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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Redwave Systems Brand Identity Design Process

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Redwave Systems

This case study will be published in the upcoming Logo Nest 01 book, a limited edition publication featuring inspiring logo designs, articles & case studies.

Redwave Systems is a provider of telephony systems, Windows™ servers, and general IT services and is based in California, USA. They “combine traditional VoIP services with the power and flexibility of new communication technologies.”

The Brief: Re-brand Entente Business Solutions

Entente

Entente Business Solutions came to me in search of a new visual identity for their company which was to be re-branded as Redwave Systems. Their old logo and visual branding can be seen above.

They wanted the new logo & identity to be targeted towards IT professionals and executives, while reflecting “professionalism, quality, uniqueness & service.” They stressed that their logo had to memorable, as this was something that their old logo had failed to live up to.

The logo was to be used on their website, across business stationery and all of their promotional material.

Research

Upon receiving the initial deposit for the logo and signed agreement, I started researching the project which included looking up their competitors, researching their industry and searching for other logos in similar categories. I took notes & often found myself brainstorming / sketching along the way.

On a side note, I’ve found one of the best methods of finding out what designs to avoid, is by using Google Images & searching for something like “wave logo” or “IT logo”. If these logos are appearing on the first pages of Google, you know you have to stay clear of these concepts.

Brainstorming, Sketching & Conceptualising

After completing the initial stages of the research, I got more involved in the creative process. This involved a lot of mind mapping, sketching and experiments on paper and the computer. Below you can see a snap shot of one the first mind maps & a rough sketch.

Redwave Mindmap

Redwave Sketch

After I had some strong concepts on paper, I then decided to start nailing down the best typeface for the wave concept I had in mind. I ended up coming down to the skillfully crafted Myriad Pro by Adobe Systems, which not only suited the tech / IT industry but also was a great choice for for the gap inside the ‘a’, after some slight customisation.

Below you can see some rough experimentation on the wave concept, done in Adobe Illustrator.

Redwave Logo Experiments

Perfecting

After I had done these rough experiments I decided to pursue a select few, tweaking them for better comparison. I finally came down to the subtle option of hiding the wave in-between the W and A and perfected this concept. The client and I found this concept to be much more sophisticated than simply having a wavy word or symbol… and much more memorable due to its uniqueness.

Below you can see the final logo in grey, with the addition of the ‘systems’ text set in all caps to contrast with the lowercase characters. The d’s ascender was cut off on an angle to give the logo more edge and the ‘a’ customised, to accommodate the wave.

Colour

After I had the final logo in greyscale, I tried out colour combinations and came down to a bright red (Pantone 1797) and a complimenting grey blue (Pantone 432), as seen below. This color scheme definitely stands out in a sea (pun!) of blue & grey IT companies.

Redwave Systems

After settling on the final design, I sent it off to the client, it was approved and that was that, they were ready to set sail.


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40 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Yassine Bentaieb Reply

    Very nice Jacob! Thanks for sharing the details of the process, always nice to see how other designers reach their final logo results. Love the outcome as well!

  • nido Reply

    not a bad idea but those curves around the W & a are so off!…

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks Yassine.

    Nido,
    Thanks for the feedback Nido, but which curves do you refer to being ‘off’? I’m all ears for constructive criticism. Thanks.

  • Glenn Taylor Reply

    I agree with Nido to a point. The “a” looks a bit forced lacking a bit of a natural flow. I hope that makes sense. I think the concept is great. The “wa” just needs a bit of fine tuning.

    Just a thought…..http://www.creativegraphicsnc.com/hold/redwave.jpg

  • JT Dumproff Reply

    Very Nice! I love the concept. I don’t think you should change a thing. One may think the shape of the curves are ‘way off’ but I think Jacob was more concentrating on the actual shape of the wave being created through negative space instead of the shape of the letters. I think it’s just fine the way it is.

  • Andrew Reply

    I disagree with nido and glenn taylor… and agree somewhat too. What I mean is, I think I can see their point of view somewhat – the ‘a’ looks a bit awkward – squared off a bit on the left side of the lobe/loop. But Glenn’s alternative fixes that at the expense of making the whitespace wave seem awkward – I think the proportions of the wave in that one are not at all right (it is too thin) and contrast is lost. Maybe there is a way to get both in balance (perhaps by tweaking the shape of the hollow in the ‘a’, and maybe the right-outer and bottom-outer edges of the ‘a’, but leaving the left-outer edges of the ‘a’ intact and thus keeping your perfect wave intact). Regardless, I think it is most important to get the proportions of the wave, your negative space, right, which you have done.

    ps. The article is great. A good case study offering insight into the design process.

  • LeoLavalle Reply

    Thanks for sharing. If I was the client I would have picked the third one from the top on the second column because it looks more like a wave to me. But maybe you were going for a more sophisticated look?

  • Glenn Taylor Reply

    I agree with you, Andrew. My version does sacrifice the wave. I was attempting to maintain the integrity of the left side of the wave as Jacob had it. The result failed. Here is my attempt at correcting it (#2).

    http://www.creativegraphicsnc.com/hold/redwave2.jpg

    My background is in commercial signage so I’m looking at it from a signpainter’s POV. I’ve always been taught that when it looks right, it is right. When I first looked at Jacob’s final version, the first thing that jumped out at me was a was “unnatural”; that something was wrong with it. The harmony and flow between the wave and the “a” wasn’t there and was unbalanced.

    The “c” stroke of the “a” needs to be consistent visually with the vertical stroke, IMHO. The same can be said of the wave which I believe why my first version’s wave looked wrong as well. I think my version #2 comes close to correcting that. What do you think?

    BTW, Jacob, thank you for letting us discuss this. I find discussions like this very helpful.

  • Steve Reply

    You might want to rethink making the word “red” the colour red. To me, it’s a little “see-say”. And it’s actually the wave that’s red, right? Nice solution just the same!

  • pete Reply

    I don’t care what they said about your logo. I love your work very much!

  • Dan George Reply

    Interesting to see you use mind maps, something i dont use enough off!

  • Pui Sittivliai Reply

    Really awesome concept and execution ! I really like many of your works, but this is my favorite. Outstanding job Jacob!

  • nido Reply

    the point within the “a” gives the negative space a look of a “pigeon head” making the curve look a little clumsy. my eyes do not follow the curves naturally round due to the lack of smoothness. I think (and I would be very surprised if you said it was) if the curves were actually created from a circle perhaps it would flow a lot better… that and if you sorted the point within the “a” out so it came in sharper and lost the “bump”… Hope this helps in some way to explaining what my initial post meant… I will like to, again, say that the idea is very good… so well done there.

  • Graham Reply

    Hey Jacob,

    Thanks for sharing your process.
    It’s always nice to know what goes on in the minds of other designers.

    Great work on the logo :)

  • Mike Jongbloet Reply

    Great concept, and a great tip for those of us new to logo design about searching Google and avoiding the common themes. One main function for any logo is to help the company stand out from competitors.

    My first impression was exactly that of Glen Taylor and nido, the curve of the ‘a’ didn’t appear natural to me and made the logo slightly awkward.

    I think Glen’s second attempt at solving this issue is pretty good.

  • Berenice Weber Reply

    thank you for sharing your creative process, I find it very organized and straight-forward, organization while creating can be a bit harsh sometimes, but it shows that discipline pays off. Love your blog, when I am stuck in the design process, to read your blog is quite helpful and so most of the comments from other designers here. Thank you all!

  • Robin Johansen Reply

    I enjoyed reading this, and the “Google Tip” was very good as others have said. To make something truly unique is not that eazy, just to come up with a new idea, something that noone else has never done… So this tip is very good, allthough, offcourse, not bullet-proof ;)

  • Abbas Reply

    Is that Myriad you’ve chosen?

    If so, surely there are better font candidates to use?

    Maybe a full-on rebrand might not have been the way to go. You could’ve tweaked the existing marque to encorporate a wave, changed the name and developed a new colour scheme.

    Did you colour match your Pantones using a Pantone chip book? Or did you match the colours on screen? The printed representation may look quite different if you did.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thank you for your comments & patience in waiting for my replies.

    Glen,
    Thanks for your other options, they have some merit, however I found that modifying the ‘a’ made people focus on the letter ‘a’ rather than the wave itself, as JT had mentioned. And discussions like this are helpful, for all.

    Andrew,
    Thanks, glad you enjoyed the insight. Maybe there is a way to tweak the design further but like you said, I optimised the design for the wave.

    Leo,
    Yeah this option was a bit too overdone in my opinion.

    Steve,
    I see where you are coming from, however have you ever tried to read a colour word that is a different colour? eg. red is actually in the colour blue. The brain gets confused for a while, which is one of the reasons why I have chose to make red, red.

    Nido,
    Ok thanks for clarifying. The curve is not made from a perfect circle, though the base of the shape is. The perfect circle made it too natural & lost the wave look in my opinion. Cheers for the feedback.

    Abbas,
    Yeah, as mentioned, the logo used Myriad Pro & it was a suitable choice for this concept & company and yes the colours have been matched. Thank you.

    Pete, Dan, Pui, Ann, Graham, Mike, Berenic, Robin,
    Thanks you!

  • watana web design Reply

    Thank you for share your design system style, I see the sitemap for creative design and i like wa on your logo, It’s simple but not simple, It’s cool.

  • marie pierrea Reply

    Greetings from france,

    i just follow you since few days, but thanks for sharing the progress & concept fo creation.

    ( sorry for all about my bad english)

    By the way, logo creation is not only a question of being hyper creative but also about the understanding of the client’s need and what is its marketing field.

    As you early said, a good logo has to be timeless.
    I think that event if this one is not re- inventing graphic design is born from a real design thinking.
    And i just say “yes” for the simplicity and the “magnanism” (?? is it right??) of this creation.

    By those times we are so many graphic designers that we coud work thousand years on a creation to be agreed by all of us as a piece of art.

    I think that the best is to be repectfull to people you DARE to show their work without playing the Greatest AD and still try their best, with real creative intentions.

    You seem not so old. And a good designer has always to try new things.

    I just wanted to say thank you to share your process because creativity and doubts has to me shared.

  • Lenart Reply

    Hey Jacob, thanks a lot for sharing your design process, it’s great to see how good designs are made. By the way, I have a silly question, but since i’ve never seen a notebook such as yours in our country (with dots), can you tell me if i can buy it online? or who makes these?

    Thanks a lot,

    cheers from Slovenia.

  • Ash Menon Reply

    I think I prefered when the “w” and the “a” were connected above the wave (as per the experimentation samples). I disagree that the “w” is too thin, I think it was necessary to give the wave some strength. Overall, a good job, Jacob!

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Lenart,
    It’s a dot grid book… you can get one at Logo Nest or Behance Outfitters. They are really handy!

  • Zeth Reply

    This is pretty wicked!! I think I’ll try to pick you brain on this blog… Your added to my bookmarks now!!

  • Justin Reply

    Neat! Thanks for sharing your process Jacob!

  • Kate Brown Reply

    all the designs look great. commendable work done.

  • Vinay Reply

    I’ve always been a fan of clever design and loved this post. Although I must say I’m more impressed by your idea of having the ascender of ‘d’ cut off at an angle rather than the hidden wave. It does give a definite edge (pun intended) over the plain ‘d’.
    Good job all in all Jacob!

  • Inkfreakz - Tattoo Design Reply

    really nice concept. thanks for sharing this post. :)

  • Tristan Reply

    Nice Job Jacob.

    It’s interesting to read other designer’s comments on the final version. I’m sure you would have spent alot of time sitting, looking, thinking, and tweaking the tiniest details to get this right, as is the way with logo design.

    I think it balances perfectly, you see the red, you see the wave, then your brain interprets the words and connects everything together.

    That’s why it’s important that the wave is more prominent and less important that the “a” looks “natural”.

    The comment from Glenn Taylor “When it looks right, it is right” is probobly the mantra of many designers (and signwriters) but it is entirely subjective. What looks right to one person usually isn’t what looks right to another. Which is why designers have to rely on both visual and technical expertise to make the right decisions.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing Jacob. Always nice to read other designer’s workflow, and the end result works brilliantly. :)

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Tristan,
    Thanks for the feedback and glad you can see both sides of the story. I agree, it really comes down to subjectivity.

  • brand identity design Reply

    Hi Jacob! thanks for sharing the design process, it is nice to see how good the models are made. Great post for designers too. Keep it up.

    Thanks
    Riz


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