How the Code Amplifer logo was born

I now have the final version of the Code Amplifier logo. You can see it at the top of the page. Beautiful isn’t it?

I need to give a huge thank you to Adam Sullivan the super-talented graphic designer who created the logo for me.  He’s an enormously talented man. You can tell because he’s always too busy to take on any new work, but still he very kindly did the logo on the side for me. Check out his t-shirt work over at MySoti too.

Choosing a company name and logo is difficult, but it’s a fun kind of difficult. It’s so fun in fact that you have to be very careful not to spend too much time choosing the name and end up like a 14 year guitarist spending the whole time choosing a band name and forgetting to learn how to play guitar.

Of course these days it’s not really about picking the company name, it’s about picking the URL. I spent hours and many pounds on random spur of the moment domain names. All of which turn out to be a little rubbish in one way or another.

But, somewhere the word “Amplifier” got into my head and I liked it, because the idea was to make tools that would amplify productivity. Productivity Amplifier was out for being a ridiculous mouthful. For a while I thought Creativity Amplifier or Creative Amplifier, but then someone pointed out there there was a company called Creative, and they make amplifiers. In the end Code Amplifier seemed to work, the domain was available and I had to make a decision or remain nameless forever.

This is how the logo progressed from sketches in my notebook to Adam’s final version:

Sketches

Logo Sketches

Logo Sketches

The original sketches show that when I try and draw a guitar amplifier it looks like a washing machine. I briefly thought about electrical circuit amplifiers. The round circle designs were meant to be guitar amplifier knobs. They go up to 11, sort of thing. I even threw in some binary, because that’s what “code” is, isn’t it?

First Attempt

Code Amplifier first draft

My first attempt.

Unbelievably, I was actually considering using this as the logo for a while. Who needs a designer I thought? Well, now that I’ve got a properly designed logo, I can see the difference. This one looks completely amateurish by comparison. This is the version I showed to Adam, and despite my bad skillz there was something in this one. The graphic equalizer motif and a monospace font both remained in the final version.

Professional First Draft

Adam's first draft

Adam's first draft

Adam’s first draft was great. The first thing he had done was take the aspect ratio of the logo and make it square. I’d tried to make mine the golden ratio so that it would be visually appealing. However, square is better: it will look appealing contained in most aspect ratios – e.g. banners, business cards and it will fit into icons – favicon, app icon – more easily.

Next he’d separated the text and the logo, I knew this was “bad” when I did it in my draft, but I figured that I could still remove the text and have a recognisable logo. Now the text and logo are both distinct units, each of which can be used separately.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the typeface he’d created though. I was mostly concerned that it would be tricky to get it to work at low resolutions. I didn’t want to faff around when I was resizing the logo so we talked about getting a more traditional typeface.

Second Draft

Second Draft

The first set of re-workings

To allay my worries about resolution issues Adam put together a set of different versions but none of these really did it. The font just wasn’t working. So we decided to have a go with some more traditional fonts.

Third and Final Version

Code Amplifier v3

Re-worked with more traditional fonts

This was the final re-working. I was really happy with this set, and by this stage I didn’t want to take up much more of the time that Adam had kindly donated. I could umm and ah about fonts for a long time but the second one down suited me, besides it was nearly time for me to leave my job and I really wanted to get the blog up before my last day so that I could give everyone a link so they could follow me.

I gave Adam the green light and he tidied it up and gave me the final versions, including a black and white version for print or for using against a light background. You can see the final colour version in the title bar of the blog. I had showed Adam the first draft on the 21st July, there were around 20 emails back and forth and the final version dropped in my inbox on the 21st September.

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