I actually love it when a brand redesigns their logo, but due to the subtleness of the logo design—in this case, more of a freshen up than a redesign—the roll-out ends up being somewhat low-key. Can't say I have my ear completely glued to the ground, but I do like to think I'm reasonably up on logo news, and sometimes even catching new stuff like when Flickr recently changed a colour in their logo.
I only caught a whiff of the new Tumblr logo this morning, over on Brand New: Blink and You'll Miss it, whilst catching up on my RSS feeds.
It's one of those logo updates that just completely makes sense, restraint was practiced (which I always really admire when it's done right) with careful attention to the new letter shapes and their overall connectedness as a whole.
Overall, the new Tumblr logo feels: more tumblier (bouncier?) and friendlier, yet at the same time also more refined, solid, and as musicians would say: tight.
The Tumblr in-house design team seems to have completely nailed this one good and proper.
The one down-side, which seems to be a general consensus across the internet, is that that the 'u' looks a bit odd where it's missing the upper left serif. More so because the m, b, l and r still have it, so has a somewhat lack of consistency, but nothing major. I can see it annoying some people…
As a little side-note: This is a nice little lesson in logo redesign restraint that Yahoo (Marissa) should, at some point, ponder over. Almost a shame Tumblr didn't do this first before Yahoo completed nuked their own logo redesign.
New & OId Tumblr Logo Comparison
Just mocked-up a quick logo sheet with the old and new Tumblr logo as a couple of overlays, so you can better see where each letter has changed. In fact, some of the changes: specially the 'r', do look pretty major when you look at the letters individually, but when the logo is viewed as a whole, not so much.
With the 3rd example titled: "Old (Pink Outline) & New (Blue Outline) Overlay with shifted letters", all I did was to shift the letters sideways a little so each letters overlay was aligned more vertically aligned
Tumblr's Logo Guidelines
Loving Tumblr's simple, and lighthearted set of logo guidelines.
Far from being anal like Twitter, Tumblr are allowing some flexibility in the use of their logo, such as using different colours of the initial 't' logo, and even use different style containers. Great to see a brand as entrenched into society as Tumblr is, still allowing a decent amount of flexibility in the practical use of their brand ID.
Way to go.
In Progress: Custom Lettering-Preliminary Design Sketches
Nothing like a blank-slate when tasked with designing some custom lettering for a new logotype. Far from what will be the final design, but I just wanted to sneak out a few preliminary sketches that I have been working on.
This version here must be sheet 20, or something close, but none of the earlier iterations were 'a waste of time', as each new blank sheet of paper allows you to really explore a wide gamut of ideas, some promising some purposely crazy.
Sometimes where the promising and crazy collide, that Eureka moment could slowly manifest itself as you once again put lead-to-paper.
I'm actually liking how this custom lettering is going, but with a few days since doodling this example, I can now see that the S is somewhat too bulbous on the top left, but now I can see that flaw, I can once again whip out another sheet of paper and hopefully address that issue. For sure, only to find something else that doesn't quite fit with my vision.
The sketching process can be fun, challenging, frustrating, even damn right arduous, but it's rare to come out at the end without something solid to work on for that final logo iteration.
For shits-&-giggles, I just quickly placed some pretty coloured circles to show the sort of the flow that I'm bringing into the custom lettering and overall structure of the logotype. I like things to converge, to line-up, to intersect, where it's naturally appropriate to do so. In this case it's actually the green area that I have started each sketching session with, as this is the base platform from which the S & B rise from. Lots of sweeping curves, behind-the-scenes, that share the same overall circumference, and that all work together in one way or another.
The 'X' logomark sort of came about through some abstract sketching, trying to find some 'hook' within the brand name that could be used with a logomark. Often one looks at the initial when forming a logomark around the name, but after looking at various 'L' options it was apparent it would not really work.
I ended up looking at the 'x' as the 'hook' to base a logomark from, but given x's in general are somewhat common, it needed to hold it's own and actually create a statement in itself, rather than just an initial/letter for the sake of it.
You can see from the diagram (below) how both x's share the same form.
With the main keywords from the brief churning around, I saw a way to almost personalise Logixoft, or at least create a form of symbol that could be linked to a personality rather than a random/abstract object thus giving your brand a more personable feel. Immediately, the angular formation of the 'x' with short-arms, makes the brand less clinical and thus more memorable, and especially as Logixoft is just you.
The angular and steep nature of the 'little x-man' also then comes across as being strong, powerful, bold, decisive, reassuring, confident signifying 'you' have your clients' back and good intentions when they need it most.
Also this 'X' will work brilliantly at small sizes: favicon, social media profile images etc. Maybe some without the container/shield, some with.
Mountains/Solid as a Rock
From playing with this shape, and trying to find some imagery to mock-up some layouts, I came across some stunning photographs of mountains (Mount Cook National Park, on PicJumb.com, and taken www.zivotnacestach.cz), and the similar angular nature seemed another perfect fit, and instead of just using it to provide context, I realised we could utilise this sort of imagery as supporting brand identity styles.
You can see from the letterhead and cards how this could work. The top half of the logo's container is almost the same angle as the mountain behind it, more of a coincidence, but when I placed the logo over the photograph it immediately hit me, so that's one more visual link that is shared.
Personally, and professionally, this has turned out as a far far more meaningful, and logical identity design, than I had initially anticipated.
For a company that is 'security' themed, we have managed to completely avoid clinical, cliche, cheesy imagery/meanings in the logo and identity, and instead created something with strong, clean, logical and applicable implied visual meanings and associations. The winning element is that it's also a personable brand, but without being too personable, if that makes sense. The X-Man is not really a 'mascot', but could be, at a stretch, viewed as such. Another association I like is that you're security products are: 'strong as a rock'.
The wording is based on a font called RennerBoldArchiType, but I have customised the 'L', the 'x' a little, and also the 'f & t' to form a faux ligature, and overall works really well with the logomark. As the logomark is very angular, the font adds some softness and approachability.
I really have been a little taken aback (in a good way) by the number of people asking me for my opinion on: The Squarespace Logo Design Machine, so here's my tepid reply.
The 'moustache' icon, designed by Bryn Mackenzie, is such a perfect fit for the 'distinction' part of my tag-line, and it goes without saying I used Helvetica—shame only Bold or Regular, as I used Helvetica Black, but no biggy—so for me, I'm completely thrilled to bits with the result: Squarespace Logo has transformed my logo.
I didn't even have to pay the $10 as I simply downloaded the watermarked version (I'll donate $10 to a dog shelter), and screen-grabbed the images you see here. Not sure that's entirely ethical, but hey.
I've had so much fun with this…
I'll come right out and say: I have already recommended The Squarespace Logo Machine service to some non-potential clients, as they didn't want to spend the £1000's I usually charge.
This is a far better solution for cash-strapped clients than using 99Designs, or hell, Fiverr. Anyone, and I mean anyone, now has the ability to create a logo design that will always far exceed anything you'll get off Fiverr, and for only double the cost!
They may be a little limited in font choices, and Noun Project icons, but that there is the reason Squarespace logo will be popular. By providing some basic constraints, a non designery client would have to be a complete nonce to mess this up.
The general aesthetic that spews out of The Squarespace Logo Design Machine is of the 'minimally flat' variety, and given we are already here with flat design, then Squarespace is saving us from the grim world of Fiverr and Microsoft Publisher gradient filled lumps of smelly poo.
Each design will be clean, presentable, and will instantly create a more beautiful world for us all.
For those designers who feel petrified that Squarespace Logo is a viable threat to their own supply of clients, then you simply need to look at another career choice. For those that have ethical quibbles, then you should really just be thankful that Squarespace Logo is making it possible for cash-strapped/stingy clients to at least have access to aesthetically flat, and clean, designs. Also, don't be such a selfish, head-up-your-own-crystal-ass, narrow-minded jack-ass.
However, not sure where we'll end up when there are a gazzilion companies using my 'moustache' to represent their brand… then I might have to get a little protective of my intellectual property.
I had an interesting experience a while back that really has caused me to reflect on certain priorities I place regarding my logo design business, specifically in the area of logo designing budgets and quotes.
I have been there, and done that. I started out as a freelancer logo designer charging around £250 for logos thinking that was the dogs bollox, then realising I would need to do at least six of these a month just to pay the bills, mortgage, keep my dogs etc. Completely unsustainable, unless of course you are not sharing your earnings with the Inland Revenue: in which case you can charge less than someone who is a registered tax payer, or you're churning out soulless logo after soulless logo, (both examples are another story for another day).
Over time I realised I could justifiably raise my prices as my own profile and quality of logo designs, in my portfolio, grew and grew.
There are plenty of examples where one company or another have supposedly been charged gazillions of £££'s for a logo leaving the whole socialmediasphere agog. We all know, and like to think, that we could have done a better job, or an equally crap job, for whatever is substantially less than gazillions of £££'s.
In my own little world I just sit and ponder these moments, and like to pretend I'm that agency boss who's scored a crazy ass amount of money for a few months work. I like to wonder about how I was able to justify such a huge mount of money as well as wondering how on earth the client saw past such greed and treachery.
It's actually pretty easy to find a way to supposedly 'justify' any amount of money when it comes to something as important and as unquantifiable as the value of a logo and brand identity design.
It's pretty shocking how much logo design pricing can vary from one designer/agency to another, but this is mostly to do with each project being unique in so many ways, not to mention so many ways to achieve an end result. Sometimes it feels to me these 'others' base their astronomical fees on nothing other than how much coffee will be consumed in the anticipated process, and execution, of the latest client windfall (especially at Starbucks prices).
One day, out of the blue, I was approached by a national airline to redesign their existing brand logo.
Like really, what the fuckety fuck? This never happens to me. How on earth has a national airline considered my modest portfolio worthy of a hire?
During the discussions I was told that money was not an object, hardly surprising really, or so you might think. They desperately needed to redesign the existing airline logo due to various mergers and fleet acquisitions. The existing logo was 'meh', and the new logo needed to be 'ohhhh la la'.
Goes without saying I was still shocked and awed at the possibility of creating an airline logo. I mean man, you realise how many places the logo will be used, seen and flown to around the world? Not to mention the dazzling update to my portfolio, and the heaps of praise and adulation I would surely receive.
The initial brief didn't cover the whole brand identity: the immediate task was to redesign the airline logo, then the rest of the company's identity would be updated in accordance with the logo's style and aesthetics. Not the best way to roll out a new brand logo, but they were insistent that this was the way it would happen.
I came up with a proposal, that as best as I could, explained and meticulously detailed the work needed to research and develop this national airline's new logo design, which covered (not a full list): studying competing and non-competing airlines; researching the country's culture; familiarising myself with the airport layout, the terminals, trucks, uniforms, check-in desks, signage; studying all the blueprints for all the different models of plane (different sizes and proportion of tails and fuselage, meaning that the placement of the logo needs to work as consistently as possible across all the fleet, regardless of how small or big the plane, and ensuring the logo looks epic up close and from 100's of feet away), as well as studying the rising trend in other airline logo and brand identity redesigns, of which there are many.
I tried to work out how much time this would all take, and came up with what I knew to be a stupidly low quote, but it would also be the biggest quote I would have ever presented. Kinda weird really.
I didn't want to be greedy, neither did I want to undersell my experience, skill and general professionalism.
I battled with myself over the budget, it was the hardest thing to come up with and send over. I was confident that I had, in super detail, explained and justified the cost, but I was ultimately in unknown territory.
I quoted £25k which I knew was chicken feed for an airline, and I was convinced they, upon seeing the quote, would be rolling about on the floor, laughing at their good fortune. I was OK with that, but I did wonder if I should have quoted at least double that, because even £50k seemed a steal given the scope and general prestigiousness of the job.
Regardless, this would be a lottery win. Massive job, challenging in every way, and let us not forget the exposure this would bring a humble self-employed logo designer working from his spare bedroom in a sleepy seaside town.
I mean my God, an airline logo in your portfolio!
I sent the proposal and patiently waited for a response. One day, two days, three days and nothing. After a week of no response, and a unmistakable feeling in my gut, I flicked over a quick email.
Crash and Burn
My gut typically gets it right: apparently my quote was far too high for them.
Queue the despair and confusion. What did I do wrong? Had I been too greedy? Should I have just gone for a £5k quote to score one of the biggest jobs in my career, and reap the rewards from the exposure?
The reality is, even with all this self doubt, constant evaluating of the what if's, who really knows if the result been any different if I had quoted less, or even more.
I did find it slightly strange a national airline would go with a self-employed logo designer, rather than a multi disciplinary agency given the sheer scope of the project. The thing is: I wouldn't have taken it on if I didn't honestly feel I could deliver, so I did have complete faith that I could, and would have, delivered a winning new logo for this airline.
As well as my quote being too pricey, they said they had indeed gone with a 'branding' agency for the complete package. So they had been busy in the week I was waiting for just a simple acknowledgment to my proposal.
Too many unknowns
I don't have all the details, who really knows what went on behind the scenes once they got my proposal. Maybe they came to a realisation they ought not to trust this to a guy from a sleepy seaside town, who knows if this design agency actually exists, and if they quoted less or more than my humble £25k.
One positive from all this was feeling greatly humbled to have been even considered in the first place, even if it did get my hopes up to an unmeasurably high level only to be deftly massacred shortly thereafter.
I still wonder if had I quoted less would I have got the gig? If so, would they have been pain-in-the-ass clients? Maybe.
Principles Can Suck
The one unmistakable fact, practically impossible to to argue against, is that sometimes, sticking to your principles can be a tough old decision. I wanted to do my little bit for the logo design community by not selling my soul to the lowest bidder. I wanted to set a reasonable price, but whoever you ask they'll probably say I quoted not nearly enough, and others will say I was just crazy ass stupid to let this one get away…
Sometimes you need to swallow a cheap pill for your own greater good, and not the greater good of an industry that really couldn't give a crap about your own attempts to be a principled hero to a community that is as competitive as they come.
I still don't know if I did the right thing, or not. I certainly do feel somewhat proud that I priced it at a very reasonable price, but I also quite foolish and stupid for failing to read between the lines, and not secure what would have been the largest job in my career. But hey, I do live to quote for another day.