The creative process for The Design Cubicle logo

Last week I introduced the Design Cubicle’s new logo and this week I would like to share my creative process with all of you. Before I begin, it’s important to have an understanding how the name ‘Design Cubicle’ name to be: Around my 2nd year of high school I began to take graphic design more serious and consider it as my career path. I continued working at it, improving my skills and continued my education at Temple University. Taking my very first ‘introduction to design’ class, I remember there was no better feeling than sitting behind the computers with my headphones on… designing, creating, thinking — in my own little world. My career path led me to various design studios directly out of college and found myself sitting behind cubicles with my headphones on, once again designing — freeing myself from everything elseWhile most dislike the dreaded cubicle, I oddly enough found myself enjoying it. For me, it served as my own world. A place to create, interact with other designers, learn and forget about everything else in my life — my own design community. Now working mostly from home as an independent graphic designer, I wanted my blog to reflect the same sense of community that the workspace and “cubicle-life” provided me — A place to create, interact and learn — The Design Cubicle.

Phase 1: Defining the goal

The goal was to create a logo that was memorable, represented the cubicle concept and showed a sense of community and connectedness, as discussed above. I also wanted it to be simple and smart, since I am a firm believer that less is more. It also had to work well in various sizes, since it was to be used as the site’s favicon and other smaller online propaganda.

Phase 2: Sketching and visual brainstorming

Sketching is an extremely important step of any design process. It helps to get your ideas down quickly and without attention to unnecessary detail in the beginning. Below, you can see where the final logo was starting to take form in the sketches circled in red.

Phase 3: Bringing the above ideas to the computer

Once I had some groundwork to pull from, I opened up Illustrator and did some “computer sketching”, playing around with various combinations and more ideas. Notice below that some of the ideas steered away from the initial goal, but sometimes turning another direction gets you back on the correct path — Guess that’s why it’s called a creative “process.”

Phase 4: Narrowing it down

Most of the time I find myself going back to repeat phases 2 and 3 before narrowing my ideas down to two or three choices. This phase is usually the point where I start playing around with variations and typefaces of the ideas from phase 3.  This stage was particularly hard for me for this specific logo because I like both the right and left side variations.

Phase 5: Making the decision

While the final decision was tough, I decided to go with the “double cubicle”. I felt it had more of a suggestion of cubicles and ‘DC’. It connected back to the goal of portraying a sense of community and connectedness with two cubicles that were intertwined. What do you think?

Which variation in Phase 4 do you prefer?

Feedback is always appreciated and serves as a valuable step in the creative process. Feel free to add a comment or share your thoughts.

Discussion and Comments

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  1. Brian says:

    Glad you enjoyed the read. Thanks! The typeface used was Gotham round by H&FJ.

  2. [...] Why I follow him: Hoff provides a continuous stream of useful design-related resources and topics, but what distinguishes him for me is his endeavor to use web publishing for teaching and learning. His business is not quite a year old, but that’s actually an added benefit for his followers who are able to watch him develop his business and expertise. A good sample of Hoff’s approach is his blog post: The creative process for the Design Cubicle’s logo. [...]

  3. I am currently in the process of designing my site/blog/portfolio from scratch and the insight I got from this article will save me hours if not days of staring at an open, blank document in GIMP.

    Always a pleasure to read your work!

  4. Matt Bennett says:

    You definitely made the right call in the end. While the left side variant is nice, it doesn’t give a sense of connectivity like the right side variant does, in addition to the formation of the monogram. Beautifully clean and simple.

  5. [...] 18. The creative process for the Design Cubicle’s logo [...]

  6. Interesting that you call it “visual brainstorming” … I brainstorm, on paper, with words … not concepts. I brainstorm information in my head, pulling from vast scraps of second-hand memorabilia. Curious? I love backs of old, used envelopes; the remainders of scraps of unused, but printed (from the computer) mapped directions (words only, certainly not point to point directions, from outdated mapping systems); the backs of scraps of used, but not current, and also unused, printed materials (things thought to be good reads, or untried, but savory-looking recipes: any and all leftovers which are printed as “extra” pages, when the online resource confuses the technology) … I never just throw these away (this is “one person’s trash, is another’s treasure” … and, it’s my brand of “going green”) … all these beautiful “squares” of paper, make for interesting places to place thought, spare words I’d love to use, which haven’t found perfection just yet. They’re my design cubicles, I suppose; only, I design with words, and only words. My visuals are thought bubbles, and they happen in the universe, within my head. So, tell me, Brian Hoff, do you think in words, do you think in shapes and sizes; more importantly, do you connect dots of information in your head, or do you “imagine” similarity of information? I call this, the spark of resemblance.

    I’m intrigued by the differences in styles of thought process. We all have our paths to creativity… isn’t it captivating to imagine what others bring to the table of ingenuity? Oh, and by the way, the new logo, is pure genius. Love the way you’ve connected “DC” with the double cubicle, it strikes a congruency to progress.

  7. [...] Creative Process for TDC’s Logo [...]

  8. Mario says:

    Great post. I don’t know about you but I find it hard to design anything for my self. I just posted a step by step guide on how I designed my logo. The whole the whole thing was painful. Why are you not using your logo?

  9. Nice logo and thanks again for the write up, am officially inspired!

  10. [...] The creative process for the Design Cubicle’s logo Por: Brian [...]

  11. Aziz Light says:

    I absolutely love your logo! Very creative. I don’t know about the name though, I’m not sure “design” (or designers) and “cubicle” goes well together :P (just kidding of course, I love the name too)

  12. Hi Brian I was browsing through the web and I came across your page somehow. I think was looking up different branding approaches. Anyway I read some of your posts and I noticed your logo redesign process blog. I must say that you definitely chose the perfect mark and the only thing that I would maybe work on is the type. I think that there’s other fonts that would complement the icon a lot better in my opinion. I’m not the best designer but I am working on getting better also. Anyway thanks so much for all the information you provide all the readers/visitors/designers. Very interesting.

    ~ Jorge

  13. Great article, is so clear that makes the logo design process look easy. Congrats!

  14. [...] 0 Comments 23 October 2009 Brian Hoff is a self-employed graphic designer liv­ing in Philadel­phia and known to many in the design indus­try as the founder of the pop­u­lar design blog, The Design Cubi­cle. [...]

  15. Cool post, noticed that you have changed your logo again though! Which may I say I prefer.

  16. [...] If you like this logo, you may also want to check out Brian’s creative process. [...]

  17. 3D animation says:

    I think these articles about the creative process really help other people to see the process and udnerstand it.

  18. John Foy says:

    Great work but I wonder why don’t you use this impressive logo in the main header of this blog?

  19. This is a really nice logo. Love the simplicity of the symbol and how it appears so comfortably next to the incorporated typography. Great work. Thank you for sharing the logo design process.

  20. Nice work Brian… Love the continuity between the graphics and the overall message. I agree with a few of the posts about working on the type just a bit, however. This was not discussed in depth as it should have been, often more important than the graphics. My process would consider typography first and then the graphics would match the typeface chosen for unity in style and form. Could you offer some of your insight into the type choice here? Do you think a rounded typeface fits the graphics? I think there is an argument for not… Anyways, thanks for your honest transparency for all to see, and please take my humble // typography-nerd opinion with a grain of salt =) All the best!

  21. Got it, Gotham round H&FJ

    * in my best Mugatu (from Zoolander) voice… “Gotham, soooo hot right now”

  22. Shane says:

    Great post, the logo is a really nice, clean design. I always like to see other designers thought processes.


  23. mauli shedge says:

    Hi Dear Friend,,,,,,,,, Great logo……….

    i like very much……nice work,……….I proud of you,

    i want to make one logo ” winlintech” this is it company……. please give me good suggestion

  24. dresses says:

    Got it, Gotham round H&FJ

    * in my best Mugatu (from Zoolander) voice… “Gotham, soooo hot right now”

  25. Helmuts says:

    Nice personal article… Still i think the logo in pic. 16 (bottom left) is better – kinda finished one :)
    It seems that it doesn’t need anything to be added or taken off (that is a very good sign)… and you can use it even without the letters (for example, for favicon needs) as it will still represent those 2 letters “dc”

  26. gunitado says:

    Step by Step, graphic by graphic….
    Great Creativity!!! Nice logo

  27. studio says:

    This logo is really pleasing!
    Though I’d preferred a single cubicle version, the symmetry, the neat lines are really enjoyable.
    Well done!

  28. cosmos says:

    i love the new logo design and the way you got to the final shape. the only thing i would change about it would be the type. it kind of breaks the “frosty” and “serious” impression of the logo. also it seems not to fit to the cubicle theme…

    nevertheless it looks very sleek and shows that you´ve got skills aswell as a good taste.

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: