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Monday
Aug272007

ProBlogger Logo Design

ProBlogger Logo DesignAt the end of May, Darren Rowse contacted me through MakaluMedia, to redesign the ProBlogger logo.

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.

Sketches v1
problogger-mini-v1.jpgWith all of this information in mind, I began sketching multiple concepts to get the project rolling (click the image to see the v1 sketches).

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.

Sketches v2
problogger-mini-v2.jpgI this set, I explored the winning concepts and a few others, bringing in aspects of idea 8 and the community "atomic" ideas merged with the P character.

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.

Concepts v1:
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:

Concepts v1

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.

Concepts v2:
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:

Concept v2

Concepts v3:
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:

Concept v3

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:

Problogger Winning Logo

Conclusion
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.

Related Links
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)

Reader Comments (14)

Very nice, Mike. I like the "high-end" look without the Web 2.0 fluff.

Side question: could you share how you created the shading effect on the article thumbnail images? I've tried a couple of different techniques to achieve a similar effect, but I've never been very happy with the results. Yours are quite nice though.

Thanks,Jason
August 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterblackant
Thanks Jason, glad you like the design!

Shading effect: I like to add a new layer above the images in photoshop, and used the 300px airbrush with black at 100%.

I come in slowly from off-canvas toward the edges and smoothly lay in the tone.

Finally, I hit the airbrushing with a gaussian blur at around 2.0.

Quick n' dirty, but it seems to work well. :-)
August 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Nice work as usual, Mike. I would'a been hard pressed to choose from that mix, but that 3a seems to be lookin my way ;-)
August 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Papageorge
I was wondering...How long did this project take to complete?What did you guys charge for this assignment? Is it in the 2K or 3K range?Regards from Spain,

Angel.



August 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAngel
On point as usual. What font did you use in 3b? Is it the same as the one used for Bloglines?
August 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ruckman
Thanks Mike! Glad you liked 3a! :-)

Angel, each logo takes different amounts of time, but generally a fair amount of hours to go through the entire process.

Justin, that font is ITC Officina Sans. I love the font because it's friendly, readable and a little quirky. Font in 3a is FF Meta.
August 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Mike, did you take any inspiration for the logo from the Ubuntu logo? They have similar characteristics, but I think I agree that the leading circle makes a stronger statement.
August 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Phelps
Hi again Mike, thanks for answering. Yeah I know a good deal of time goes into actually finishing the definitive logo, after many iterations and discarded versions; I should know about it, I run a design studio with two other partners! O:-)

That said, my question about the price was what you could call random curiosity. I just wanted to get a tiny glimpse of prices outside of Spain; one of my partners is going to Germany for 8 or 9 months and will (hopefully) find new customers there, so I guess that sort of justifies my curiosity.We have gotten to a point where we charge around 3K (euros) for developing a basic corporate image (logo, color treatments, basic stationery... plus a printed version of the manual), thus my question about your prices.If you don't want to answer that question, of course that's ok.Thanks again for taking the time.

Angel.



August 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAngel
Angle, I'll drop you a private email in the morning with more details. :-)
August 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Jamie, I didn't get any inspiration from ubuntu directly. I have seen the logo in the past, but not lately, so the similarities are purely coincidental.
August 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Mike, great job on the logo. I love how you offer up your thoughts and sketches for the world to see. Also, nice job on Phil Gerbyshak's new header. Keep up the great work!
August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJason of "Kim & Jason"
Mike - awesome writeup! Thanks for sharing the process. You're a much more organized sketcher than I am. :)
August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCorrie
Thanks Kim & Jason! I'm really loving the opportunities coming my way these days, and am glad the clients are happy too. :-)

Corrie, thanks! But I think you are more organized than I am at sketches -- mine go all over the place at times, or from left to right pages even! :-)
August 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Frank, I actually like super-thick leads. I'm using the Faber-Castell 1.4mm e-Motion pencil. Fine are OK, but I have adapted my style to this thicker, softer lead use and it works great for me. :-)



September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
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