Darren has one of the net's most popular blogs, and is one of the founders of b5media. I was honored to have a chance at designing the new identity, so I agreed to come on board the design team with Darren's site designer, Ben Bleikamp.
Darren's story is interesting, not only because he turned blogging from a hobby into a full-time career and business, but because he freely shares what he's learned from blogging. I quite like Darren's attitude of helping others grow and succeed by sharing his knowledge.
In this post, I'll share details and sketches on the new ProBlogger identity.
Initial Specs and Feedback
Darren answered my standard list of questions, and from his initial feedback I gathered several themes to embrace and portray with the new ProBlogger identity. He wanted ProBlogger to be:
- A welcoming community where bloggers can learn and grow
- A source of information on making income from a blog
- A site promoting professionalism in blogging
- An extensive blogging reference
- Keywords: income, professionalism, community, inspiration, credibility, encouraging
Darren wanted a clean, crisp, contemporary, professional logo, without superfical "Web 2.0" stylings. He wanted a logo to represent himself and his blog, in a design that wouldn't go out of style in 6 months.
With all of my logo projects, I like to loosen up with pencil in my Miquelrius notebook, freeing my mind to explore ideas. Note the keywords on the upper right of the page, which help guide me in idea generation during this first sketch phase.
I focused on theProBlogger P, as it portrays the brand well, and would be a consistent element from the original design. I explored one other idea (8) which suggested community as a nucleus with network connections and multiple outer atoms.
In Darren's feedback, I learned that he liked the emphasis on the P. He preferred the squarer P characters, as these leaned away from the "surf" look and feel he saw in ideas 17, 18 and 19. He also liked the community concept he saw in 8, so it was on to v2 sketches to explore those ideas a bit more.
After review, Darren and his team of trusted advisers focused on two ideas from this v2 set: concepts 19 and 23. Next up was the black & white and color phase.
Black & White and Color Concepts
Because Darren was on a tight timeline, I changed my normal process, including both black & white and color logos on the same mockups. This way Darren could see the B&W ideas and some explorations of initial colors.
In the first set you'll see I came up with ideas based on the v2 sketches (2, 3, 4 and 5), along with a new idea (1) which came out I worked with the logos. Sometimes this happens, and I've learned to go with the flow and include these as options:
Darren's feedback from round 1 aimed us at the P within a nucleus circle with orbiting atoms around this central icon to embed the concept of comminity into the mark. While the more graphical representations of this community were interesting (1, 2 and 3), the clearer P emerged as Darren's top choice.
Based on feedback from v1, I narrowed to the single P with orbiting atoms, exploring different ways the atoms could be positioned, the connection between atoms and the outer ring, a font option and variations on the provided color pallette:
Darren really liked the color combo in ideas 7 and 8 in this set, leaning toward 7 a bit more. He wanted to keep the "P" and "BLOGGER" in orange and do one final exploration on atom position and separation between the atom and the outer ring. So I did a final v3 to help Darren see the 3 final options:
In the final version, I felt the leading atom suggested forward movement, and the separation of the atoms from the circle provided focus to the 3 atoms. 7.1 was chosen as the final winner:
Darren was pleased with the final logo, which was subsequently included in Ben's redesign of the site. It was great fun to see the logo announced on Darren's blog, followed by the release of the new site design.
As one might expect, with a major change on a popular site, there were a few who liked the old design better. However, after reading comments on the site related to the new logo and design, a majority of Darren's readers really loved the new site design and logo. Most importantly, Darren was pleased with the results.
Thanks Darren for choosing to work with me and MakaluMedia on the logo design. It was an honor and a pleasure working with Darren and Ben on this project.
A New Look for ProBlogger - Coming Soon (Very Soon) (ProBlogger)
New Design Update (ProBlogger)
We’re Entering New Design Transition Phase (ProBlogger)
ProBlogger Redesign - Bedding Down for the Night (ProBlogger)
Redesign of Problogger.net - Designer Tells All (ProBlogger)
Redesign of Problogger.net (Ben Bleikamp)