I recently took on a freelance assignment designing a logo so my Athanor productivity dropped considerably the past couple weeks. I’m back at it on the next new page in the book though, so keep a look out for some new art posts in the near future.
But, back to the topic at hand: I was contacted by an old friend from my high school days (and college too) about designing a logo for his new web venture. It sounded like a cool project and a great opportunity to help define a brand in it’s infancy. I’ve designed plenty of logos for companies that have been around for a while and already have an established aesthetic, but it’s an entirely different animal to design a logo for a brand new organization. A logo says a lot about what a company does. In a fraction of a second a logo has to consciously and unconsciously communicate what a specific company is all about. For a great example of this check out the Fed Ex logo, it’s definitely one of my favorites.
They had some specific ideas about what they wanted, which is great because I think having some constraints always produces better design. You can’t really begin solving a problem before you first have the question. The idea was that the word “Centigage” would be accompanied by some type of scientific machinery or Rube Goldbergesque contraption. Often part of the role of the designer is to reign in expectations about what is and isn’t feasible. Obviously, a Rube Goldberg machine on the surface might not seem to make for a great logo, but it’s a great idea to start from.
I hit upon the idea of the phonograph, which seemed to fit their business model (social networking, communication) and their idea of the logo “emanating” from some kind of machine. Although an archaic form of communication, I thought the phonograph had a distinctive and iconic image and that if simplified properly would work great as a logo. Also it presents Centigage as an authority, as a source of information.
The design went through three different iterations. Initially I presented eight different potential logos, then another eight revisions, and then the final draft. Through each round the phonograph stuck around. I’m glad they liked the idea as much as I did, and ultimately selected it as their logo.
You can check out Centigage here: Centigage