Emotion, Context, and the Larger Consideration Behind Logo Design
If you haven’t heard or noticed, Google updated its logo recently, trading a fair share of their signature “personality” for a refined treatment that looks toward a “simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly” future.The response around the office has mirrored that around the Internet—some of us love the new look, the rest of us have no taste.
I jest, but I do so to point out that logo designs and the branding strategies behind them strike at an emotional level: we “feel” one way or another about logos before we “think” about them. It’s a primal reaction that draws us toward people who feel the same way as us, instilling the tribe mentality that successful organizations convert to “brand loyalty.”
So what does it look like (emotionally) when an agency like Ellipsis Digital rebrands itself with a new name and logo?
In our case, we wanted to dial back the emotion in our mark to allow our work to hold the focus. The goal was to create something along the lines of a signature: uniquely ours, but always pointing toward something else. As we play in a fairly big space (arts, culture, media and entertainment), we also needed to craft an identity that would look as natural on the sponsors page of a Shakespearean production as it would in the footer of website for a world music festival. Finally, our previous name/logo had longevity, serving us amazingly well over the past 14 years with very minor changes, and we wanted to create something as long-lasting this time around. “Timeless” can be an overused word, but we definitely wanted to steer clear of trends that would visually lock us into the immediate years surrounding 2015.
To that end, we headed straight to the portfolios of Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Michael Beirut, two masterful designers known for designs that travel very little distance between the napkins they’re started on and the polished identities they become. Both designers create pieces that “make sense”: they are often simple, but not crass; obvious, but not boring; and—of particular importance to us—able to carry the weight of the brands they represent as supporting actors... not the main attraction.
By now, you’ve probably seen what we ended up with, but if you haven’t, here it is.
Built around a tall, clean, sans-serif font, we’ve framed our name literally between the lines—speaking to our love for storytelling and giving a nod to the hyperlinked digital space we inhabit. Its black and white colour scheme signifies both our professionalism and our corporate attention to form, and its bold lines denote the confidence our history has given us. From a larger branding perspective, the mark affords us room to grow as we dive deeper into new markets, forging relationships with a growing variety of clients as passionate about the arts as our team is.
Now that’s just a glimpse into some of the thought behind the emotional aspect of our rebranding efforts. In a future blog post, we plan to share some of the more technical considerations we took into account, but in the meantime we’d love to hear what you think so far. Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.
Despite the mostly black wardrobe, our Creative Director, James Kingsley, can be an emotional guy.