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Late one 1968 evening in Irving, Texas, in a spare bedroom where I was moonlighting Calligraphy to the fair-thee-well, I used a C1 Speedball dip pen and lettered the ken brown you see above. No thought went into it. In fact, it wasn't intended as anything long-lasting. I had just completed a couple of custom pieces of Calligraphy....large sheets...taller than I could reach top to bottom. I wanted to put my 'mark' the bottom of each sheet, so this is what I did.

Seemed that adding a feather would suggest the guy behind the name might be a scribe...hand-letterer....Calligrapher. So I did it again on the bottom of each of the huge sheets of parchment. Those sheets are a whole 'nother story I'll share here sometime; the job became a turning point for my fledgling Calligraphy career.

Several years and a few million impressions after the original was done, I zapped my hand-drawn feather and replaced it with a more contemporary outline of a feather. About the same time, I dropped the 'Studio of Hand Lettering' in favor of Ken Brown Studio of Calligraphic Art. That was such a mouthful for so long, about 20 years ago, it was simplified to Ken Brown Studio.

Now I get phone calls occasionally wanting a wedding photographer! However, with the so prevalent now, it becomes obvious I'm a lettering artist who now uses a dental drill as a pen!

Why do I capitalize Calligraphy, you say? In my life it's quite the 'proper noun.' Now, a plumber probably doesn't write Plumbing in his blogs and promotional material. And a shrink probably doesn't write Psychiatry in his articles for the medical journals. That's fine and whatever Grammar Girl says about it Calligraphy is fine with me, correct or otherwise. I take poetic license and capitalize what feeds me and make no apologies!

The original framed above that took about 10 minutes to complete was then given to my commercial printer in Dallas to be used on my first little promotional flyer and my first business cards. I had used liquid paper to cover up unwanted marks. It was a crude little graphic that was born simply and quickly. It became a part of every promotional piece, every reproduction of our prints, every book, magazine ads, including one in National Geographic Magazine. Those two names and the feather have been reproduced many millions of times and is scattered around the far reaches of the planet.

The logo is matted just as I found it in my archives years and years after I created it. It occupies an important spot on my Studio wall and I wanted to share it for this blog.

BOTTOM LINE: If you think about it, many logos' shapes have nothing to do with the product behind them. The AT&T sphere and irregular lines have been out there long enough for a majority of the people who'd see it, without the letters, would immediately know the company.

In my case, and with zillions of others we all see every day, the feather and obviously hand-lettered names, relate closely to what I do as a Calligrapher. NIKE has the swoosh. Even if the word is nowhere to be found, you KNOW that swoosh graphic is from NIKE wherever you see it; often the company name is nowhere to be seen.

Whatever you adapt as your 'mark' use it everywhere you can with everything you do. Like the Bluetooth in your phone and portable speaker, you'll be 'paired.'

-Ken Brown

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