When I started at ESS in January of 2008, one of the first projects that I took on was to give the ESS brand a facelift. The idea was throw out to numerous local designers as well as Oakley’s in-house design teams.
I live for this type of project. I love taking a holistic approach to creating a logo. Thinking about all the uses; advertisements, packaging, retail displays, stickers, websites etc. It’s almost like building a logo backwards. Thinking about the end usage first, and then reverse engineering it.
To me, the existing ESS logo has some issue with its shape, letter form and use of negative space within the letters. I also didn’t like the gradient. Maybe gradients will make comeback someday? But it was time for a update.
Now… I didn’t want to get too radical because this logo had to be used in product molds and scalable down to about an 1/8 of an inch. So the lettering had to be legible and clean. I also wanted to keep some homage to the old logo so that the brand didn’t look too far of course from it’s early days. This was a delicate operation. Too much and you look like Joan Collins – Too little and there is no impact from the re-brand.
The Direction from the ESS Marketing Director, Steve Dondero:
Essentially, ESS is looking for a “freshening up” of our logo as part of a larger brand revamp. We’ve only changed the logo once since it was created over 10 years ago, so we’re certainly due for an update.
Though it might be worth considering an entirely new direction for our logo, our first and top priority will be looking at simply working off the basic structure of our logo and improving it. We have years of equity built into this current shape, and more importantly, have a number of molds, pad prints, etc, that feature this general ESS logo shape. Thus, if we can manage to improve on this current logo to the point where it is effective and up-to-date, it will make for the easiest transition. Following is an analysis of our current logo, combined with some direction that will hopefully help you and your team get a solid feel for what our goals are:
- In taking our silver logo as the base point to work from (please reference the files transferred to you via Webcargo.net), there are a couple features of this logo that I think we can improve on:
- The gradient mesh highlights within the letters I think can be stronger. Our goal with this effect was to make the logo look like it was some sort of shiny, reflective metal. The problem is that depending on the print medium, it doesn’t always hold up (it sometimes washed out to almost all white) and the effect is lost. Is there a better way to get across our shine while adding some strength to it?
- The beveled edges (both on the outside of the letters and in-between them) could be stronger
- i. Our goal with this logo was to add depth to the letters and make them look 3-D. Is there a way to make this more effective?
- ii. As pertains to the bevels in-between the letters, it almost seems that our current effect complicates the overall look of the logo. Do you think we need these at all? Is there a better way to manage them?
- The shape of the letters themselves could be stronger
- i. Although I mentioned that the shape is where our equity lies, we can certainly consider minor modification here, as well as take a close look at the letters themselves, which in some cases are not necessarily consistent (the angles of the top right corner of each letter, for example, are not consistent, etc.).
- As relates to the “swoosh” (the wave-like element), we are trying to determine if we keep it and modify it, or if we abandon it altogether. Do you have any thoughts for whether or not is adds to our identity, and if there is perhaps another way that it might co-exist in a fashion that better integrates it with the ESS logo and makes it worth keeping?
- The last question pertains to the text that we write underneath the logo itself. Traditionally, we’ve always gone with our full company name (Eye Safety Systems, Inc.). In looking at where we are with our branding, we’re come to realize that we’re still known as just “ESS”, and that we are probably ready to move away from this “explanation” and integrate a more impactful message. We’re considering any of the following:
- High Adrenaline Eye Protection™
- High Adrenaline Eye Pro™
- High Adrenaline Eye Pro™ │ It’s All We Do
- Battlefield-Proven Eye Pro™ You Can Trust
- Go Ballistic!™
- EYE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. (all caps for better readability)
- www.esseyepro.com (in black and silver, like here, for helping spell out these extensions)
- Warfighter Tough Eye Pro™
Once we get a solid foundation, I think we can then look at the different variations that we’ll need, including:
- Primary, full-color, full-style version
- Animated .gif or flash logo for web use (something we can do later)
- Simple, 2-D logo (perhaps in B&W)
- Lens pad print / mold logo (if necessary)
Hopefully this makes sense enough to at least get you started!
EXPLORING THE LOGO:
Once we had the final letter-form, I went back to work refining the shape and playing around with textures for the background for the full color PSD versions of the logo. I always envisioned the 4-color version being used for web applications and the vector version becoming the primary logo. But we would up trying to make this logo our primary brand.
The overall feel of the final logo was a tough iron background/holding space to the refined futuristic fluid-like metallic ESS letter forms. I intentionally added a more yellow/magenta hue to the background element and made the ESS letters a little cooler with a tilt more towards the cyan side of the spectrum. I was hoping that this subtly would make the ESS lettering pop more online and in print.
To get feedback – I submitted the new ESS logo to the Brand New website. Overall, I think it was received quite well.