Everyone in graphic design will tell you that designing a logo an acquired skill. Not everyone understands the process. And not everyone can do it. The rest of us in marketing know that logo design is a mystic art. It requires incantations, spells, weaves & magic. The graphic designers deny this, but never allow us into their ‘brainstorming sessions’. And they all wear something black, silver & purple on every full moon – we noticed that.
In this blog, we look at an interesting case study. We were recently engaged by a client, Auxilium Consulting. The initial client enquiry was pretty broad, but well thought out. They were looking for comprehensive brand identity. They wanted a complete brand spec created. The spec was to cover their digital and print mediums. The brand identity included, among other items, designing their logo. We submitted a comprehensive proposal and were invited to pitch. The outcome of our pitch meeting was simple. In order to sign the work, we had to impress them with one thing only – a logo. We had seven days to come up with a design for a logo.
Our first engagement with the client was set for 2 days later. We knew almost nothing about the client. We had a blank slate. There was much to discuss and more find out. Our pitch prep was thus twofold for this meeting:
- Define ‘brand identity’ and ‘logo’ to the client.
- Identify the ‘brand message’ that the client wants to communicate.
We started by listing the normal visual elements of a brand. These include colour palettes, fonts, images and shapes associated with a brand. We also defined and discussed briefly psychology of each of these aspects. We summed up by defining “Brand Identity”. It’s a catch-all term for the visual elements of a brand.
Defining a logo is pretty easy. A simple definition – a recognizable graphic design element. It often includes a name, symbol or trademark. It also represents an organization or product. Understanding what it’s not, is not so easy. Since the project was dependent on an awesome logo, we focused on unpacking the term ‘logo’.
Firstly, a logo is not a brand, and a brand is not a logo. A brand is intangible. A brand is abstract. It is an organisation or product’s identity. It’s what people think of when they hear your name, how you make them feel; it’s what they tell others about you. A brand is also built from numerous touchpoints with customers—not from a logo. Further, the client had to understand that a logo didn’t make or break a business. Logos are part of the picture, but they’re not the entire thing. This, though, had to be done very subtly. We didn’t want it to seem that we were chickening out. Kudos to the Creative Sanctum marketing crew for an awesome pitch!
Identifying The Message
The discussion started by us asking three questions. Firstly, why they started the business. Secondly, what values are important to them as a company. And thirdly, what sets them apart from the competition. We needed to know what was most important to the client and their customers. The client has an unusual name, Auxulium Consulting. We also wanted to know the is the meaning/story behind the name.
Logo Design – To The Drawing Board!
We regrouped back at the office. Despite us being in the tech & digital field, we often go old school. We whipped out the markers and made a mind-map! Ideas flew around colour palettes, images and patterns. Credit here must go to the Creative Sanctum marketing team. With their lead, we listed, and finally, narrowed down the requirements. One thing was for sure, the logo had to be awesome. It was, after all, the key to a turnkey project for brand development.
Our Internal Brief Statement
In the business world, markets are constantly evolving and changing. Further, Covid is forcing companies to evolve their business in order to remain competitive. A versatile logo is thus required. As Auxilium expands, they may add other products and services to their portfolio. In either case, we need to create a logo that can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
Once we developed our internal brief, the Hogwarts Crew took over. (The design crew secretly call themselves that. They also think that the rest of us don’t know this.) After two days of brewing in the conference room (aka the cauldron), they created a logo! Here’s the crux of it…
And into the cauldron…
Colour Selection: The colour palette was built around pearl and grey. The complementary colours selected were three shades of blue. The contrast was provided by a green hue.
Pearl conveys innocence, purity, equality and cleanliness. It is associated with eggshells & symbolises new beginnings. Grey is a classic, mature and elegant colour. As a neutral colour, grey feels professional, intelligent, dignified and reliable. The blue shades bring a sense of serenity while conveying trust, dependability, loyalty and confidence. Blue shades are non-threatening and also portray clarity and intelligence. Green is considered a calm colour, associated with recharging, growth, knowledge and positive energy.
Shape Psychology: This was the tricky one – so say the design team. Apparently, it required some unusual input…
Departing from the usual array of shapes, the creative team settled on the infinity symbol. The infinity symbol ∞ is a mathematical symbol representing the concept of infinity. We have to admit, that for a ‘nerd symbol’ 😉 it’s really classic & elegant. It also portrays a sense of being reliable, neutral, impartial, professional and intelligent.
An abstract logo was an excellent idea. It allowed for the ultimate level of creativity in design. The logo personifies the client’s ideas, image, and values. Our creative process allowed us to create a truly unique design. It’s original & memorable; marks of a great logo.