Designing a logo is the most engaging piece of graphic of a new product: it is supposed to say everything without telling everything. It is supposed to be (in our case) understandable anywhere in the world, to carry enough meaning to be unique, but not too much to be misunderstood. This is a real challenge.
We went through several iterations that I’m going to detail there after.
The very first logo
Before the creation of the team, my bosses ordered a logo from a crowdsourcing website. They needed to be able to communicate on the company (job offers, legal documents, etc) with an identity (a logo does give credit to a company).
The purpose of this logo was to emphasize on the letter “a” to make people understand about the play on words of the service name: “Map a Do”. The use of a smiling map pin and the rounded font were supposed to stand for the proximity of a friendly webservice.
They weren’t so much into it, so was I. I had several things to deprecate about this logo. Mapado has the ambition to become a great web and mobile service about discovering things to do, anywhere, anytime. It’s about personalized recommendations, a comprehensiveness of activities and most of all, we want to provide a simple, clean and easy-to-use service. The logo needed to be fresh, dynamic and friendly. This one was too cold, and the map pin would be too much associated to geolocation. I suggested to “fresh it up!”.
After several discussions with my boss, we decided to go through a brand new logo creation.
It all began with a powerful brainstorm, led by the creative brief and the specifications.
I started by getting some ideas, drawing them, deleting and keep some. Meanwhile, I did a huge benchmark, a moodboard, along with some font research. It gave me the “whole picture” and this is how I like to work.
One of my first ideas was to base the logo on an octopus. It made sense because an octopus is a living creature with many arms, which we can relate to the “many things to do”. It can also be friendly (well, it depends on how it’s drawn), and you all know Paul the octopus right? Could there be any better symbol for “recommendation”?
After those sketches, I decided to drop this idea. As we want the service to be international, it’s very complex to use a creature that could have a negative meaning in some countries in the world, and most of all, using a living being needs to be accompanied by a wish to use a mascot, which none of us had (we didn’t want to push the friendly thing THAT far).
The idea of a lettering logo
So I began to draw letters, and it occured to me that a custom font would be the perfect response to all of this: the hand-drawn style gives a spontaneous and unique stroke, it’s universal (at least for countries using the Latin alphabet) and it’s fully understandable.
Now that’s when I have fun with the pen tool… and when my Illustrator boards gets pretty messy (I began to draw strange things like the ones on the top left hand corner):
After hours and hours of tiny adjustments, I was finally able to come up with a usable logo:
However, many days after the release of our coming soon page, there was something that tickled me about it, I wasn’t 100% satisfied. Something with the first part of the word and mainly the M was bothering me. It didn’t feel well-balanced.
I took the time to make (again) some adjustments and here it is! Our final logo iteration:
You can see the changes below (orange is the old version, blue the new one):
Close-up and lettering construction
Readability and variations
As we want to provide a web and mobile service, we need to have a squared icon that will be used for the favicon, the touch icons, and everywhere we will need a subtle reminder of the brand.
Even though the whole team is very satisfied with this logo, I’m sure that it will evolve with the service and that I will work on it again later. That’s the main power of working in a startup: you never come up with a final product and you can’t stop iterating. This is how Instagram lately asked Mackey Saturday to rebrand their famous app.
“Done is better than perfect.”
That’s the spirit.