This particular feature took me a minute to get out because I designed the first draft of this logo last year, which had nothing to do with the Acting Brand New series (it didn’t even exist back then). I was just so inspired by this individual that I made it in one of my random sketching moods.
I discovered this artist two years ago via a fellow creative friend of my mine who lives in Louisiana. She knows my taste in music pretty well and said I’d like this song. She sent me a YouTube link to a song called the Garden of Eden by Dee-1. When I heard the first few words of the track I was ready to turn it off because his accent threw me off. I’m not huge a fan of southern rap, I can never understand what they’re saying, and most of the rappers that were popular while I was growing up just didn’t appeal to me. I ended up listening for a little while longer and not because I was forcing myself to. I started listening to the lyrics and by the time it got to the bridge of the song, I loved it.
I’m known for my mild obsession with researching everything I can about a particular topic. So within about 2 days I had listened to around 75% of everything he’d released online. I was already sending his videos to my friends. One of the songs that stood out and is his most popular to date is called Jay, 50, and Weezy. This song is about a fictional meeting, where he calls the biggest rappers in the industry to the mat about using their influence to uplift the culture and eliminate the destruction that rap music has contributed to.
It’s a very intelligently written song, in that it’s marketing gold, it doesn’t attack anyone, it showcases his talent, creativity, and his entire purpose for making music, and includes a call to action… Pretty genius.
This guy is super talented, uses music to uplift the community, calls other to do the same and the best part is that all of this is inspired by His love for God. It’s not too often you find someone who stands for something so strongly that can still be universally relateable. He truly has a gift or what the industry would call the “it factor”. Before the end of the year after I was sent that link I had a new favorite rapper and I’m VERY particular about my music.
Dee-1 is a man of God who’s a professional rapper with ridiculous flow, walking in his purpose, reflecting Christ in everything that he does and it’s made a huge impact on me, the way I view music, and so many other things. He’s also the subject of the third installment of Acting Brand New and here it goes….
I started with this, the original concept, designed a while back. It was simple to the point and I liked it, but did nothing with it. I decided I wanted to update the concept a little bit becuase there were other facets that I want to incorporate to making it a complete identity package.
I wanted all the logos to be able to stand separately while being able to be combined since they may need to be separated or combined based on the how they’re used.
The concept of the letter D didn’t change dramatically. I broke the letter down into a stencil-style separating it into three parts to represent the three segments of his slogan, but I made sure the number 1 was in the in the center of the letter. In both the fist draft and this finished version visual of the word mark still says D1 (Dee-1) at first glance which is exactly how I wanted it to come across. I have a teenage cousin who loves a certain boy band who’s logo consists of the same letters. This band happens to be the biggest internationally selling band in the world right now. So, I consciously avoided any similarities to their logo.
The text underneath the logo is a handwritten styled script. Dee-1 has made it very clear that he does not co-sign negativity and the tearing down of the community through music. So, it seemed fitting that anyplace you see this not-so-official logo that it appears as though it’s him signing off on whatever it’s stamped on. If this was the real deal, it would be his actual signature.
You’re going to keep seeing the number three visually represented throughout this post. It represents the mantra “Be Real, Be Righteous, Be Relevant”.
The next phase of the design is what businesses call their mission statement. It encompasses all parts of the full concept of what the Dee-1 brand stands for. It’s Mission Vision, and the phrase is used both in conjunction with the other concepts but it’s also used separately. So as you’ll see later in this post the logo is able to be combined into one cohesive logo mark but it can also stand on its own.
This design doesn’t require much explaining, it’s pretty straight to point. It features a customized century family font, with the O’s in both words connecting to make eyeglasses in order to emphasize the vision aspect of the concept.
The final phase of the Dee-1 identity is the mantra that gives a more detailed explanation of what Mission Vision is and also how to follow that vision which is to “Be Real, Be Righteous, Be Relevant”. There’s a whole song about it called……. I think you’ve already figured it out… Three’s Up. I broke this logo up into two separate versions becuase I wanted the triple R’s to be able to be used on their own. I also wanted a visual explanation as that what Three’s Up means, hence the graduated skyscraper style design on the left. I played with how to display those words for a minute, but ended up settling on the one above because as the towers of each phrase moves up it shows elevation. That’s whole point of the statement; to elevate our minds/lives.
Update: This post was written a long time before Dee-1 released his 1st EP with a major record label so make sure you go buy that on iTunes and support someone using hip hop to uplift, not tear down.