I was given the challenge to design an abstract logo for an imaginary online educational resource called enlightenment.org. (Not to be confused with the real enlightenment.org) In fact, I was allowed to choose which challenge I would take. I chose it for two reasons: 1) it is an online business, and 2) it has a long name. The first reason is a matter of relevance seeing as I design and build websites for a living. The second reason is also a matter of relevance. Domain names tend to be long, making them hard to design logos for. I stood to gain a lot of experience and insight from this project.
The first step was to gather ideas. The final result was to be abstract but it is not just a matter of building some unique shape. An abstract image is an abstraction and needs an image to derive itself from. I worked through the obvious ideas: things like light bulbs, lamps, and sunrises. I saw some potential in light bulb filaments and found a plethora of different styles to choose from. I looked for inspiration in Eastern religions and in the Age of Enlightenment. Many of these ideas were soon abandoned. I finally settled on an image of a pull-chain from a desk lamp.
Choosing a Typeface
The next step was to choose a typeface. As I did so, I became very particular about the shape of the lower-case “e” and “g.” I wanted the viewer’s eye to slide smoothly across the wordmark without interruption. The crossbar on the “e” and the ear of the “g” needed to be completely horizontal so that they would point to the next letter. The stroke weight and axis angle were also considered. I was impressed with the shape of the lowercase “e” in the typeface I chose. I began experimenting with it and left the pull-chain idea on the shelf. The experimentation led to the following design in which a spotlight highlights the letter at the beginning of the wordmark.
I had finished the logo but was encouraged to render the pull-chain idea as well. I did and produced the results below.