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ICIJ Logo Redesign

Introduction

Hi Hamish and ICIJ, thank you for visiting my portfolio! My name is Analyn Delos Santos, and I’m applying for ICIJ’s Digital Designer position. I’m a digital designer based in Honolulu, Hawaii, with over 2 years of professional design experience in digital marketing and UX design, and about 2 years of amateur newsroom experience (i.e., doing design at my college’s independent daily newspaper). 

The purpose of this page is to demonstrate how I visually think of ICIJ by reimagining ICIJ’s current logo and doing so from a UX design perspective. While you’re on my site, feel free to browse through my other work, which showcases more of my UI/UX design work, as well as my work in visual design, illustration, animation, photography, audio design and more.

The Challenge

Redesign ICIJ’s “currently-very-plain” logo in order to demonstrate how I visually think of ICIJ.

Current ICIJ logo

The Process

Research

To begin the logo redesign process, it was important to do some research into ICIJ—from gathering your holistic picture like who you are, what you stand for, your partners and competitors, to imagining your visual language, like your personality and existing branding. A company’s mission statement is one of the key driving factors for me as a designer and I use it to direct my designs and help drive my visual decisions.

I also put together a sampling of a few companies from your Media Partners page, who I’d consider are your colleagues thus we want to draw some influence from them. Similarly I researched your “competitors,” or more appropriately, organizations with similar functions and purposes, who in my opinion should look closer to what ICIJ should feel like.

Findings

From ICIJ’s mission statement, I could see that focusing on the organization’s global community and bringing about positive change are the driving forces behind ICIJ.

At the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists we want to inspire and cultivate a global community of reporters and readers who believe journalism can bring about positive change.”

I also tried my hand at plotting where your partners and “competitors” stand in relation to ICIJ based on the type of organization (whether it’s more of an association of independent people versus a news conglomerate), and the general depth of reporting (investigative versus daily/breaking news). Note, this is the point where I would consult with multiple people to get a general consensus of where these organizations lie. Ideally this would be a workshop session or a meeting where people could discuss over each one. But I’m definitely trying my best to categorize them based on my personal opinion…

There were a few patterns that I noticed: 

  • A lot of the associations looked more modern. They were very stylized and incorporated more graphical elements and color.
  • There was a mix of sans serif and serif font all throughout; however, the Old English font tended to be used in the more conglomerate-daily quadrant.

With this in mind I started sketching out ideas.

 

Mockups

Personally as a designer, I try to start my design process with low fidelity hand-drawn sketches. This helps to let my imagination run wild and explore a lot of ideas in a short amount of time with the least amount of effort wasted. With the ICIJ’s global positioning aspect in mind, I played around with motifs of a globe icon. Similarly I played around with the idea of using a magnifying glass to represent the idea of investigating. There was a point where I played around with cleverly juxtaposing the two letter ‘I’s in ICIJ. Admittedly not all of these were good, but I thought I was heading in the right direction. Here are a few of those sketches:

I then jumped into Adobe Illustrator to continue the exploration process and refine the not-so-bad ideas from paper. The designs started from the top left, testing out fonts that would work with the brand, then worked its way down exploring different graphical elements. I kept each iteration to track how concepts evolve and to revisit any concept if necessary.

From this exercise, I felt pretty confident with 2 designs.

Outcome

I’ve been taught that whenever you present an initial design concept to a client, you present at least 2 purposefully different options in order to evoke a reaction and allow them to affirmatively choose a visual direction. In this case, the logo options I ended up with ranged from traditional to something a bit more modern.

Traditional Option

Modern Option

Both logos still incorporate a bit of the global aspect. The traditional option uses the motif of a physical titled globe with a base that represents the letter ‘C’ in ICIJ. The modern, simplistic option uses a circular graphic of sorts to represent the the concept of being whole or the world, even. 

The traditional option uses a serif font to speak to its traditional roots and add more professionalism in a traditional way. Yet the askewed tail of the letter ‘J’ helps to give the design more character and personality. 

The modern option incorporates color via gradients, a trend that a lot of companies are utilizing these days in their own logo redesigns. This also helps to bring in that yellow accent color from the website and to add depth to an otherwise simple graphical object. One thing I find exciting about this option is that each corner abstractly represents the letters of ICIJ.

Here are different configurations of the logo options:

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my little write up of my logo redesign process. Of course, this process was unique and unfinished in that these decisions were made in an insulated environment. As a designer, it helps to have an initial discussion with key stakeholders to ask about their needs and desires with a new logo, and of course it helps to receive feedback from the team in order to validate or invalidate any design decisions I made along the way. 

I do hope, however, that you appreciate the 2 logo options and the overall thought process that went behind the redesign. As a designer with a UX background, I enjoy going through these processes while seeking out research and data to help create not only beautifully-designed products, but intuitive and engaging designs. I would be ecstatic at the opportunity to work the ICIJ team on not only this project, but a whole range of projects to help journalism change lives.