Mercury Day 5: Identity

In school, I thought I’d end up being more of a traditional graphic designer and focusing mostly on branding and identity work. I really enjoyed that end of design but it wasn’t nearly as interesting as building stuff for the web. Every time I get to do that kind of work, it amazes me how out of practice at it I really am from that time in school.

When I was first thinking through a logo mark I drifted to books as a part of the shape; it’s an obvious choice. Mercury is an application for book lovers; it’s for them to catalog what they’re reading. I thought that as an alternative to that concept, I could just use type or maybe the initials, but I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t resemble the old Medium logo.

On the first iteration of the mark with the books, I really enjoyed just a simple geometric shape, die cut with the mark.

Round 1

I got some feedback from another designer I went to school with, Kyle Kochanek. He suggested that the idea wasn’t getting off the ground. It wasn’t conveying books or even a stack of books, just stairs, and at smaller sizes it really suffered a lot of legibility issues. Plus it wasn’t easy to discern what the bookmark shape was.

He and I talked about another concept where the bookmark shape was creating an M shape from the negative space. I couldn’t really make it work.

Round 2

From that conversation, I took all that feedback and worked on a second iteration that he liked a lot more and didn’t have as much of a legibility problem. And it’s a little clearer that it’s a collection of books.

Round 3

I’m gonna roll with this concept going forward and solicit another designer I went to school with to clean it up closer to end of the beta.

Color & Type

Trying to pick type to accompany the logo was a little less focused and more formulaic. I like geometric sans-serifs and humanist sans-serifs. I played with about a half dozen, and settled on Brandon Grotesque. For point of interest, Ideal Sans was a pretty strong contender for a minute.

Brandon Grotesque is a nice display face; its thinner weights are legible and the caps are a little more playful for a geometric san-serif; and the characters have a really warm touch to them.

Speaking of warm touches, I’m going with more yellows and oranges. This is largely preferential but I’m curious if they’ll pose any accessibility issues. If these prove to be an accessibility problem I’ll gladly rework things. If anyone knows of any great accessibility tools for color testing please send them my way.

Going Further

Branding and identity are more than just logos and color. A good brand is an expression of values and purpose and identity is a visual system to convey those values. This is just the first part of the system.