Through conversations with him, we developed and defined a brand personality. My job then was to capture some of this in a logo design that Jukedeck’s partners and future users could relate to and understand.
While there are guidelines, there is no formula for success here, as much as we might like there to be. Like stumbling across the perfect gift for a loved one, you only recognise the fit when you see it.
Just as the creative process is organic, so is the response. Logos are the closest an organisation comes to having a face, and we interact with them in a very human way.
While the logo design process may resist standardisation, it does often fall into the following three stages. Here’s the route I took:
1. Understand the brand personality
As a designer, my most important job is to understand and visually communicate a company’s personality. Ed and the team described their ideas about what Jukedeck was and what it could become in the future.
The outcome of these discussions provided a good basis for the character of the logo, (fun, contemporary, eclectic) but what about form — what should it actually look like? We explored which real-life objects, shapes and images we felt might be appropriate starting points.
By the end of the day, we had a rough brief:
“a universal, non-specific visual cue for music”
I was left to develop an icon that was evocative of music without being too closely tied to a particular genre. Hmm.
Every new project starts with pencil and paper. Sketching by hand allows for a fluid transition from one idea to the next, and provides a way to record them quickly. It also allows room to make mistakes. That kind of freedom is restricted by computer software, so digitising my work is always part of a refinement process, rather than the ideation.
During this stage I thought about how to make musical notation feel unique while still retaining its recognisable form.
It was also important to avoid being too genre-specific. The treble clef was too classical, the sound waves/bars too electronic, so the idea we ran with took a single crotchet as its basis. I’m always wary of forcing conceits, but the letter ‘J’/musical note was an idea I kept returning to.
3. Refine, break, redefine
I scanned my more promising sketches into Adobe Illustrator and rebuilt the images.
When digitising loose drawings, sticking to a grid helps to provide structure. However, I find that sticking strictly to the rules rarely results in visual balance. When it does, it can feel stiff and lifeless.
I began by saying that logos communicate with people, not machines. Our aesthetic appreciation is not limited to the mathematically perfect. So the last part of the process often involves re-drawing my bezier-curves, breaking the grid and giving the shape some life.
These were shared with the Jukedeck team online (back then we used a service called Cage, now we use InVision) and let them take some time to digest and respond. As part of an ongoing refinement process, we experimented with colour and display options driven equally by Jukedeck’s brand and aesthetic appeal: could the icon sit on its own or did we need a supporting shape? Should that shape be integral to the mark or should it appear only in certain contexts, say for social media? What colour conveyed Jukedeck’s whimsical brand without seeming childish? Should the tail of the ‘J’ connect back with the stem?
After further discussion with the Jukedeck team, eventually we settled on a final logo design:
The finished logo combines the ‘J’ and ‘d’ of Jukedeck in a musical note with a backwards ‘tail’. The negative space within the ‘J’ reveals a classical note shape, suggesting the music theory that underpins Jukedeck’s work. The flat, vivid blue and the smooth bezier curves place the logo within the world of tech but not to the extent that it feels garish or robotic.
We’ve seen the logo appear on t-shirts, mugs, guitar picks, and of course in print and across the web. There’s been some amazing feedback and it has been a great pleasure to be part of launching Jukedeck. I’m really happy with how we met the brief and we’re all excited to see what’s coming next!