Posted on September 10, 2013

Using an icon differentiates your company logo from competitors

In follow up to the previous article we thought we would show you how we developed a logo from start to finish and included some elements that differentiate the logo from a typestyle that anyone can’t be used and copied by anyone else. Here are some examples of the creative use of icons and illustrations to do just that and add real brand personality, and can be easier to trademark.

OCTES-logo-300x97OCTES stands for Opportunities for Communities Through Energy Storage, an EU funded programme set up to explore the technology of smart metering of recycled energy and the likelihood that peoples attitude and behaviour can be changed. We created the logo and its unique font beginning with circles to achieve a roundness  so we could incorporate a type of meter dial illustrated and adapted font as a visual device as a representation of what OCTES is and what it does.

octes-brand-289x300We also created the Buzz character so that he can be used to demonstrate activity giving the website some interesting imagery and assisting an audience who are not all native English speakers. Buzz also adds some fun and lightens up an otherwise mundane subject, taking site visitors through an easy guide what is involved in smart metering. And how could you have done that with photograph? Well you could but an illustration can be done in a few hours whereas to set up a fairly complex domestic location based photo shoot with at least a couple of models and some props would take a few days to set up and would cost substantially more and might actually distract from the message.

logo-no-strapline-300x129Plumbing Pensions started over 30 years ago as the industry wide pension scheme. They recognised the need for an identity reflecting their national status as a financial institution with current assets of over £1.4 billion and 33,000 members. We re-designed their logo to enhance their position as a trusted financial services provider, referencing plumbing subtly as secondary as it is already in the name.

The two colours of blue with the Gill Sans condensed font gives the appropriate reassuring conservative feel to the customers. The icon forms the PP initials in the two colours and making the letterforms in a simple way with two directional changes and although flat the top and bottom very subtly show they are pipes without over doing it but making a distinctive and versatile icon for Plumbing Pensions, providing an overall cohesive look that reinforced trust and financial stability. This retains the brand equity and a visual link to their history and industry roots.

Pilgrim Systems plc was a competitive pitch that we won to re-design the logo and implement its use across the company website, sales literature, stationery, exhibition stands and office signage for a re-launch 6 weeks later at an international trade show. The brief was to create a contemporary image, professional, global, with a strong ‘techie’ feel as ultimately they are programmers who need to convey competency in information technology and software programming.  We avoided any direct references to the ‘Pilgrim’ as the actual meaning or connotations of the word ‘Pilgrim’ and chose to render it in a typographical style that was contemporary but we could modify slightly personalising it by chipping out some of the down loop in the characters ‘p’ and ‘g’ to make their own thus designing a logo that the client could build into a brand.

We also chose to render ‘Systems’ in a different font style and colour giving more prominence to ‘Pilgrim’. The colours are a mix of a bold violet and a more muted warm grey to balance the tone of their identity giving stronger emphasis that the Client wanted, so we designed that solution in to the new logo. The picture of the man solving interconnecting points was ideal in conveying the complexity of the work they do. Pilgrim Systems branding and re-launch proved so successful that they were bought by Reuters and merged with their Elite Legal Software division.

montage of illustrations and iconsTo see more of uses of icons, graphic devices, illustrations see our Icons page and how the become brand identities see our typography section by visiting our logo and brand development page  and click through some examples.

By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design