Over the last 15 years or so, I have designed a lot of websites and many original logos. The logos have evolved over the years, and so have the websites, but many of my main logos have been in use since 2005 and, sometimes, you need to make a change in order to get a fresher look and feel for your personal brand.
The problem with changing one logo in a pride of online properties is that one logo modification tends to cascade into necessary, widespread, cultural changes so everything blends and works better in an overall aesthetic eye appeal.
Here’s a photograph of me that was taken by a Rutgers theatre student of mine in 2004. I had no idea she was taking my photograph, and when she later offered to give me the digital photograph, I was both delighted and thrilled that she captured me so succinctly unaware. Yes, the photograph is blurry and slightly out of focus — but so was I at the time of the taking.
The studio walls are painted to look like a green and bluish sky for an in situ production. My coat is to my left and that garish white triangle is a coat hanger. The theatre chairs are backward and broken on the floor because the empty space was in the process of being stripped down and made into part of the Department of Education. My face and hands are blurry because I’m taking notes in performance.
That image was my logo and Avatar for many years and the overall green tone of the image served as the inspiration for the hue of the original Urban Semiotic logo.
Here’s how the same image looks today, cleaned up and color corrected in Photoshop CC. The suggestive blues in the walls are much cleaner and clearer and my skin tone looks a little less jaundiced.
Today, I’m going to step you through the process I used to redesign several of my iconic logos and we’ll start with my main Boles.com website.
Because I am now @DavidBoles on Twitter and “David Boles” on Facebook and LinkedIn, I decided to start dropping the “W.” in “David W. Boles” because that middle initial is, and has always been, clunky and because adding that W made no apparent difference in people mistaking me for another David Boles. I’ve decided to wholly own the generic in addition to the rightful specific.
I’ll go back to using “David Boles” from here on out — and that immediately caused problems for my Expressionistic “dwb” logo that was made interesting by trying to integrate the “w” between the “db.”
I decided that if I wanted to move forward and create a logo, and not just initials, I needed to use an interesting font and connect the “d” and the “b” in a new, but uncomplicated, way.
I also decided to go with a bluish, greyish color scheme to get away from the harshness of basic black. I like how the intersecting letters create a whole new color of their own.
I liked the look so much, that I Tweeted the results and made the design my new Twitter and Facebook and WordPress.com Avatar:
It was after that Tweet that I started to think about how that new “db” logo looked so cool, but it didn’t fit with the other, older, logos.
Then I started to realize, and Tweeted, that many of our most popular social media marketing logos are blue and that I should take my newer shade of Blue and run with it moving forward.
My Boles University logo was a loud orange and the new “db” logo did not look good next to such a bright, if not burnt, orange. I picked an orange that did not translate well to Avatars and miniaturization.
The “B.U.” orange was too rich and became chalky when resized. I picked orange for the logo because that was the last identifiable color I hadn’t yet used. That logic made sense at the time, but no longer! Orange was out!
I decided to go with the same sort of blue color scheme I’d used for “db” and compress the bits a bit to visually tighten up everything.
I liked the results and Tweeted the success:
Next, I realized all my main logos needed to be redone. Instead of going with a rainbow scheme, I decided I would continue my blue logo theme across all my major online properties.
This is the old HardcoreASL.com logo:
This is the new logo! I flipped the idea. What was once ALL CAPS now is not and what was once a ghost on the bottom line is now hiding in plain sight atop.
I also compressed the logo to make it feel more succinct and identifiable. Changing logos also meant changing fonts and link colors on all the websites, and that was done everywhere as well.
ScriptProfessor.com has always been a profitable joy to own and operate, but getting a good and proper logo has forever out-dueled me. “Script Professor” is just too long a phrase to make a right logo.
Stripping it down to “Script Prof.” is a cheat and hasn’t ever felt right.
I’ve tried just using “SP” and hoping that will do, but the logos of the past never looked right for that website.
In the Script Professor logo update, I tried everything again — and again felt frustration and brick walls all around me.
I gave in and decided the right way to go was to use a stylized “SP” as before, that, I hoped this time, now looks interesting enough to touch with a click to find out what the initials are representing.
That isn’t a perfect logo solution, but it is an incremental improvement over what I had been using. Sometimes a little bit better has to be enough.
Years ago, when I first created my BolesBooks.com interlocking “B”s to form iconic stacked books, I was overjoyed. The logo hit every right emotion and aesthetic for what a logo should be and represent in real world business use.
I didn’t plan on changing the Boles Books logo, but when it sat next to the other new logo designs, it was just too hard and flat and just slightly the wrong color blue.
I had to change my most favorite logo of all time to update it and make it fit in with all the other new looks. I changed the color blue and added a “stack” level. I prefer the original, flatter, stack, but, in the terms of a logo on a page, you pretty much need to have a square to fill the eye space on the web — and if you can’t build a perfect square, it is better to “go tall” than “sit fat.”
The original logo looked great alone, but in direct context with other logos, it was either too short or, if enlarged, too wide.
This is better:
The final stab at redesigning all the major logos was Boles Blogs. I didn’t plan on updating or changing the logo, but in familial context, it was too garish and bright and did not fit with the eye any longer.
The old Boles Blogs logo had the same color temperature on the page as the orange Boles University “B.U.” logo — and that made it stand out in a bad way.
Here’s the updated, refreshed Boles Blogs logo. The colors are right now, and they fit in with the other logos, and I was able to compress the letters a bit to fit into that magical “square” space for the indeterminate, intermediate, eye tasting.
Here’s how all the new logos look together in concert — and I like the universality and tonality that was always missing in the design of the original logos.
That’s one of the good things about having established brands — you can now ring them together as one, thoughtful, aesthetic to create something greater in the social whole than in the individual being.
Once, I had to add new logos for new properties as they were developed, but now, with the core businesses set, I am now freer to finalize a universal fit and finish to better calm the eye and compliment customer aesthetic.
Visiting Boles University will show you all the logos in a larger, real life, context.