Image for post
Image for post

Designing the Jukedeck Logo

George Shapter
Jan 7, 2016 · 4 min read

When Qip Creative was asked to design Jukedeck’s logo, the company was little more than a few lines of experimental code. Luckily, founder Ed Rex had a strong vision for where it was all headed.

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:

I was left to develop an icon that was evocative of music without being too closely tied to a particular genre. Hmm.

2. Sketch

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.

Image for post
Image for post
The crotchet / letter J

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.

Image for post
Image for post
Moving off the grid

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?

Image for post
Image for post
Experiments with form and colour

After further discussion with the Jukedeck team, eventually we settled on a final logo design:

Image for post
Image for post
The final logo

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!

Thanks for reading. If you found this interesting please do share. If you want to see more, check out our website Qip Creative, or say hello on Twitter.

This post is part of a collection of articles about Jukedeck.

Building Jukedeck

Stories from Jukedeck HQ

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store