It’s Ma.gnolia’s second birthday!

February 16 , 2008 6 comments

Once upon a time

I met Larry Halff at SXSW in 2007, although we were both at Web Directions North a month earlier in Vacouver, Canada; our paths did not cross. Larry has been a welcome wagon to me this past year upon my arrival to San Francisco. I actually ran into him the second day in town. While working with Larry I’ve met another person on his team, Todd Sieling who is great to work with too (he’s a User Interface guy and is super talented and funny to boot!)

William, Larry and I

Larry started ma.gnolia two years ago and today is its second birthday or second anniversary. It is a social bookmarking site where you can check out what your friends like and share sites you like. I’ve had the honor to illustrate the holidays for ma.gnolia’s logo that was created by Jason Santa Maria at Happy Cog. Just in case you have missed the ones on the site. I wanted to showcase them and the process behind them.

The process

Larry says, “Can you create a ma.gnolia logo for Halloween?.” Me replying, “Of course!.” The one restriction is to leave the ma.gnolia logo intact but I am able to remove the flower portion from the logo.

Here’s the original logo: logo

Then I remove the magnolia flower from the logo.

original logo without magnolia flower behind the o.

From that image I start thinking about how to work with the circle of the logo. I start researching what things represent Halloween.  I start by googling all the things that represent Halloween, pumpkin, candy, cat, spider, witch.The circle has been a bit tricky because it limits what angle I can make the illustrations. So to start this I went down the pumpkin route. I had some photos of pumpkins and I even walked down the street to stare at some in the grocery store. The side view I thought worked out rather well but the circle of the ma.gnolia logo wasn’t perfectly integrated. So I tried other styles and views of pumpkins.

ma.gnolia logo with a pumpkin illustration behind it

and another pumpkin. This one was a top view of a pumpkin. It looked like a flower but it wasn’t right because it was supposed to be a pumpkin.

ma.gnolia logo with a pumpkin illustration behind it

and yet another pumpkin. I tried another side view of the pumpkin but gave it a gradient. This one looked more like an orange to me than anything else, plus the gradient didn’t match the established style.

ma.gnolia logo with a pumpkin illustration behind it

and then a Jack-O-lantern, this was my least favorite because it wasn’t simple enough. It didn’t match the subtle nature of the established branding.

ma.gnolia logo with a pumpkin illustration behind it


I liked this one the best because it kept it fun and it went out of the box a bit. Craig Cook suggested the spider and web. (It never hurts to talk to friends when you get stuck.

Here’s the final spider with web on the ma.gnolia background. There was no need to adjust the colors


I drew a turkey for the Thanksgiving version of the logo

ma.gnolia logo with turkey

The final one was adjusted so the stripe of the turkey that was in its tail feather didn’t distract against the background.

ma.gnolia logo with turkey on ma.gnolia stripe background

Happy New Year’s

The circle of the logo was the perfect label for a champagne bottle so it became one in this holiday.

ma.gnolia logo with champagne bottle

I wanted to add some details like shading to make the confetti pop and the bottle appear 3-d.

ma.gnolia logo with champagne bottle and confetti on the ma.gnolia stripe background

Valentine’s Day

This one I wanted to create a flower that was whimsical. The petals were created out of hearts and one floating away while someone said, “he loves me.. he loves me not..” I should have counted them because it ended on, “not!” Oops :) In our case I think he does. ;)

ma.gnolia logo with hearts as petals on a flower

When I put it against the ma.gnolia background it was perfect and didn’t need any adjusting in color or shading.

Ma.gnolia’s 2nd birthday!

This was a bit trickier because I tried cupcakes and the view wasn’t working. I already used the champagne bottle for celebration and then I started researching 2nd birthdays and 2nd anniversaries. The 2nd anniversary flower was the “Cosmo.” Cosmo, means everything which was perfect for ma.gnolia because it holds everything for its users! So I was thrilled with this idea of the flower. In addition to the flower I wanted to work in the number two. I added the stem to the bottom left of the flower an incorporated a leaf to hide that it was a number. Another reason I did that was so it was integrated even more into the overall design.

ma.gnolia logo with a Cosmo flower and a stem representing the number 2 with a leaf attached

The final application to the background was perfect so there was no adjustment for this one either.

ma.gnolia logo with a Cosmo flower and a stem representing the number 2 with a leaf attached on the ma.gnolia background


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 02.21 am

Jina Bolton

Nice job. The new year’s logo is my favorite. The way the confetti and cork is drawn has a nice flair to it.


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 03.47 am


Beautiful work, and so interesting to see the progression of your designs


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 04.04 am

Aaron Alexander

I think Valentine’s Day is my favorite one. Unique in that there are no hearts, cupids, roses, etc. Great job!


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 05.23 am


Aaron I hate to burst your bubble. It is made of hearts. It’s just a bit abstracted.


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 08.40 am


Nice job. They really work and are just right as a middle ground. Not tooooo subtle and not in your face obvious.

Nice :D

Nest step, Google logos :P


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 05.34 pm

Neil Ford

Once again you prove your Design Rockstar credentials :)

These are all gorgeous!

- Neil.


Constantly, trying to learn new things, and on the way I get to meet some amazing people with my camera by my side. XOXO!

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