Logo design for Social Signal

posted by Geert Leyseele
26 March 2009

Social Signal is a web strategy company that helps business, non-profit and government clients use the latest web tools to engage their customers, supporters and the general public in crucial conversations.

The logo design brief

Design is a collaborative process between the designer and the client so the first stage of the process is always trying to understand the nature of the client's business. Social Signal is a web strategy company that helps business, non-profit and government clients use the latest web tools to engage their customers, supporters and the general public in crucial conversations.

We want the logo to evoke:
  • Our emphasis on both the human and the technological (we’re a tech company, but we’re a tech company whose expertise is understanding people)
  • Creativity, fun, artistic expression
  • A sense of innovation, intellect
  • Hopefulness for the future
Look and feel

We probably want a symbol and accompanying text treatment.

Research, thinking process, and sketches

Before we start anything else we do some research in books, web etc. Research is an essential part in the logo design process as this ensures that your logo will differ from competitors for example. We know about competitors because it is one of the questions we ask in our questionnaire. The next stage in this design process is where creativity comes into play and usually the most fun part, namely the sketching cycle. Veerle concentrated in this stage on the 'signal' part.

Social Signal logo sketches
Proposal 1

The people factor and wavy shape of a signal coming from the 2 i’s in the name as sort of antenna sending out a signal. The colors symbolize the diversity of people.

Social Signal logo 1
Proposal 2

Basically the same idea as logo 1, but a bit more abstract. People socializing, expressing the intersection of social media… The bigger cluster of dots could be the signal-to-noise expression, with the i being the ‘signal’ factor and the bigger dots the ‘noise’.

Social Signal logo 2
Proposal 3

Here I worked with the ‘signal’ idea like the initial logo, but with a typographical twist and dept effect.

Social Signal logo 3
Client feedback

Great work! We were so excited to see these, and have had a lively morning conferring with the team. All of us liked different aspects of each of the three designs, but we all agreed that version 1—the people-as-wave-form—was our favorite, and a very strong representation of both the social/community and tech/communications dimensions of our work.

We did have several thoughts about the current version, and some elements that we liked about the alternative options that we’d love to try incorporating. We’d love to see two or three takes on the first logo that could show some different possibilities.

Proposal 4

Before arriving at the final logo Veerle tried another comp but this time without the rainbow of colors.

Social Signal logo 4

Client liked proposal 4, but with the rainbow colors instead of the yellow-red range. This version was used as the basis for the final logo.

Final logo

However Veerle tweaked a few more things before it was finally approved. This is what Veerle did to get to the end point:

I’ve adjusted the colors a bit and went back to the rainbow colors. I think the yellow should stay in place because it creates the perfect contrast with the red. I had to create an extra bright red and an orange-red to make it work. So the green, blue violet stays as it is and there are more warm color variations or steps from red to yellow than there is from yellow to violet. I also tweaked the kerning of the letters a bit and altered the shape of the letter 'g' to achieve a perfect vertical aligning between the 'a' and the 'g' and the 'n' and the 'l'.

Social Signal final logo

What we did

Brand design and consulting


  1. 1 Michael Kumm Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 01.26 pm

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the creative process.

  2. 2 Fred Rivett Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 01.30 pm

    Fantastic job there Duoh. I personally love Proposal 3 but all 3 ideas are top notch.

  3. 3 Wayne Helpard Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02.43 pm

    Fantastic article.  I’ve been focusing myself on design and logo design lately and reading an article like yours really helps to bring it back down to earth.  Your process and thought pattern is simple and effective.

    Thanks, I appreciate it!

  4. 4 David Bolton Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02.54 pm

    Really liked proposal 3, but can see why client went for prop 4.

    Thanks for the insight into the process


  5. 5 Markeetoo Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02.58 pm

    Great job! Its nice to see the whole process. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6 Daus Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 03.21 pm

    I love proposal 2 though :)

  7. 7 Ancient Wrath Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 03.26 pm

    Proposal 3 was the best, even if I think it reads “Signal Social” instead of “Social Signal”. Also, I guess more cromatic options would have helped.

    Anyway, the logo chosen by the client was nice as well. Grats, good job!

  8. 8 Michael Parenteau Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 07.29 pm

    I really love looking at the process of brand identity proposals! I think it is really great to view the different concepts together because it supports the final design that much more with additional visual reference. I am kind of disappointed in the final result if the design is the logo that is currently on the site. It is a really great composition and concept… my issue is with the contrast in the “shared i”. The white and yellow/orangish color is a bit funny to my eye. Not sure if I am totally relaxed with that. That (IMHO) is the only thing. For whatever my critique is worth. But this is a great article… and again, I really like the design generally!

  9. 9 Manuel Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12.48 am

    wow!!!! Very very very good, is great to see how the design process evolves, I’m starting to do some design courses and this webpage is always very inspiring. Thanks! :)

  10. 10 MediaMarc Wed Apr 1, 2009 at 03.00 am

    That was brilliant seriously. The little people making up the atena and signal, well done!

  11. 11 Edmund Heaphy Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06.59 pm

    I’m sorry, but I feel this logo and website leave a lot to be desired.

    It’s clear that the dots/tops of the lowercase ‘I’s should be circular, yet the yellow square over the ‘I’ in the word ‘signal’ looks as if it is the dot to that ‘I’ itself. I hope, obviously that it is not meant to be the dot to the ‘I’.

    But then that begs the question, where is the dot to the second ‘I’? Fine, I understand that it was probably excluded, but the user is obviously going to look and try to visualise the dot. However, there is not enough space left between the bottom of ‘social’ and the top of ‘signal’ so the dot just can’t be imagined.

    Ok, I also get that maybe the mast of the signal tower is supposed to be one, and so are the two ‘I’s, but it just doesn’t work with the mix of colours and the yellow space which looks like it should dot the ‘I’.

    If it is all one, then why isn’t it all the same colour? Why didn’t you make it all red? I understand you may have reasons for this, and maybe because you thought the ‘I’s would get lost somehow which they might.

    There are just too many flaws in this concept, so I wouldn’t have gone ahead and developed it. Yes, it’s a likeable brand to the normal person when they see ‘the little people making up the antenna’, but it just isn’t top class in concept let alone execution.

    Proposal 2 is a different story, and I quite like it. The final logo doesn’t represent the quality that I would expect from duoh! and what you represent.

    Thanks for reading.


  12. 12 Veerle Pieters Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 01.33 pm

    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It’s much appreciated.

    Edmund Heaphy said:

    It’s clear that the dots/tops of the lowercase ‘I’s should be circular, yet the yellow square over the ‘I’ in the word ‘signal’ looks as if it is the dot to that ‘I’ itself. I hope, obviously that it is not meant to be the dot to the ‘I’.

    I appreciate your opinion. Let me clarify some of my design decisions to you.

    The i’s don’t have dots in my design, they represent people and that’s it. Your suggestion to make it 1 line would make SocialSignal unreadable in my opinion. People will read ‘Soc al S gnal’. I don’t think people will make the association of an ‘i’ if I would do this.

    If it is all one, then why isn’t it all the same colour? Why didn’t you make it all red?

    Making the logo entirely red for this design would take away most of the concept. The colors represents the ‘colorful’ mix of community people.

    Yes, it’s a likeable brand to the normal person

    You are right here, and so I believe it’s ‘mission accomplished’ since that was the target audience in the first place. The client is really pleased with this logo and in terms of style it really suits the company and its audience, way better than proposal two, which was actually a favorite of mine as well. The thing is, you don’t design for yourself, but for your client.

  13. 13 Edwin Khodabakchian Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 11.47 pm

    Great work. I really like the end result. I also love the fact that you are so open about the design process. You are definitely on the short list of people we will try to contact to design a logo for feedly.

  14. 14 Simon Davies Thu May 28, 2009 at 11.28 am

    Honestly, I think this article couldn’t be better, I am rater new to serious graphic design I will be going in to my second year of university in September and I cannot wait. When I have my next project I am definitely going to refer to your article/articles, your thought processes are clean and cleaver. Also I am going to be using the idea of presenting my logo in black, black and white and colour to show all options. Thank you for sharing your ideas and thought processes. I will be back to look at these again at some point in the future. My personal favorite is your second idea its simple and fresh. I think that the circles indicated the people and because some are overlapped this indicates the connection between the people.

  15. 15 Jackie Sat May 30, 2009 at 04.28 am

    One small comment - I love the final logo with the i’s as both signals and representing people, and the positioning of all of them creates a very neat wave or antenna effect. I see what the other person was saying about not having dotted the two i’s that are lined up in the words social signal.  Maybe you could dot the top i, and make it sort of transparent, as if it were moving up the vertical yellow bar to the top dot of that center i? Just an idea. I think that might resolve the issue of no dots over those main letter, but I wouldn’t worry about dotting the underneath i.

    Also, the second logo with the circles was a great concept too - I am wondering if you could apply the same rainbow colors to the word “social” in that one, and to the circles as well, and it would be another solid alternative similar to the i logo in your final version, number 3.  I do like the concept of number 3 the best - I think it hits the nail on the head as to what it was supposed to do for the company’s image!

  16. 16 Sawant Shah Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 03.10 pm

    The concept is excellent for the logo. I liked both proposals 1 and 2, and then of course the final one. The way the symbols have been utilized at the top to give the appearance of people/community and signals is pretty creative!

    Thanks for the insight into the process.

  17. 17 shantesh gogi Sun Oct 4, 2009 at 11.42 am

    Very nice post..
    My methodologies of logo creation process is almost the same…but for some reason i get stuck when too many ideas struck you at same time..becomes difficult to decide which one is the best