Logotober – Pai & Bee take on logos that make no design sense (to us)
It’s October 1, and you know what that means – it’s Inktober time! But, this time, instead of Pai doing her usual inking, we’re doing something a little twisted. We’re taking all the logos we ever looked at and went “huh” re-imagining them for ourselves. We’re giving them a little something-something with our distinctive illustrated style and our specific shiny brain logic.
‘Why’ you ask? Why ever not. This is our way of paying homage to brands we like. (And because their logos make no sense to us. Zero. No dice). Presenting – Logotober.
October 1: Colourpop
While this makeup brand is one of Pai‘s new favourites (because they really do deliver on the promise their name makes), she found the logo to be not at all representative of the vibrancy of the product itself. So for her re-imagination of the Coloupop logo, she used the same font as the original – but with some tweaking. She also added a literal pop of colour with a contrasting halftone to make it stand out – and the way she sees it, the colour could vary depending on the product line and use of the logo. Gold emboss? Done. Vibrant colours? Done. A subtle shade? Done. Let the logo reflect the name and all the joy the products bring.
October 2: Airbnb
Airbnb redefined travel. Literally. What does Airbnb mean? To Bee, it represents freedom. She can work from anywhere in the world without running up an exorbitant hotel bill. It is the freedom to live in gorgeous houses all over the world, if only for a few days. Immerse herself in someone else’s story. – freedom to travel without worrying that most of your budget is going into hotels, freedom to be, freedom to explore the world, freedom to explore homes.
While deeply entrenched in meaning (with their theme of ‘belong anywhere’), the current Airbnb logo doesn’t quite capture this sense of freedom, wonder, and mystery. Plus, it’s been the subject of some nutty controversies – phallic symbolism, anyone? So our version, a minimal illustration, is an ode to the traveller, standing on the doorstep of an Airbnb home, looking in with anticipation, excited for their stay to begin. It could be any house, anywhere in the world. Borders are just a manufactured construct. We all belong anywhere. Everywhere.
October 3: Nykaa
For Pai, Nykaa is all about learning the art of makeup and having a place where she can get anything on her wish list – whether cheap eyeliner to experiment with or the most high-end eyeshadow palettes. It’s about buying something easy and dispensable and working her way up to longer-lasting products while she hones her craft on her face. For her Nykaa logo re-imagination, Pai created a hand-drawn N logo mark that evokes the shared experience of an uphill battle – trying to get the perfect swipe of eyeliner. Globby and unsure and broken at first, gradually evolving into a smooth sweeping shape, steady and firm and strong, that culminates in a perfect winged point.
October 4: Bigbasket
Neither of us uses Bigbasket – but millions around the country do. The current logo (we think) is quite dull and doesn’t convey how much of a lifeline this brand is to many across the country who have access to it. Especially during the lockdowns last year. So we wanted to re-imagine this logo in a way that definitively communicates its purpose. And its value to middle-class Indian households. We decided we wanted to be quite literal for our re-imagining and thought of the most oversized and multipurpose basket ever – a picnic basket that holds everything you can think of (and then some).
October 5: Urban Company
We love the Urban Company app. We don’t like the Urban Company logo – a minimalist ‘UC’ in a box. The ‘UC’ could be anything. Undesirable Customer. Under Clothes. Use Case. Unit Cost. Upper Caste. Urgent Care. Umbrella Corporation. We could go on, but you get our drift. For a business made vibrant and wonderful by the thousands of professionals, contractors and service providers that make up its ranks, feels like a bit of a crime, no? So for our re-imagining we went where our hearts took us and designed them an illustrated logo of a young, confident person who radiates trust and competence. A far more compelling visual narrative for Urban Company than their current logo, wouldn’t you say?
October 6: Zoom
Over the last couple of years, also known as the never-ending Pandemic Time™️, Zoom, has become almost generic – much like Xerox. And their logo is also very generically, meh, probably because they weren’t expecting Pandemic Time™️ to disrupt their business and make them world-famous. The logo while simple and functional, implies a one-way interaction and without the word mark looks just like a LOT of other logos. So we decided to give Zoom a makeover that celebrates the many ways this app now dominates our lives. Endless WFH meetings, brunch with friends, Friday dinners with mum and dad, dates, weddings across the 7 seas, therapy, access for disabled people – there are so many millions of connections being made every day on Zoom. It’s this spirit of infinite connection that inspired our re-imagined Zoom logo while retaining the principles of simplicity that the original meant to. Our version centres on a stylised Z, curled into the shape of an infinity loop, making connections between people across different times and spaces. Just like the app does.
October 7: iD
Food fills stomachs. Satisfies hunger. Nourishes bodies. Feeds the soul. In a time when food poverty impacts roughly one-sixth of the world (India ranks 94th among 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index 2020), our conversations around food still devolve into artificial divisions of race, language, region, religion, caste or community. Today’s re-imagining is less logo and more call to action. And we couldn’t think of a more topical brand to illustrate our point than iD.
October 8: Wacom
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Wacom changed Pai’s life. She tried, at 12, to teach herself digital art. But it was only when she bought her first Wacom tablet (the most basic one available) at 23 that a whole new world opened up for her. Suddenly, she was fluidly translating everything in her head into her drawing software. Today her Wacom pen is an extension of her hand, her tablet her vast canvas. It’s always connected to her laptop – she still uses the same one she bought all those years ago. The Wacom logo hasn’t changed in years, influenced by trends in Japanese culture when it was designed, with the five colours meant to represent the five senses. Our re-imagining of the logo distills the essence of this philosophy into a simple wordmark on a black rectangular background (just like their tablets), with angular glyphs that evoke the nib of the pen. It’s easy, playful, and textured, almost like something quickly scrawled that becomes second nature – just like working with the Wacom tablet is for Pai.
October 9: Baskin Robbins
Back in the olden ages of 1993-94, when Baskin Robbins first opened stores in India, there lived an unrealistically tall, gangly Boy who managed the only Baskin Robbins store in Bee’s home town, village, whatever. He’d give Bee free ice cream in a waffle cone whenever she visited her sister, who had a summer job there. And Bee could never understand why. He was paying for it himself, after all. Until it was brought to her attention Boy was buttering her up with 31 flavours because he had a thing for her sister! End of free ice cream. Here’s the thing, though, those visits got Bee started on a love story entirely her own – a lifelong commitment to waffle cones. To this day, she prefers them over Baskin Robbins’ ice cream or pretty much any ice cream really. So for this week’s re-imagining, Pai very considerately sketched her a waffle cone logo, with the ice cream on the side, which is exactly where Baskin Robbins ice cream belongs.
October 10: Google Pay
GPay has been Pai’s go-to payments app for a while, but when they rolled out the new logo last year, it took her more than a few minutes to find the app on her phone. It was unrecognisable and didn’t relate to payments and money transfers in any way. It turns out she’s not the only one who thinks so – a lot of people are just as bewildered by this curling on itself shape which is meant to represent two interlocked wallets. It just doesn’t work for us though. So for our re-imagining of the GPay logo, we went straight to the most recognisable rubric for currency we know – the double line crossing a letterform down the middle and melded that into that into the most recognisable aspect of the Google brand. It’s slimmer than the weightier Google G, digital money folks, and painted in the iconic Google palette. G-money is right on the money, we think.
October 11: Pinterest
You’d be forgiven for thinking Pinterest had faded into the sunset given its much lower profile from its heydays when everyone scrambled to make everything in their living spaces ‘Pinterest worthy’. The Pinterest aesthetic is still very much a thing – string lights, brush lettering fonts, pastel pinks.. Today, a significant percentage of the 460 million active users use the platform in the early stages of a project or purchase decision. Pai uses Pinterest the way it’s meant to be used as a visual bookmarking app (how is it social media, yaar?) to inspire, ideate, create, send and receive visual direction. So we channelled this into our re-imagining of the logo, using tiles to depict patterns, images, ideas and text, all coming together to create a mood board that inspires your next project.
October 12: Air India
The Maharaja of the Indian skies has been sold off and our skies will never be the same again. When we decided to reimagine the Air India logo, we wondered if we could bring the Maharaja into the 21st with us. Politics of privatisation aside, we live in a time where history unfortunately dates only to last week’s outrage, our skies are filled with with a multitude, and opulence is no longer relevant nor warranted. Time to retire the Maharaja we think. Since we’re saying adieu to our national carrier, we’re sending it onward with our national bird, nostalgic and maybe just more than hopeful the Tata group will restore some of its lost glory.
October 13: The Centre for Capoeira, India
This one is a little love note to Bee’s friends over at the Centre for Capoeira India. Capoeira is at once a martial art and a sport with live music, dance and acrobatics all thrown in. Originating over 500 years ago in Brazil among the slave population as a means of survival – a martial art hidden within dance and music – it is now a global art form. For our re-imagining, we decided to meld the history of Capoeira and point to its origins, and at the same time highlight the intensity with which it is played and obsessed over and revered by its practitioners.
October 14: Asian Paints
When we thought of reworking the Asian Paints logo, we first thought of the emotions conveyed by the company’s original logo, a wall of dripping paint, and Gattu, the iconic mascot designed by the legendary R. K Laxman. The wordmark from the original logo received a fresh coat of paint in the company’s 2012 rebrand and a ribbon spelling out ‘AP’ was added. It didn’t make sense to us. So for our re-imagining, we wondered if we could evolve Gattu to a current context. We realised paints are no longer the domain of only the professional home painter – students grab a small can to spruce up a shared space, home renters paint a wall or two to make a house their own, artists express themselves. We also realised that while product lines, usage and can size vary, the one constant on every can is the bar code. Our re-imagined logo for Asian Paints is a bar-code in every colour in the paint spectrum in the shape of a brush roller. We hope it inspires you to grab a can of paint and brush on your own rainbow.
October 15: Veeba
A ubiquitous presence in the condiments aisle of the supermarket, Veeba can sometimes be found in Pai’s fridge in the form of their squeezy bottle honey mustard. Veeba’s logo has a random little leaf on its wordmark, and we wondered for the hundredth time why their logo, like oh-so-many other logos, has no connection to the company’s story! In Veeba’s case, the oozy goozey goodness of the condiment within [Bee, ketchup hater extraordinaire, is rolling her eyes at this description]. So, we went full whimsy for our re-imagining and drew on the universal bachpan (and grown-up) experience of smiley faces on sandwiches, squiggles on lunchbox parathas, toothless grins under googly-eyed fried eggs, moustaches on hash browns. We designed a hand-drawn, glossy typographical logo in deep ketchup red that could easily be mustard yellow, mint chutney green or tamarind brown. See where we’re going with this, Veeba?
October 16: Shopify
Millions worldwide use Shopify to sell their creations – from small one-person run businesses to large retail companies. Why then does the Shopify logo, with its shopping bag motif, point to the act of buying, and not how this platform empowers anyone to set up an operational online storefront within days if not hours? And with all the bells and whistles a storefront needs? Shouldn’t the logo speak of how it is the online storefront capital for the world? We certainly think so. For our reinterpretation, we focused on how Shopify creates opportunities for businesses and empowers anyone with an itch to be an entrepreneur wherever they are in the world. Our quaint storefront with its classic awning atop a globe says, with Shopify, you are a neighbourhood business with customers all over the world.
October 17: Cottonworld
Bee is a Cottonworld fanboi. She loves their organic cotton tees. And the brand’s minimal aesthetic. And their mostly-minimal campaigns. And the enthusiastic, super helpful staff at every store. The current logo, though, she’s not a fan of. Too generic. With a really generic leaf monogram to boot. For our reimagining, we wrote Cottonworld in elegant cursive on a background of dark green (because cotton and fair-trade and upcycling and recycling and all the good business practices Cottonworld follows) and threw in a little Pai & Bee illustrated cotton boll. Still minimal, but whimsically so.
October 18: Slack
Ever since Pai saw that meme about how the Slack logo looks like 4 ducks in a circle, she hasn’t been able to unsee it. To her, Slack is Discord, but for work in terms of interface and functionality and WhatsApp in terms of prevalence and general noisiness. A necessary evil in the absence of alternatives. For our re-imagining of the Slack logo, we took the platform’s most basic function – chat threads, because when you get down to it, that’s what Slack is, and brought them together in a sketchy, stylised illustration that tells you just what the app helps you do. No fuss. No odd little coloured ducks.
Come back tomorrow for a our re-imagining of another logo. And let us know what you think in the comments – like, love, hate or just plain indifferent – we definitely want to know.