In 2014, the STC Alberta Chapter embarked on a mission to rebrand itself for the next 10 years. The current logo, a skewed grid of dots, was starting to look dated and did not fully capture the vision the chapter had for the future. Also, with a renewed visual identity, our group can start to think differently about what goals it wants to achieve for the next decade.
But why is the process of rebranding so important? A lot changes over a 10-year time span: fashion changes, car models change, and new technologies make their way into the mainstream of society. We do not make room for old styles, except to feature them in museum exhibits. Rather, we use the old as a stepping stone towards something better and synchronous with our future vision. The very act of changing the logo of a company or society can renew this vision.
Changing the visual identity of the Alberta Chapter was not a task for the faint-of-heart. It takes a brave face to come up with something unique that a group of people can identify with and relate to on some level. By trade, we are not graphic designers. We use words, not graphics, to express our ideas, so this was a tricky task. As an Information Designer, I use the best of both worlds, technical writing and graphic design, to make my statement. Information design includes another component, typography, that can add meaning to a design. A simple word mark was among the options I explored.
A concept statement guided me throughout the phase in which I generated many different rough options for a logo. They were just quick and dirty sketches with enough detail to make the evaluation, “Is there anything here worth exploring further? What words or phrases come to mind instantly?” I eventually came up with, “Towards enlightenment”, a statement I thought embodied what technical writing does: taking people from the unknown into a state of enlightenment about a particular topic. It has an obvious new-age vibe to it, which was an unintentional side effect, but I was not concerned that anyone would misinterpret the shape that I chose to carry the meaning: a triangle with a gradient fill progressing from full saturation on the left to brilliant white on the right. The system of nested triangles has an almost Masonic appeal. I want to let you in on a secret: the dominant shape is actually just a square with the top, left corner brought down and right. To achieve a strong continuous progression from left to right, I just laid a gradient triangle overtop. Ok, I will let you in on another secret: the whole shape is identical to the old logo because there is a strong sense of being moved from the background to the foreground, from oblivion towards enlightenment.
The creative process I used to come up with viable designs for a new logo for STC Alberta involved generating a variety of options from which to evaluate the effectiveness of the concept statement. I generated five options to choose from, some using simple typography to carry the meaning, and I experimented with variations and modifications to symbols found in technical communications, such as the greater than and less than symbols. Anything would have done the trick and, in the end, I had to pick three to present to the executive where I would have to justify my design choices.
After ten years, we will examine the logo to see how it suits our needs. Maybe we will need to revisit the whole thing again; maybe it will last another decade. In this logo, longevity was achieved by choosing one of those “timeless” typefaces that made its debut in the late 1930s: Futura. Times New Roman, which has a classic appeal from the past, represents the past.
Blending the past and the present, we took the opportunity to update our website as well. We hope you enjoy both the new site and the new logo.