Oh hi, Kyle here. I’m one of the designers at Compose, and the guy responsible for our recent logo refresh. You can see it up there in the top left corner of your browser. Let’s call it “Compose Logo 1.5”, because it’s a cleanup of what was already there, more or less.
The biggest change, which you can quickly surmise from the comparison image above, is the typeface. We went from Archer, an interesting slab serif, to a slightly modified version of Proxima Nova, the same geometric sans you’ll find throughout our site. You’ll also notice our tetromino has been given more detail and depth.
Nothing too crazy, but certainly an improvement.
Most people would look at our old logo and consider it fine as-is. And those people, good reader, are not designers. Just as developers enjoy refactoring code, designers enjoy refining design. Unfortunately for most, client opinions, budget constraints, or lack of time often prevent that from happening.
Not so at Compose. We get to choose our own projects and set our own deadlines. Which, to be completely honest, is the sexiest proposition you can offer someone pushing pixels for a living. And on this particular project, I set out to improve a crucial part of our identity.
Up to this point, several Composers had requested a new typeface to replace Archer, and I agreed that it needed some love. But considering the original logo design was a tedious democratic process that took weeks, I went about this new job Cloak and Dagger style.
That is to say, I didn’t tell anyone. I worked on the logo between active projects, and once I was satisfied, I pushed it into production on a Friday. A risky move? Sure, but I believe Grace Hopper put it best…
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
– Grace Hopper
Sage advice. The following Monday I got pinged on Slack for a job well done. Everyone loved it. We left it on the site and immediately began folding it into our social media channels and collateral.
A Wild Hare
So why am I telling you all this? Because something like this never happens. This is a designer’s Cinderella story. The best case scenario that’s only talked about longingly, and is rarely (if ever) experienced. The acts to this drama are:
- You want to change something.
- You do it.
- You get a pat on the back.
No discovery. No client brief. No meetings to schedule more meetings. Just the pure, unadulterated joy of creation. I chased my wild hare and caught it.
Let’s Talk About Trust
At any other company I’d probably be reprimanded for such a cowboy move. I’d be told to revert my changes, and there would be a meeting to determine the appropriate level of discipline. At Compose? “Good job, Kyle!” I smile just thinking about it. And how could I get away with something like this? Trust.
“What is the point of hiring smart people, we asked, if you don’t empower them to fix what’s broken?”
– Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.
Every Composer is a meticulous craftsperson, and is given the freedom to improve and explore our product(s) from Day One. I trust our infrastructure team to architect the best product possible. They trust our marketing team to pluck our name from the ether and place it firmly in peoples’ vernacular. And they trust me to design and build the hell out of everything that hits my desk.
This kind of culture – one of complete trust in each other’s abilities – isn’t wholly unique. We steal generously from Github, Pixar, and any other company that believes you should hire talented people and get out of their way.
Our founders realized early on that granting freedom results in creativity, loyalty, fellowship, and a product built with care. And once you’ve worked for a company that follows this philosophy, rarely will you find yourself wanting. Or able to work for anyone else who doesn’t.
So yeah, we have a new logo. It’s marginally better than our old one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it. Here’s a cookie.
Photo Source: Kyle Foster