For a number of years I have to admit I’ve never really gotten all the attention that is given to this thing called ‘a brand’. I’ve probably been poisoned a bit by my interaction with designers who use the ‘its not on brand’ excuse as to the reason why I need to move the logo by two pixels – seriously is the consumer really going to care?
So now I find myself in unfamiliar territory, setting up my own business and therefore needing to create ‘a brand’. Given my previous almost disdain for brands why do I now feel I need ‘a brand’ for my business. Well it certainly isn’t for recognition, I don’t expect people to see my logo and instantly think AB Development, but I do need to look professional if I want people to hire my services. So given this rather simple requirement, all I really need to create my brand is a logo I can use for company stationery and on my site.
Creating the logo
Any regular readers and anyone else who knows me knows that I’m no designer which is why I’ve found creating a logo particularly challenging. I have some fairly easy going requirements, it needs to be:
- Suitable for a favicon (or easily adaptable);
- Convey ‘development’ as a visual message.
It has been the final requirement which has caused me the most trouble. Ultimately I didn’t need to satisfy all of the requirements, two out of three would have been sufficient.
The other issue I have is that even if I came up with a great concept I still need to realise it in graphic form. Now even though I don’t know too much about graphic design, one thing I do know is that ideally a logo should be created in a vector format, and this means using Adobe Illustrator. I would have struggled to use photoshop, but my experience of illustrator is zero. Armed with Google I figured I could probably struggle through, and indeed I have, here are some of my ideas and the final design. Ultimately I may not use the logo long-term, if the business takes off and in the unlikely situation of requiring brand recognition I will pay someone with artistic talent to do a much better job than I ever could!
The simplest concept I could come up with was to utilise my existing logo for albinns.com and simply add the word Development to it.
Whilst I was relatively happy with the logo originally it really had a different motivation, that was based around the whim of using <canvas> to create it. I wasn’t sure the logo was suitable for my business needs.
My next idea revolved around an old school cube. A and B easily map onto the front facing sides of a cube, which is relatively simple to put together in illustrator. Cubes are good as they are fairly easy to colourise which can easily be extended to a site. Whilst easy to make I wasn’t overly happy with the result.
My third idea was to go a bit more abstract in the font treatment and to simplify the shape. A circle easily fits the first two requirements and again offers good colourisation option and can also be given the Web 2.0 treatment. Was this a bit too abstract though, and did I have the skill to make it more than a circle?
So far none of the logos really hit home with my final requirement of being able to convey a development visual message. I decided to revisit the cube idea and work on it a bit. I had the idea of conveying a box of ideas, perhaps a toolbox. I was a bit worried about my ability to draw a toolbox, so instead opted for a cardboard box concept, something I could potentially develop further by putting objects inside, other logos, or tools.
I worked this concept up in illustrator and was fairly pleased with the result given my lack of skill and experience, but the more I looked at it the more I thought it missed the mark on my requirements.
At this point I was struggling and a bit underwhelmed by what I was producing. I decided to go back to abstract but change the approach, a motif which could serve as the favicon and a simple font for the company name.
Playing around with masks in illustrator I came up with a burst style motif. Again my design skills let me down and it still didn’t really work for me, nothing about this motif satisfied the third requirement.
The motif idea had legs it seemed so I pushed this further. After a little inspirational research one icon which seemed to work for development was a set of cogs, owing I guess from the engineering history. This was something I could work up in illustrator fairly easily.
At last I had something which I was fairly happy with. It satisfied my three requirements and had a professional feel to it. Is it actually any good though, well I guess that’s subjective and I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that question, any comments are of course always welcome!
Well now I have a workable logo its time to build a site around it. Until then I now have a holding page up at http://www.abdevelopment.co.uk which sports the new logo.