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Identity: More Than a Name

Fri, Feb 10, 2006

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As a business owner, find you want to be sure people feel good when hearing your company name. An effective logo is a great way to ensure people feel good about SEEing your company name.

A business’s identity is established through the habitual actions of its owners, sales managers and employees. It is how a business views itself and, most importantly, how the public views the company. An effective logo expresses a business’s products, services, goals and principles to its clients as well as its associates.

Recently, my design firm was contacted by the owner of HR Directions, a human resource consultancy. They hoped to have an original logo designed for use on business cards, stationary, company apparel and a web site. The business owner, being a devout Catholic Christian, specified he wanted to include in his company’s logo, a triangle and/or a trefoil to represent the Holy Trinity. The triangle was to point upward to signify increased production. The final requirement was to include rainbow colors to signify better things to come.

Having such specific requirements in a logo design can be challenging. Often, under such circumstances, a logo can end up looking like the specified elements were thrown together rather than incorporated into a seamless image. The largest hurdle in this job, was the color specification: six completely different colors.

I wanted to meet my client’s requirements, but at the same time, I didn’t want to present something that looked like a pretty white winged unicorn would fly by. Since I found this to be the most challenging of the aspect, I decided I should tackle it first.

What I came up with was something that looked like it belonged on a Star Trek uniform and something that looked like a scene from 2001: A Space Odysey.

I wasn’t completely thrilled with what lay before me, and I wanted to give my client a third option. Working with black and white, I began to concentrate on the shape requirements.

Working in Adobe Illustrator, I lay a white trefoil over a black triangle. The triangle was already sitting on its base as if to point upward. After masking the center with the clover shape, I was left with three arrowhead shapes pointing in different directions. The decision to eliminate the bottom two arrowhead shapes was an easy one.

I quickly realized that the triangle tip I was left with had a 60 degree angle at its top point. To my delight, 60 degrees is exactly one sixth of 360 degrees! I repeated this shape five more times, rotating each repeated shape at its apex. Each new shape was then colored according to the specified colors. This turned into six arrows pointing at each other. After selecting an appropriate typestyle, I used the shapes within the type to aid in deciding which parts of the extra arrows to exclude.

The result of this process is a lasting symbol for HR Directions which communicates to its clients and associates its services, goals and principles. Each business card handed out, every letter mailed, and each piece of company apparel that carries this symbol helps unite the business. It also serves as a reminder to all associates that every action is a reflection on the business and should be made to help the business properly serve its clients.

For HR Directions, this logo is not just a symbol of who they are, but a visual reminder of what they want to be. Constantly striving for what their logo stands for, the habitual actions of their owner and associates will form the business’s true identity.

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