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.
Once in a while a rebrand (logo redesign ) comes along that simply looks like how it should have always been. By that I mean the revised logo simply looks like a natural evolution, but at the same time immediately becomes the 'right' look, almost immediately more appropriate, than the logo before. Not sure I'm explaining myself very well here.
To me the new Absolute logo, minus the 'Country of Sweden' & 'Vodka', works better than the logo with the additional lines. Pretty sure that's also widely agreed.
That's not to say the previous version sucked balls, far far far from it. Sometimes, in order to minimise/defluff a logo, the brand must have become so well established, adored and imprinted in our minds that stripping the fluff away to reveal the core element, in this case down to just Absolut, looks like the completely logical, and right thing to do.
Then the magic of hindsight kicks in, "why wasn't it done before now".
When the new logo simply and transparently slots into place without so much as a ripple, then you know that a brand has become deeply imbued into our psyche.
The Spirits Business: Anna Kamjou, global director of Design Strategy at The Absolut Company, said: “The brand has become so iconic that we no longer needed the full three-line logo to convey ourselves.
The same holds completely true for Starbucks, Nike and Apple. When each one of those companies simplified their logos, it signalled the arrival of maturity, strength and dominance, in an all too crowded world. When a company believes they can safely remove core elements from their logo, and that logo then, somehow, becomes stronger than more iconic than before, well, that's just magic.
The Spirits Business: The Absolut Company, which is owned by Pernod Ricard, claims the changes won’t be noticeable by most consumers, but will “strengthen the brand’s iconic status as a contemporary, forward thinking brand”.
Anna Kamjou, global director of Design Strategy at The Absolut Company, said: “The brand has become so iconic that we no longer needed the full three-line logo to convey ourselves.
“By removing ‘Country of Sweden’, and ‘Vodka’, we’re putting the focus on the most important part of the brand – Absolut. The word itself not only means the perfect, the complete, and the ultimate, but it also means the open-ended, infinite and indefinite.
The Horror of Logo Design by Committee
Design by Committee is one of the more frustrating scenarios when working as a self-employed logo designer, or more precisely, the horror of 'logo-design-approval-by-committee'. Obviously nothing touches on non-payment, but this whole shit-bags worth of: every board member, CEO, Director, MD, partner needing a say in what passes as a solid logo design for their new identity, really frosts my y-fronts.
The one thing that I can guarantee that will completely ruin your month, and screw you right up in ways you didn't think were possible? You believe you are working with the one person who is responsible for the smooth passage of the logo design process, you have established a great designer/client relationship, and you feel that this is a perfect, almost symbiotic, relationship.
They are critical but constructive, they are enthusiastic as well as grounded, they don't allow their personal subjective views of design to interfere with the logo design process, as they are clearly aware that what is right for the company, may not be right for them as an individual.
You are feeling so positive, so motivated and enthusiastic, that you are so personally and professional behind this new logo design in every possible conceivable way, that you almost feel invincible. Why of why can't every logo design project goes as smoothly, and as fantastically enjoyably as this one?
During the critical part of approving and/or fine tweaking an idea to reach that 'so close I can smell it' project conclusion, when you both have expended huge amounts of emotional and physical energy in the creation and formulation of the company's new identity, your soul is crushed, shredded and vaporised into the closest and biggest black-stinking-hell-hole.
How so?–By the way, if this doesn't sound familiar to you then I hope you never ever have to become familiar with it. At some point towards the apparent end, your amazingly cool client confronts you with, something along the lines of, "Well, now we have really created something amazing together, I'm going to present this to the board for their approval."
Queue temple and blood vessel throbbing of such extreme proportions that you want Thor's Hammer to smash repeatedly in their face.
Your brother-in-arms, your go-to-person, the best client ever, turns out not only to not be part of the actual logo design approval process, but they have somehow, and quite incredibly, been working to a brief that is completely foreign to the newly introduced logo design approval committee.
This is that moment in a graphic designers' life where you can literally feel the will-to-live ebb from your body. The bewildering realisation that what they have been on some kind of personal mission that shares absolutely no similarities with the completely different views/opinions of the logo-design-approval-committee.
The premise that a graphic designer is ideally designing with their clients and customers mostly in mind, and mostly not to personally please and serve each member of the committee, is of such horrid foreign nastiness, that they laugh and spit in your face.
It goes without saying that the story doesn't end at all well for all concerned, but it can be, and absobloodylutely needs to be avoided at all costs.
When you are close to confirming a new client you must, at all costs, ensure that the person you will be liaising with understands the following: that all persons, who will have say into the final design, are both kept up to speed during the project, and that any conflicting feedback they might have at any point during the project, is filtered into one cohesive voice before landing back on your table.
It is of no use for a client to send you 5 differing set of views on your latest logo design proposal, because every one of the 5 members of the logo-design-approval-committee have completely different opinions on what sort of design should be adopted. If they are unable, between them, to come to a mutual agreement about which opinion to go with, then that's more of an issue for them to resolve, not the designer.
For sure, I sometimes find it interesting to hear what these conflicting thoughts and opinions are, as they can actually create useful insight, but that's only when I know each member of the collective understands that the new company logo isn't going to be a personal reflection of their personal taste in design, and that the current set of comments have already gone through the process of being filtered into one collective voice.
Never allow/tolerate a client to surprise you, and put you in that very difficult position of having to wade through, and somehow make sense of, conflicting thoughts and opinions about the latest design proof, when you have previously been lead-to-believe you had been on the right track. It's simply not on, and also reflects poorly on the client if internally, they can't see eye-to-eye on something as crucial as their brand's new logo and identity design.
The key-word above is surprise. I think there are always exceptions to this rule, but only if you are confident about taking control, banging heads together, showing them you are the boss/professional etc.
You might already be aware, before getting too deep into the project, that there is a possibility of some challenges in getting people on the same page. Also, maybe the person you have been working so closely with, and whom sincerely believed they WERE working to a unified brief, are themselves surprised by those members of the logo-design-approval-committee. In these cases you can allow for time, maybe charge additional costs for time-wasted etc, but the worse possible case is having your go-to-person lead you on a merry dance all the way to the gutter, especially when you've done nothing but follow all that amazingly positive feedback for week-after-week.
Design by Committee Sucks
I have been known to pull the plug on the whole project if no one from the committee shows any willingness to budge/compromise on their own personal views. There really are times when there is no way to move forward until the committee can see how their collective stubbornness is actually damaging the natural evolution of the company's brand.