Designing a logo for a new product within a well established brand is a challenging assignment for any designer. Unlike a completely new company or product there are already colors, fonts and guidelines connected to the brand.
To find just the right balance, you need to know when to stretch the brand, and when to stay connected to the core. This was exactly the challenge I gave Jenna as we started work on Groundwork Sessions.
How close to Roundpeg?
This seems like a simple question, but it took several hours of lively discussion with the team to answer it with confidence. We ultimately decided part of the value of these sessions was the expertise the Roundpeg team brought to the table. We wanted this new brand to be visually connected to our primary brand.
With that connection in mind we decided we wanted a brand which looked like a member of the Roundpeg family. So, Jenna knew she would need to use at least some of the Roundpeg fonts and colors.
Not all fonts work everywhere
Lower case letters are core to our brand. This was one guideline we decided to hold firm with this new logo. Our primary fonts are Clarendon which we use for the “round” and Trebuchet which is used for the “peg”. The big chunky Clarendon font has a wonderful swirl in the “r” which leads off our name. The Trebuchet “g” has a unique shape which balances the logo with a swirl on the end.
It would have been easy to simply use these same fonts in the same order to create the new brand. The problem? The letters are all wrong. The Clarendon “g” and “r” are both very stylized. This makes the front end of the text very ornate with nothing to balance it on the backend since there is nothing really interesting about the Trebuchet “k”. Also, the “w” doesn’t fit neatly up against the “d”.
The result is a logo which looks like Roundpeg’s unattractive sister.
We have a third font, Raleways, which we began using two years ago. This more modern font is the one we typically use for body text and headlines in blog graphics, white papers and eBooks. Jenna tried variations using this font in our colors and in the gray we reserve for text and accent, but it felt like a frail version of who we are.
Another challenge was the length of this logo when we added the word sessions. It is important for the brand, but challenging for the design.
The final version is a great blend of the old and new. Using Trebuchet for the word groundwork gives us a chance to use the very identifiable Roundpeg “g”. Bringing the Raleway font into the mix for the word sessions gives the logo a more modern feel.
Filling the space with the words “with roundpeg” helped connect the brand back to us. The choice of the word with rather than by was a deliberate statement about the interactive nature of the program.
The decision to use just simple text instead of a small version of the Roundpeg logo was a tough one for me. Even though I have had countless conversations with clients about picking one dominant element for a logo when it was my brand it was hard to let go.
Fortunately, I listened to Jenna’s voice of reason. There would be too many conflicting elements. We had to rely on the the font and colors to make it feel like part of the family at a glance.
There are lots of websites you can go to if you want to find an icon to match with the text treatment for your brand. Classic swirls and check marks abound, but we wanted something meaningful. The icon needed to convey something specific about this new program we were launching.
Goundwork Sessions are like building blocks which fit together. There is an order and a process, the pieces of the program work together. With that in mind, we considered a number of alternatives from circles and gears, to building blocks and puzzle pieces.
We narrowed the choices down to these two:
See them in context
We loved them both equally well for very different reasons. We couldn’t decide until we thought about how the brand would appear on the web, in social media and in print. Jenna actually designed two very different invitations influenced by the different logo styles.
Once we saw them in context the puzzle won out. As an icon it was more unusual than the building blocks. It gave us a way to bring our accent orange into the forefront, without losing the connection to Roundpeg. The puzzle also gave us pieces we could break apart into interesting elements throughout the Groundwork Sessions’ website.
So here’s the final product. Jenna succeeded in meeting the challenge of designing something which conveys the essence of what the product is about. Like a grown up child, it can stand on its own, yet it still looks like part of the Roundpeg family.
Want to see how this logo is put to work? Check out Groundworksessions.com.