“Hello Aurora!”

Maria Margarida
Aug 30, 2016 · 5 min read

After all this time, we finally have a name and a brand 💪🏼🎉. You guessed it, our project is now the Aurora app. And we want to tell you everything about how we got to this point!

Image for post
Image for post

It all started with the exercise that led us to the name “Aurora”. After an hour of brainstorming 🌩, we had covered nearly everything that could remotely relate to concerts and music. Afterwards, we tried to think of words that sounded good and were easy to understand (the first name of our project, ‘Pomegranate’, as smooth as it may sound, was not an easy word to write 🤔).

We made huge lists of words that were easy to pronounce, of cute animals that could resemble some kind of relationship with the concept, colors we liked, and so on. Then, we tried to see what they had in common and what we felt was relatable to what we were developing.

Image for post
Image for post
Who says engineers can’t do some branding? 😏

So, how did we come up with Aurora?

Essentially it was a phenomenon we easily associated with the colors and lights of concerts — it established, in a certain way, our “vibe”. Plus, it was an easy and pretty word, used in several countries 👌.

Once the name was chosen, we had to figure out the image to pair with it. And of course, the designers immediately started researching and drafting around it.

The first thing we explored was the identity of a sound. A concert is always a unique experience, and we thought about how we could translate that into something visual. So we decided to explore sound waves. First, we recorded the word “Aurora”, then the individual letters.

Image for post
Image for post
Different words have different visual representations
Image for post
Image for post
Experiences with the sound waves of the word aurora

During this process we realized that we weren’t going in the right direction. 😕 So we went back to figure out what was missing conceptually. 😶

There are 3 main actions we must value: collection, feedback and discovery. We only had discovery. We wanted something that was a reminder of collections, of connecting people… We agreed in one thing: music had a very esoteric side, as well as a very physical one. The act of writing a song, of playing an instrument, of going to a concert with some friends and family, of dancing,… all this is very tangible— just like collecting things is (for naming purposes, we even searched for animals that collected stuff). And that was exactly what was missing! 💡 The relationship between emotions and objects.

Image for post
Image for post

We found this potential in cassettes.

They represent collection in the best way possible. A few years ago, when someone loved a song, they wouldn’t simply download it on iTunes. And this was also a form of giving feedback to artists, back when social networks weren’t a thing. Plus, cassettes are a very important piece in the early history of mixtapes back when internet wasn’t a thing. So we went for it.

Image for post
Image for post
How our symbol was born

Colors and lettering

Once the icon was chosen, we started picking the colors and the typography. Inspired by the Aurora Borealis colors and multiple color studies, we fell in love with material’s Cyan, Teal and Deep Purple mixed together.

Image for post
Image for post

On one hand, we had a symbol that represented a rather old object, on the other we had a gradient that gave us a contemporary approach.

Finally, the typographic challenge! It was hard at the beginning, because we didn’t find the perfect match to Aurora’s logo, so we had to create our own font with special details. The lettering had to relate with the icon and concept.

Image for post
Image for post
Our first lettering experience

But this font was too customized and we decided we needed something smoother. We knew we wanted a font that was very geometric (the ‘O’, for example, should be a perfect circle, maybe with the same size of the smallest circle in the logo). We took a step back and started by looking at fonts like Brandon Grotesque and Asap.

Our second attempt was something like this:

Image for post
Image for post

But even without the necessary adjustments, we realized there was missing a modern touch. When we showed this to one of our mentors, she said it reminded her of a mix between art nouveau and art deco. And we were developing a software that shouldn’t look outdated 💾 nor something historical.

We were back at it: adjusting, printing, drawing, adjusting some more.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

By the end of the week, this is what we had:

Image for post
Image for post

We adjusted the x-height and weight. The higher x-height, along with taking out the R’s horizontal line, took way the lyrical proportions of the previous attempt. Also, we made the corners a bit sharper. By increasing the weight and including it in the logo’s grid, we were able to create a greater harmony between the symbol and the font.

Finally we had something we could all compromise with (even the engineers, whose opinion was quite significant throughout the whole design process 💙 ).

Final result

Nest Collective Writing Wall

We are a collective of {product studios} who have created a…

Thanks to Sérgio Santos, Cláudia Acabado, and André Macedo

Maria Margarida

Written by

Product Designer at @wearetrouva. Passionate about solving real customer problems and creating experiences that are easy to use. http://mariamargarida.me

Nest Collective Writing Wall

We are a collective of {product studios} who have created a new model for company {collaboration}. Here we write our thoughts about making great products.

Maria Margarida

Written by

Product Designer at @wearetrouva. Passionate about solving real customer problems and creating experiences that are easy to use. http://mariamargarida.me

Nest Collective Writing Wall

We are a collective of {product studios} who have created a new model for company {collaboration}. Here we write our thoughts about making great products.

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