Hey guys and gals, I’m Mike Rundle and I head up the design of all things related to Business Logs and 9rules. You may know me from my personal weblog, phark.typepad.com, or maybe that negative text-indent image replacement technique. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s get down to business.
The new 9rules Network will be launching soon with two primary goals. The first goal is to provide readers with a variety of well written blogs on a wide range of topics all in one spot. The second goal is to provide writers of well written blogs a chance to reach a wider audience and potentially generate some revenue along the way. This community-like atmosphere is the main focus of 9rules — to have many different kinds of weblogs on completely different topics all brought together under one umbrella.
We’re currently working hard on the infrastructure that will support this new network, but my immediate role in this entire thing is to design, design, design. We’re not only launching a new website, but we’re re-launching the entire 9rules brand as well. Since weblogs are the driving force behind 9rules, and Whitespace readers are some of the most well-informed bloggers in the world, we think that some design collaboration should be in order.
Working the Metaphor
I see the 9rules network as a living, growing community of weblogs, and as such, I wanted the logo to represent something organic and changing. Weblogs are categorized based on topic, and then those categories make up the full network. This reminded me of leaves growing on branches, then branches making up the entire tree. So now that I’ve got my metaphor, it’s time to start thinking about what I want to do with the logo.
The brands that come to mind when I think of “organic” design are Apple’s iLife ’05, BP, Jon Hicks’ new logo, Adobe Creative Suite, and of course, Organic. Before starting this project, I’ve definitely seen all of these brands before and I’m sure they all weighed in on my creative process. I wanted a leaf-like logo, and to tie it into the domain, Paul thought I should have 9 integrated petals. So here’s what I came up with:
I haven’t even thought about the typography associated with the logomark yet (probably another entry!) so right now I just have the symbol. For smaller applications of the logo, as well as print work, the logo can be monochromatic and still have the organic look:
To be completely honest, this is the very first time I’ve opened Adobe Illustrator to produce something relevant. The Pen tool and I don’t get along, so I was pretty reluctant to produce an illustrated logomark. Just like with all my designs, I rock them out analog style to start. I drew some concepts on my trusty Miquelrius notebook that integrated ‘9’ and ‘r’ into a leaf design, but those just didn’t cut the mustard. I started working with the logo in Illustrator, and just like all design work, it evolved into something different than what I started with.
I used the curve tool to make each side of the leaf, then used the Pathfinder palette to connect the two (thanks Mike!) into a leaf-like shape. From that I just duplicated, rotated, and re-colored to make the shape you see there. It originally was going to be completely green, but I thought adding color would help with the rest of the site’s color scheme. Plus, the “budding into a flower” analogy worked with the overall strategy, so I went with it.
I started with some line drawings on paper with an idea in my head, and it turned into what you see above. Now that you know what went into the design, you can give some comments and suggestions. We’re all ears.
Editor’s Note: Mike will be traveling all day today (Monday) so I will try my best to answer any question until he gets to where he needs to get to.