the Logo

Since the day our firm “rebranded” in January, those of us at ARCSPACE STUDIO have heard numerous questions and comments regarding this change. Most first noticed the change in the new logo, name, and tagline. For those clients, colleagues, as well as the merely curious, I thought I’d provide some insight. At the same time, this gives me a good way to launch the we shape space blog. Let’s start with the Logo.

BK logo - boxTwenty years ago ARCSPACE STUDIO opened its doors as Bird & Kamback Architects. One of my early tasks was designing a logo. I pulled together a simple logo, using stylized versions of our initials placed in a red box. I then placed the logo beside our name and printed stationary and business cards. And that was that. At the time, I did not fully appreciate what a brand really was nor how difficult it would be to change.

The firm’s twenty year milestone provided us with an opportunity to rebrand. This time I researched the process with appropriate seriousness. I read books and blogs and watched numerous Lynda.com videos. I learned that the most effective logos were very much like good architecture – they are simple in form but convey a depth of meaning.

Although architects design buildings, I began to notice that many architecture firms relied on logos that played off of their initials (like the old Bird & Kamback logo), were inspired by the T-square or drafting compass (which few architects still use), or contained an ancient building component (of which the column reigned supreme). In my case I was determined to design a logo that recalled a building. I did not want it to be too literal or an actual building that we had designed. I also did not want it to read as either a house or a commercial building, since our firm does both. Figuring out how to represent something as simple as a building proved to be more challenging than I could have imagined.

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Some of my early sketches show this effort. In retrospect, it appears that I was still having trouble breaking out of the [red] box!

A building stripped down to its essence is comprised of walls, apertures, and a roof. I began with that and sketcched numerous variations. Once I came up with the name, ARCSPACE STUDIO, it occured to me that the ARC could play a role and I manipulated the roof form to reflect a subtle arc.

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I felt the logo was somewhat confined so I started playing with negative space. The roof was bisecting the compostion so I omitted the projection on the back side…And on and on. I continued to refine the logo until I was satisified with it and then brought in my multi-disciplined office manager to help take it to the next level. Jennifer is a really good graphic designer who is equally good with color. I presented my logo and together we continued refining it.

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the logo before Jennifer

Jennifer had the idea of making the apertures a seperate color and then began to explore several possible color combinations. I agreed with her preferred choice and we made that selection official. There is a level of hidden meaning stemming from these colors. The dark blue background can be seen as the night sky which sets off the stylized profile of the building. The golden color of the apertures reveal light within. Those who know about the profession of architecture can appreciate this representation of the studio, with the lights burning late into the night while the architects inside are busy shaping space!

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the logo after Jennifer

During this process I came to understand that, although a critical component, the logo is not the brand. Other necessary components include the name and the tagline. There are stories behind those as well. That’s where we’ll head next!

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