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Anatomy of a logo

Anatomy of a logo: 5 minutes with Design Directors Matt Coghlan & Pete Forbes

Logos are the cornerstone of any brand, and while what you see on the page may look simple, the most effective and enduring logos invariably have an intriguing development story behind them.

We sat down with our two Design Directors, Matt Coghlan and Pete Forbes to talk about their creative process of designing a logo.

Q: What does your logo design process look like?

Pete: The discovery phase is one of the most important parts of the design process, as it allows us to get to the core elements of the brand which will inform the creation of the logo.

Matt: It’s also where we get to take over the boardroom to get our own collaborative think tank going! While a logo is a big part of the brand puzzle, before we even start considering the design, we do a lot of research on the brand as a whole. Firstly, we look at the reason behind the need for a new logo, which could be anything from the old logo becoming outdated or irrelevant or new management wanting a fresh face.

Pete: We look at every element of the brand, what it stands for, where it’s been and where it’s going …including competitor brands. The initial stage looks a bit like organised chaos for a while but it’s a really effective way to keep our eyes on the big picture.

Q: What comes out of this process?

Matt: We’re looking to find the most compelling, authentic brand story that drives the business. Most businesses can name a list of brand values that they want people to associate them with, be it professional, affordable, friendly, luxurious, fun. The logo should align with those values and immediately communicate to the consumer what the brand stands for.

Q: That’s a lot to ask from one logo…

Pete: That’s why we invest a lot of time in the discovery process exploring creative territories, creating mood boards to reflect possible directions and defining colour palettes, typography etc…

Matt: The best logo designs consist of a series of ‘ownable’ elements that can be used as individual assets throughout the entire brand design suite. The work we did for Keells Supermarkets is a great example of this.

Q: Tell us the Keells story…

Matt: Consumer research told us that Sri Lankans held the misconception that the food in supermarkets didn’t look as fresh as at the markets, so we embarked on a rebrand with a view to making Keells look and feel as fresh as it gets.

The red they were using certainly wasn’t helping them stand out from their leading competitor in Sri Lanka. So when it came time for a facelift, we took it bright, bold and green.

Green not only gave them a visual point of difference and an ownable colour scheme, it also helped support their push to communicate freshness and quality credentials. Clean, modern lines, a bold new colour and a striking leaf motif delivered freshness, trust, value and quality in a simple, but flexible wordmark.

Pete: The entire design process was supported by graphic illustrations, bold expanses of colour and friendly typography. The new graphic design scheme, dubbed ‘Colombo Pop’, was unlike anything seen in a Sri Lankan supermarket and propelled the brand to become an industry leader.

Q: So, is there a golden rule for logo design?

Matt: Take time to think through the foundation, mission, values, and style of your business and brand so that you know what the tone is for the design. Your logo should come from the core of your business and your unique and authentic style.

Pictured: Matt Coghlan & Pete Forbes.


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