You're looking at all articles on The Hickensian tagged 'logos'

Recent Work: Shopify

I recently undertook a refresh of the Shopify shopping bag logo. An interesting one for me, as the concept was already in place, it just needed a rendering clean up, sort out the perspective and make it more dynamic.

Here’s a side by side, old and new:

Shopify old and new logos

Sketches of initial ideas, looking for the right perspective:

sketches

Followed by early ‘vector roughs’, getting the shape and colours mocked up (the idea of making the bag handles form a cutesy smile was shelved early on!):

Shopify Logo early vectors

Final Artwork with green and black/white variations:

Shopify Grid WhiteShopify Green bag

New Dr Who Logo

new_logo640x395

I never liked the 2005-2009 Doctor Who logo. It looked too much like ‘Farscape’ to my eyes, but this, this I like. A lot. Somehow, it feels very retro, as if it’s the logo that could’ve been at some point in it’s early past. In particular, I’m a big fan of the way it works as a ‘DW’ Tardis logomark:

It’s absolutely the right time to do this. New production team, companion, and of course, Doctor.

Recent Work: Mahalo

Mahalo

Logo design for Mahalo, the human powered search engine. Hicksdesign also consulted on the site design as well as creating its icons. ‘Mahalo’ is Hawaiian for ‘Thank you’, and various related imagery was explored before settling on the Plumeria flower from a Leis.

Time to redesign the logo methinks

Whether its leaf logos, logos that have similar 3 shape patterns or both, I’m starting to think its time to redesign. I’m not crying ‘copy cats’ here by the way, I’m just starting to feel run of the mill:

Similiar Logos

I think I’ve taken the leaf theme as far as I can – its time for a rethink. A rethink that I’ll do in all that spare time of course ;o)

Spot the difference

When I mentioned that ABC News used the ‘older version of the logo’, there were a few people wondering just what was so old about it.

After the initial rush to get the Firefox logo out for v8, it was soon enlarged for use in the situations such as the windows installer graphics, and its many flaws were enlarged too. I recreated the logo in Illustrator, this time paying much more attention to detail. This was going to be a version that would hold up to being printed large (like this!).

So here, side by side, are the old and revised logos. The differences should hopefully be a little more obvious:

Firefox logo, old and new

People tend to notice the glossier globe, and the furrier top of the head, but in particular, more attention was paid to the face.

So there you go!

Bare Bones means Comic Sans

With the release of BBEdit 8.0, has come the most inexplicable new feature. The application icon has been updated with the most grotesque typography, looking like a Comic Sans derivative. For a serious, professional, mac-only application this is so inappropriate:

Old icon

I was never a fan of the previous logo, but this took the biscuit. So, to avoid looking having to look at this, I whipped up a quick replacement over lunch:

replacement icon

It’s by no means perfect, or intended as a serious replacement proposal to BareBones Software. It ‘is what it is’ – what I would prefer to look at instead. If you also happen to prefer it, you can download the icon from here. There are 2 options for changing the icon. Either ctrl-click BBEdit to ‘show package contents’, and replace the ‘BBEditApplication.icns’ file in the resources folder, or, copy and paste the folder icon in the get info window.

Thunderbird

Following on from the branding of Firefox, comes the new logo for Mozilla’s email client, Thunderbird. When Stephen Desroches sketched out the orginal idea for Firefox back in December, he had in mind how this affects the other applications, and Thunderbird was sketched out too:

original sketches by Stephen Desroches

After Firefox 0.8 came out, I started work on fleshing theses sketches out, trying various bird types. Early on we decided to keep the envelope metaphor, and include a globe. At this point I couldn’t find any reference to a real Thunderbird, so I didn’t have a starting point. I tried a few approaches:

my working sketches

These are my working sketches – #1:Too evil! #2: Dove =
too fluffy! (although it stood for mail in many countries) #3: Too different in position to Firefox #4: Too hunched! #5:better, but still a wierd shape. Generally, the perspective on all but the first sketch looked a bit odd.

Finally I’d found a reference to a mythical Thunderbird in Native American art, which had a crest. I really liked this idea, and added it to the final sketch. Sketch #6 is a basic vectors sketch using #5 as a basis, but adding the crest and improving the posture.

Native American Thunderbird

Finally we had something we had something that the team were all happy with.

This time I was using Illustrator CS to create the logo. I started by creating the main colour palette – a range of tones as new swatches, I usually do about four: ‘Darkest. Dark, Mid, Light’. With each colour, I checked the option for ‘Global’. All gradients were then created using these swatches. This allowed me to adjust the colours for, say, “Mid tone” and it would then update all the instances of that colour – even those used in gradients.

my working sketches

Here are the final icons:


Final icons

More importantly, Thunderbird also gets Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander’s brand spanking new pinstripe theme for OS X. When you compare this interface with the Windows equivalent, you can really appreciate the attention to detail. They’ve gone to huge lengths to make this look and feel as much of a native app as possible. I only converted to Apple Mail from Entourage back in January, but I’m giving Tbird a spin to see if I’m tempted over. So far I particularly love the 3 column layout option. At the time of writing, the new icon artwork has only been checked into the Windows version – OS X will come soon.

Now that Firefox and Thunderbird are both ‘done’, the task is go back over both of them, tweaking and polishing before the final release candidates.

branding firefox

screenshot of the new about window

Shortly before Christmas, I had an email from a chap called Steven Garrity, who works for Silverorange, and runs a blog called ‘Acts of Volition’, in which he publishes a radio show on regular basis. (really worth a listen BTW). He asked if I would like to join a recently created Mozilla branding team, with the immediate aim of producing a new logo identity for the Firebird browser, soon to be renamed firefox (Ben Goodger has written up the reasons and process for the name change). The branding team came into being after Steven wrote an article recommending changes to Mozilla’s existing branding. I jumped at the chance, and today Firefox 0.8 is finally released, and the work is no longer confidential.

Over Christmas (thanks Steven!) ideas and concepts were put forward. The timescales were tight (the design would chosen 2nd January), and the concept difficult to illustrate. A firefox is actually a cute red panda, but it didn’t really conjure up the right imagery. The only concept I had done that I felt happy with was this, inspired by seeing a Japanese brush painting of a fox:

first idea for the firefox logo

The final chosen design was a concept from Daniel Burka and sketched by Stephen Desroches, which I then rendered using Fireworks MX. I’ve been using Fireworks over Illustrator or Photoshop for icon design as I love the way I can work in vectors and see the result in pixels, rather than smooth vectors. The updated gradient tools in MX make this possible too.

the original concept sketch and the final logo

As with all icons, the smaller the resolution, the harder it is to create a legible icon. OS X icons start at 128×128 pixels, Windows XP uses 48×48 whereas 95-2000 only has a maximum size of 32×32. Starting with the 128×128 version in all its detail, I scaled this down to the various sizes, and began removing excess and simplifying the shapes.

The different pixel resolutions of the firefox icon

As you can see, once you get down to 16×16, which is used in areas like the windows taskbar and OS X list views, its nearly impossible. I still have some work to do on this and other Mozilla branding, so the project continues.


0.8 is also the first milestone release to have the gorgeous new OS X aqua theme. If you’ve not seen this yet, Kevin Gerich has posted screenshots of all the different screens so that you have proof of all its lickability. Better still, download the 0.8 release and try it out.


Update: Forgot to mention that there is a page of promo graphics on the Mozilla Site – get linking! You can also read more about the project from Steven Garrity

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The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

Upcoming Talks

I sometimes pop up at conferences and waffle about design, icon creation in particular. Here's where I'll be next:

Web Expo Guildford- "Icon Design Process" - 26th September 2014

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin – 3rd-5th November 2014

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