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In my continuing search to find awesome logos for LogoStack I am continuing to find, and unearth, interesting articles, pieces of history related to the logo designs I love and admire. Now we have Herman Miller.

The Herman Miller logo has always been one of these logos that I have long enjoyed viewing. It creatively stimulates me in a similar way to the Leica logo, and always find my self drawn to those red dots and clear white logo mark interiors.

So whilst digging around to find out the story behind the Herman Miller logo I came across a brief blog post on the Herman Miller website documenting, in images, the evolution of the Herman Miller logo and identity since 1905.

Like other notable brands: Starbucks, Levis, Apple, Nike,  Herman Miller has recently eliminated the brand name from the main brand mark leaving just the beautiful red dot to carry the brand, as seen in the first image above.

What follows is a brief visual history of the Herman Miller logo and identity as seen on their original blog post, Logo Design & the Evolution of our Identity.

Herman Miller logo and identity

1905 - The logo of the Michigan Star Furniture Company was a standalone banner logo similar to other logos of that genre.

1923 - D.J. De Pree buys the company and names it after his Father-in-law, Herman Miller. While the logo is updated it maintains the strong linear quality of it's 1905 predecessor.

1946 - Irving Harper, working for George Nelson, redesigns the logo and creates the iconic "M", which was featured prominently in advertising at the time.

1948 - The logo designed in 1946 used in promotional advertising.

1952 - The same logo being used in more promotional advertising.

1960 - John Massey, in keeping with the times, sets Herman Miller in Helvetica—all lowercase—and locks it to the "M", creating a logo design that lasted for almost 40 years.

1960 - The Herman Miller logo mark used in promotional materials.

1999 - Months of exploration resulted in an updated Typeface, Meta, and the placement of the "M" in a circle, which continued to be locked with "HermanMiller"—now one word.

2011 - HermanMiller now removed from the logo mark which now represents the entire Herman Miller brand as seen on their website.






Love this 'for fun' logo idea by Gert van Duinen which has really nice curves and a cheeky bit of negative space going on.

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[AQFG] = A Question For Graham

Simon asked a question, "My question to you is what do you think the best way to charge clients for logo work? Do you charge per hour, per day or per job?"

Quick Answer First

I have always charged per job, and have never ever considered charging per hour/day. The biggest reason I can think of is that logo and brand identity work involves a lot of thinking, a lot of research and planning and this goes on when I am walking the dogs, when I am in the shower, when I am sleeping and driving. I tend to fully immerse myself into each and every project which ultimately means I tend to invest a lot more time in a project than I could ever realistically hope to charge for.

If I charged per hour I would have to be very strict with what it is I am actually charging for. Is it just the time I spend on the Macintosh, is the the time I spend sketching whilst down the beach or in a cafe, is it also the time I am thinking about the job whilst doing something else that is maybe in my personal time.

The Why

Working from home means I rarely get to switch off from a project, but that is OK as that is the choice I made to live and work this way. Working from home gives me more freedom per day than I could ever hope to have as a employee. The trade-off is that I choose to fully live each job. Some of the best logo projects I have worked on have been the result of borderline obsessive work, and research patterns.

I am being paid good money to do my very very best so I will do what I have to do in order to achieve the best possible result. I could not do this if I had to charge per hour as this would bring monunmentally crippling limiations to how I do my job.

This applies to designing a single logo, or something with more meat like a more extensive identity. If I have just a logo design to work on I will still ask a client what their overall budget is and set that in stone from day one.

I can't think of many clients who would be totally OK without some sort of higher/maximum budget which means you immediately you have an enforced restriction in place. So if they have a maximum budget that can't be exceeded then this means they are potentially open to spending that much in the first place. So why the hassle?

I think some people mistakingly believe charging, or being charged per hour creates some kind of control valve, but the only valve I see is one that stifles true exploration of the job in hand.

Supposing you are charging per hour and half way into the project, assuming the client has talked about a maximum budget, you have nothing to show the client? The fact you are half way through with no clear direction will quickly turn into a sense of anxiety, and you will likely feel pressured to rush a solution in order to meet the maximum ceiling. Of course you can choose to still spend more time than you charge, but I just don't like the read-between-the-lines (I want it as quickly, and as cheaply as you can do it) message a client asking for an hourly charge is imposing on you. 

Let's not also forget that 'that' idea cannot be scheduled/timed to appear in your brain at a particular point in time, and preferably before your ideal total hours allotment is about to expire. By going the per/hour route you are just burdening yourself with unnecessary burdens.

I also believe there is a mistaken connection to cheaper when linked with charge-per-hour.

Charge Per Job

In my humble opinion logo design can not, and should not, be charged per hour because the actual process cannot easily be defined as blocks of measured time. A lot of what we do is based on an unmeasurable process that is hard to even fully explain or justify to any one else.

There is a lot, and should be a lot, of thinking time, research time which can be hard to equate to billable hours. The moment you start having to weigh up what part of your job should be charged for per hour, and what should not be charged, is the time you are cheapening and diluting your own career.

For me personally it is far easier, and far less restrictive, to discuss with the client their maximum budget and have this set at the get-go. This means the designer and client are crystal clear about what is expected with no nasty surprises on the way.

The designer then has no need to keep checking the hours logged for fear of reaching the "is this too many hours?" or "what should I charge as I think I have taken more hours than I should have done", and numerous other self-doubting scenarios. As well as the benefits to the designer, the client does not have to keep wondering what the final bill will be.

A total costing is easy peasy and requires no extra brainwork, worry, anxiety, stress through-out the project.

From The Beginning

The way I manage my clients' expectations is that even before they have spoken to me they are aware that my method of charging is based on a fixed budget.

I clearly specific the budget tiers in my online logo design questionnaire so there is no room for misunderstanding. If a client is not happy with a fixed budget then I will not work with them. It's as simple as that.

I value, to the ends of the world, the time, energy and even social sacrifices that I choose to take on with each and every logo design job. It's then only reasonable that I am able to work and charge the way I know ensures the client will get the very best out of me.

A Question For Graham

If you have a question that you would like to hear me express my views or thoughts on, then please visit Ask Graham A Question on Logo & Brand Identity.

Ever since laying eyes on Evernote I have been a huge admirer of the logo design. The particular shape of the elephant with the folded back ear reminiscent of a document icon, or a folded page in a book, oozed brandability. 

It's actually right up there as one of my favourite logos of all time. That might surprise a few of you, but I always felt that this was a perfect mix of style, colour, detail and meaning as well as being totally flexible in it's universal application.

The Evernote logo is a perfect example of everything done right to cater for many possible variations of physical and digital requirements. There is not one application I have seen where the logo fails to fit perfectly all the way from the 16px favicon, the browser extension icons in both colour and mono, the iOS icons, Macintosh dock icon and so on and so on.

The Evernote logo is also a perfect example of a mainstream online brand identity to study.

Since starting LogoStack I have been curious to find out the origins of the Evernote logo, and for a while kept drawing a blank on who/whom was responsible.

Then today the answer was given to me by a few people due to a relatively recent Evernote Trunk Conference Youtube video, uploaded September 2011.

So thanks to ElephantChannel for the tweet that put me in exactly the right spot to get all the information I needed.

Icon to Interface - Evernote Trunk Conference

In this post I have added a few images which I grabbed from the following YouTube video which I would strongly urge you to watch in it's entirety.

It's close to 45 minutes long and covers the initial scope of logo ideas, in-depth reasoning, logical and practical considerations of implementing the Evernote logo/icon across the entire brand identity.

For any one interested or actually works on logo and icon projects targeted towards web applications and mobile devices then this is a must see. If you also want to get a behind-the-scenes run down of the creative process of such an iconic brand then this is it.

In the video we find out who lead the creative team responsible for the logos creations which is Gabe Campodonico, Creative Director at Evernote. In this instance Evernote's brand identity was totally created in-house.

I watched it this afternoon and will be returning back to watch it again as some of the pointers are simple, common sense thoughts yet that can be often forgotten.

Watching this video is a nice kick up the ass to not forgot the simple stuff that can make or break a project.

You get to see some of the initial logo ideas and explorations.

Then once Evernote settled on the core idea of an Elephant you get to see the variations they considered before settling on the final choice.

As well as a run through on the importance of owning a colour and style so that it shines above the many other applications and icons.

An interesting snip of information is that the creative team took just 6 weeks form start to finished logo design which is really quite incredible.

I am so genuinely pleased to have finally discovered the origins of the Evernote logo, and after watching the video have walked away with more than a few pointers and reminders about the creation and origination of solid logo and icon designs.

If you like all things brand identity then I have quite a meaty collection of guidelines and resources you might like: Bulging Sack of Brand Identity Guideline Resources 

Evernote Brand Guidelines

To finish this post up Evernote has a nice section on their website, Evernote Trademark Use, which details all the technical and legal information regarding the use and referencing of core aspects of Evernote's visual brand identity.

Download the Evernote Brand Guidelines

I understand, and fully appreciate, the idea behind trademark protection especially with big brand cases like Apple.

If a new company set up with plans to sell consumer related technology then one would be quite silly to use an apple of any kind as a brand mark. In this case we are talking a small German coffeehouse/child's playroom that have used a red apple with a nice illustration within it.

Is this a tad OCD by Apple in protecting their brand.

They want to own anything Apple themed, and we also know they chase all sorts of trademark, and brand issues very aggressively, but a small German child's playroom?

Original article