On August 4th 2014 we launched our new logo for The/Studio. The new logo was done by a young designer from Canada whom is known in some graphic design circles for working on a branding project for the NBA team the New Jersey Nets.
The process of changing our logo was an emotional process because many employees and customer’s had become attached to our old logo. We truly love the name of our company “The/Studio”, but branding consultants told us that there was a risk , which was “The” and “Studio” put together was too generic.
We ignored the consultants because we felt The/Studio and the web address thestudio.com truly defined our business. A place for customer’s to produce custom manufactured products. What better name to capture that process than The/Studio with thestudio.com being our online destination?
However, the problem was that the logo was a bit too generic. As the CEO of the company I felt that we needed a logo that would truly stand out and better represent the company. I knew that we needed a logo that both represented what we do at The/Studio, but that was also memorable. I wanted people to have a lasting impression of our brand and the old logo didn’t facilitate that.
We ended up commissioning the services of a Canadian designer that recently completed a branding project for the New Jersey Nets. We worked with him before, and he agreed with us that it was time to re-brand the company, and he shared a similar vision with us for The/Studio brand.
On March 4th we began the official process of starting The/Studio logo rebranding project. We started by filling out a questionnaire from the designer, which helped define our vision for the new logo.
10 days later we received the designers first renditions of our new logo. The designer chose a teal and black color as being our primary logo color. He felt the teal matched the idea of a studio, gallery, small workshop or coffee shop. The first logo (logo 1) made the text a little bit more interesting and maintained the / which had become our signature trademark. The designer also added a sort of fading effect to give the logo a sort of retro apparel feel to it. He liked the retro apparel feel, because he felt that it celebrated our extensive experience in the apparel industry. The second logo (logo 2) used the same black and teal and was a nod to the company’s background in trimmings. The circle and dotted circle were supposed to represent a patch or woven label. The third logo (logo 3) also has the faded look, with the same teal and black, but with a lightning bolt.
I immediately ruled out the third logo. It had nothing to do with our brand and it reminded me of Gatorade. The 1st and 2nd logos were decent, maybe better than our original logo, but they didn’t really speak to the brand.
I told the designer that none of the logos really represented what I was looking. I had one idea that I wanted to explore which was the idea of a lamp, and I also told the designer to continue exploring other concepts, but I wanted to maintain the fading and the teal and black colors. I’m not sure what the designer was trying to accomplish with designs 4 and 5 (logo 4 & logo 5), but I knew they were not a good fit for our brand. The sixth logo that the designer sent was the lamp concept that I proposed (logo 6).
I felt that the lamp concept was strong. A desk lamp is associated with creativity, hard work, and most studio work places also have a lamp. I imagined our customers working under a lamp to try to come up with a concept for their next custom product. I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, but I liked it. I also really liked how the logo looked on our website (logo 7 & 8). I presented the idea to our company’s executive team, and some people liked it, but others didn’t like it. I also turned to social media and also got a mixed response. People didn’t feel that the lamp meshed well with what we do and our overall brand.
As I said I liked the logo, but doing a re-branding is a huge decision. This is the logo that our customer’s will identify with us for years to come, and it had to be absolutely perfect. I wanted to push the designer further to see what he could come up with.
One of the executives in the company mentioned that the company’s original roots were in producing custom manufactured patches, so that it would be a good idea to use the imagery of a embroidery sewing needle (logo 9, 10 &11). She also felt that our rich experience with apparel, also made the idea of a sewing needle appealing. This sounded like a reasonable direction, so I communicated this with the designer. The logo was OK, but it didn’t speak to the fact that The/Studio had grown past its roots of custom embroidered patches, and now counted dozens of other products such as custom coins, custom lapel pins, t-shirts, caps, etc…
The designer told us that usually clients choose a logo after the 2nd or 3rd iteration. However, I told him that this decision was very important and that we would continue to have to search for a new logo until it was a logo that would truly connect with our customers. For the next iteration the designer went with a logo concept that tried to represent the physical space of a logo. Again I immediately rejected these concepts.
I took several days to reflect on which direction to go with for the logo. I kept going back to the idea of the logo with the lamp. I really liked that logo. The lamp was a powerful image. It represented creativity, a studio, work, design. It really represented everything that The/Studio was about. Furthermore, the way that the lamp held up the S, was truly creative and unique. Our customer’s could not easily forget that logo. It definitely accomplished the idea of creating a logo that would truly stand out to our customers.
However, the problem was that for those customer’s that did not truly understand The/Studio brand, it was possible that the lamp may be hard for them to understand. After speaking with my team and the designer, I had an idea that would tie the brand together with the logo. For years we have used the tag line “You Imagine. We Create”. This tagline has defined our brand for years, but we didn’t frequently use this tagline in our branding. I thought this was a perfect time to resurrect this idea. Together with the logo it just made sense (logo 14, 15, 16 & 17). We decided to go with logo 17.
The entire executive team was finally behind the new logo for the company. Now it was just time to expand the entire branding concept. First we needed to make a slight change to the logo. I felt that the retro apparel concept wouldn’t work with the new logo so we removed that. Instead our designer suggested that instead of creating perfect lines on the new logo, to instead create slight imperfections on the logo. This is a nod to the concept that many of our customer’s might at first draw their design before having it created. We felt that by not making the logo perfect it better represented the idea of an art gallery, or a studio, or a place where you could manufacture your custom products.
Now that we had decided on a logo and corporate colors, we went through the final steps of completing the brand. We chose the lamp and the “S” as the concept that would represent our brand mark. This would be used when creating our Facebook image, or our favicon, or in packaging where the entire logo was not feasible. As our brand grows we want people to be able to identify our brand by both The/Studio, but also just with the brand mark. Just as Nike is recognizable by the name Nike and also by its brand mark the swoosh.
Lastly, we wanted each of our subcategories, which are sourcing, custom challenge coins, custom shirts, custom caps, custom labels and custom embroidered patches to each have their own slightly different subcategory branding. To solve this each subcategory was given a different color (logo 20)
We are proud of this new logo that represents the brand. However, more importantly we hope that our new brand begins to mean something to you, the customer. We hope that when you see the brand, that you believe in “You Imagine. We Create” We hope that our brand inspires you to create great products, and we look forward to making that a reality for you.