Creating a visual identity for any organization, brand, product or service, for me always begins with designing a strong logotype and/or brandmark. In this post, I discuss my process for developing logotypes and brandmarks, and how I implemented this process when designing the logotype for The Cultural Communication Project; a design research project attempting to understand how cultural groups differ in their understanding and experience of design.
1. The discovery phase
I always start the process of creating logotypes or brandmarks with building an understanding of the organization, brand, product or service that the design should represent by collecting information from official- and unofficial statements and documents, press; and by talking to staff, customers, and stakeholders.
2. Defining the thematic
To visualize discoveries from the research phase, I always use a word-cloud to display the result. This is an incredibly efficient methodology to understand what terms, concepts, and ideas forming the theoretical construct of the project. Below is presented the generated word-cloud for this project:
3. Defining the core
Next step is to select three to five words from the word-cloud to be used as a starting point for conceptualization. The words I defined for this project were:
4. The design
A logotype or a brandmark is a kind of summarized conceptualization of everything an organisation, brand, product or service stands for. As such, when creating a representing logotype of these values, ‘simplify’ is the guiding principle. Working with “seeing” as a core thematic of the project, I choose the illustration of an eye as a starting point which I then step-by-step simplified down to its core visual attributes: the pupil, the iris, and the sclera:
Visible at the top of this post is the final logotype. It has a modernist feel and is inspired by the stylistic idioms of Max Bill, Josef Muller-Brockman, Vignelli, Paul Rand, Armin Hoffman and Louis Dorfman.
Constructed from the central element of visual culture—the eye, the brandmark, at the same time, also gives a sense of movement as the eye symbol also can be interpreted as a river or a road moving against the viewer. This is intentional and functions as a representation of culture as a continuing and moving force.
The logotype is based on Paul Rands ‘Univers’ which is a modernist typeface. In addition to the fact that I personally think this is one of the greatest typefaces ever created, Univers also fits well with the modernist style of the brandmark.
All cultures (objective and subjective) differ in the visual perception of art- and design. The hypothesis of the Cultual Communication Project is that differences in these perceptions can be formulated into explicit design guidelines which will help informing designers how cultural dimensions experience visual aspects of design assets—such based on symmetry, information density, and colour.
It might be that you personally dislike my design of this logo while your best friend think it looks great. The aim of the Cultural Communication Project is to help designers like me to understand why you and your friend have such different views, and to help us create more efficient and appreciated assets of design.
- 4.parinc. (2017). NEO PI-R (NEO Personality Inventory–Revised). [online] Available at: http://www4.parinc.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductID=NEO-PI-R [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].