The Quest for a Logo

We’ve been planning some multimedia updates for Customer Dynamics, a tech company providing custom CRM installations for SMB clients in the West. At right you can see the new logo we made for them, and in the post below we run through the process. When we make videos for a client, we like to have a little animated video introduction, like this one Chad Taber made for FreshPlans:

Chad also made the intro for Haden Interactive, which you can see any time in our videos, and I suggested to Customer Dynamics that we do the same for him. Customer Dynamics had been thinking about their logo anyway, so this was the impetus for them to plan an update. Jay Jaro is working on the new logo, based on the original logo below:

The process has made me think about the logo process again. Here’s how we do it:

Meaning first.

We talk with the client to find out what they want the logo to communicate. Sometimes the connection is very obvious, as with the light bulb that shows ideas for FreshPlans, and sometimes it’s more subtle (do you see the quill pen for writing and the word “Hi” for social in our logo?), but the layer of meaning must be there even when — as in poetry — it might require some thought to get to it.

For Customer Dynamics, the original logo had the energy and friendliness they wanted, but they’ve been using a new infographic in their presentations:

This process and the set of ideas it embodies is becoming increasingly central to Customer Dynamics, so they wanted to incorporate it into their logo in some way.

At first, Jay took this quite literally. He redrafted the infographic to match the logo:

And then he put the two together:

Usage comes next.

A good logo, though, has to look good on the side of a truck and on your business card, so it seemed to me that the level of detail would make this version of the logo impractical. I asked Jay to pare it down, and we ended up with this:

Customer Dynamics wanted something more abstract, though — and Rosie also felt that the shape alone without its arrows was too static.  Jay reinterpreted the shapes with more movement:

The look above is one of three variations Jay created. It made Rosie think of ninjas, so it’s her favorite, but Customer Dynamics preferred the option below:

Jay will tweak this according to some further thoughts on the part of Customer Dynamics, but it has the shapes, the sense of movement, and the cyclical nature of CRM, so it’s a good choice. It’ll look great on the website, and it’s easy to imagine ways it might be animated for the video intro. It ought to look sharp on the truck, too, if Customer Dynamics ever takes up trucks.

We’re saying as a general rule that a logo should work on dark or light backgrounds, in grayscale or in color, in small sizes or large. You also have to consider how you actually expect to use it. We do a lot of social media, so our logo is square to fit into an avatar box:

We’ve also worked with logos that needed to be good for T-shirts and for picking out among all the others on a shelf. Maximum versatility is good, but if you know just what you need, you can include it in the initial planning.

Feelings come last.

We’re not saying feelings are unimportant; we want people to love their logos. However, they should be the last thing we consider. This logo we did for Shipp Custom Draperies is a case in point. Jay did three rounds for Shipp, and by the time he offered them the following choices, it was simply a matter of picking their favorite. All of the designs at this point communicated what they needed to and would be usable for all the purposes that Shipp foresaw. It was strictly down to how the owners felt about the various combinations of shapes, colors, and words.

Starting with feelings and working your way back is, in our experience, a good way to end up with a logo that doesn’t really work for you.

It’s worth taking a bit of time and trouble with your logo, since you’ll be seeing a lot of it in years to come. Consider these points and we think you’ll be glad you did.







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