A logo is “a graphic representation of a company’s identity”, but if done right it will have value far beyond simple recognition. A good logo should be distinctive, attractive, practical and most importantly, meaningful — which, not coincidentally I believe, are the qualities of a good company. When designing the logo for Amai it was critical to me that it had personal meaning and that I could look to it for inspiration. It is easy to loose focus while building a new company, and I wanted something I could turn to as a constant reminder of what matters. I also wanted everyone else, who may not know what Amai is about, to feel something when they saw it.
To begin our logo design process we had to identify what our company was about, and what inspired us personally. This was not easy to do when we barely had our concept down, but we worked with what we had. Kathryn and I want our company to be adventurous and have products that are interesting and innovative. We also want our creations to look beautiful and bring joy to anyone who comes in contact with them. When it came down to what personally inspires me, I thought of my favorite thing from when I was a kid, a hot air balloon. I spent my preschool years in Arizona where hot air balloons are always in the sky. Unless you’ve seen one overhead yourself it’s hard to imagine their beauty, but I always loved seeing the colorful designs in the sky. Of course, as a preschooler I couldn’t really articulate this love, and I would simply shout out “habaloon” when I saw one. (I even considered naming the company “habaloon” for a day or two, but thankfully I regained my sanity.) Hot air balloons also symbolize adventure, so I thought it might work for the logo.
To develop the logo we chose a great designer I have known for a long time through my work in web design, Trina. I met Trina at a coffee shop, told her about my love of hot air balloons, and then sent her on her way to create the perfect logo for Amai. I thought I could just let her work her design magic and something brilliant would come out. For the first design she certainly did create something beautiful, but for some reason it didn’t seem to fit what I had in mind for the company. I realized I hadn’t given her enough information about the company, and we spent more time reviewing inspirational products and images that we had collected over the last few months. She went away, revised the shape of the balloon, added a leaf element to represent the tea and natural ingredients used in our products, and developed a beautiful logo. We gave it the stamp of approval and thought we were done, until we began to look at packaging design.
Andrew, a wonderful graphic designer who also happened to design Lovescool, was working on a few packaging ideas for us and began developing patterns with our logo. He duplicated and rotated the original logo and created several new shapes from it to be used as part of the packaging design. The shapes were beautifully symmetrical and inherently interesting, and we realized each shape could work as a logo, not just part of a pattern. Andrew narrowed the shapes down to three favorites, and we evaluated each one to see if they better represented what Amai was about. Option 1 is our original logo, and Option 2 – 4 use the original logo in a new form.
In the end we decided to go bold, and picked a more complex design that made the impact we were looking for. Thanks to Trina and Andrew, and a better understanding between Kathryn and I about what Amai stands for, we now have a logo that I love and look to for inspiration. I hope one day someone will see it and instantly recognize it’s us, just like Nike or Starbucks.