Hicks

Explaining the new logo

I wasn’t quite prepared for the generally negative response to the new identity. Looks like it was a bit of a shock to most people! Comments ranged from positive to lukewarm to negative but constructive to downright condescending and rude. I think the worst were the suggestions that my colourblindness explained the logo colours, as if somehow it was a mistake (or an April Fool’s joke). That hurt! There were also those who proclaimed it ‘wasn’t me’. What the hell do you know is ‘me’? I think people have got this image of an ale-loving tree-hugging hobbit, and that such a design can only mean I’ve had too much old tovey.

Many referred to the 3 leaf logo as some peak of my career. The irony is, if ever I spent 2 minutes slapping a logo together, that was it. Seriously. Zero thought went into it at the time, and the execution was less than slick, but it’s seemed very popular with wives! I never change logos just for the hell of it though. A logo should be something that is in place for very long time, but I’ve already talked about my reasons for changing. Time to move on.

Maybe I shouldn’t have enabled comments (its not as if the logo was up for debate or anything), but people were emailing me to tell me they thought it was ugly anyway (which was nice), so it makes little difference.

So basically, stuff you. It’s staying. This is what I want.

What I wanted:

After I’d convinced myself that I needed to move on, I drew up 4 goals for myself as my own design brief:

  • The key was something so completely different from previous logos, and from everything else I’d seen out there. Part of that is colour – there’s a lot of muted, conservative tones at the moment.
  • A shape that could be used with different colour combinations, and still be recognisable. Thus, I could have a seasonal variation if I wanted. The current one is deliberately bright (these colours are very IN this year), but could be anything I wanted. This would allow me flexibility, which in turn, would give longevity.
  • To highlight a different interest to nature.
  • If it had a 70’s in feel, with a modern edge, I would be happy too!

I’d been searching for new ideas for a long time, but finally at SXSW I got inspiration. Glenda the Good Witch took a small group of us off to for a preview of the yet-unopened Blanton Museum of Art. It was there that I saw a piece of art that inspired the new logo:

Filles de Kilimanjaro III for Miles, 1976 Acrylic on canvas

Its called “Girls of Kilimanjaro III” by Kazuya Sakai, and was intended as a homage to Miles Davis. I was hooked, and not just because I like Miles Davis.

On the flight home, I did a few sketches, and knew that this was what I wanted:

New Logo Sketches

Apart from achieving all my goals, I think the logo also suggests constant movement, which wasn’t intended, but I like that fact that it does. The shape is also pointing/moving/leaning forwards, which suggests direction. Others have suggested it reminds them of scalectrix, race tracks and roller discos, which is great. Its the music connotations that I particularly enjoy though – vinyl records and infinite movement.

The biggest setback was the discovery that Firewheel Design were using the same typeface – Egret. If they didn’t have the word ‘design’ in their name too I would’ve thought sod it, and left it. However, I didn’t feel comfortable with that, so I’ve switched to the other typeface I was considering during development – House Industries’ Chalet. I’m very happy with this, and it doesn’t feel like a second choice. It fits the logotype just as well, and has the added benefit of bolder weights.

Finally – I see this current site design as being a transitional phase – a clean minimal style (much like Doug Bowman did with his ‘whitespace’ phase) to give me time to evolve and develop it. While I intended the logo to be a complete departure, I wanted keep parts of the design that I felt still worked, and didn’t clash with the new identity.