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CGI Interactive Logo Design

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.

cgi-sketches.jpgFrom 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.

Sketching Ideas
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!

Color Explorations
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! :-)

Reader Comments (13)

Awesome logo Mike! And as always, it's great to see the process behind the design clearly explained.
October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPete Prodoehl
Thanks Pete! I really enjoy sharing these case studies from sketch to final art, because I think it's nice to let non-designers or other designers in on one approach to logo design.

My hope is to give a glimpse into the process that might inspire someone to use a similar approach in a different context.
October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Yes, the logo is fantastic: simple and so beautiful :)And having the chance to see the process is awesome!
October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVladimir Campos
Mike, great post - I love reading the posts about the process and seeing the iterations you go through to get to the final design. Keep it up!
October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAustin White
Vlad & Austin � thanks for the kind words! I'm happy to hear you guys enjoyed reading about the behind the scenes process. This is exactly why I like sharing the process.

I'll try and keep these coming as logos are launched (I have a bunch under wraps yet, just awaiting site or product launches that I'd love to share here).
October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Can't help but think that the inclusion of the logo in the second line is rather redundant. And you really should avoid the use of installed fonts. Looking at the logo initially (and deliberately) without knowing what the companies services are I thought it was a materials handling operation.. a little guy with his arms out loading something into a truck or an oven or something.
October 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Thanks for the feedback.

Inclusion of the logo in the second line is a redundancy only for the purpose of this article, to show the two in context, hence the grey line separating the two. This is not how the logo appears when published.

I'm confused by the comment on installed fonts. The CGI mark was completely custom, and the logotype was a customized variation of Gill Sans and Myriad � both of which are excellent fonts.
October 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Hi Mike, I get the fact that your showcasing both logos together in the figure above but my comment regarding redundancy was that you have included the graphic at the begining of the text line as well. The logo looks quite a bit like text in itself and at a distance I found it a little confusing.

Great post though and I genuinely appreciate you showing us 'behind the curtain' and sharing your creative process.
October 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Mike, Great Logo thanks for sharing the design process with us. You make it look very simple. It obviously isn't or we'd all be making big bucks doing it. How does the whole process take on average from initial brain storming to deliverable ?

October 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAz Moghal
Az, it varies really. Usually about 4 weeks from first sketches to final is the "ideal" though sometimes it can take longer, depending on how the process goes, approvals, delays, etc.

But again, each logo project is unique to itself, so it really depends.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Well conceived logo. Love the way you've managed to get 3 letters for the price of 2! Good work...
November 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLeezig
Thanks for your kind words Lee!
November 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Thanks for the kind words Martijn! Greetz! :-)
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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