Our Lead Designer Justin Doyle will be featured in this year’s LogoLounge Volume 11! Each year the LogoLounge books highlight some of the best and most innovative logo designs from all over the world.
This year’s publication featured a logo Justin did for the upcoming company Pelican Plugins. Pelican Plugins will be an off-shoot of Tytanium offering sleek, up-to-date WordPress plugins.
Learn what inspired this logo, and how his approach to logo design can improve your business’s brand.
An Interview With Tytanium’s Lead Designer About His Published Logo Design
Why are you proud of the Pelican Plugins logo?
I was very selective about which designs I submitted to LogoLounge, it wasn’t everything. I chose this one because of how modern and relevant the design feels. It’s streamlined, visually. The top of the bird is a horizontal line, and that plays into the line of the font below it. The curvature of the bird plays to the tail of the g.
With the Pelican Plugins logo, I had the freedom to be more thoughtful and creative, I had a lot of creative leeway. Pelican Plugins didn’t exist before we started this design. This design was born because Tyler liked Pelicans, and I came up with the best direction based on that idea, and my experience and knowledge.
Creative leeway comes from trust. Anyone can come to us with any amount of direction they want, and we can do that, but that doesn’t always factor in best practices, such as what the logo will look like on different scales, the legibility of the fonts chosen, and how the logo factors into the company’s brand overall. When someone trusts us as Tytanium, and me as a designer, it lets us think beyond the business receiving the logo, to their customers.
“We design for businesses, but your brand is for your customers.”
Where did the inspiration for this logo come from?
Technology, and Tyler’s love of Pelicans.
Technology at its core is computer chips and code and everything that builds the hardware and software we’re using. Today’s programs they have a very streamlined look, it’s clean and crisp. We wanted something natural and fluid and the curves from nature, as well as horizontal crisp lines that call back to technology.
This logo design has crisp lines. It’s clean, nicely organized. (No one likes to purchase hardware or software that’s chaotic and hard to use.) We want our visual brand to portray those values. It should say “Hey, we’re going to offer plugins that are super easy, they work really well and are up to date.”
Years ago, people would never have chosen a pelican to represent a tech company. For a logo, you don’t have to have imagery that directly ties to the service you provide or what your company does. It can come from multiple sources, like your company’s history or your culture.
What is your logo design process like?
First, I gather and review all the information given to us. What the client said, any notes, what they want and don’t want, like and don’t like. Colors, imagery, brands they like and why.
I also look at research and personas from the website process, sales meetings, and other documentation that can create inspiration.
I gather everything we know as the foundation of the branding project, the starting point. For some projects we have a lot, and some have nothing. It doesn’t matter how many notes have been taken, we can work with either.
Then I look at the industry the logo is begin designed for. For example, what are other tech companies doing? What symbols, colors, and fonts are they using now? Tech doesn’t use script fonts; they use crisper, cleaner fonts. It’s also an industry that breaks barriers. Look at big companies like Apple and Google. It’s not about what has already been done, it’s about whatever we want it to be.
Part of this process is looking at what the industry does and doesn’t do well.
I also draw inspiration sources like LogoLounge, Dribble, or Behance, because they’re artist-curated platforms. LogoLounge is for logos only. Dribble has UI, UX, and other things. Behance is the most robust, with photography and work that isn’t necessarily digital.
While working on a project, I always keep that brand in the back of my mind. I could be walking and see a piece of architecture that has a cool shape, or the texture of a wood-paneled wall. Design comes from anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s fashion or architecture or other companies that have done branding for themselves.
Lastly, I open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new doc with about 20 different artboards. I start dropping my ideas on the boards. Sometimes I’ll draw on the iPad or physical paper to get an idea out and translate it digitally, and sometimes it’s just using the mouse and trackpad.
I usually don’t go with the first idea I have. Logo concepts don’t always pan out when you start scaling them up and down. When you go smaller you have to simplify, when you go bigger you have to add detail. That’s where concepts drop off to narrow down to 3 to 5 really solid, thought-out concepts that would each be a good choice.
Those final designs are what we present to clients.
What do you think makes your work unique?
I’m a learner – I see a lot of designers who do what they have always done. I’m the opposite.
“The best designers are the ones that are pushing the limits, constantly.”
I’ll always say “yes, and” and try to figure out a way to make a new idea work.
I’m willing to accept feedback and constantly pushing my limits.
I also think it’s important to understand what your biases are. A lot of designers tend to fall not only to what they know but what they like. That’s always going to be a factor. It’s important to know where your strengths are and where they’re not, and be able to say no if something falls outside that, or find an alternative answer.
A good designer never stops growing, never stops expanding. There’s always going to be a new tool to learn. Design breeds new design. People are constantly designing things, and then looking at that and designing new things in response.
No one is reinventing the wheel, it’s just looking at what’s been done and done well, and what we can do better.
What new design or branding trend are you most excited about?
I like Flat Design and where that’s going. There’s now Flat Design 2.0.
Flat Design was the answer to the Skeuomorphism. You’d see Skeuomorphism on the old apps on your phone that would look 3D, like they were tangible. It used a lot of bevels and rounded edges. The original Flat Design changed that and removed the bevels and the 3D effect. It looked at what something would look like flat. No shadows, emboss, bevels, or hard lines. Very simple.
Flat 2.0, in tandem with material design, brings shadows back into it and provides a type of 3d effect without the cheesy, dated effect of Skeuomorphism.
There are still good ways you can apply Skeuomorphism today, but I think it still has a dated feel.
You can view Justin’s innovative design, and other beautiful examples of logo design from around the world, in LogoLounge Volume 11! In the meantime, stay tuned for future educational posts, and be the first to hear about upcoming projects like Pelican Plugins by signing up for the Tytanium newsletter.