The design process of the Arriva logo
It’s always great when you’re involved in the design of a project from the very beginning, and you can design everything from A till Z. Especially if you share the same passion about the project as the client. In this case: coffee, and riding your bike! Today I would like to share my experience on the design process of this project, called Arriva, a small start-up company.
Logo design briefing
This project included the design of the company logo and brand identity, plus the design and development of the Web site. The logo brief was very precise and well described towards design style, and global look: “We’re thinking along the lines of Faema-like typeface, red pennant, checkerboard pattern (cf. Peugeot jersey), maybe use an exclamation mark?…”. Furthermore, the client also had a preference to use the color red in the logo, as an accent color in combination with a dark color, either black, dark brown or dark grey. I also had to make sure that the logo could work as an icon that stands on its own. These were some basic and very straightforward ideas, and served more as a guidance and a sense of direction to get me started.
The meaning of the name
Arriva is Italian for arriving at the finish. The red pennant in cycling races announces the last kilometer in the race (1 km from the finish), the most intense and most beautiful phase of the race. Arriva wants to express your cyclist’s high, your deserved break, and so the tagline of Arriva is ‘Your ride. Your break.’ It perfectly expresses its meaning and what the company and brand stands for.
First doodles & ideas
With the basic ideas in the back of my head, I grabbed pencil and paper and started doodling some ideas. One of the ideas was to turn the capital V into a cup of coffee. Then this V shape could also serve as an icon.
I also played with the idea of using both the letters A and V, and having this V shaped cup of coffee icon as a separate item in combination with the letters fully written. Another idea was to work with the shape of a coffee paper tissue coaster. Plus, I liked the idea that the shape could maybe also be referred to as a bike’s chainring (adding some adjustments to the curves).
Together with these designs, I also presented some ideas for colors & typefaces, and I worked out 2 ideas I found interesting. I decided to add in a version with a worn grunge effect, just to see if this could be a style that matches what my client had in mind. Mind you the (Illustrator) logos, were just quickly ‘mocked up’ in Adobe Illustrator, and so definitely far from finished versions. Just presenting some concepts and ideas was the sole purpose in this phase.
Concept 1: The logo as a label, using the shape of a coffee paper tissue coaster.
Concept 2: I was thinking about how the logo could be represented in combination of a checkerboard pattern (cf. Peugeot), placed on a caravan or a banner. Although this idea was pretty quickly dropped since it reminded too much of Formula 1 car races. Then I was also presenting the idea of adding in a subtle worn grunge effect.
It seemed these ideas were a good start. I was on the right track, especially the idea of using a small label for the icon. Exploring this idea further and maybe changing the shape of the tissue coaster more into a chainring was definitely an option to look into. My client also mentioned they wanted to use banners, in vertical and horizontal shape. If I could think about a design with the logo, and tagline…
First logo design proposals
In this phase I tweaked the typography to better match the letters of the Feama logo.
I started from Neutraface Condensed Medium, and…
- I tweaked the letter A so the bars lined up with the bars of the double R
- I made the lettershapes thicker (via Object > Path > Offset Path…)
- I removed the sharp points of the V and A
- and I added a tiny bit of rounding in the corners (using the very handy corner handles in Illustrator)
There wasn’t a decision made yet whether to keep or drop the grunge effect. So for now I continued using it. I liked the subtle touch of the effect, but wasn’t sure myself at this point if the logo itself also needed it.
The above image shows my first design proposal, using the Faema-like typeface in combination with a ‘label’ icon centered above the name in the shape of a chainring.
The above image shows the 2nd concept of a label design, using the shape of a chainring, but also serving as a coffee tissue coaster.
In the version in the image above, I was just exploring more options, translating the ‘riding your bike & coffee’ into 2 icons.
While I was playing with the shape of the letters, I also tried out these double lined letter shapes, which I found interesting,… Though, it didn’t make the next round.
In this phase I also decided to present the logo designs as how they could look on a letterhead, business card, envelope or an object such as a pencil.
Then I also played with the idea of using the triangle shape as a background pattern. It could work perfectly for a banner.
I also played a bit with the triangular shape of the icon, making it sharper, less sharper…
The idea came to mind to use a rebus to translate what Arriva is about for the banner:
At a certain point during this phase, this twisted fun idea was suggested to try out:
The idea intrigued me for sure, but somewhere in the back of my head my intuition told me it wouldn’t work. Though, I have been wrong many times, thinking ‘nah this won’t work’ and then when I actually try it, I ended up with something surprisingly good and strong. So always try ideas out, even if you think upfront it will lead to nothing. You never know.
It was time to put all the designs next to each other and compare… It was hard to decide which one was best, and 4 people had to come to a mutual decision. The best thing you can do if there isn’t a version jumping out, is letting it rest for a bit. Let it sink in.
A short pause
After this short pause, it seems the logo wasn’t just there yet, and we decided to try out a bit of a different route, keeping the part we liked: the typeface. It was the icon that needed work. We thought maybe we need to drop the coffee mug or paper coaster idea, and focus more on the meaning of the name: the finish (of a race), and the red pennant. So the idea came of changing the A, and adding this red pennant in. This triangular shape could work perfectly, no? So we tried it out and so the new logo was born.
I decided to add this red triangle to the 2nd A because the first A had this nice sync with the double R. It just felt more in balance this way. Plus, the last A, is also the finishing A.
In the last phase we decided to drop the grunge effect and go for plain, clean and strong black in combination with red, instead of dark brown.
While working on the Arriva logo design, I also worked on the design of a vertical and horizontal banner. These 2 were the final and approved designs.
T-shirt design & icons
The banner design was followed up with a t-shirt design, that would be screen printed in 3 colors.
Later on when we started with the design of the web site, we frist created an illustration of ‘Eddy’, the retro-caravan and the 3 mayor icons that presented Arriva’s services: mobile coffee shop, bike repair service and shop. These would then be used for the design of the web site.
Arriva’s ‘Eddy’ retro-caravan
The Arriva retro-caravan was baptised ‘Eddy’, after Eddy Merckx, best cyclist of all times that put the Faema espresso machines on the map in the 60's, a wink to coffee and cycling.