(Above) Design work, like any other endeavor, can sometimes feel like an exercise in frustration, particularly when promising ideas don't pan out or the creative juices just aren't flowing.

Fortunately, there are even more times when the reverse is true: all the stars seem to align, and you find the solution you need in the hint of a curve and a lightning chain of intuitive leaps. The Ahab's logo pictured above certainly falls into that category.

In the world of my novel, Ahab's Coffee and Tea Emporium plays the Starbucks role -- and plays it to the hilt. Following the well-known Biblical injunction, they've been fruitful and multiplied, with the result that now they dot the land, laying claim to any unoccupied street corner, any empty office. (Okay, that's a bit of an overstatement, but you get the picture.)

Anyway, when it came time to develop a logo for my mythical megafranchise, I got lucky: a quick perusal of font options turned up an "A" that reminded me of the head of a whale, and the rest pretty much flowed from that. "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," the old saying goes, but it's also true that we often make our own luck. By investing countless hours in building up a comprehensive font library, I made finding a solution that much easier.

Louis Pasteur once said that "Chance favors the prepared mind." And whether it's science or the creative design process you're talking about, I think that pretty much holds true.