Back to Basics (logo discussion part IV)

Simplicity. The best ideas usually end up that way for me.

This is the (proposed) new, simpler ALT Lab “logo” (or wordmark, more appropriately) for the redesign of the ALT Lab site.

alt lab logo



A Google font named Oswald.

There is a bit of customization with spacing and sizing going on ( font-weight: 700; font-size: 12em; letter-spacing: 0.2px; line-height: 0.9; ) to make it what it is you see here (See? It’s not totally generic!). And of course the call-out comment bubble survived, which I’m happy about.*

The new addition to the logo are the “flat-to-wavy” lines behind it. Are they part of the logo? Yeah, they are. Those subtlety transforming lines are for me and my intent the “show” portion of the “tell” – the “tell” being the words below spelling out ‘Academic Learning Transformation Lab’. I can’t really have the transforming lines without the text to give them meaning, buuut since I do, I think it works. 😉

Next up:  The full redesign of the site home page reveal…!

*(HINT: That single pixel line art plays into a larger graphic style on the redesigned home page, but that’s for a later discussion and unveiling.)

More logo than logo (ALT logo Tres)

Hello there! I haven’t mentioned anything about the logo saga (or anything at all) in a post for about a week, so I’m here to change that.

One thing about me and logos: is it usually takes many iterations of a design for me to feel happy with it. I like to think I’ll hit a homerun my first at bat, but that’s rare, like .000001 rare (It has happened, though! I’m think of you ™ Certified!).

This project is proving about the same. Some good ideas, some bad ones, maybe a really good one. I’ll let you look at my path of exploration:


Globe logo of Alt LabI liked where this started, but it wasn’t really anything special and a bit generic. Anything could go on a geo-sphere earth…






Now this was unique. Going off the original logo design that played up the A-L-T into one design , I really like where this interpretation of that went. But, it was a bit abstract and maybe a bit too Scientific-y.

Back to the drawing board.





Hand gesture of a lowercase ‘a’… Just exploring here. I’m not sure if this gesture offends anyone – maybe just me now after looking at it again.






Kinda fun. Maybe too fun.







Looking at simple sign design perhaps? Naaa…






Ahh! Now this I like! This has potential! I like the angles. It’s strong. It’s tight. There’s some fun things happening with negative space that I can use (Happy Coincidence!). Do you see it?

Ooooh, good things.



Trying a different version of the above.

Not so much love here..





And then finally, I think this:

Taking that negative space and using it to my positive advantage. In that space, I immediately saw a comment balloon. That makes me think of a ‘conversation’. That’s us. Join us in a conversation about what we can do for you. Bingo. Lots of possibilities here.


Then I went for it with this:

 Maybe  a bit too far. 😉



ALT Logo Part 2

Ye Olde Pencil & Paper Notebooke

I mentioned doodling in my previous post. Welllllll, that last logo image wasn’t the actual first doodle of the proposed ALT Lab logo redesign. More often than not, I prefer to start with ye olde Pencil & Paper. This was that doodle page:

After I get a few ideas I like down on physical paper in my trusty crusty notebook, I’ll then pop over into Adobe Illustrator to see about getting them malleable in digital vector format. I’ve started using Sketch for wireframing and web building and like it a lot and it does have some capable vector control, so maybe I’ll be switching full time to it, but for now, AI is de facto because I know it like the back of my hand.

A fever dream is only a metaphor… Is only a meta…is only…
Waaaay too many unorganized layers. Do not follow.

In AI, I’ll attempt some inefficient organization of ideas in layers
and keep iterating ideas with the Pen tool. I’ll then go back to my book for more physical sketching. Eventually the ratio of my time spent leans more toward AI and there I usually stay for a while until the next fever dream of an idea strikes – then back to the good book again.

So after a bit of time, multiple ideas for a logo started to surface. Some ugly and some not so ugly.  I’ll show you examples of both later…

ALT Lab redesign process (aka ALT Logo) Part 1

Here’s simple proposition: How can our ALT Lab website better demonstrate what our department does for the VCU faculty? It sounds simple enough (especially when writing it down now as one sentence in a blog post), but it’s never ever really that simple.

The current incarnation of the site does most of what we say we want it to, but like a lot of things, it can be better. There are areas of the site that get too much visual emphasis in proportion to their relevance while others, too little. Essentially, it should have a better redistributed balance of those points.

Brainstorming what the site’s focus should be with Tom has helped start us in a good direction for the redesign. Two ideas surfaced that we think need to be at the forefront: 1. ALT Lab can build/teach/provide meaningful things faculty can use and 2. Show concrete examples of those things.

With the first, let’s point out 3 real-world, helpful things we can do for faculty: We can help free up your time (with efficiencies of process); We can help your students learn (using cool experiential models); and we can inspire you to innovate (professional growth possibilities). Now let’s show them examples of those things.

So I started by redesigning the existing logo…

Icon of the Alt lab Logo

You might think that was an odd place to start, but for me it was a way to get my creative juices flowing and to see if it might take me down a larger visual design path for the overall site.

It’s not that the current logo was bad; it was just a starting point.

So I began… doodling.

To be continued in Part 2…