The Character of Design


The Character of Design

I recently decided that is was time to give my Ashes & Kings brand a little refresh. After falling in love with three different variations and struggling to pick a final design, I decided to ask the masses for their definitive opinion of the best one of the bunch. I assumed there would be an obvious favourite among the three, but alas, that was far from the case. By the end of the day what I ended up with wasn't a definitively 'best' logo, but a new appreciation on how character can impact perception and design.

Here are the three designs:

The first logo appealed to me on a simplicity level – a bold, clean and solid wordmark.

The second was more ornate, with big eye-catching terminals on the ends of the ampersand. It looked more like a logo than a wordmark.

The third was a finer variation of the second logo with the terminal size matching the rest of font. It had the lightest, airiest feel of the three.

As people started commenting it was interesting to see that some were on the fence, like me, while others were passionate about their choices. I found that #3, although in the end had the fewest number of likes, had the most passionate admirers. Those who liked #2 seemed to be drawn to having the emphasis on the ampersand rather than the brand as a whole. While #1 was the winner by a short margin, it was also the one that the most people specifically said they did not prefer of the three.

What I found most interesting about this exercise was how polarizing it ended up being. I even had people sending me their own versions of the logo and making additional suggestions, some of which I tested out:

redesign by Berdj Abrahamian | suggested redesign from Paul Schecter

What I concluded in the end is that there was no 'best' logo of the bunch. Each one had elements that made them attractive to different people and that no matter how many times I redesign, tweak, pinch and prod, there will never be one composition that unanimously wins everybody's hearts. And there shouldn't be. A good brand is more than just a logo, it's the character of your company. You're showing the world your business' personality through a recognizable icon with it's own style and spirit. And just like a person with a distinct personality may not be the most appealing to everyone at first glance, they'll always be interesting.

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