With Fortune 500 companies, branding is an industry unto itself. For everything else, it is still wildly important, although it often falls in line with many of the other equally important tasks of marketing communication. The feeling your business or organization gives off will decide the public impression of you, and first impressions are a powerful tool.

When the Wharton School of Business contacted us to work on several websites for them, this also included the branding and creation of the logo art for their “Women at Work” online radio station. We initially provided them with a large array of options, including some ideas to reflect gender. You can see, from the gallery below, that we had less than a clear direction. Sometimes things are like that in the beginning.

As we worked through the comments from our client, we began to get a better understanding of what was important to them. For example, they disliked the idea of any feminine elements portraying them. Nothing to imply women in any way. So we moved to a different direction: movement. Moving forward and progressing. We created a symbolic “W” that felt fluid and progressive.

Unfortunately, the best ideas don’t always work out as the best, even if you spend a lot of time on them. There proved to be too many variables we couldn’t work out for the client here and the complication of the correct colors and angle of the swerve proved this attempt to be too much. There is always something to be learned when an idea or piece is rejected however. The concept of progress was still desired. Simple progress. So we dialed everything back and went back to refining one of our original attempts.

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Most of the time, this is enough. The rest of the task requires choosing colors, and with the appropriate knowledge on theory, this (although time consuming) is rather straightforward. There isn’t a need to rack your brain for the next inspiration or spend sleepless nights kerning your logotype properly. However, color can also be the most underestimated part of the project. Although you and your client finally agree on design, you most certainly won’t see eye to eye with them on color. Although color theory itself is a heavily researched field, people’s individual experiences and viewpoints provide insight that is perhaps otherwise unseen.

The final logo has several elements to it, making this task even more difficult. More often than not color is not something easily described or asked for. It is easier for a client to tell you that they don’t want something. For example, after quite a bit of trial and error, we learned to avoid as many instances of pink as possible. We’ve started narrowing it down into a subtle range but we’re not quite there yet.

Several months have passed since we began this project, but we’ve finally begun to hit the nail on the head. Everything we went through was an important step into understanding our client’s needs better so that we could create their optimum first impression. So tell us, what do you think? What’s your first impression of “Women at Work”?

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