Monday, August 3, 2015

A Logo You Can Bank On

My latest freelance project involved designing the new logo for Rochester Home Equity. Above is the final version chosen by the client. The negative space reveals a house or an upward pointing arrow. The color green represents the financial aspect of their business. The font, Agilita, is sans serif and modern. It has some strength and weight to it without being overly heavy. 

The original RHE logo. By the way, just click any image for a better view.

The original Rochester Home Equity logo was simply the company name completely spelled out in a serif font. As a logo this doesn’t really work as well as one would like. In earlier logo design articles I’ve mentioned the characteristics of good logo design. In my opinion, the original RHE logo does not meet these characteristics in that it is not simple enough to be instantly recognizable; lacking simplicity it is not very memorable; the serif font gives it a very traditional look but it also seems dated thus it is not timeless; the logo is overly long and horizontal so it is not very versatile.

Financial institutions often have to straddle a line when it comes to their marketing. On the one hand, these institutions need to communicate that they are sound corporate entities. On the other hand, they want to present themselves as consumer friendly. As a graphic designer tasked with coming up with a logo solution for such a company you can essentially go in either of these two directions or try to find a way to communicate both truths at the same time. I believe the new RHE logo accomplishes both tasks.

This was one of my concepts which did not make the final cut. It incorporates a fairly recognizable feature of the Rochester skyline. 

Arriving at the final logo design was a long process fraught with many revisions and with several good ideas not making the cut. It is easy to understand why designing a logo can be a difficult process when you realize that for a client, choosing a logo is similar to having a chance to choose your own name or to choose your own physical appearance. And by appearance I don’t simply mean choosing a particular hair cut or style of clothing. Hair grows back and clothing is easily changed. No, making a significant change to your corporate identity in the form of a new logo is more like choosing to have plastic surgery. It is a very personal decision.

Another rejected design, this concept leans toward the more traditional approach… perhaps too much so.

Some clients come with predetermined ideas for their logo. For most others however, the logo design process is a long journey of self discovery. As a graphic designer, one has to keep this truth firmly in mind with a willingness to accompany the client on this journey, be it short and simple or long and difficult. Doing so is one mark of a professional. It’s an exercise in problem solving and it’s just part of the job. Another part of the job is being able to accept rejection and letting some of your ideas fall to the design studio floor, as clearly quite a few of mind did.

Here are some of my other RHE logo designs which did not make the final cut. These are just roughs and not completely finished logos:

This concept hints at the reputation of Rochester as the Flower City. The “R” needs more work so it doesn't look so unrelated to “H” and “E”. But the biggest problem with this idea is that RHE does business throughout New York State, not just in the Flower City area.

The main effort behind this design was to propel the RHE brand toward a more modern aesthetic. 

 This design was actually one of my favorites. It definitely leans more toward the consumer friendly direction. 

Almost there. You can see that it wasn’t a very big jump from this idea to the final design. 

In the end I believe I presented the client with a clear variety of concepts. I'm glad they are happy with the final result.

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