Valerie Damen
Hanging Wall Sign NinjaPlans.png

Ninja Plans

Client: Sheldon Durstling, Ninja Plans
Services Provided: Graphic Design, Brand Development


With a focus away from literal ninja interpretation, the client’s stipulation blossomed the artwork into a unique conceptual direction.


Ninja Plans

Client: Sheldon Durstling, Ninja Plans
Services Provided: Graphic Design, Brand Development


While working in-house for Technologies in Education, I crossed paths with Sheldon Durstling (co-owner of an educational database called, Ninja Plans). Sheldon was captivated by my desk full of doodles/sketches and eventually, he gained my trust in developing a new logo design for his not-for-profit foundation.


I faced two main challenges during the production of this project:

1. The vast amount of creativity at my disposal. Sheldon and his business partners didn't concretely know what they were looking for, so the table was completely open in terms of approach.

2. Steering clear of integrating ninja visuals.


With full creativity at my fingertips to go into any direction, I found suitable — inclusive of both ninja and planning visuals. I started the project off with brainstorming, sketching, and typographic manipulation by hand. Thereafter I doodled pink stars beside the strongest keywords and doodles that I thought were worthy of refining or branching off of.  A few of the top concepts needed a bit of resketching, so once I worked out solid visual directions for each, then I began bringing the concepts to life digitally.

Normally at this stage of the logo design process I windle down my 10+ potential conceptual directions to 2-3, but because the client was so uncertain about what they wanted, I decided that vectorizing a larger handful of completely different concepts and presenting the client with more than 3 digitized logos would be the smartest process. The approach worked — only not in the way I had anticipated. Although some of the concepts were appealing to Sheldon and his business partners, by seeing a vast array of both ninja-themed graphics and planning concepts, they all came to an agreement on what directions that they did not want to go in: steer clear of integrating ninja symbolism completely.

With a new direct focus on education and planning visuals, I went back to my sketchbook and reviewed my original brainstorming sheets and one rough sketch that I didn't previously flag with a pink doodle star caught my eye. It consisted of Ninja Plans' abbreviated letters illustrated into an open coiled notebook. Uncertain whether this concept would be the "one or not," I decided to vectorize the artwork along with a few other concepts inspired from my brainstorm sheets. 


I presented my second round of logo concepts and design rationales to Sheldon and his business partners and to my surprise, they immediately were drawn to the coiled notebook logo. I recall them sending me a very excited email saying something along the lines of "it's the one."


The rebrand consisted of me providing Sheldon and his team with all the Ninja Plans logos exported in various file formats. My contribution to the project was also to provide a simplistic brand identity system that included an extended color palette of 4-6 colors and the logo slightly tweaked in terms of scale/layout to be used for different functions (web/app artwork versus print artwork). The idea behind this was that I would be providing ninja Plans with a building block system that they could easily use as a guide for print media and website design.