Logo Designs: Exercising Creativity Within Constraints

I'm not a logo designer, and I know there are many talents and skills needed for truly successful designs. Nevertheless, as an illustrator, I sometimes try my hand at designing logos, either for friends, or in design competitions. It's a nice way to exercise creativity within strict parameters (the client's or contest organizer's vision and specifications), and to try different styles. Here are some recent pieces I have done:

(1) logo design entry for illustration conference:  I recently took part in a contest to design a logo for the Austin SCBWI chapter's upcoming fall conference, "Storytelling in the Digital Age: Embrace the Change." They only requested rough thumbnail sketches, so this was my entry:
© 2011 Sylvia Liu
  and this was the winning entry, which was very winning indeed.

(2) logo design entry for new business: My father-in-law and brother-in-law recently started an investment firm in South Florida and ran a logo design contest on www.designcontest.com.  I designed a few ideas, but did not end up submitting the logos. This was one that had some promise, but I did not have time to get it to a point I was happy with:

The design contest, entries, and winner can be found here

(3) CD cover for preschool video: A good friend produced a video yearbook for her son's preschool and asked me to design a simple, colorful CD cover incorporating the school's logo and the three primary shapes. This is what I ended up with:

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