Bridge Building

I’m not much of an original visual artist. While I’m passable with basic 1 graphic design, for my vector files I tend to rely on elements traced from bitmaps 2. Original, from scratch, designs are pretty much beyond my skillset. But that doesn’t keep from from trying.

Monday night I was looking over the agenda for an upcoming meeting and noticed a time for a report from ABCNJ’s Bridge Pastor ministry. As I was already projecting some items on screen for the meeting I thought I might take the opportunity to see if I could “brand” that ministry a bit 3. The image I needed for the branding was right in the name, a bridge. So I went about attempting to create a stylized bridge for the brand.

I use Autodesk Graphic, formerly iDraw, for my vector design. It’s not as powerful as Adobe’s tools, or something like Affinity Designer, but it takes care of my needs well enough. Once I had a blank project set up I got to work.

The process began with my drawing the bridge deck. I used the brush tool, and then removed any extra nodes along its stroke to give it one single arc. I made the arc subtle, almost flat, to give the sense that this structure was spanning something. The stroke also became thicker moving from left to right, giving it a sense of motion.

I then added the arch over the bridge deck, once again making use of the brush tool and removing an nodes I didn’t want. This stroke also became thicker moving from left to right, matching the movement of the bridge deck.

The final step of this first process was to add the cables holding the supporting arch and bridge deck together. For this brush I used a stroke which was thicker in the middle and tapered at either end. This stroke I copied and placed in even intervals across the span of the arc, following its flow. The final result of this step is below.

A stylized bridge deck with supporting arch

Next I had to add in the regional branding, by adding our region logo. This I opted to place in the center of span, both rising above the bridge deck and dipping below it. To fit this logo into the image, I split the bridge deck in half and moved some of the cables to be wrapped around the distinct Jersey Cross of ABCNJ. This what it looked like.

Stylized bridge with ABCNJ logo super-imposed

My final step was to add the specific bridge pastor wording. I first thought a sans serif font would work well, but abandoned this look rather quick. The non-flourished text clashed with the tapered flow of the brush strokes. Instead I opted for a cursive font to better fit the flow. The result is below.

Stylized bridge with ABCNJ logo and cursive text super-imposed

Some of my friends from ABCNJ pointed out the cursive font didn’t fit with the image of a bridge, because it didn’t look like it could support the span. I agreed and, having already rejected sans serif fonts for the wording, opted this time to use a serif font. This helped make the text feel both stylized and solid, the two identifying works had become the bridge supports at last.

Stylized bridge with ABCNJ logo and serif text super-imposed

This left me looking for a background, so I made one. The background shape was a rectangle from which I subtracted four circles at each corner. The inner line is just a duplicate of that resulting shape, shrunk to fit in it’s larger sibling’s shape. The final image is below.

Final serif logo with background.

This was a fun project. It’s far from perfect, but I’m pleased I made this.

  1. Very basic . 
  2. Of objects I’ve photographed. 
  3. Bored nerds can be dangerous.