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Case Study: Logo Design for a Women of Color Led Tech Company

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Lowercase “e” logo combined with an “i” in indigo with a drop shadow
Source: Envision Inclusion

Designing for a brand new company can be tough without understanding the types of services they provide and the types of clients they want to attract.

We had hoped that the launch of our new company in fall 2020 would come with a stunning new logo attached. Instead, it took collaborating with the co-founders and figuring out our collective identity to confidently design the Envision Inclusion team a logo that aptly showcases our value within the tech industry.

Evaluating our Current Logo

In order to launch, we needed a website which meant we needed something to use for a logo. Some pros of v1:

Old envision inclusion logo with inclusion highlighted in highlighter ink
Source: Envision Inclusion
  • A good option put together in Canva quickly. It required little time and research to design. We used Canva to generate a simple logo that didn’t push boundaries.
  • A good option put together in Canva quickly. It required little time and research to design. We used Canva to generate a simple logo that didn’t push boundaries.
  • Blends in well with our content. The minimal use of color in this logo meshes decently with our color palette. It clearly states our full company name, which is crucial for an early stage company that is not well known.
  • Clearly visible and legible when enlarged. Although harder to read it if it is shrunk down on mobile devices or a résumé for example.
  • Gets the point across. ‘Inclusion’ (which is what we are all about) is highlighted in the logo.

Goals for Logo Iteration V2

As time went on, I watched as the co-founders started to specialize and find their niche. It became clear that their area of expertise (and what made them happiest) was working with early-stage startups to diversify their recruitment pipelines and build inclusive team and hiring practices from day 1.

With that in mind, our current logo began to bother me. I made a list of goals detailing how our logo could better represent us.

Poodle dressed in a suit taking notes
Source: Giphy

What logo V2 should be able to do:

  • Gives the perception of expertise in tech recruiting for startups.
  • Signals a deep understanding of how tech companies operate and can be restructured.
  • Can scale down to be legible on LinkedIn, résumé, Google search, and mobile.
  • Doesn’t necessarily explain exactly what we do, yet helps clients identify the space EI is a part of (early stage tech startups) and is simple, unique, and memorable.
  • Prevents us from being seen as a charitable organization or a DEI nonprofit.

DEI Logo Research

Now it was time to dive into logo research. Quick tip: if a company ever asks you to design a logo, try searching for “your company name” and “logo” for fast inspiration. After browsing these results, it was clear that there was a pattern warranting further investigation.

Avoiding Imagery Related to Nonprofits

I researched illustrations and logos returned by searching “Envision Inclusion Logo” and similar key terms used by the co-founders to describe EI.

Collage of typical nonprofit logos
Some example logos found in Shutter Stock and the Envision Blog

I found myself scrolling through a never ending supply of eyeball logos, multi-racial stick figures holding hands, and plant people forming letters with their arms.

DEI companies are clearly associated with this type of imagery. Ideally, we can avoid being clumped together with nonprofit organizations. We want tech companies to know that we are deeply immersed in their industry to ensure they won’t be surprised by the price we charge.

Avoiding Nonprofit Logos

Our name is longer than the names of most tech companies. Many nonprofits have these types of long names.

Nonprofit logos with excessively long  names
Source: Advocacy.org

We are more likely to be mistaken for a nonprofit especially because we are a DEI company (a double whammy).

In most cases, companies involved in the tech space have more simplified logos and shorter names.

An Extreme Example

An extreme example of the type of logo we want to avoid is pictured here taken from the show “Insecure.” The main character of the show, Issa, works at a nonprofit called “We Got Y’all.”

Isa from the TV show “insecure” sporting the logo of her fictional nonprofit company
Source: We Got Y’all
T-shirt with a racially charged nonprofit logo
Source: Cocoa Tee

Rough Sketches

Early rough sketches of the various directions our logo could have gone.

Some ideas we explored included eyeballs that represent “envisioning,” plants and DNA strands symbolizing early stage startups, curly braces, and HTML tags.

Various rough sketches of a logo in blue on a sketchpad
Sketches of initial logo ideas from the Envision Blog

Plant Logo Exploration

Illustrations of a logo incorporating imagery of small plants and seeds.

This was an early logo suggestion — planting small seeds of diversity at early-stage companies and guiding them as they grow. Unfortunately, this would give off strong landscaping company vibes, or even worse, companies would assume we are an Olive Garden competitor.

Logo  sketches containing seeds, leaves, and eyeballs
Plant logo designs in Adobe illustrator from the Envision Blog

This all led us to our new logo:

Three versions of our new logo from the Envision Blog

Logo Comparison

I created a slide deck and presented the logo alongside logos of our clients and competitors.

I shared my research and insights. For example, pointing out that the “Racial Equity Institute” has a longer name and is clearly a nonprofit company. And, the logo for Project Include looks a bit like a circle of arms embracing. Project Include is also a nonprofit company. I wanted to convey that the new Envision logo stands out as a bit more modern and related to the tech space.

Comparison to DEI logos

Three versions of our logo centered  placed among other DEI nonprofit logos
Envision stands out in contrast to nonprofit mission driven companies. Source: Envision Blog

Comparison to Tech Logos

Three versions of our logo placed next to the logos of major tech companies
Envision can now be seen as part of the tech industry. Source: Envision Blog

Previewing the Logo Before Deployment

This was included in the presentation to showcase how the new logo would look once implemented.

Our logo superimposed over a Linkedin post and our company website
Super imposing the new logo over our LinkedIn account, Source: Linkedin

Outcomes

Launching the new logo yielded compliments on social media, an increase in engagement, as well as new companies requesting to work with us with messages mentioning the logo.

Engagement Metrics

  • Since the logo has launched, the average engagement time per web session has increased roughly threefold
  • Comparing the month the logo launched to the previous month, new user visits to our site have increased by 34%
  • Unique visits to our newsletter signup page increased by 8.7% on average compared to the previous month along with new signups.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey which led us to a new logo.

Looking forward to the future of Envision Inclusion and the next iteration of our logo! V3 here we come!


Case Study: Logo Design for a Women of Color Led Tech Company was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.