Three Cheers

Here’s a toast. A toast to the good old days, when Industry Dive operated out of a three-bedroom apartment in Dupont Circle (shoutout to our landlord, Mrs. D). Fast forward a few years. Two office changes and 75+ new employees later, it’s easy to forget how far this company has come in such a short period of time. With new faces have come new publications, new products and new ideas. Throughout all of this growth, one thing has remained the same: the branding.

Original logo The original Industry Dive logo.

With 13 different publications (and counting), our logo presents a unique challenge in that it needs to be relatable to many different audiences. The mark became a recognizable symbol in the B2B realm because of its bold colors and even bolder typography.

However, while the old mark became a big part of our identity, sometimes brands and companies (like people) need room to grow and mature. We felt that, as a modern B2B media company, there was a stronger connection to be made between our products and our brand. How could we update the logo to be more versatile and modern but keep the elements that made the old logo successful?

BUT…..WHY?

Before picking up the sketchbook, we made sure to define what goals we wanted our new logo to address. These would be important in our future discussions and critiques. We decided on three main goals that would be fundamental to our new logo:

  1. Versatility: One large challenge we’ve had over the years has been effectively blending our brand with that of others. Because of the number of industries we cover and the collaborative, co-branded projects we work on with clients, our brand needs to be flexible. The most difficult aspect in finding this cohesion was that red had been built into the design. There were no fully black or white versions of the logo and, when your brand is married to one specific color, it makes it difficult to incorporate other color palettes.

    An Industry Dive ad An example of the old logo contrasting with client content.

    As you can see above, the old logo wasn’t ideal in this regard. It was important that we found a solution that could be successful in black, white, green, tangelo etc. so that we always had the creative freedom to use the mark for a variety of products in partnership with a multitude of brands.

  2. Modernization: The next issue we came across was an inconsistency between our modern products and the logo. Ninety percent of the company is based on the web so we wanted our logo to reflect that a bit more. The slab-serif typeface and complex “D” mark both felt dated so we wanted to create something that felt less antiquated and more timeless.
  3. Conceptual Depth: I bet you never noticed the subtle “I” and “D” in the logo mark. While this is a nice touch, we wanted to make something that had a little more meaning behind it and added a layer of complexity that wasn’t quite being achieved by the old logo. While a logo doesn’t necessarily need to scream “THIS IS WHO WE ARE AND THIS IS WHAT WE DO,” it does need to reflect what the company is about. With the refresh, we had an opportunity to make a deeper connection between the mark and Industry Dive, the company.

Planning process A look inside the critique process.

TRUST THE PROCESS

The process started with a dialogue between our team and the founders of the company to explain the three reasons why we wanted to make this change and how it would be important to our company moving forward. Once they greenlighted the project, we got to work. We started primarily with pen and paper and then digitized the ones we deemed as the “best”.

Logo ideas A compilation of different logo ideas.

One of the main challenges we faced was losing sight of the original three goals. As we iterated on marks, we began to produce work without intention or meaning behind it.

We were like machines, generating logos that may have been aesthetically appealing but didn’t align with the original goals anymore. We lost sight of what the mission was because it was constantly changing after each meeting. Our designs never really landed because we allowed the feedback we were receiving to persuade us to ignore the goals we had at the start of this process.

We decided to stop asking for strictly verbal feedback and start experimenting with surveys that asked stakeholders’ individual thoughts on each mark. This way, no ones opinions were influenced by others. This helped us get the right kind of feedback we needed in order to product the logo that hit on all original goals.

A LOGO IS BORN

After multiple rounds of review sessions and revisions, we finally landed on a new logo:

New logo The new Industry Dive logo

So how did we get here? Let’s look back at our original three goals.

Well for one, we dropped the red from the logo to make it versatile. While the red is powerful, it limited how our brand could be implemented with others. To achieve the level of versatility we desired, we found it more effective to drop it from the primary branding of our company and allow the mark to symbolize our brand. This lack of color allows our brand to blend in seamlessly with the brands of our clients.

We also made a concentrated effort to modernize the mark by simplifying the amount of details in the design. We removed the outer circle, and made it all one color:

Logo comparison A side-by-side look at the two marks.

And finally, we added an extra layer of conceptual depth. As a B2B media company, we pride ourselves on getting you the most insightful information possible by cutting through the fluff and getting to the heart of your particular field.

The new logo is a big step in the direction we want to go as a company and, by sticking to our three original goals, we were able to come up with a mark that we feel achieves that.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Start on paper: You will hear this a lot when researching the best ways to go about making a logo and we cannot stress it enough. It is important to stick with pencil/pen sketches as much as possible until you nail down a concrete direction. It is difficult to detach yourself from a design if you’ve put a good amount of time into it so if you stop yourself before going to the computer, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy.
  2. Get feedback from stakeholders: Consider showing stakeholders a variety of quickly-created ideas to choose from. Figure out why they like one version and dislike another. This will help inform any of the decisions you make going forward so you can create the best end-product.
  3. Define project goals and stick to them: Stick to the core concepts that have been defined as crucial to the success of the logo. Do you best to ask yourself at every step of the process: “Does this achieve the goals of the project?” You will be surprised at the number of ideas you can rule out based on this question alone.

Creating a new logo is easy. Creating a new logo that truly encapsulates the goals of a company is hard. This will take a considerable amount of time but the more you understand about the needs of the client and/or stakeholders, the better your design will turn out.

The post and logo were co-written and designed by Kendall Davis and Elizabeth Regan.