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Refreshing the Logo, Part 1

Oct 23, 2008

Part 1: Looking back for lessons

After some time and some very constructive feedback. I have decided, to borrow developer terminology, the current logo and colours are legacy. To clarify and avoid the danger is that as soon as something is complete that it becomes legacy, is not what I mean. I am talking about the usefulness of a logo in relationship to current fashions and colours, bluntly the logo has outlived its usefulness as a marketing tool.

In doing some research, I came across these interesting changes in Apple, Inc. logo. The logo has been refreshed as the company and technology have advanced. For those unaware of the history of logos, please see below as published in the wikipedia Apple article,

Starting with the logo on the far left, the image of the apple hanging in the tree over Newton’s head, this is a great idea, but the complexity of the image didn’t lend itself to an easily identifiable eye-catching symbol. However hope was not lost and their initial idea did not need to be abandoned, Apple took the idea of Newton’s Apple and simplified it into the current shape.

We need to be careful to disregard our current fashion sense at this stage, because Apple progressed the logo by simplifying its shape and then applying colouring in step with technological dreams and fashion. The logo reflected at the time the current mood and selling points. Part of Apple’s marketing drive was the idea of the company’s products bringing colour and interest to your life. Hence the colourful logo was a key component to their strategy. Later, they moved on to the slick silhouette and polished modern design to represent the technological ambitions and qualities that Apple currently carries with its brand; ease of use, beautiful interfaces and unobtrusive interactions.
The changes to the Apple logo represent some good practices:

  1. The design needs to be accessible to the desired end market.
  2. A logo is a tool for assisting the public in identifying the ideas and culture of a company.
  3. It is acceptable for the logo to not convey the attitudes and skills of the company.
  4. A logo should be simple and eye catching.
  5. It should also scale well and look good in colour or grayscale
  6. Colour is only important, as part of the overall brand identity, but not integral.
  7. A logo should have a life of its own, meaning it should stand on its own without any other representation.
  8. And most importantly, a logo is the key means by which a company is identified at a quick glance.

There are many decisions involved in the creation and implementation of a logo, I will continue to look at good logo design in following posts, as well demonstrating how to refresh a logo.

More reading at:
Apple, Inc Logos and trademarks belong to Apple, Inc.

Posted by Thomas Cowell

Tags: branding, design, logo

Updated Web Design

Oct 25, 2008

Just a quick post to say that we have updated our website to reflect our new logo. Check it out.

Posted by Thomas Cowell

Tags: branding, design, logo

Refreshing the Logo, Part 2

Oct 30, 2008

Part 2: Getting it right

This is the second part look at logo design. Before I proceed, I want to summarise in a few key words the concepts of logo design: Unique, Clear, Eye-Catching, Simple and Bold.

Reflecting upon part 1, Apple started with a logo that was a great idea, but it was not clear and eye-catching. This is an easy mistake to make when starting out, because of the necessity to rush to get to market quickly. Furthermore, a design can become dated over the life of the company and at other times the company may need to refresh their image to improve their marketing position, as demonstrated by Apple in the late 1990’s. These times of logo redesign are an essential part of the re-dressing of the overall company image.

You may be wondering about the band of images to the right. This is an attempt to demonstrate to how an evolution of design occurs within the “dark art” of graphic design. As you can determine from the strip the process is not about abandoning the old design, but building upon the original strengths of good concepts and ideas. The ultimate goal of the refresh, was not to throw out the strong image, but make it more suitable as a logo.

The brief involved a requirement to update the logo to better reflect the background and culture of eight square studio. While also taking into consideration the advancement of technology, skills, current media culture and focus market. This marketing information and background is vital to ensure that the design is appropriate to the direction and desired market of the company.

The design process requires a stripping away of the complexity back to the bare essentials, as shown in the second frame. Leaving with a coloured rectangle containing the eight. Then comes the process of experimentation, sketching, considering the nature of the company, the brief, current trends and fashions. I have left out experiments that did not directly result in the refreshed logo, to show the process of stripping back and redefining is clear.

Key considerations for refreshing your logo:

  1. A refreshed logo should continue to reflect the current and future objectives of a business.
  2. Never loose sight of the fact that the previous logo helped build your brand and the new logo should pay homage or create a continuity with the old logo.
  3. The purpose of a refresh is to help solidify, advance and as necessary re-contextualize the brand. The logo redesign should be a small part of the website, the stationary, any marketing or sales material, etc. design to ensure brand continuity.
  4. Brand is a holistic thing, its not just about a single small logo, although this helps underpin marketing. It should also be reflected in your company’s sales and marketing materials, how it deals with customers, how you make sales, how you provide after sales support, etc.
  5. Simplicity and a striking design are more important than the logo describing what the company is or does.

For further reading I would recommend reviewing:

Posted by Thomas Cowell

Tags: branding, design, logo

Logo Test

Oct 31, 2008

As a follow up to Refreshing the Logo part 1, part 2:

Here is a summary of the simple tests to determine whether the logo is consistent with the requirements of good design:

  1. Is the logo easy to describe?
  2. Is it eye-catching, simple and memorable?
  3. Does it look good with or with out colour?
  4. The logo must scale to the size of a small postage stamp without looking muddy?

How does the eight square studio logo match up?

  1. A hand painted white 8 inside of a painted red box
  2. I have asked quite a few people and they agree.

I am happy that it passes all tests.

Posted by Thomas Cowell

Tags: design, logo