Evolving a tech startup brand: Jibo

Ben Whitla
Sep 9, 2017 · 4 min read

A while back I was fortunate enough to be asked to take a look at the current Jibo logo and see what could be done to make it feel a little less Tron and a little more human.

We also worked closely with the Jibo team to create something that wouldn’t be a complete upheaval of what they had – they had brand equity, so this is more of an evolution, and less of a redesign.

Here’s the spoiler, the before and after.

Before | After

Wow, crazy, right? I can’t believe all those wild out of the box design decisions that led to that insane evolution that redefined who the Jibo brand is.

Ok, not really. But let’s dig in to why I did make the decisions that led us to where we ended up.

Let’s start with our inspiration.

Jibo is made of circles.

Hey, pal

Lots of circles.

So many circles

Jibo’s old logo was also made of circles.

Old Jibo logo, not so balanced

The circles feel unbalanced, and take up the majority of the form. This hurts rhythm and legibility.

O’s for days

Optically the circles don’t feel aligned with the “ji” – For circles to feel as though they sit on the same plane as their flat counterparts, they must extend slightly beyond the edge:

Dotted lines!

Just making this change doesn’t create a better mark alone, so redrawing to make the mark a custom drawn logo that is more ownable makes sense.

The revised logo has two parts:

  1. One part represents the people that interact with Jibo.
  2. The other part represents Jibo.
What a beauty

These are the people.
Abstracted people with heads are represented by the two vertical lines with dots.

Jibo is people, hello people

This is Jibo.
He is round, this part represents him.

Jibo is round

In order to create a legible logo at all sizes, we looked to historically highly legible typefaces and took cues from their learnings. We chose to look closely at a typeface called Caslon.

The serifs, although they add detail throughout, actually tell our brains what letters we are looking at, and let users read more fluidly.

Who doesn’t love Caslon and some Lorem Ipsum?

So here’s a comparison of the old logo with Caslon’s x-height.

Different proportions

In order to make our mark reflect the legibility traits of Caslon, we made a few tweaks. We didn’t take the exact proportions, but used them as guidance. Knowing the mark would have to live at a variety of sizes and fidelities (debossed in plastic, on 2x screens, on huge displays at events), this offered the right amount of legibility and flexibility.

“Inspired by” the proportions of Caslon

So here’s where we landed. Balancing legibility, flexibility, and character to create an evolution of the previous mark that works across all Jibo’s brand use cases.

So blue

And here’s the little fella in all his glory.

Hello, Jibo

So what do you think? Have thoughts? Want to just talk branding and type with me? Hit me on twitter and let’s chat.

If you enjoyed this little read, you might also like something I recently wrote about evolving the brand at Great Big Story.

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