66. Logo en la Cabeza? Glad You Asked…

Published on 27 April 2024 at 09:56

© 2024 Robert Sickles

I never really wanted to have a pet pig—for me it’s like buying a boat: it’s better to know someone else who owns one. It began many years ago, my admiration of pigs and my collection of pig photos, pig art, and pig toys. Yes, I knew it was odd. Anyway, the pig thing became part of my identity in such a way that the old quandary of friends and family, “what to get Robert for Christmas or his birthday?” was easily remedied, and my pig collection started to overtake our home décor and my wardrobe. My wife’s patience finally ran out. I watched Linda take down my pig wall hangings and framed prints. Goodbye old oven mitt. Adios coffee mugs. Many of the plush toys became dog chews. So sad. I don’t know what you make of all this, but I think of myself as a nutcake.

Part of my collage of magazine clippings and "pigs in the news" articles

 

When I started my graphic design business, the obvious choice for my logo was a pig, and the name “Logo en la Cabeza” was punned from the Spanish loco en la cabeza, or “crazy in the head.” My business ran for 25 years or so, and I thought of changing my logo to something a little less obscure, but a colleague insisted it was a good thing for me to have to explain the name of my business, as it opened an opportunity to talk about what I do. However, only a few times did anyone get my pun or appreciate my pig logo, or ask what it meant or what my business was. And that continues today. Oh well. You didn’t ask, so I’m telling you anyway.

In the first phase of my design career, I was fortunate to find a position as independent contractor for a small advertising and commercial print house in Seattle. Art school barely prepared me for working in this company, but they were new to having their own art department, so the learning curve was mutual. For 12 years, I was their in-house artist. The account reps there were variously effective in sales and their number rose and fell from time to time. When there were 5 or more good reps, I was busy long hours, but other times there might not be enough work in my inbox to fill even a half day. I finally decided to expand my client base as a freelancer by tapping into three nationwide networks of affiliated advertising agencies. Eventually I landed on their preferred vendors lists, and kept quite busy with work brought to me by a few dozen salespeople from offices in at least 15 states. I never had to drum up work and only rarely needed to travel for conferencing directly with their clients.

I did all kinds of graphic design for businesses large and small in every sector, plus non-profits and private individuals. My work included imprints for countless promotional ad specialties; banners and backdrops for trade show and event booths; print and embroidery on all kinds of garment graphics; and commercial print for business forms, packaging, brochures, menus, catalogs, and stationery. New logo designs and illustration jobs came around occasionally—I put a few of mine in a slideshow below.

Graphic design was definitely a new wrinkle for me, a true career in the corporate world. I figured out how to work daily with a number of colleagues and made some lifelong friends. But the work itself was never as gratifying for me as were my previous endeavors of musical instrument building and scrimshaw art, both of which pretty much dried up and abandoned me. In 2017 I turned down an overwhelmingly complex design job for a Florida cruise line and realized I was ready for a change, this time on my own terms. In the fall of 2018, I was nearly 70 years old, it was the year of my 50th high school reunion, 40 years with Linda, and 25 years since my first day as a graphic designer. I took that all as a celestially providential alignment, it was time for me to retire.

I worried about a gigantic “Oh, no!” from my clients, all of whom continually let me know that they loved my “3F” service: Fast, friendly and ’ffordable.  Was it possible I was irreplaceable? But no, in fact, it was an easy exit. I had a firm date for not taking on new jobs. I told them that I was always available to answer any questions, and would continue to amend all recent work for 6 months. And I provided each of them a complete digital collection of all the artwork they’d paid me to create, plus relavent fonts and working graphic files. I also wrote instructions on how they could communicate smoothly with their next artists. I was hoping that all this would make as clean a break as possible, and I was right. 

Now retired, I design on a hobby basis for a few old clients that I have always enjoyed working with. It’s nice to keep my skills fresh, and earn enough to fill the gas tanks!

When I started writing for my blog two years ago, I shifted the pig logo to this website, for no particular reason other than I am still crazy in the head for pigs. And here we are.

 

Click the Slideshow to see some of my logo and illustration designs

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Comments

Murphy
21 days ago

Super great designs!!

Linda
21 days ago

Yes, poor man had to remove his pigs from our kitchen wall. I wanted to put up wall paper and if he'd had his way there would have been little pink piglets on it!

Dave
21 days ago

What an honor to have started you on your career path as a graphic artist. And especially thank you for still helping me with my graphic needs.

Barbara
19 days ago

Robert, if you ever want to start a "bunny" collection, I can you a few from my collection. Having been born on Easter, for 20 years I was "Bunny" and my kids never forgot it. What to give Mom? A bunny something - all great gifts with a theme. Great logos - not so loco, Robert. WP especially.

Susan
17 days ago

Thinking about pigs…I have a vague childhood memory of tap dancing to “The Three Little Pigs” and singing “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf!” I’m sure that Linda remembers better than I do when that was. At the time I’m sure I was too young to understand the moral of the story…I was just afraid of the wolf! Always loved your pig decor!