Fresh out of the design studio, here is our new logo and branding for ApexThis:
To start, the goal was to create a brand identity that can be adjusted over time. In 2020, I am pushing through with executing on projects I’ve been wanting to get done and out the door. That means publishing. I felt it important to at least have an actual logo in place before I start publishing books.
Furthermore, I added a task to update the logo and branding in Jan 2018. This would now make it 5 years since the initial design. It was due for a refresh.
We (I) sent our design intern (me) to do some training and we are happy to say that he (me) is now our Principal Designer and was able to keep the branding update in-house instead of hiring externally.
The logo took a while to explore and came down to a triple bar-style during a lettering class I took. Thinking about what ApexThis was and what the future looked like, publishing was at the forefront. Audio & Paper.
I incorporated a digital waveform and a stack of books. The middle bar I opted to add the accent color to really make it stand out that it is a book while also softening the corners. I thought it was a good representation of my focus to publish print books and ebooks, as well as audiobooks and podcasts but hopefully not making it too on the nose.
The original logo used a similar color scheme, grey with turquoise. The type was Verdana and it was created in Photoshop which was completely the wrong tool to use. With the new logo, we have opted for Franklin Gothic URW for the primary type using Demi and Book for the weights. As the secondary type, I have selected Open Sans. The secondary type does morph to a primary in the event I use tools where Franklin Gothic is not available.
The colors have shifted a bit by using a darker grey, a deeper red, and turquoise. A neutral color was added to make it more flexible with the accent colors of turquoise and red:
For use with social media, I pull the colors, type, and style, to create templates that I can use for specific purposes. This also pulls in a piece of the identity from the logo and that is a paper style. The templates colors do have a bit of grit and texture to make it resemble paper, soft shadows to show depth and layers with multiple colors or sheets that “slide” back to reveal an image or text leaving a preview of another page on the edge.
Not every post will use these templates, but, it’s an identity system I am creating for use to make the brand recognizable. Here are a few social media examples:
Along with the branding was new podcast art that followed the same identity system. First, here is the old podcast art:
Now, the new podcast art using a paper cut-out style:
It was really fun creating the podcast art and it allowed me to learn new techniques in Illustrator. For starters, I love paper art. And I wanted to continue this “paper” design from the social media templates to the podcast cover art. The art features a cutout design, with texture over the colors, and soft shadows to show depth. I also wanted the brand colors to reside under the cutout with sliding sheets of paper.
You will also apply the logo to letterheads and business cards. And thus I wanted to see how that would look as well. I mocked up a business card and a book cover:
Time, Training & Costs
First, I need to admit that I have a head start. I have an old past with web design, and I have followed the design community for a while. In 2019, I’ve watched countless design videos on typography, lettering, etc. I then put it to practice with a live lettering session with Scott Biersack where I developed the initial logo.
Next, I enrolled in courses from The Futur where typography, stylescapes, logo design and more were covered. There I followed along, practiced, and put what I learned to work. As always, I track my time and cranked out 13 hours in training:
Project & Costs
Training has it’s own costs because it takes away from you, or your employee, performing work on the business. The 13 hours for training IS an investment of time and money.
Second, you have time for the execution of the project itself. Even though this was an in-house project, you need to have a budget if you are to weigh doing this project externally or internally. Lastly, I also wanted to know what I would charge others as an amateur designer. A potential alternate business line.
This project consumed 12hrs and 24 minutes of time:
It felt a bit longer, considering that I worked out the logo rough sketch a year prior. Even though it is not final, I will continue to track time to any branding update efforts.
If I was to charge a client for this project, on what I delivered thus far, it would be priced at $2254. This price includes the operating cost of my business, my employee rate, rates for deliverables such as research, logo, and brand identity, and as always, profit.
With that in mind, the total cost for the in-house branding effort jumps once you include training time to $3000. Though it is hard to put a price on training if you are improving skills that go a long way on future projects.
This was a fantastic project to work on and I am happy that I kept it in-house. The design isn’t final as I will continue to adjust and tweak as needed, but the foundation is there and is more than I had before.