416-435-4753 mike@mikebeard.com

How does a logo turn out looking like this one? Not a total typographic solution, but close. Did we start out to make a logotype, rather than a more fully illustrated symbol? Did we aim for something… shall we say, minimalist? Certainly not. The promise of ‘big data’ has come to mean, at least to me, as having easy access to unlimited knowledge, in an unnumbered variety of formats. What this might mean to a company’s forecasting set my mind in motion. I understand marketing. What if a marketing organization could tap into all the streams its customers, potential customers and competitors were creating at any given moment? Video, text, voice, social media, local and world news, government and private data bases – all at your fingertips.

That’s the big data advantage. Of course, big data means little without knowing how to ‘slice and dice’ this incomprehensible amount of information.  Actual usage requires the ability to render real meaning into smaller bites, actionable knowledge and understandable strategies. There’s the rub.

Creatively, I suggested eagles soaring high over vast, watery landscapes. Sail boats racing over seas of… competitors? Airport hallways full of rushing executives, each going their many separate ways.  King Kong looking into office windows with the tag, ‘Do you really want to bring big data inhouse?’ These might evoke wider meaning and more impactful consequences for some. For others, these types of perhaps overly clever images imply frosting, as in frosting on a cake… gloss, unnecessary and needlessly ‘arty’. Big data is after all, serious business.

Knowledge of the client business is a critical part of ’doing’ a logo. How can one riff creatively about that which one knows little about? A first step towards assessing a business customer’s identity, especially a technical one, is research. This process has been greatly aided by the rapid advancement of Google. One can look up definitions, asking ‘what exactly is big data? ’,  see at once how potential competitors define the term, see what related brand imaging looks like, research where big data is stored, why it’s so important and how it will impact lives. As recent news tells us, it will. It already has.

Just as important for me as the logo designer is to know where my customer sits in answer to these and other questions. Part of my process is to submit multiple, iterative powerpoints to my branding customers, each based upon previous decisions. I start out with typography simply because in the end whatever we do must be legible. If I can show my customer how type alters the conversation with their customers, how legibility improves immediacy and how narrow or bold or individualistic a letterform is, how it’s drawn, the personality of the letters, sometimes even beneath conscious thought,  become part of the exchange. Once we have something to look at, you’d be surprised how a lot of this just tumbles out.

Along the way my questions about how to image a company’s identity becomes clearer. Sometimes a type solution is the only one that fits. Sometimes if we can just stand back and let the typography speak, it will.

I (in this case we) do.