I've always loved the shape of the Isle of Wight; it's a real design job in progress. An island that has this distinctive layout, obeying more or less, the cardinal points of the compass. Not a discarded sock or dead guinea pig like the Isle of Man, this is a professional job. The place has identity. It's a diamond.
My mate Laurence has a gallery in Yarmouth, and he was asking me to think of stuff he could sell beside the people prints. Could I think of something more local; could I come up with a tasteful souvenir? I started mucking about with Adobe Illustrator and the letters that make up the name, and I quickly hit upon a shape that would obey the boundaries of the actual topography, but what excited me more than anything (pathetic, I know) was that the THE became a sort of typo symbol for The Needles (you can't thread), its best-known landmark. I also liked the letters in reflection (some designers do jigsaw pieces, I stick to reflections, but so far nobody's said anything...) which do give the basic letterforms a seaside context.
It could exist in many contexts this shape. So far it will be sold as an open edition print as a simple evocation of, well, sea, sun and yachts. Maybe in more than one colourway... I just love it because it really seems to work. I then thought, that someone must have designed something for the Isle of Wight Tourist Board, and I hadn't even checked to see if there was anything that might be clashing with mine. Er, no there wasn't.
Usually, like universities, resorts have got hip to 'identities'; modern-speak for those dreary scribbles that appear mostly to have been knocked out by a bored designer or a golf-buddy's equally vacant teenager. Anyway, as far as the authorities who adopt these wonky little talismans are concerned, they're getting something cool. A sexy little button that will make up the web-surfing holiday planner's mind really quickly. No matter what TripAdvisor says of the over-priced clapped-out little dump that passes as a guest house. (..."the landlord just stood behind my husband during breakfast and read the paper over his shoulder..." sort of thing). No, get a yourself an overpriced, clapped-out little logo.
I'm not saying, of course, that the logo the Isle of Wight Tourist Board uses is any of these things. It doesn't look overpriced for a start. It doesn't really matter that it might have been previously rejected by a ten-pin bowling club, or a bird sanctuary near Benidorm. It's a logo. It's an identity. It says... er, Enjoy!
Get over yourself.
Get over yourself.