I know right now it sort of seems like the Mowser logo is the simplest thing that I could have slapped on the site, but in actuality there was quite a lot of thought put into it… probably too much, actually. Over the past few months I agonized over exactly how I wanted the logo to feel and so everything about the logo is a conscious decision, and made with various goals in mind. Rather than design the logo so that it looked cool, I tried to figure out what I wanted from it and then went from there. Though I’m the first to say that good design is more than just a bullet list of attributes, I’m hoping that by focusing on the functionality of the logo that I’ve created a solid base for the future. I can image it may undergo a few tweaks as we go along, but I think as long as the original ideas stay intact it’ll have accomplished what I wanted.
Here’s the breakdown of my thought process and requirements (in case you’re interested in what an obsessive graphic designer wannabe does when he’s procrastinating while writing code):
I wanted a word mark. This is just a personal preference, but I think IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Kodak (the new one), Digg, Facebook (minus ‘that guy’) and FedEx are great logos to emulate (with the last being one of the all time great logos created due to the subtle inner arrow). I played with a million icon ideas - swooshes, loops, clouds, antennas, radio waves, dots, hands, stars, people, etc. and decided that with a non-word name as descriptive as Mowser (again, short for ‘mobile browser’) any iconic logo would really take away from the idea. And hell, again, I like wordmarks. :-)
So wait, if I didn’t want an icon, what’s with the icon above? Well, I needed a favicon, right? And I wanted to create something that bloggers and publishers could put on their pages like the standard Feed icon or the Digg logo to say to a reader, “for a mobilized version of this site using Mowser, click here.” So I made a simple, clean vector icon with the same m from the Mowser wordmark, and I think it looks okay.
I wanted a non-web 2.0 logo. It’s pretty easy to throw an Apple-esque reflection logo together, with see-through bubbly glass like fonts, etc. But if the idea of a logo is to be memorable and if every other logo out there is now using these once cool, but now cliched, design techniques, then going as far away from that stuff as possible is the better idea IMHO. This is also why I settled on Helvetica Bold as the font. It’s an Apple OS standard, used every day, generally boring and because of that, not used much in modern logos, which in theory, could make it actually stand out more. (That’s the theory anyway… then I see a more stylized word mark like Kyte and I go “oooh, I want that!”).
It had to look good on a t-shirt. Hey… I’m a geek, and I like t-shirts. I wanted the logo to be visible from across the room if it was splayed across the front like guy working for the ATF or FBI… You have to admit, you aren’t going to miss those guys.
It had to look good on a 2 inch screen. That’s the whole point of the company, obviously - so any logo with excessive detail would be stupid when reduced to 20pixels high max. Which leads back to the word-mark. By making the logo the word itself, I was able to make the logo extra large on the small screen, but not take up any more room than a more complex logo would. Yes - I’m all for white space, but no one has really figured out branding yet on a phone, so I’m going for big and loud design, Fischer Price style: big letters, bright colors, easy to use buttons.
It had to incorporate multiple colors. Several reasons for this - one is a bit of a nod to Apple… their once multi-colored logo now in various solid colors is really cool. But also Bango.com has put multiple colors on their site around their logo to really great effect as well and something I really liked when I first saw it. And Finally, Orange.co.uk seems to have a penchant for suing anyone in the mobile space that uses a solid color resembling their namesake, so even though I prefer the orange colored word mark in general (#FF6633), the idea is actually to have a set of brand colors which Mowser can use. Though I haven’t done much with them yet. You can see above though, that the addition of the colors helps the plain bold wordmark out quite a bit.
So that was the general thought process in making the logo. It’s missing something, I admit, but I think some day a good designer can come in and add that dash of je ne se quois and it’ll be just right. The idea of keeping the logo BIG is another design element that intrigues me… sort of going along the idea of making web sites made for big monitors fit on your mobile. So stationary and business cards would have the logo at the top, but in huge letters which are cut off so you can only see the bottom right bits of the letters… that sort of thing. Maybe that’s mid-90s design, but I kind of like the idea.
By all means, if you have an opinion about the logo (and who doesn’t really?) feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.