Brand New: Room 34 Edition

I’m a big fan of the blog Brand New. I like seeing the “before and after” of various brand identities.

Lately I’ve been contemplating a brand refresh of my own. I’ve been mostly satisfied with the current Room 34 Creative Services logo. I really like the “rings” design element, the color palette, and, even though it’s overused, the Avenir font:

But there are some things I don’t like about the logo. I’ve been getting a little tired of the colors (even though I like them); I’m increasingly regretting including the “.com” (even though I like the fact that my logo is my web address); and I don’t like the redundant “Room 34.” Plus, Avenir is overused.

So, today I took a first stab at a new identity. It has a new color palette, using one of my favorite colors, reddish-orange (or vermillion if you prefer a more poetic name for it), it eliminates the redundant text, and it switches to another of my favorite, but much less common, fonts: Proxima Nova:

I’m not 100% committed to this change yet; rebranding is a big undertaking, even for a business as small as mine. Switching to this new logo will require redesigning my website, my letterhead and my business cards. But I like the direction. I especially like the letterforms (or, I guess, numeralforms) of the “3” and “4” in Proxima Nova Black. So nice. The new logo is also more compact and scales down better than the old.

Update: Based on JW’s excellent recommendations (and a few observations of my own) I’ve made a few adjustments: 1) improved spacing between the “o’s” in “room”; 2) resized the rings slightly for better lockup with the text — the top of the “4” ring group is now aligned with the top of the letters in “room”; 3) slight change to the color in “CREATIVE SERVICES” so it is more readable on either a light or dark background.

Here’s the new version, on both white and black:

New Room 34 logo, revised
New Room 34 logo, revised

Incremental redesign

If you are the a regular reader of this blog, you may notice things look slightly different than they did before. The light blue striped background behind the right sidebar is gone; there’s navigation at the top; the left sidebar on the featured item on the home page has now become a standard element of all of the posts and, hey, the home page is now back to a standard one-post-after-another blog layout. Also, the sidebar widgets are different, and if you scroll waaaaaay down to the bottom, that’s different too. But since you’ve never bothered to do that before now, you probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

Incremental redesign seems to be more common with websites these days than the biannual complete overhaul we’ve grown accustomed to from sites large and small over the years. Why? Perhaps it’s a sign of maturity (of the designs, not the designers): designs stabilize over time as they’re refined based on user feedback. Perhaps it’s inertia: sites are so much more complex these days that, despite the benefits of semantic HTML and CSS, it can still be a massive undertaking to redesign a website from the ground up. And perhaps it’s strategic: designers have an idea where they’re going, but it can be jarring to users to have the proverbial rug pulled out from under them with abrupt and large-scale changes to a site’s design.

So, which is it in my case? Honestly, it’s probably a combination of all three. Anyway, I hope you like the refinements, and if not, feel free to let me have it in the comment section!