The logo redesign process is a core component of any deep rebranding campaign. Brand messaging is an essential part of marketing. A logo design is the first and most obvious brand message.
This post is part two in Mardesco’s series on “Rebranding the Branding Company.” Last time I discussed why we decided to rebrand, and related the history of the company’s original logo. Mardesco’s original logo was an oval with red cursive lettering in the style of a sports team. It looked like this:
Objectives for a new logo design
I wanted the new logo to be bold, yet friendly. The design should be legible, easily reproducible and instantly recognizable whether printed in full color, black-and-white, or reversed out. And finally, because Mardesco is primarily a web design company, the logo should ideally evoke technology.
The logo design process: round 1
I had something in mind when I fired up Illustrator. It’s not exactly what I ended up with, but it was a direction.
As a starting point, I pulled up one of my earliest logo concepts, the one that took second place some 18 months ago. It had some nice burly all-caps PMS 485 red lettering over a horizontally elongated diamond shape filled with Reflex Blue. It was simple and bold; it looked a bit like a construction company logo.
But the letterforms wouldn’t do. So I erased them, and typeset the company name in all lowercase letters.
I spent a long time trying alternate fonts for the company name. When I eventually selected Calibri Bold, I didn’t even recognize it as Word 2010’s default font, it just had the letter “m” that I was looking for. I considered using an alternate letter a, like the but eventually I selected a standard system font:. I added a border around the letters to fatten them up just a bit. After I converted the fonts to outlines, I manually adjusted the kerning a bit, and scooted the “a” a little closer to the “r.” There’s a nice clean piece of whitespace between those two letters, but to my eye the gap was just a little too wide so I tightened it up a hair.
I played around with several different versions of the design concept. I made the letters blue, and removed the diamond. I made a version with a drop shadow and some vector “shine.” However, when I tried that design reversed out of a dark background, I decided it was too complicated. I needed to simplify. I went back a couple versions to a super-simple point in the design process and told myself, stop there. That’s the one. Keep it simple.
At this point, I made a reversed-out version of the super-simple design; and that’s when I noticed that the new logo is perhaps slightly reminiscent of the Facebook logo. (I would never have suspected Mark Zuckerberg of having such good taste…) I considered scrapping the design and going back to the drawing board; but it occurred to me that if my logo is slightly reminiscent of one of the most popular technology brands on the face of the planet today, that might not be completely a bad association for my company.
We’ll see how it goes. Maybe this new logo will stick. Maybe in a couple years I’ll post another blog entry about why I decided to re-brand the company again.
How long did this design project take?
This depends on how you look at it. As far as I’m concerned, it has taken me a year and a half to create the new logo design.
Ok, technically, I created the entire new logo design in about two hours of design time, from start to finish. However, the new design was partially based on sketches I made more than a year and a half ago. The redesign process, like the decision to undertake a redesign, was informed by the experience of having already used the original logo design in public for a year. This new logo design project for Mardesco went quickly because I had been thinking about the problem in the back of my mind for a while. Also, there was no back-and-forth. Because I’m a one-man operation, I don’t need anybody to agree with me.
Typically, the process of creating a new logo design is a considerable undertaking. A new logo design on a client’s behalf would have required considerably more market research at the outset, and would have doubtless undergone many more rounds of revisions prior to the conclusion.
And that… is today’s blog post about the logo design process. Tune in next time for another thrilling adventure in our new series, “Rebranding the branding company!”
Update: The revision process
Of course, I’m not one to leave well enough alone. Since designing the new logo, I’ve made a number of additional tweaks and adjustments, most of which are undetectable to the naked eye.
During the design process detailed above, I toyed with a typographic alternative.
The idea was to use a letter “a” with a simple straight bar on the right-hand side, rather than the more common over-arch. This would match the lines of the letter “r” next to it, and the letter “m” at the beginning. One strong contender for the logo’s font choice was Century Gothic, because the letters are formed that way. But they just weren’t quite the right shape for my idea.
But the idea kept coming back, with the consequence that I wasn’t satisfied letting the logo be. So eventually I created a new version with the different “a.” It looked like this:
Of course, in marketing you’re never done until you’ve analyzed some results.
So I showed the latest version to my test market of one: my wife. She said it is better. And that was the last word. For now.
And that’s a quick rundown on how a marketing company redesigns its own logo.
Next time, I’ll talk about redesigning the website!