Logo Design Case Study - Crooked Crooks

February 20, 2011

Crooked Crooks is a young clothing label that approached me in 2007 to help them brand and produce a logo design for their label. Based in Tempe, Arizona, Crooked Crooks aimed to be a combination of Hip-Hop street wear, some illustration, and a general sense of “the suburban thug life.” The challenge was to successfully combine these elements to create a unique look and feel for the brand without letting any one concept dominate. On top of these stylistic requirements, the logo required a limited palette so that it could be screen printed on t-shirts and other merchandise inexpensively and with ease.

The client was interested in using pirates as a stand in for the “thugness” he hoped the brand would portray. We discussed a number of possible t-shirt designs that would make up the first line, and with a continued trend of pirates (thugs), looting (crime) and treasure (bling), it seemed fitting that the label hinted of these in some form.


Initially, I wanted to bring in a real hip-hop icon – something a pirate could relate to and a good representation of thug success: diamonds. I sat down with images of diamonds, money, and bling on the mind to draw some sketches and quickly brought to life my creations via computer.

A few of the initial sketches, not exactly what we were looking for.

This first batch of sketches didn’t really convey enough about the company’s style and message. The client really liked the type treatment with the middle logo above, but the money bag wasn’t quite right for his vision; while it did contain the pirate and money elements, it lacked the punch need to make it iconic and memorable.

At this point, the client expressed his interest in trying the logo with an animal mascot. It didn’t take a lot of brainstorming to realize the parrot was an excellent match for the brand.


The parrot idea was instantly settled upon and variations were underway. Abundant details of the design were discussed and agreed upon throughout the production, such as colors, composition and details of the parrot illustration.

A number of early renderings with the parrot in the logo.

While everyone was happy with the parrot and the logo, it was still missing the money connection that was such an integral part of the brand. I eventually came up with the idea to put a gold coin in his mouth; this allowed the logo to have some of the great imagery that the money bags had, but still keep the more illustrative parrot.

Final Touches

A couple more tweaks and we had the final logo! After completion of the logo and a number of periphery items like the tags and labels, I was asked to illustrate some of the t-shirts. In total, six of my designs have been printed and sold.

The final logo design.