Date: October 2011
Work done: Logo-type design, custom lettering, tagline composition
3BaysOver is an online community and marketplace for travel professionals. The company focuses on providing specialist travel agents and suppliers across the globe with the tools needed to connect and collaborate with each other, as well as sharing expertise. With a plan to extend their market in the near future, it was important to appeal to both professionals and travellers. Another essential factor was conveying the idea of celebrating the value of expert and passionate local travel organisers and taking the time to learn, discover and explore, rather than quickly finding the cheapest option.
The 3BaysOver brand therefore needed to be synonymous with trust, professionalism, passion, superior customer service and a sense of discovery and fun. Stylistically, the team were looking for a clean, minimal design that was also distinctive and original. Upon discussing the brief, we focused on a primarily typographic approach and considered ways in which to bring in a specific, unique visual element to reflect the concept.
Above: Early quick sketches were done in pen to capture the gestural quality and then refined progressively in pencil.
One of the early ideas I explored was using the natural similarities between the shapes of a 'B' and a '3' to create a simple and memorable concept. In addition to being a recognisable and memorable shape, the connected characters immediately demonstrate interaction and working together. The straight horizontal line at the top of the '3/B' ensures the '3' is clearly visible and also gives the 'B' an adventurous, slightly exotic feel. Originally drawn with a Chinese calligraphic pen, the overall lettering along with its positioning along the baseline aims to combine a fun, inviting and passionate look with a reliable, serious feel. Care, quality and professionalism are further conveyed through the use of subtle typographic elements such as the 'v-e' connection.
Above: Main sketch before vectoring. Not intended for concept presentation purposes, it remains quite a rough draft.
The first digital versions and subsequent revisions examined mainly the '3/B' element, looking at ways to make it more easily identifiable as both characters and how to incorporate it better with the other letters. At this stage, we also considered different weights for the type and how it affected the distinctive, solid impression of the design.
Above: The initial vector version (top) ended up quite light so I also created a bolder alternative for comparison.
While the concept created visually interesting shapes, focus group and user testing revealed some issues with readability across the whole phrase. Integrating two characters within one shape goes against natural human instinct to look for one interpretation, particularly within the context of a full phrase. The problem was further accentuated by the fact that the company name itself doesn't immediately evoke travel to someone hearing it for the first time.
Keeping the same overall style for the rest of the letters, we looked at different approaches for the '3/B'; something distinctive and unique that could also work as a stand alone mark. Since the lettering is based on a quite organic and dynamic style, I went back to paper to develop the new ideas keeping the same natural flow.
Above: Rough sketchbook exploration (top) and inked versions.
Using some relatively neat inked versions of the '3' and 'B' allowed me to combine these new elements with the existing digital version of the other letters. While these drafts are quite rough, they allowed us to visualise various possible solutions ranging from quite visual and artistic to more solid and serious.
Around this stage in the progress, the website design was also being developed which gave us exact details in terms of projected size and colour use. Since we now knew specifically that the logo was to be quite small and on a dark background, each version was also tested accordingly.
Above: Series of rough drafts that we looked at, combining inked drawings with the digital version so far.
The preferred direction being two separate characters, further refining then focused on the '3' and striking the right balance between being both unique and quite serious. At the same time, the 3BaysOver brand was being further developed; in particular, what emotional response it would solicit from the audience. In keeping with the core subject, the idea behind the brand message was to focus on the era when flying was something special, exiting and being a pilot or stewardess was highly prestigious and looked up to.
Along these lines, one of the first ideas was using pilot wings within the design as one of the most recognised and appreciated icons in travel. Despite its strength conceptually, the application of the wings in use resulted in a very elongated logo shape, especially taking into account the already relatively long company name. Instead, we then focused on bringing a subtle vintage finish to the typography, loosely inspired by airline logos of the 50s and 60s. The lettering was adjusted to have a more cursive style (particularly evident in the 'y', 's' and 'r') and the final design was brought back to a thinner weight.
Above: Implementation of the pilot wings concept and progressive changes to the type.
As an alternative to the primary logo, I also created a secondary version using the tagline. The heavy weight, all uppercase typesetting and geometric aspect of the letters creates a distinctive contrast with the script. The two main final colours are a muted grey-blue accompanied by a warm, light, sandy colour.