Help with logo/direction of new logo

mystic's picture

Hi, I'm working on a new logo for service that we provide called BorderConnect. The service is still in its infancy really as most of the carriers using the service signed-on through our network of contacts and not through general advertising. What we have in terms of a clean design is not horrible-looking (www.borderconnect.com), but it lacks uniqueness and I think it's not really speaking to the target audience. There is no mark either. Needless to say, I want to improve the identity and look of the service as we extend outside the technology enthusiasts.

So what is the service about? Well, the service allows carriers in Canada and the United States to visualize their border activity so that they can react to problems at the border beforehand when shipments are not properly documented or when other problems occur. Traditionally, the exporter/importor/broker knows when there is a problem but the carriers don't, so they often have to go to a customs compound which delays shipments for a few hours. Sometimes they get put into bond (not just for these reasons, but others), which can last days, weeks or months. The software cannot 100% prevent carriers from going into bond or into a compound, but it can reduce it effectively. I want to get this across if I can.

Since BorderConnect records all the border activity for a carrier, it is broker-agnostic. This means that they no longer have to spend time and money making phone calls to brokers to see if their shipments are properly released.

Lastly, BorderConnect can help with audits because sometimes a shipment comes under dispute and if you cannot proof of release the company make take large penalties which basically act as very large financial fines (4 and 5 digits).

I've tried really hard to come up with some ideas to desribe this brand but I'm having trouble. Since the product is for carriers, I want to let them know that. Note that I don't mean drivers because they have no authority to make the purchase. I've found that only operations directors or even the evp/vps/etc. typically sign on to our system, not the dispatcher managers or drivers. So, it needs to appeal to them while also letting them know the service is really meant to help the dispatch personnel and the drivers.

I also want to convey that BorderConnect allows a carrier to basically cross the border more reliably/predictably because they are now empowered to make decisions before the last minute with this real-time information.

I'm finding it hard to convey this brand though. It's hard not to use cliches like arrows which are very, very abused in this industry. I also want to avoid swooshes and the like obviously. I want to make something that is not trendy. I strive to make the mark/type reflect the qualities of the service and the name itself. I like it when logos have a logical purpose to them while being intuitive as well. I'm just not very skilled at doing that.

Here are some versions I have made myself. I'd feel very appreciative if anyone can critique them and help me focus on an idea that actually works. Please be very critical and let me know what you think. I'm just getting frustrated, not being a real designer or anything (just a software programmer).

mystic's picture

Hrmm.. my last image didn't post properly. I'll try again:



dan's picture

Expiditing is a poor word. Try something more like "Smoothing your service". I don't like Enterprise either it implies risk.

I like the typeface of Border Connect and the color but I don't think you need a mark. Its already abstract and you don't need to add to the confussion.

mystic's picture

As you can see, I've tried to use lines or frames to communicate the word "border". There actually isn't a lot of well-known companies that have Border in it's name, but for us, it's rather fitting seeing as we can show a carrier's entire border status in real-time and keep a record of it for 20 years if necessary.

The first logo tried to make use of the blue on the site, but I realized that it looked kind of watered down and the greens stood out a lot better. I think a lot of companies don't really use these colours so they look pretty unique to me. Besides, a company that sort of competes with us is blue and when I think of maps and borders, I think of land which is brown and green. I happen to like green better. Early versions of the software that ran in test used orange and brown actually. While I can make good use of stylesheets, fonts and padding (I think anyway), it wasn't really working.

So, after I decided to go with greens I thought making a frame of a circle would work with the typeface and create a border. I used a series of connecting arrows to build the frame, which tries to emphasis the connecting-border. The arrow shows some direction, but it really doesn't suggest that your trucks can get through the border easily. It makes a "C", which also is one of the letters, but I think it looks like garbage and the "C" is pretty cliche so off to design #3.

In #3, I decided to move the letters closer-together. This made it look better because the logo wasn't so wide and it gave the feel that the letters "connected" better. I took this concept a little further and tried to illustrate that the letters were connecting as you can see with the 'o' and the first 'n' I only wanted to use straight lines because lines can resemble borders. I think it looks clean and has something going for it, but it's noticable from far away so it's pretty worthless seeing as this logo is being posted up on walls, billboards next to border locations across canada and the us possibly.

In #4, I went with the literal interpretation of a border and just added an arrow. This one looks like crap but it was just a thought.

#5 is pretty neat but isn't noticable enough. The O is like a frame or border in of itself and it illustrates the connecting theme. #6 tries to do the same thing with an actual logo.

#7 was just an experiment, something to connect the letters in an interesting way and create a mark in the type.

As for the tagline, please don't put too much stock into it because I haven't really thought about it. I just think I need something there to give the logo more of a rectangular look, otherwise the type just looks too wide.

dan's picture

You need a tagline to explain the service. Its not an afterthought, its as important as the name. I'm suprised you didn't try to get the word express or direct into either the tagline or name. A Thesaurus is a good thing.

speter's picture

For the tagline, how about something along the lines of "Your (own) express lane"? I agree that "expiditing your enterprise" is subobptimal for two reasons: 1) It's misspelled (expedite) 2) It sounds too buzzwordy.

dewitt's picture

Not a suggestion, but you misspelled "expediting."

I always liked Dax, the B especially.

And I agree that the tagline needs to be changed.

"Where Canada meets the US, we meet you"

"Don't let the border stop you"

"We help you get cross"

"We laugh in the face of the border authority--Ha"

"Your border, made to order"

"Step on through to the other side"

"We'll get your truck through, damn it"

"Cutting through the red tape"

"Making the red tape blue"

"One step over the borderline"

"Borders were made for crossing"

"We deal with the problems, you shouldn't have to"

"Cut your paperwork in half"

"Stop wasting time, start saving money"

"Got border will cross"

"Helping deliveries get delivered"

mystic's picture

I apoligize for the misspell; I was thinking about it's visual characteristics as opposed to what it was going to say.

I really want to avoid the word "express" though. I constantly see that word being used for logistics, transportation via air, road or train and many other trade companies - even credit cards (American Express). I think it's one of those words like "soft" at the end of software companies, or even more generic than that. In this industry though, people use company suffixes like "express", "global logistics", "logistics", "transportation", etc. way too much. Federal Express even realized how generic the words really are and went with something more unique: FedEx.

"Connect" can be kind of cliche too, like express, but it fits since carriers really aren't that connected to the border. They often cross blindly and find out if the shipment was not released when they arrive. This happens because they are working on assumptions and information from sources they cannot control. Our software tries to directly connect them with their border crossing activities rather than going through brokers over the phone. It also works in the literal sense since a major component of our software is called the Customs Internet Gateway, which is the connectivity module that sends and receives digital messages directly from Canada customs. That's why I think "direct" can be a very good word for a tagline and I'm very appreciative for this suggestion. I makes a lot of sense to me.

Does anything I've said help clarify what the service does?

mystic's picture

Wow, those were some nice suggestions DeWitt Brinson. I too am a big fan of the B in Dax. I tried a lot of fonts and kept switch back to Dax every time just for the B. I also really like how soft the C and the o read together while not being too round and bubbly.

Some of your taglines were very good. Actually, the one that says, "We'll get your truck through, damn it" was hilarious. I know this was not serious, but it made laugh out loud a bit and put a smile to my face. However, "Borders were made for crossing" is fantastic. I liked that one so much that I took out all the logos/marks and just kept the font with this tagline. Here it is:



I'm really liking this so far. Thanks so much for all of your input. This is making me feel a lot more confident that the this is going right direction after several days of being stumped. I guess I should have given that tagline more thought. That's why I develop software instead :-)

dan's picture

Ken, nice work. I'm not a big fan of letterspacing to make the type flush left and right. Try removing the letterspacing and tuck the tagline either under Border or Connect. You might warm-up the tagline add the word Because. Also look at the tagline in Sentence case.

mystic's picture

Thanks again for your suggestions. Here are some more tweaks with moving the tagline left and right of BorderConnect as well as changing some fonts and sizes a bit. I realize that when I scale the logo down, the tagline must still be legible. I worry that the old BureauGrotesqueOneOne font would not read well when scaled down on display.



I went with Dax again on the very last one. The thickness seems to be just right while the others are too-thin or too-thick, but I wanted to use a different font than Dax to make BorderConnect more unique. I'll try some other fonts and put up some more.

Thanks again for all your help.

mystic's picture

I played with the fonts a bit more and found a combination that is very legible at smaller sizes and still works when blown up. The font I used for the tagline was TheSans B SemiBold.

dewitt's picture

Ken

Glad I could help.

Although, I was hoping you'd chose "We laugh in the face of the Border Authority--HA."

To each his own.

Good luck.

dan's picture

Ken try Sentence case. Just Cap B on Because. Look at a script face for the tagline. BorderConnect (Formal) Because

mystic's picture

I know I tried the sentence case on the old fonts and never liked any of them, but I didn't try it with the new sans. When I get back to work tomorrow, I'll post up a sentence case dax, italic dax and sentence case with and without italics of the one I have now.

I usually stay away from italics though because it looks cheesy most of the time. I only use it to highlight a word or two within a phrase or sentence. That's where I've seen the best results myself anyway. When I think of italics, I think of those trucker and logistics logos where everything is in italics. Actually, I was just looking in a logistics magazine to try and deduce the marketing direction and culture of other compnaies and I came across this company: http://www.amerijet.com/ That logo looks like ****. Here is another one in the same magazine: http://www.averittexpress.com/. These guys have no sense of good marketing as they are watering down the meaning of their brands, declassifying their niches and generally look like poop. There are hundreds of these companies in the trade industry and have given italics a really bad name. In a way, not using italics would stand out more.

However, I'll be sure to try it just in case. I don't want to miss out on a positive change simply because I'm biased.

Thanks again Dan for your great comments.

mystic's picture

Oh, can I ask what a script font is? I'm not really sure what that is. My best guess is something like courier because it's often used for writing movie/television scripts, but I'm probably very wrong :-)

mystic's picture

Still looking through magazines it seems if I ever did put an ad in one, we'd stand out quite a bit. 9/10 companies use italics in the company name, tagline or both. If they don't, they use an arrow or a swoosh. I'm glad BorderConnect doesn't use any of these.

I also notice that delivering shipments "on time, every time" is a popular phrase that everyone copies off each-other. Most of them say they provide everything from e-commerce to warehousing to frieght forwarding to whatever. It's funny because if every company does everything, what's the point of letting people know? It seems that nobody is doing anything different. Well, there was this "Plan Bee" company that really had something neat going for it. DHL's ad was good too.

I know BorderConnect doesn't even compete in the slightest with any logistics company (not even the same thing in the slightest), but there really isn't much to look to with respect to people in the same industry other than maybe carriers and companies targeting the drivers themselves.

Anyway, looking forward to trying out those modifications and seeing how they look.

dewitt's picture

Ken

A script font is a cursive font. Really, it's an italic that connects the letters (the reverse is also true).

And while it's good to stand out. Those phrases everyone uses do need to be repeated. You don't want to have a potential customer think that a service isn't offered because it's not mentioned (they just don't have to be so clich

dan's picture

Ken at this point don't overthink your look. Your client provides a service to carriers and isn't visible to John Q Public. Its professional looking and makes it point. Just find a balance between the tagline and the name and your done, in my opion. Keep up the good work.

mystic's picture

Thanks Dan. I incorporated your suggestions into 4 more attempts. To me, the italics aren't working, but that could be from my dislike of italics when it comes to logos for this sort of industry. I do like the 'a' characters in the dax italic version though.

I still think I like TheSans version because it's different than the logo type. They are still similar but TheSans has the tips on the 'm' characters and so on.

I'm not sure I understand doing everything in sentence case. Since I'm legally blind, the capital letters look better to me because my odds of reading it are higher :-)



Let me know what you think.

mystic's picture

>>And while it's good to stand out. Those phrases everyone uses do need to be repeated. You don't want to have a potential customer think that a service isn't offered because it's not mentioned (they just don't have to be so clich

Syndicate content Syndicate content