Recently I’ve been getting a lot of inquires about my design process when it comes to branding and communicating direction to a company. But because I don’t feel super comfortable posting my client’s style guides online, I’ve never been able to document the process on my blog as thoroughly as I’d like.
Luckily, I’m now the design advisor to an incubator called Kinetiq Labs, so I’ll be doing whatever I want with our internal design assets *hehehe. I’m a huge believer in open data and transparent communication, so being able to write publicly about my design decisions is really refreshing.
I recently took on the challenge of rebranding Kinetiq Labs and this is a bit of the thought process behind why and how it all unfolded.
The original logo on the left was full of problems for us. The gradients made the mark less versatile, the multitude of colors was an obstacle, and the general ‘chrome’ look was way too flashy.
The mark on the right is where we’ve arrived as a result of this process.
The identity direction of Kinetiq revolves around harnessing potential energy to evolve startups. *buzzwords! So basically evolution, science, and creative cycles are huge influencers on our visual identity.
Let’s jump in and see how I got there.
First I started by looking at the elements that we knew for sure we wanted to keep. What’s relevant to our message? How do we rebrand without it coming off as a dramatic overhaul?
- We knew we wanted to keep the ‘K’. It’s a strong element and has a spark to it that plays along with our mission.
- The pitch element is a stronger ‘K’ with a more approachable font family to back it up.
- We knew we wanted to keep some rounder elements of the original logo to help express the cyclical nature of evolution.
Above all else, the new Kinetiq logo needs to express solid foundations and controlled movement.
After the general elements and their functions were figured out, I started to reinterpret the system, and how we could infuse motion into the elements.
This is where the particles came in. By adapting the original ‘K’ into a particle form, we’ve successfully introduced the illusion of motion, or at the very least the illusion of a network (which usually implies motion.)
The core element is essentially the new Kinetiq ‘K’. Bold and solid, it sets the typography standard for the entire brand. The sexy typeface used here is called Avenir.
The remaining pitch element solves the final piece of the puzzle, cycles.
Next we move onto the snozzberry filled world of color.
When I’m working on identity projects, I always like to start with form in greyscale. When it was time to introduce color to this project I felt the best place to start was with the color spectrum that was being used in the original logo.
The proposed color palette is a more kickass version of the opposite ends of the original spectrum. I always try to keep things as simple as possible and it’s never fun to be that designer who has to struggle thru complicated gradients and glossy styles that serve very little purpose. These color decisions were based on creating a palette where each new hue that we introduce will be serving a purpose.
Here’s how those hot colors play together with the forms.
Particles & Waves seemed like a great metaphor, I’m all about metaphor. They both embody motion, but particles are lot more mysterious and erratic. The solid color is a great counterpoint for the thin lines and gives us a fallback for situations where the logo may display too small for complicated particles.
At this step I’ve also introduced the logotype, which is set in sexy ass Avenir. The word Kinetiq stands as the ‘motion’, while Labs serves as the control for the ‘experimental chaos’.
This is how they all fit together to form the new Kinetiq Labs identity.
The mark is strong and the type is approachable without feeling cheap. Many of our core goals are represented here including the focus on experimentation and the evolutionary nature of our incubator model.
Coincidently, the laboratory notion is also present thanks to the appearance of a ‘blueprint’ style of visuals. Everything that we do is a work in progress and nothing we work on is every really ‘done’.
We ‘Break It Til We Make It’ and thats sort of the point. Create something rad, find a way to poke holes into it, then improve. Basic evolution.
If I have time in the coming weeks, I’ll post up the brand style guide which has detailed direction on things like typography standards, photo treatment, copywriting tone, and bunch of other wacky design nonsense.
Though there are many tedious steps in between the ones I’ve shown here, I hope that this gives you some general insight into how I sift thru an identity problem.