UPDATE: I've received a handful of promising minimalist submissions that are finalist candidates. I've received dozens of submissions that are just re-drawings of my existing logo, with different fonts and bucket shapes that don't honor the shape of my real buckets -- I consider these off-brief and decline them immediately. What I have NOT received much of, and keep hoping for more of, is submissions with a rustic/vintage/craft/handmade aesthetic. I'm saving at least 2 finalist spots for these styles, so if you want to be selected as a finalist that's your best opportunity to do so.
Please read the rest of the brief below, which I've left unedited, but take the note above as the most important part.
In general, I love my current branding. There is a wonderful unity between the logo, the company name and brand, and the physical buckets in the real world. Every week, at the farmers market, I hear people reading "Little Green Bucket" aloud, off the buckets, before they stop to ask me about the business. And my customers carry their buckets around the market, too, which is phenomenal advertising. I named the company "Little Green Bucket" specifically because I anticipated that unity, and I saw an opportunity to let the bucket itself guide the branding... and it's been a very successful approach so far.
Due to that success, I DO NOT want to change that core concept of the logo. It should remain a literal representation of my buckets, with at least one variant that includes the company name directly on the bucket, as it would exist in the real world.
What DO I want from this contest is to address some of the challenges the current logo presents:
1. It has too many colors and too much detail. I want something that can be reduced to 1 or 2 colors, for affordable screen printing, without sacrificing quality.
2. It is difficult to use in many layouts, because it is taller than it is wide and, to read the company name, it has to be at a fairly large size. I believe the solution to this problem is to have a "spread" variant, in which the text is placed next to the bucket rather than directly on top of the bucket. This would also allow the bucket (without text) to function as a simpler logomark. See the attached "logo-brief.jpg", which includes my current logo and a photo of a bucket, plus sketches of the three logo variants I'd like to see in the end.
3. The food waste sticking out the top, while accurate, creates visual clutter, adds to the height problem, AND gives the impression that our buckets are gross, when we actually pride ourselves on cleanliness. A simpler representation of the food waste, or none at all, would be preferable.
4. The current logo is lacking stylistic intent. When I tried to simplify it for screen printing, it always ended up looking like it was something from The Simpsons... it's a caricature of the real bucket, not a smartly stylized representation. I'm eager to see some new creative ideas about how to represent the business through a simpler logo, whether it's a more rustic style speaking to the farmers market aspect of the business or a modern minimalist style speaking to the clean, boutique nature of the business.
Within the constraints I've laid out, I'm looking forward to seeing new interpretations of the logo concept, particularly experiments with different illustration styles. While I like the current 2d approach, I am not married to it. And while I like the current font (Bartender SemiCondensed Sans Letterpress), I am not married to it either. I'm also very open to adding additional design elements if they are helpful, such as a backdrop to provide some shape and texture beyond what the bucket itself can do.
NOTE: I won't be able to reprint the physical labels on the buckets -- I have hundreds of them in circulation, and they are one of my business's largest expenses, and as an environmentally-focused business I also can't discard that much vinyl. So those will follow me for a few years, even with a new logo.