New York City-based textile designer Gerlan Marcel knows a thing or two about design and beauty. Having created textiles for Jeremy Scott, Sex and the City stylist Patricia Fields, and celebrities like Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and Lil' Wayne, Gerlan’s at the forefront of the hyper-bright, street-oriented fashion revolution. So when we invited her to our San Francisco offices to design our new Beautylish logo, she was totally on board! After a weekend retreat filled with doodles, chocolate, and a flash of inspiration from shaved eye brows (yes!), she finally unveiled our amazing new look. We sat down with Gerlan to get a behind-the-scenes view into her design process.
B: Hey Gerlan! Are you excited to see the logo live on the site?
Yeah! It's great to see the logo in context—and I love the colors. I think the whole concept of a beauty site that isn’t pink is really, really inspired.
B: You're a fashion and textile designer by trade—how does it feel to dive in the beauty universe?
It's a natural place for me to be. There obviously wouldn't be fashion without beauty—it's a really big part of my own line. Completing the story through beauty, makeup, and styling is an integral part of what I do—all aspects help create the full image. It's true for my personal style, too.
B: Tell us about your personal aesthetic. Did it influence the Beautylish logo?
I'm inspired by the urban street styles that develop organically, transforming them into something a little more refined and sophisticated. I put my energy behind something that is ultimately mass-produced, but doesn't sacrifice the designer's creativity in the process. That's the whole concept of Gerlan Jeans. However, Gerlan Jeans is kind of niche, and Beautylish isn't—it caters to a wide range of people who are interested in all aspects of the beauty world—so I wanted the logo to represent all different types of beauty and style without boxing it in.
B: Can you tell us about actual design process?
It was the most amazing design process—ever! Working with the whole Beautylish team in San Francisco was a delight. So much great energy and exchange of ideas—we had a limitless, no-boundary attitude to the development, and that's part of why the logo came out so strong. We really took the time to explore and cast a wide net, and went really hands-on because that's the nature of the site and its community. We wanted to capture that same energy, and obviously played with beauty products all day. There was makeup all over the table! Very analog.
B: How did you come up with the final logo?
Well, a lot of marks and scribbled "S’s” later, we liked the one you see now. It's really sophisticated, but kind of cross-genre to a lot of different aesthetics.
B: What sort of differences and challenges do you notice when designing a digital logo versus textiles and clothing?
Honestly, there's something refreshing about the challenge. When you're designing and working with fabric, you constantly have to be aware of how something moves on a living body, and what kind of personality the wearer brings to the textile. In 2D, the design has to have personality all on its own—which is equally as challenging, but different. It's a more subtle approach. A logo has to be really well thought-out, with subtle details you probably couldn't put your finger on.
B: Okay—now that we're talking subtle details. What's the story behind the half-smudged "A"?
Ha! Well, we were working on different ideas during design development, looking at different marks. I was speaking with the art director and she asked about the logic behind the half smudged “A”—why was it only smudged on one side and not both? Instinctively, I replied that the "A" must-have shaved off one of its eye brows. I was totally that girl who shaved her brows in my "bad teen" days. Looking back, I definitely did not have the face for that...
B: You're always working on the coolest brand collaborations! What's next for you and Gerlan Jeans?
I just launched my Fall/Winter 2012 collection in February, now I'm collaborating with Joy Rich, an LA-based label with doors all over Japan. Of course, I'm also working on Gerlan Jeans' spring/summer 2013 collection for September. And I've got a couple of top secret happenings I can't reveal...just yet.