logos

Logos are one of my favourite design projects, and the most challenging. People have high expectations of a logo. They want their entire brand represented in a single icon or wordmark (which is always challenging, and often impossible—logos are only a piece of the puzzle which includes brand environment, messaging, and supporting materials).

Not all logos make it to the finish line though. If you're curious about the ones that didn't make it and why, check out my failed logos.

Tech startup specializing in conversational artificial intelligence for banking. Full brand asset rollout in my portfolio.

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BC Children's hospital initiative that focuses on keeping kids healthy and active through 4 daily routines: 5 servings fruits and vegetables, no more than 2 hours screen time, at least 1 hour of heart-healthy activity, and 0 sugary beverages.

Boutique life coaching services. "Lathyrus" is the latin term for the sweet pea plant (which is what the icon is abstractly referencing).

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Boutique communications consulting agency. Interlocking "C" and "O" representing the interatomic linkage that results from the sharing of an electron pair between two atoms—a covalent bond.

Boutique writing & editing consultant.

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Not-for-profit dedicated to cleaning up Victoria's green spaces.

Independent iOS developer.

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Logo for an online office supply retailer. Icon references "one stop" via a location marker, and a recognizable office supply (pencil).

Lighting retailer & distributor. They wanted a simple, clean wordmark to help sell their high end lighting solutions.

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Logo for an independent XML programmer (North Shore XML Consulting). The icon references both the angled brackets commonly used in XML programming, and the twin Lions mountains on the north shore of Vancouver. Wordmark is abbreviated and lower case, again to reference XML syntax.

True North Athletics was a personal training & coaching business (run by a sole proprietor). In addition to the main brand we developed crests for some of the different focus areas of the business (goaltending clinics & more general hockey clinics). The main use of these logos was to be placed on hats and other apparel, so clean, simple graphics were in order.

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A small mother-daughter catering service.

A venture capital real estate investment agency.

Blue Arbutus Ventures

logo refreshes

Sometimes people come to me with a logo that may not have been professionally designed, or just needs a bit of cleanup and refreshing to appear more polished. I actually like this problem, provided I'm given a bit of freedom to play and explore.

Sometimes, however, clients have difficulty letting go of a logo they've become accustomed to, so not all of the following projects resulted in the client pivoting to the refreshed logo.

Ecotagious logo before
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Ecotagious logo after
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Ecotagious is a startup that aggregates customer data from utility companies to help deliver energy savings to those customers.

When they came to me for a website and print materials, I suggested that as part of their more established presence in the industry, we could make some subtle changes to their logo to look more professional. I cleaned up their icon and selected a new typeface for the wordmark, and subtly shifted their colour palette to be a bit more modern and a bit less "default". This logo was a solid transition until they had budget to do a full rebrand.

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Screenshot 2019-07-02 12.08.32

The brief on this one was that Jake's Bobcat Services wanted to celebrate their 25th anniversary by briefly reviving their old logo ("before" image taken from a grainy photo of the side of a truck). They needed the logo to be recreated as a vector file, but they also encouraged me to "improve" it where I thought it could do with improvements. We still wanted that 90s look and feel, but obviously I thought the bobcat itself could do with some serious upgrades, and looked to 90s sports teams as inspiration.

Ultimately the client decided it deviated a bit too far from their original logo though, and we did end up putting the bobcat portion back to the original clip art version. Still had a good time building it though.

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St. Anthony's came to me needing a simple website, and in an attempt to have a harmonious, cohesive website, I suggested we might want to update the colour palette and while we're at it make some minor improvements to the logo. I redrew a few illustrations, removed the distracting gradient, updated the colour palette, and swapped out the typefaces. In all it was only about an hour of work and it very much kept the spirit of their original logo intact, but provided for a much more legible logo and a colour palette we carried through other illustrations across the website.

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In early 2019 Graphic-Con was undergoing a major shift in terms of how it was being funded and who was running it, so in light of that we saw an opportunity to freshen up the logo and overall brand environment, while still keeping the brand recognition that Graphic-Con had established over the previous several years.

In the simple version of the logo we improved balance, contrast and spacing; smoothed out the icon and improved the flow of lines criss-crossing through the centre of the mask; and reduced visual tension between type and edges of the container. Additionally, in what we've come to call the "splatter logo" (used across most of the brand materials), we eliminated transparencies for more vibrant colours, and improved contrast between the logo and splash elements.

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This one is from back when I worked at a PR agency. Client came to us with only a jpeg of their logo, and needed a vector file for printing on swag bags and water bottles. We asked if we could take a quick crack at improving the logo since we had to completely redraw it in vector shapes anyway. We tightened it up a fair bit, redrew the mountain shapes and water geometrically so that they were more cohesive with the rectangular buildings, and gave the whole mark much better balance.

Ultimately they opted to go with the original logo, which was very surprising, but it just goes to show that people get very attached to things regardless of their quality.

Justafrog is the home of Leigh Peterson, a freelance graphic designer in Hamilton, Ontario.