many ideas out as possible in a short amount of time — great activity for the brain. Also, when searching for ideas and brainstorming I like to doodle completely unrelated drawings — sort of allows me to free my mind for few minutes, before coming back to a thoughtful process.

Although the final concept was the first presented concept (see concept 3), the first below concepts were produced to have a more action/sports feel to it.

Concept 1


The ‘M’ in Mike was emphasized through the mountain/lightening bolt mark, with the additional two lines emphasizing speed: all which can been seen through my client’s photography.

Concept 2


Drawing from the above concept, a second mark was produced to emphasize speed, direction, balance and strength.

Concept 3 (“The Chosen One”)


Prior to the above concepts, this concept (seen above) was presented to the client first (sometimes we get it right on the first try), which I was particularly excited about. The image captured all of the notes Mike discussed (simple, clean, memorable, reflective of his work, etc.)

While Mike was more drawn to the first two concepts and direction they were headed, I felt that they stemmed too far away from the fact that Mike was a photographer. What Mike and I particularly enjoyed about concept 1 and 2 was the strength and bold feel, so the typeface, Knockout by Hoefler and Frere-Jones brought back the extra punch the first two presented.

The point in the ‘M’ was replaced with an orange lens with the negative space resembling a simplified camera body (see image below). This logo was much more flexible, as the ‘M’ could also be singled-out as a mark on its own. I also told Mike that this logo would turn out to be his own personal “Fedex gem.”


Logo applied to the website


Business cards and stationery



The business cards were printed by Jakprints and implemented a fifth color, metallic silver, on the backside ‘Mike Tittel.’


While it’s not everyday that you get to work with clients that are not only a pleasure to communicate with, but equally as thrilled with the process AND the result, Mike was kind enough to write a fully detailed testimonial, which you can read on his blog.

While this is only the start of a few projects I’ve been working on with Mike and his company, it’s been a pleasure working with him up to this point and wish him and his company the very best success in the future.

Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Brian,

    I have been following your blog for a while now. Your design for Mike Tittel Photography is great. I enjoy reading about the design process you take and like to follow the same steps when working on my projects. This is a really great logo. Excellent job! Looking forward to more of your identity design process posts in the future.

  2. Brian, thanks for the post about your process! Even though this logo is really bold, I also find it to be subtle and elegant at the same time. The orange color especially gives emphasis in the right place (drawing the eye to the camera). I really value simplicity in logo design, and this just nails it on the head…great work!


  3. Hi Brian!

    Thanks for sharing your design process! As a logo designer myself (just starting out) it’s great to see how other people create their logos. I think you are right when you say that unrelated doodling helps to clear your mind.

    I love the font you chose for Mike and the mark is just perfect!

  4. Niki Brown says:

    Nice work!

    Its always great to write about and share your design process. This not only helps other designers, but clients see how much work goes into good design!

  5. chad engle says:

    Diggin’ it Brian. Awesome job on the logo and the write-up.

  6. Paul Her says:

    Nice job Brian. I really like the mark. Simple and bold.

  7. Rob Alan says:

    Great stuff – Thanks for posting this, Brian!

  8. Ryno Burgerr says:

    It’s great to get into the minds of other designers and to see how they go about their design process. Brain, the image titled as “Business cards and stationery”, how did you put it all together like that? Do you use some kind of software to group the images together or is it a manual process? Thanks for sharing your work and ideas with us.

  9. Hi Brian, nice post this is something I have been doing for a few years myself and it is fascinating to read how other designers go about the process, great logo, great post, thanks very much

  10. manolo says:

    great,Thanks for your share

  11. Brian says:

    Thanks. The stationery was done in Photoshop although they were all printed for the client. I’m not the best photographer, not do I have the best camera so a mock-up serves better justice. The skew tool was mostly used, while playing with lighting and shadow.

  12. Hey Brian, I really appreciate you showing us your steps and final product. This is a very simple but interesting logo. My eyes go directly to the orange camera (which is the most important part of the logo). Everything is working here; fonts, colors… good job!

  13. Rob says:

    Nice post. I like your designs and finished stationery.

  14. Guilherme says:

    Nice job man as always.. im a big fan of u!


  15. michele says:

    wonderful process…

    love the logo u created :-)

  16. [...] Identity Design Process For A Personal Rebranding [...]

  17. Bronson says:

    Fantastic work, I really love the end result. It’s a very polished and current logo.

    I also always enjoy seeing the logo creation process, it’s amazing to see how a idea forms, gets distilled and executed.

  18. [...] Identity design process for a personal rebranding (tags: branding design logo graphicdesign logos) [...]

  19. Gopal Raju says:

    Thats an awesome logo man!

  20. Danny Hinde says:

    Great work Brian! Negative space logo’s are THE best!

  21. Well done. Great logotype.

  22. fractalfrog says:

    So what is it? Tittel, as in Concept 1 and 3 or Tittle, as in Concept 2? ;-)

  23. Ted Rex says:

    Excellent work! Posted a link to this page on my daily design blog:


  24. [...] that is shown. Personally all of my designs, whether its a logo or the layout of a website, always start off in my sketchbook. Sketching helps to get the brain working creatively, get ideas out quickly, free your mind, and [...]

  25. Romina says:

    As a student graphic designer, I love getting to see the creative process unfold, and I thank you for showing it to us. Even with my limited experience, I can still appreciate the quality of this mark, I’ll try my best to reach this level one day.
    *I did notice that you misspelled “TITTEL” on the second concept. Probably not a huge issue at that point of the process, but I’m a stickler for details :P

  26. [...] 11. Identity Design Process For A Personal Rebranding [...]

  27. dresses says:

    Well done. Great logotype.

  28. Judy McGrath says:

    Thank you for sharing the rebranding process of Tittels logo,etc. I m always interested to see how other photographers/reps are staying up to date on their brand.

  29. Beautiful post thanks for sharing.
    Keep it up buddy.
    waiting for some new !!!

  30. Craig says:

    Thanks for going through the design process for the Mike Tittel Photography logo, Thanks!

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: