Greetings mate and welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…
Before we get into the history of this site and its logo, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!
What I will bring you in this article
- From Humble Beginnings
- A True Artist
- “Banksy with a Canvas”
- The Origins of Home Studio Basics
- Concepts explained
- Gallery Timeline
- 3 Year Anniversary Logo
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
From Humble Beginnings
It has long since been my dream to work from home doing stuff that I love to do. I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember, and it’s been a part of my life from a child growing up.
Back in the day, I would visit my Grandparents in Smithtown, Long Island. My Mom, Dad, and I would take the 10-hour drive up I-95 North from Raleigh, North Carolina.
These were some of the best times I had growing up, and I will always think fondly of road trips during the summer and winter months. We would visit at least twice a year, for Christmas/Thanksgiving, other various events like Family Reunions in the summer, and just to visit in general.
Back then, my Grandma would buy different types of cereal like Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch, Razzle Dazzle Rice Krispies, Apple Jacks, and Honey Bunches of Oats which is still my all-time favorite. My Grandpa loved Lucky Charms! 🙂
Before we left to go back home, I would always draw a picture of the kind of cereal she had at that particular time. One year it was the Crunch Berries variety, one year it was Froot Loops, one year Rice Krispies, etc.
She always loved the pictures, and until the day she passed away, she told me I was an artist and had a great gift. “You’re a natural!” she would exclaim.
That encouragement from such a young age was much needed in my life, as I often felt like I never fit in with the other kids. It seems as though I always stood out in some way, even though I would have preferred the opposite!
It’s funny how our mindsets change as we grow older. Nowadays I’m grateful that I was always the oddball.
A True Artist
As far as art is concerned, I wouldn’t even call it a passion of mine. It’s just hard-wired into me and it’s who I am. My name is Stuart after all 😛 I like most forms of art including drawing, painting, graphic design, making beats, playing guitar, making/editing videos, taking/editing photos, sculpture/woodworking, etc. Really anything that can be considered artistic, I’m all about it.
I suppose I just look at the world in that kind of way. A right-brained person if you will. The funny part about it is that I’m also extremely analytical and methodical in the way I make art (and in general), so in that sense, I’m also a bit left-brained as well.
I think about situations, events, and the world in a very conceptual way, without really attempting to. There is meaning behind everything you see, hear, and experience, and I like to make art in a way that reflects this through anything ranging from a play on words to simple nostalgia, to irony, and everything in between.
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You may think some of this is stupid and that’s okay. For me, making art isn’t about being perfect or getting it right all the time. It’s simply about making art and not caring who likes it or doesn’t like it. Some ideas work, others don’t and that’s okay!
“Banksy with a Canvas”
Communicating ideas in bizarre, strange, and clever ways is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. When I was in college, a guy who was in my Painting II class (around 2012) called me “Banksy with a Canvas” because he liked the way I conveyed my thoughts through the medium, and from a conceptual standpoint, he thought my ideas were brilliant. It was very humbling.
Before I left my last retail job back in 2015, I wrote a letter to my managers saying “I’m a creative individual trapped in a corporate world.”
In December 2014, my Grandma came to visit and I told her I didn’t want to work a 9-5 job anymore and that I was going to do something about it. She and my mom were skeptical, but I stuck with it and in 2017 I was finally able to leave my job and pursue marketing and graphic design full-time, while also launching another website Painterly Stew for the conceptual/art side of things. That site has been on the back burner for some time, but real work will begin on it soon.
The Origins of Home Studio Basics
I stumbled into marketing completely by accident. I was heavily into making beats at the time, and because I had done it for so long and felt my work was good enough, I began searching for ways to market myself and sell my work online.
In searching, I came across a program called Wealthy Affiliate, which is a marketing platform designed to help bloggers create websites about things they are truly passionate about. If you’re interested in turning your passion into a full-time income, WA is the place to be.
Because I have always loved music and had a lot of knowledge about the small home studio, I began a website teaching people how to start their very own studio. The guide is simple, straightforward, and costs around $1000-$1500 of investment.
- Check it out here! I do update it from time to time, so please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make it better!
After the guide was finished, I began blogging about beats, and my experience over the years with different people in the Hip-Hop community. The rest is history as they say. 800+ posts later, I am still writing articles and making recommendations.
Right now it’s mostly in the headphone realm, as I’ve garnered a lot more experience with different types of audiophile-grade headphones, Amps & DACs, and the like. I also have experience with audio interfaces, studio monitors, turntables, microphones, MIDI, and much more.
- Check out my Headphone Reviews!
I pride myself on making recommendations to the best of my ability, and would never tell someone to buy a product that I wouldn’t purchase.
In any event, once I began work on the site and had a solid backbone to work with, it was time to come up with a good logo.
I found some old thumbnails from around October of 2015 and thought I would share them.
Because I have a background in Graphic Design, I like to come up with my own ideas and ways to brand myself. Though my logo for this website is quite simplistic at first glance, a lot of thought went behind its creation.
I wanted the logo to be iconic yet simple, but also be clever in some way. I wanted it to stand the test of time while also being immediately recognizable.
When people look at it, they should instantly associate it with me, my brand, and my website. Incorporating meaning into my work has always been a priority, and I strive to tie in some sort of concept to go along with almost everything I do.
The concept here was simple:
- Create a logo that represents the “Basics” in Home Studio Basics.
- Use shapes as identifiers and symbols.
- Tie in the “Home” part in a subtle way.
So I got to work. Try not to laugh at these thumbnails. Hehe. No one ever said the process was pretty!
Click to see!
My brainstorming started with trying to come up with an eye-catching design. I wanted to use the lines to create an abstract shape that incorporated a roof, and a house with a door.
My first thought was to see if I could make the logo resemble something you would see on the chest of a superhero or something that you could dip in ink and stamp.
Batch 2, 3 & 4
In batch 2, I started experimenting with the basic shapes while also making them into various pieces of equipment. The rectangle is a studio monitor, and the circle is a record player. In Batch 3 you can see me trying to incorporate the keys of a piano somehow into the mix, but I wasn’t feeling it. I tried once more with a drum pad sort of look in batch 4, but it wasn’t coming together.
I concluded that using the shapes in that manner was a little bit too literal for what I was going for. I even thought about a 3-D look, but of course that went against my K.I.S.S. philosophy as well, so I moved on.
You can see that it’s starting to come together a little bit, and I eventually decided on simple shapes with some text. The idea of a circle as a record button is kind of cool, but I didn’t like how it turned out in Illustrator so I scrapped it.
This represents just about the final product. Here I start to tighten things up and think about where I want to place the text. The thumbnail on the middle right is what I settled on before I took things to Adobe Illustrator.
Note: All of the logo iterations from 2014 to the present day are in a photo gallery towards the end!
Concept 1 (from above)
Use basic shapes in reference to “Home Studio Basics.” I chose a rectangle, square, triangle, and circle. My philosophy here has always aimed to explain things in a way that’s easy to understand. When I research something or read reviews, I want to find the answer as quickly as possible without getting overwhelmed with jargon.
I’ve found over the years that techies love to speak in jargon, using foreign-sounding language that makes little sense to the average reader. I don’t want that here.
My goal is to help you make sound decisions clearly and logically. I’ve found that it’s possible to understand complicated topics at a rudimentary level if you can frame things with everyday meaning while organizing your research into manageable chunks.
This allows you to grasp advanced subject matter a lot better as well if you know the basics and your notes are organized. There’s nothing wrong with layman’s terms!
My Resources page is about helping you understand things in this way.
Use the basic shapes as symbols and identifiers.
The circle represents:
- A record button.
- Any knob.
- A turntable/vinyl.
- A microphone grille-shape.
- A power-on switch.
- Any sort of audio jack (3.5mm, 1/4″, 2.5mm, 4.4mm, etc.)
- A circular ear-cup on a headphone.
The possibilities here are vast.
The square/rectangle shape represents:
- A studio monitor; one of the main pillars of any home studio.
- A drum pad.
- A mixer.
The long horizontal rectangle represents:
- Your audio interface, one of the main pillars of any home studio.
- Any sort of effects rack.
- A headphone Amp or DAC.
Tie in the “Home” part subtly and cleverly.
Both the triangle and square form a house. I wanted this to be very subtle. For the first couple of years, I kept it this way. Later I added a door but have since decided that it works better without one.
2017: 3-Year Anniversary
For this, I decided to turn the circle into a balloon, and the triangle into a birthday hat. I also created a banner and drew up some confetti. The balloon and hat were hand-drawn, scanned, and modified inside Adobe Illustrator.
The colors of course had to be festive, so I went with a neon theme. Looks pretty exciting to me! Lol.
- Looking Back (2020). Looking back on this logo in 2020, I think it was a bit too busy and cluttered, but hindsight is 2020 I guess (no pun intended). I think the 5 Year works a lot better.
A nice fella below made a comment saying how he enjoyed the hollow shapes better, as it better fit the theme of the site. He said this was because the hollow shapes reminded him of blueprints, schematics, and other types of basic infrastructure.
I think it also feels more futuristic and less dated. He commented that the old design seemed more like 2005, while this one had the potential to feel more current. I had to agree with him after giving the hollow shapes a second look. I think this new design is more streamlined, tighter, and cleaner.
It still retains the general concept of the roof and house (the home studio) but comes across as more classy and less kitsch.
2019: 5-Year Anniversary
For the 5-Year (December 2014 – December 2019), I decided to go minimalist and sort of match the look and feel of the original, putting a slight twist on it. As you’ll see in the gallery, the rectangle shape was morphed into a humble banner depicting the milestone. For the colors, I chose bright and festive to match 2017’s vibe. I think it came out well!
I also updated the tagline with a subtle but clever (in my opinion) play on words. If you’re making a sound decision, it’s sensible, logical, effective, reliable, thorough, and healthy. It involves the use of good judgment. You get the idea.
It fits perfectly with the theme of this site because so many people have thanked me over the last few years for helping them make great choices about audio equipment.
Rectangle, Roof Color & “Since 2014” Text
Lastly, I made the rounded rectangle a traditional squared-off one to match the other shapes and brightened the color of the roof a bit. It started to get lost on the black background. I also slightly modified the colors of the circle and rectangle so they would pop out a bit more. The other colors were a bit dull.
Regarding the text “Est. 2014” I think it worked pretty well inside the circle on the old logo, but I prefer leaving it out here on the new one. I haven’t found a spot that works and may not ever. I think it looks much cleaner without that.
I hope you like it! Let me know what you think about adding in or doing away with the “Since 2014”. I also would like to thank Andre for his valuable feedback in helping me to reconsider the look.
For this, I stripped down the logo even more and decided that it looked best as just the symbols. I can always go back to using it with words if I want, but for now, I like the clean aesthetic and it looks better on mobile and desktop because it’s not too busy.
Because I start every article and video with “Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping you make sound decisions, etc., I don’t need to have it in the logo anymore as it’s kind of redundant.
My other goals were to make the menu bar and logo both sticky, meaning when you scroll down, you can still get to other areas of the site without having to scroll back up. I think the new design also enables me to showcase my photography more, looks better, and is easier to navigate content.
Around this time I decided to do away with the brown of the roof and brighten up the colors as they were looking a bit dull.
These 3 variations are what I’ve settled on – for now. As you can probably tell, the logo has changed quite considerably over the years, and every so often I mess around with it to spice things up a bit.
I think the colors work better as they pop more and have life. I was also messing around with the text.
Some of these were just ideas and I never used them. Others were used. I specify in the description for each. 🙂
Click to see how it’s progressed!!
I do have some ideas for the 10th anniversary later in 2024 and will update this article when the design is finished.
I hope you all enjoyed this and gained some insight into my thought process and the journey that Home Studio Basics has taken to get to this point!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me!
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the logo. Which one did you like best? Which ones didn’t you like? Are you enjoying the 2021 update? I very much look forward to speaking with you…
All the best and God bless,