Blue Mountain Dharma logomark over an image of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Mountain Dharma


Blue Mountain Dharma is a small Buddhist group based in Charlottesville who sought me out to aid in creating a logo for their organization. A member had painted a few samples for reference and asked that I come up with a formal logo based on the art. By using these paintings as inspiration alongside the surrounding landscape of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, I drafted multiple combinations of pen drawn silhouettes before narrowing down a varied set of possible contenders.

Reference paintings of the logo concept from a practicing member of the Buddhist group


For the Buddha silhouette, I researched traditional and modern depictions of Buddha and drew elements from each to create a recognizable likeness. The addition of simple facial features was considered in the initial stages of the designs but later discarded.

Buddha silhouette image references that were combined to create a simplified and recognizable figure Six logo concepts submitted for initial feedback, featuring variations on the Buddha figure outlined against a three-peaked mountain

I'd been living in Charlottesville for a year and never grown tired of seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains; the colors seemed more saturated there than the Appalachian mountains I grew up looking at in northern Pennsylvania. That specific blue is what I wanted to capture when starting to build a color palette, more indigo purple to the naked eye than can be captured in a photo. In contrast I wanted a gold reminiscent of the metallic paint used in the original inspiration. Though that paint color was warmer, I adjusted the golden color of the logo to more yellow hue to compliment the indigo blue.

Color palette selections pulled from two of the painting references Color palette selections pulled from an image of the Blue Ridge Mountains Color palette selections pulled from an image of the Blue Ridge Mountains Color palette selections pulled from an image of the Blue Ridge Mountains


Final logomark for Blue Mountain Dharma featuring an empty silhouette of the Buddha outlined by dark blue mountains and supported by a golden crescent

Feedback from the initial set of designs revealed an additional condition of the logo: according to their beliefs, the image of Buddha should not be disposed, and so they could not use the Buddha figure for any print materials or physical objects that could be discarded. While this may have put a brake on the design of the logo itself, it also fueled my search for the right type match. My aim was to find a semi-serif with curves that echoed the ones of the figure's silhouette.

Social media screen mockups featuring the new logo for Blue Mountain Dharma Printed flyers for a weekly meeting featuring the alternate initial based logo for Blue Mountain Dharma

From a large collection of possible choices, I narrowed down the fonts to six families each of serifs and sans. I typeset each alongside the two final logo symbols, horizontal and vertical layouts. To review, I printed each and made notes about each pairing. Two of each type were chosen for final presentation. ITC Stone Informal was the obvious choice after comparing it with details of the Buddha figure. With that, I created a secondary logo option for print ephemera featuring a modified monogram of the group's name.

Digital mockup of the alternate letter logo for Blue Mountain Dharma embroidered on a gray polo shirt Logo variations and brand color palette and the uses of each Graphic spacing and form details of each logomark for Blue Mountain Dharma