The new Duoh! logo identity

When we created the previous Duoh! logo (that is still online on my business site), our main goal was to build a more serious approach. I believe it fits its purpose, but we now feel it’s time to move on and rethink our corporate image. Let me share my thinking process with you…

Brainstorming session

Duoh!Geert and I were thinking that our current image didn’t really fit the company we really are. The old Duoh! logo presented a serious corporate image based on our 3 areas : print, web and multimedia. The logo was very business like and less focussed on what Duoh! is all about: design and most of all being creative. We both agreed after some self-analyzing that we needed a logo that showed a more illustrated style. It should be creative, fun without overdoing it and a touch of humor. We do take our job serious but we do believe that creative people have a lot of imagination and that humor is an important factor in originality and being different. Besides poking fun of oneself is better than taking yourself too seriously 🙂

Doodling to get inspired

So I started sketching. Geert suggested me to think about a simple icon, so that we could use that as a single identity. The first idea was to do something with a typeface, with the “o” in the name.

My very first doodling to get inspired for  the new Duoh! logo

While doodling I came to the idea of turning the “o” into a “cute” devil. I added devil horns and a devil’s tail. I was also thinking of adding a very busy colorful background illustration that would reflect our creativity. My idea was to work with a vertical illustration border that is divided by the logo into 2 parts : the top had warm colors, representing passion, the passion for our work; the bottom part showing cold colors representing the “cool” and “chill” factor shown by water and other swirly forms.

Duoh! little devil icon with warm and cold illustration artwork from sketch till Illustrator artwork

Going back to our roots

It didn’t look that bad, the creativity factor was there, but the illustration stole all the attention. If we deleted the illustration and looked at the naked logo, we still felt it was not what we were looking for. Then it hit me. Why not have “us” Geert and “I” in the logo? After all, the name came from being with 2, a couple, a “duo” in Dutch. The other “h” and “!” at the end was added because “duo” is too general and not really all that exciting for a creative business like ours. So I changed that into “Duoh!” which stands for “duo+oh!”, the “oh!” is the reaction we hope people will have when they see our work 🙂

doodles of couples as an idea for the Duoh! logo icon

Designing the logo shape

Now that I got this new idea for the icon of the logo, I did some more sketching and doodling of couples, man and woman faces and such. When I had a few basic ideas on paper I tried them out in Adobe Illustrator. Most of the time I don’t doodle very long for a logo. I want to try it out in Illustrator as soon as I have some basic ideas. Illustrator provides you the freedom and flexibility to play around and experiment with shapes all in a matter of seconds, minutes. Sometimes when I sketch on paper I wish I had this same undo option 🙂 I’m so used to that.

playing around in Adobe Illustrator to get to the right Duoh! icon

Finalizing the logo shape

After playing around with shapes we ended up with a logo we both liked. I added bubbles and stars above our heads symbolizing the ideas we brew for each project and the magic we use to achieve that.

Choosing the colors

Personally I find it hard to choose colors for your own project. I end up with too many choices and being indecisive. Geert came to the rescue and the first 2 colors he chose were just perfect. They fit “us” and the office as well, since the grey is as good as the same color as the window frames of our new office. We are thinking of having our logo on one wall and maybe a light vertical illustration (of the bubbles and curls we use on our stationery) on the other wall next to our office windows.

Experimenting with colors on the final Duoh! logo

Finding the right tagline

The final Duoh! logo with taglineWe thought to emphasize our new identity by adding a tagline. One thing was for sure, we didn’t want a tagline just to have one and to sound hip or cool. We also didn’t want a tagline that sounds serious, traditional, corporate or boring. We always believed we are different from our competitors. This is a tough job if you ask me since taglines are short, max. 3 or 4 words. Geert came up with this funny tagline I loved from the very first moment: “beauty & brains”. We received the reactions we hoped for when we were wearing our Duoh! t-shirts at SXSWi. People found it smart and fun and some asked “So? Who’s brains and who’s beauty?” 🙂 It looks like I’m brains, No? 😛 That was exactly the result we were hoping for. Of course we are referring to what we do, design is beauty and you need to use your (creative) brain to create smart design. After all design is about problem solving. Because of the logo icon this tagline has humor, and that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve.

Stationery design

One thing we both agreed on was to add some illustrations in the stationery design. The mistake of making this far too overwhelming was still fresh in my head, so I decided to go for a light and subtle approach. What I did like about my first illustrations attempt was the curvy rounded vertical shapes. So I decided to reproduce the same idea. The result is much different and exactly what we both wanted.

Illustration art to use on the Duoh! stationery designs

We both believed by making this illustrative effect part of our image, it would emphasize our creativity even more. People would link Duoh! more to design and illustration. This was far from the case in our previous logo. The more serious approach is something that didn’t work for us, because it’s not who we are. We like to be taken serious in our job, but I believe our track record, years of experience, list of references is doing that for us and not our logo.

Photos of the new Duoh! stationery

For the letterhead I can give you this little tip: don’t forget to add a tiny line on the left side so you know where to fold. You can also add another line in the middle for punching holes for storage in a map.

What’s next?

The task is upon us now to design the site and implement our new design into our invoice application and proposals etc. I’ll keep you posted I promise.

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