Logo Design Case Study: 5G
Logo design is a key consideration for any business, for their online and offline activities. A good graphic designer can create a logo that makes a company instantly recognisable, giving it a key visual advantage. Vital in this digital world.
Think about the companies that don’t need words to identify who they are and what they do, or stand for… Just a simple image, or a combination of colours can make you think of their brand, or product. For example…
You know them all, right?
Designing a logo is a huge responsibility. Branding can make, or break a product, company or individual. The importance of a logo isn’t just about how it looks; there’s a whole message to be conveyed in that one image.
For a designer to combine everything that encapsulates the identity, character, ethos and message of a brand takes a lot of work – even for what can appear to be the simplest of logos… The idea is, of course, to make the brand recognisable and appealing, but the psychology behind colours, shapes and fonts are heavily in play too.
Branding a new concept comes with added weight. For these projects, additional research, analysis and testing must be done to bring the final design to life. So, yes, logo design is serious business. In this case study, we outline the process used with our client 3GPP, to create the logo for the impending 5G service.
The Client: 3GPP is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project; it’s a combination of seven organisations that are responsible for developing and governing network standards for data transmission.
The project provides complete system specifications for cellular telecommunications network technologies. This includes radio access, the core transport network, as well as service capabilities, security and quality of service.
3GPP had already worked successfully with us on previous projects, including logo design, website development and publications, such as brochures. Obviously, this was of mutual benefit. For 3GPP, having an existing relationship with MXMG meant they were confident in knowing we could deliver what they wanted. In addition, we already had a good understanding of the company and its existing brand, (the MXMG design team had created their main company logo).
The Project: 5G stands for fifth generation and is the next big development standard in mobile wireless technology. 5G will have a big impact on the communications industry, for both the companies that develop the technology and consumers who use it.
5G is expected to be significantly faster than current 4G technology and have a huge impact on smartphone and mobile app development. Whilst 5G is still in the development phase, many companies are already planning and developing 5G products.
We were given a clear brief by 3GPP, which set out their aims for the new 5G logo. They wanted to demonstrate stability, but to also to have design paths that might be more abstract or different to their existing LTE logo, which used Arial font and a radio waves illustration.
The following key points were included in 3GPP’s internal decision-making process:
All work must be original, for the client’s use and to the international standards required to protect the logo as the official trademark of 5G.
Around 15 sketches to be produced, covering the following themes:
- 5G as a term, pictorial element or shape.
- Another image or shape that is easily recognizable as 5G.
- An abstract shape or symbol to convey 5G.
Colours that are identified with 3GPP should be considered, with some evolution:
- LTE-Advanced Pro colour scheme.
- 3GPP logo black/red.
The style of logo should reflect the following preferences:
- Classic or Modern, Abstract or Literal, Geometric or Organic.
- Mature not Youthful, Sophisticated not Playful, Economical/green rather than Luxurious.
We had already designed the LTE logos for 3GPP, taking this design through various stages to the eventual LTE-Advanced Pro design. This series of logos was used throughout the industry to signify 4G standard and as the technology advanced, the logo evolved to reflect this. As per the outline from 3GPP, this was the colour palette our designers used for the new 5G logo.
From the brief and subsequent discussions, we approached the project with an understanding that it was important to 3GPP that we keep a familiar design aspect. We would use the same plain black text and textured waves – but make the logo stronger and sharper – conveying the new radio and next generation core specifications for 5G.
We used dafont.com to find alternative typefaces and tested them alongside the wave design. In the end though, we decided that a standard Helvetica Neue Heavy for the ‘5′ and Helvetica Neue Black for the ‘G’ gave the best visual appeal. Sometimes, it’s hard to beat the classics!
The process went through four phases and then there was the inevitable tweaking to refine the final design. All of the design development for this project was carried out in Photoshop, except for the final vector variations which we did with Adobe Illustrator.
Miles Essex, our Creative Director, began by adding to the briefing provided by 3GPP and considered the philosophy and wider impact required from the logo. This covers the bigger picture, including the goals and ambitions of the business, how 5G fits into the marketplace and the first-impressions, ideas and feelings that 3GPP want people to have when they see the logo.
Over a period of around two months, the design evolved from an initial set of rough sketches. The idea behind this was to try out some quick ideas for the wave device and combine it with a few font options to gauge the general effect.
For this first stage, we created around 50 different versions of the logo, in five different styles. These were narrowed down to two styles for the second stage and from these, we produced ten versions of each. Finally, we created a shortlist of ten versions of the chosen style and the final logo design was chosen from these.
The final choice of design included a new version of the wave pattern, created using the green of the LTE-Advanced Logo, as requested in the colour-palette direction from the client.
Throughout the project, MXMG worked closely with 3GPP to ensure they were involved with the process and on board with how the design was developing. The final design was agreed and announced to the media in February 2017.