What is the logo design process exactly?
6 December 2022
This is a good question, and one our clients would often like to know. We always emphasise the importance of investing as much as you can in a logo for your institute or organisation. A good logo should serve you well over time. Often a lot of time. As the backbone of your brand, updating it can be more work than you think, as anything with your old logo would need to be changed as well.
I’d like to note that this process is not exactly the same for all designers, and what is outlined below is not comprehensive. Of course I am happy to chat about this further (and I often do!)
Research + Strategy
The design of the logo is always part of a wider brand strategy. The depth required varies tremendously. It can require days, months, or sometimes even years. The appropriate scope of work depends on the individual project.
Starting with a set of questions, we discuss (and sometimes debate!) an organisation's essence: who it is, what it does and what it will deliver. We also examine such things as the target market and competitors. Once complete, our clients often comment on how valuable this clarity and insight is—despite how much they thought they understood their brand previously.
Concepting + Design
As a designer trying to put words to this phase, I realise how fascinating it is! And challenging. Clients can be surprised at how long this phase can take.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Often visuals are sketched or found online. They are pieced together, taken apart, elaborated on, grouped, left for a few days, brainstormed, and worked on again and again to form logo concepts. The best concepts are grouped into design directions and developed further. Some clients think that the first design round is simply a presentation of all the work done to date, but this is not the case! We only present the most successful design directions.
Crucially, this phase is also very much guided by the Brief + Strategy phase listed above.
There are usually at least four design rounds, more depending on the project scope. So that they can be prepared, we always tell our clients that one of the biggest delays is the amount of time it takes to get feedback after each round.
Files + Guidelines
The final logo is delivered in various file formats and sizes. If you require any additional file format in the future, we are happy to provide this free of charge.
A brand guidelines document is provided that sums up the brand work. This helps anyone using the logo, or any other brand elements, to prepare high impact materials that are consistent, whether it is a PowerPoint document or an email newsletter. The brand guidelines can be anywhere from one page to dozens, depending once again on the project scope.
Above are examples of a few of the logos we have designed recently for various scientific organisations.Posted in: MandR work identities branding
Do's and Don'ts: Irvington Theater Branding
19 August 2021When the Irvington Theater, based in the Irvington, a town just north of Manhattan, launched a rebrand about a year ago now, it caused quite a stir in the design community and it went on to win a number of design awards.Over here at MOTHandRUST, we thought it was so great and so different. It was remarkable, a theatre identity that did not rely on imagery... We've worked with a number of theatres over the years and understand that getting imagery that is really good, representative, on time, affordable, and so on can sometimes be a bit tricky. So this could be useful as well.
1) The identity works by choosing a colour based on whether the event is theatre, music, film, comedy or dance. This colour coding would help distinguish film (greys) from theatre (blues) and so on.
2) A typeface is then chosen from a collection that consists of 52 different typefaces, to be used the title of the event.3) A pared-down sans serif in only one weight is used for everything else. Here you can see all three elements together.When the events are seen together, as they are above, the many typefaces are indeed an effective way of conveying diversity, variety, and range in the programming. Looks great.
4) In addition to the typefaces and colours, a third element of the design system is layering. You can see this in the image above point 3 above—lots of coloured layers on each of the postcards. This is said to be inspired from wheat paste broadsheets of the Victorian age, as seen above in a watercolour by John Orlando Parry, ”A London Street Scene” 1835. Looks REALLY great.
But can an identity work through the sheer use of colour, typography and layering? Without relying on imagery? Especially a theatre?
Well, fast forward to a year later, and sure enough, we do see imagery appearing everywhere in the brand, from the posters to the Twitter page (see above).
The only other element that does not seem to be working is the layering. We are seeing very little of this in the branding today. Not sure why this is.DoIt is sometimes thought that a new brand is etched in stone, but it is not. Evaluate the brand after it has been in use for some time. You can always make changes if things are not working (within reason!) In the example above, it may be that images need to be included. Note that changes to the branding should be done with guidance from the design agency, if possible.Don'tA simple brand system, with a constrained amount of elements like the one above, is almost always best for a small company with limited resources. But just because it is simple does not mean it needs to be boring.
Note that we've spelled 'theater' the American way, and also 'theatre,' the way the rest of the world spells it. A nice compromise, as everyone is happy!Posted in: branding
Before and After: The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines
22 January 2021
The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM) is a multi-institutional collaboration headquartered at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT with managing partners at Harvard University. It aims to understand intelligence, how the brain produces intelligence and how we may be able to replicate it in machines—arguably one of the greatest challenges in science and technology.
As a flagship program of American's National Science Foundation, they needed a new identity that was more modern, professional and cutting edge. A particular problem with the existing logo was that many did not recognize that it was in fact a brain.
As is often the case with our science collaborations, complex and often abstract concepts can be a challenge to visualise. One of the tools we use is a series of questions that we have developed over the years that we find essential to get to the heart of a brand.
In this case, it was this question that provided a key: “If one could communicate one single message about the CMBB identity, it would be?”
The answer was: “The CBMM brings together computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists to create a new field—the Science and Engineering of Intelligence.”
This is also what makes the CBMM different.
During our design phase, we discovered that dotted circles create new patterns where they intersect. The three circles in the new logo represent the three types of science mentioned above, that come together to create the new field of the Science and Engineering of Intelligence. Where the types of science come together and intersect, new patterns of understanding are created.
See more here.
Posted in: MandR work branding
my friend MIQUELA
12 March 2020
Hi the MLE,
First, for those who don’t know, Miquela is a CGI virtual influencer.
“I’m a 19-year old musician change seeker taco truck expert.”
One of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People on the Internet 2018. Massive following on Instagram, of course. But what makes her even more bizarre is when she comes to life on YouTube all animated and human-like.
She is the primary product of a company based in LA called “Brud,” with over 40 employees. Of course the company who made her has gone to great lengths to remain hidden… What are they motivations behind creating Miquela? Well, it’s a business, so making money is the main objective. Brud is valued at 125 million dollars.
Like most influencers, she makes a lot of money selling products. Image above has her and Bella Hadid “Getting Surreal” selling Calvin Klein. She also makes a ton of cash promoting various events, like SXSW. Not to mention her music that garners a lot of attention, with hit songs with millions of streams. The list goes on…
Currently Brud has two other characters as well, Bermuda and Blawko, with more in the works. Of course, each addresses a different target market, rather than competing with consumers, together they appeal to a greater consumer base.
Altogether, it’s a brilliant business model, and it is not surprising that it is also extremely lucrative. One of the founders managed the musician Banks before the CGI musician Miquela - I would love to talk to him about his experiences with human vs CGI.
It seems that real influencers and CGI influencers are exactly the same in most ways. They are both carefully crafted into a particular character. They use the same tactics and scripts to make people feel really connected to them. Can you tell which of the below is from a human or from Miquela? And have you not heard influencers say stuff like this a million times already?
“I’m gonna tell you a story that’s super embarrassing and made me sad for a minute, but maybe some of y’all can relate.”
“The fucked up thing is that if sharing it can help someone else whose gone through something similar feel less alone, then it’s worth it.”
However, CGI characters like Miquela have many advantages. They are free from all the cost and hassle of a human celeb. Brud does not have to pay her a salary, they have complete control over her actions, and she can work around the clock. No need to worry about a troubled personal life, any health problems, or getting caught by the press doing something stupid, etc, etc. And, thank God, she will never grow old or get fat (well not unless it's part of the script).
So will CGI celebs replace real celebs in the future? My guess would be yes. In fact, it is already happening right now. A Fullscreen study found that 42% of Gen Z and Millennials have followed an influencer on social media who they did not know what CGI. But is this really that surprising with apps like Facetune making people look like CGI?
SuzanPosted in: music film branding advertising
Branding and Pattern
12 July 2019
Hi the MLE,
You know I'm known for liking identities that involve repetition, and here is yet another new example. You are correct, this logo is not for everyone. In particular, the circular logo does not work well very small (it would not be legible), or in certain areas with restricted real estate, such as the top of their brewery (fourth image above, where the circular signage would not be legible, hence the less interesting and more plain repeating pattern). But in application as a poster or on drink glasses, it works quite well indeed (second and third image above).
More info here.