market what’s


The city burst element located on the left side of the CBD Marketing logo and the agency website.
May 5, 2016
Q&A: Tackling the Logo Evolution Process
Zhana Veleska

At CBD Marketing, we approach every project with a strategic focus, no matter how large or small the client. A perfect example was a request from the Publicity Club of Chicago—the nation’s largest independent public relations membership organization. They wanted a logo evolution to celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2016.

The logo evolution process starts with research.

CBD Associate Creative Director Don Harder explains how he tackled this pro-bono project:


What is your initial approach for a logo assignment?
As we do with all logos, we do some research about the company or brand to understand its place in the universe. Then sketching. Lots and lots of sketching. On paper. I usually have a search window open, Wikipedia and my headphones on. These are my best buds when doing logos.


What aspect(s) of the PCC assignment stood out to you at first?
The history. Knowing they have been around for 75 years really impressed me. That meant we really had to honor that heritage and celebrate this milestone but not change who they are.


Where did your research take you and how did that affect your approach and design?
In this particular case we looked at the number of years PCC has been around. So that gave us a heritage bucket (among others). We then looked at inspiration from that time period including design trends and typography. We knew we wanted to evolve the existing logo (below), not change them completely.

The Publicity Club of Chicago's former brand logo, which was redesigned by CBD Marketing as part of a pro bono project.

Designing a logo is a long, intensive process.

What logo options did you develop and why?

During sketching we naturally find trends in our work and we put then in buckets. We then gut check those buckets against the assignment. We look to evolve near in – close to what it is currently and something that we know the clients would be familiar with – and then we push it out even further. We enjoy exploring ranges. Ultimately not all make it. We had five buckets and more than 100 sketches.


Why do you think this logo was chosen?
The new logo we designed (below) looks the part. This particular logo was designed to look like it was done in the 1940s but with sharper lines, not a hand-drawn look.

The Publicity Club of Chicago's current brand logo, which was created by CBD Marketing as part of a pro bono project.

The choice is ultimately up to the client.

Was it your favorite and does your “pick” usually get selected by the client?
The million-dollar question. This is the one I personally gravitated to. However we never present anything we wouldn’t be proud of. We joke that if you show something you hate a client might pick it. Or we say, “Do you want to work with this logo for the next 10 years?”
Clients love to ask for our recommendation. That’s usually a group discussion before we present. We will recommend the logo that will serve the client and its brand best. All of the logos we present will do the job, but which one works best? That’s how we choose.

Inside tip: if you get a wishy-washy answer to a question about which logo is best, you can usually tell in how they are presented. It’s hard for designers to hide their enthusiasm. I do this all the time.

Are you looking for help evolving or developing a logo for your company? CBD can help. Contact us out today!