Student Showcase

We will begin today’s class by sharing your Final Logo Design. This is an opportunity to receive feedback before the assignment deadline at midnight. If your work is not ready to share, that’s okay.

System Dynamics Slideshow

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Features of a Complete Identity System

Identity design must be fluid. When the logo is complete, many more elements need to be created to make the logo truly usable in a variety of applications. An identity system needs to be designed that will be dynamic enough to allow for the ever-changing needs of the client. Therefore it is essential that designers create logos with flexibility in mind.

Consistency of Concept

It is important that the identity system functions as a cohesive group of visual and verbal elements that serve to continually communicate the client to its target audience(s). Consistency is central to effective branding. This does not preclude creativity. An identity system will fail if it is predictable and lifeless. Power, clarity, and freshness must accompany consistency.

Clarity of Message

The role of the identity system is to provide a visible and obvious shorthand that supports the intended image of the client. To achieve this, every graphic element within the identity system must clearly support the logo.

Accommodating to the Client

When the system is developed, the designer must understand who will use it and how they will use it. With this information, the designer will be able to create a system that is graphically appropriate, and capable of both accommodating the requirements and reflecting the personality of the client.

Flexibility for Users

The identity system must allow for an individual user’s own modifications. As much as the original designer may not wish it, other creatives will use the identity system. Plan for enough variables in the system to keep the identity fresh.

Kit of Parts

What is a kit of parts? Quite simply, it is all the core aspects of a complete identity design program. All these elements must be thought through and carefully determined:

Logo & Variations
  • What is the mark or signature? (e.g. icon only, icon + type)
  • Are there variations? (e.g. horizontal, vertical)
  • What changes can be made to vary size? (e.g. redrawn for large-scale use)
  • What happens to the logo in various media? (e.g. thicker line weights for TV use)
  • How are brand extensions handled? (e.g. a product logo)
  • How does the logo work with other related logos? (e.g. trademark icon)
Color Palette
  • What is the primary color or color combination for the logo?
  • Are there acceptable alternative colors?
  • What about black and white usage? (e.g. for a newspaper ad)
  • Can the logo be reversed? Reversed out of a containing shape only?
  • What are the exact Pantone (PMS), CMYK, and RGB colors?
Containing Shape
  • Is the logo designed to be contained within a particular shape? Always? Or only in specific circumstances?
  • If so, what shape?
  • Does the shape ever change?
  • Does the shape contain anything other than the logo?
Typography Selection
  • What is the primary typeface?
  • Are there secondary fonts?
  • Does the client need a range of weights? Italics too?
  • What changes need to be made to the type selections in order to accommodate different media? (e.g. is the primary typeface a default font for web use, or does an alternative need to be specified?)
Taglines and Modifying Copy
  • What is the primary tagline?
  • Is there a secondary or alternate tagline?
  • What typeface should these be set in?
  • What is the size ratio of logo to tagline?
  • Are there any other modifying copy or symbols required? (e.g. copyright symbol)
  • Are there any legal lines or other mandatory copy which must be incorporated?
Imagery Specifications
  • Are images, photographs, and/or illustrations are considered to be part of the identity concept?
  • Is so, how are they used?
  • When are they used?
  • In what size ratio and proximity to the logo?
  • Is there an image library? Where does it exist? How is it accessed?
  • What if additional images are required in the future?
Sound Signature
  • Will the identity will be used in broadcast or web environments?
  • If so, is there a musical or tonal signature? (e.g. Intel’s chimes)
  • When and how will sound elements be used?
  • Will there be music? If so, what kind?
  • Will the identity will appear in other media besides print, especially broadcast or web environments?
  • If so, will it be animated?
  • How will the logo behave when it is in motion? How does it move?
  • How does it react with other visual and audio elements?
  • When and how will the animated version of the logo be used?

Kit of Parts Examples

See slideshow for images.

Hotel 71

Hotel 71 is a 450-room boutique hotel in Chicago. Their identity system is fresh, fun, savvy and inviting. The designers were charged with reinventing the way travelers perceive the hotel experience.

At the heart of the assignment was the creation of a brand image that would appeal to people looking for more than a bland, predictable lodging experience. The logo needed to be anything but predictable as well. In addition, the identity needed to work when applied to everything from the hotel’s website to guest room incentive items to marketing materials to staff uniforms.

The Hotel 17 logo consists of a solid square of color, in one of twelve approved colors, with the numeral “71,” in one of the twelve approved typefaces, reversed out of it. The various combinations of typography and block colors can convey a wide range of tones and messages—some serious, some more playful. This variety of colors allows any creative user working with the Hotel 71 system the ability to implement their own individual expression, as well as maintain consistent branding.

Segura, Inc.

Segura, Inc. is an innovative design and advertising firm that needed to convey their own unique brand of creativity. The designers created a lush identity system, which has a heavy emphasis on photographic-based image patterns. These patterns appear on the backs of all corporate business materials required by the firm, while the logo itself is treated as a small, subtle visual element.

The Segura, Inc. identity system has an unusual, eclectic feeling that captures the brand image the firm wishes to convey. There is a visual reference to printers’ “make-ready” test sheets that offset lithographers run through their press to set the machine and prepare for a print job. Being your own client is a huge challenge for many designers, but Segura, Inc. was able to successfully rise to the occasion.

(They have since changed their logo and identity system.)


Located in Los Angeles, OK is a retail shop specializing in modern furnishings. The store is known for offering well-designed, and in some cases, rare, objects for home and personal use.

The identity system is a collection of logos and text that are designed to work together as interchangeable elements rather than as fixed graphic images. This collection of idiosyncratic choices allows a variety of interpretations of the OK brand, which results in a fluid identity. The letterforms are innovative, clean and modern. Bursts and bars also work with the letterforms to create unique and interesting patterns.

OK is a variable identity system with a large range of approved logo and typographic treatments.

Studio 1200

Studio 1200, an architectural design firm, wanted a visual communication program that would accurately reflect their team’s versatility and personal, collaborative style. Mattson Creative worked with the firm’s principals to develop their vision of a vibrant and dynamic new brand.

A conglomeration of multiple architectural elements to comprise a single logo was an exciting concept. The designer got really interested in the idea that the logo could rearrange into different configurations using the same kit of parts.

The designer used these variations on different applications, so the logo is never exactly the same. On the website, the transitions are animated and you can see the pieces disassemble and then come back together to form a new version of the logo.