Last year, after Paul Bradley came across Ian Landsman's Creating a Business Logo article, he asked if we could design a new logo for his company, cgi Interactive. One of my passions as design director at MakaluMedia is logo design and corporate identity, so I was excited to take on the project.
Paul's firm. cgi Interactive, is a software development company based in the North West of England, who develop custom web based applications for businesses. The CGI moniker had its touch-point in the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programming done for clients in the early days of the Internet.
Paul wanted to maintain a connection to the past by keeping the CGI name, while coming up with a strong, clean logo to represent his company, on both the web and with other print materials (letterhead, envelopes and business cards).
Questions & Research
I started as I always do: asking questions of Paul about his company, goals, taste and thinking and doing my own gathering of information about the company. While it might seem trivial, the information gathering phase is critical — these are the words I ponder, as I prepare to sketch logo concepts that capture the company in a simple, iconic form.
From my initial research, it seemed the logomark should be simple and clean, yet still have a bit of a human touch, as Paul mentioned a history of "bespoke" or custom software development.
As I sketched ideas out, I began focusing on a mark made of the letters C, G and I — using them to form a compact object.
Rounded letter-forms turned into squared letter-forms. I liked the idea of the C wrapping itself around the I to form a "G" at the intersection. To reinforce the "I" character, I used a lower cased variation to take advantage of the dot.
Black & White Explorations
We both liked this direction, so my next step was to jump into Adobe Illustrator and create the letters in black and white vector form, where I could explore the relationships of the C, G and i elements:
Notice how the horizontal stroke of the "i" character extends into the counter of the capital C character, to form a G. Then, the dot of the i character fills out the upper right corner of the mark. I like creating logos in black and white first — to assure they work well in their simplest form.
The mark also created an unintentional, yet nice side effect — notice the appearance of of a person on the right, extending an arm into the C, with the dot of the "i" acting as the head? What a nice coincidence!
Next up was the color phase, which was quite straightforward, as Paul knew he wanted cool blues and greens used. I explored some complimentary warm colors with the mark, but we kept coming back to a combination of dark sea green and a sky blue to capture a solid, professional feel:
Notice also the font used is a Myriad/Gill Sans blend with a little custom tweaking done on the letters. The "cgi" text was kept in the sky blue, and "Interactive" stayed in the dark sea green, corresponding to the colors chosen for the mark.
Paul was very pleased with the final logo design. He felt it captured the professional look he wanted to portray, yet still maintained a human touch, to represent the custom, collaborative projects cgi Interactive does. I had fun working on the logo design, facing the challenge and seeing a unique mark emerge from the letters themselves.
Since designing Paul's logo in 2005, we've had many interesting and challenging logo projects come from new and existing clients, keeping me happily busy doing what I love — logo design.
If you like this approach to logo design, and need logo or corporate identity design work, just drop me a line and let's talk! :-)