Expert Series Part 2: Bryon Lomas Talks Rebranding and the Redesign of the Garfield Logo
In just a matter of seconds, a person will pass judgment on a brand’s logo, and 90 percent of that assessment is based on its color alone. Whether it’s been 20 years, or it’s your first attempt—there is no shortage of thought that can go into brand development, especially when it comes to a logo.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with our talented, Vice President, Creative Director Bryon Lomas, to discuss our own recent rebranding. Anxious to pick his brain, I asked Bryon to share his thoughts about the inspiration and creative process behind our new logo.
Julia: Given that the name of an organization is generally the core of its logo, what should be considered when deciding whether or not to keep the existing name?
Bryon: Most of our clients and employees just refer to us as "Garfield," so we decided to embrace it. There was talk about changing our name to something singular and different, but at the core we’re still Garfield Group, and Larry Garfield, our president and founder, is still a major part of our business. And so we stayed Garfield. A name change could steer a company too far from its identity. Sometimes that can be a good thing if you are looking to do a major shift and walk away from any equity your previous name might have held.
Julia: After deciding to remain ‘Garfield’, how did you picture the logo evolving?
Bryon: We sought a mark that was iconic, ownable and spoke to the future. In essence, we wanted something that was symbolic of us – that was our foundation. The next step was to look for visual and graphic connections – letters, forms and words that could be combined or manipulated to create something unique.
Julia: At its core, what is the message you wanted the new Garfield logo to convey?
Bryon: Coming up with a mark that embodies everything you are is an arduous process. It requires that you look in the mirror and answer a lot of questions. "Who are we?" "What do we stand for?" "How do others see us?"
We decided we needed to look not to the past or the present, but to our future and our vision for the agency. We wanted the new logo to convey a message of strength while still being agile, creative and innovative.
Julia: What was the thought process behind the developing logo’s visual aesthetic? How did you come to a decision?
Bryon: One of the directions that we were considering was combining two "Gs" (for Garfield Group). We looked at many different variations, face to face, back to back, overlapping, intertwined and so on. Out of all of the sketches that were created, there was one mark that just stood out. It just felt right. It was a total gut feeling.
It combined both the upper- and lower-case "G" into a simple, single icon. It was the symbol we sought. It had our heritage, was iconic and stood for something important to us – the combining of all of our different disciplines – strategy, digital, public relations and branding.
Julia: Is there one characteristic you feel all logos should consider?
Bryon: I wouldn’t call it a “characteristic” but you definitely need to be thinking about the many places a logo lives—from bills to business cards to baseball caps. This was one of the requirements we set up for our logo, it had to be modular. The chevron – we actually think of it more as a shield—gave us that opportunity. We could break it apart and use the elements without losing the look of our identity. It symbolizes how we consider ourselves to be nimble and flexible, which you have to be.
Julia: How did you ultimately choose a color?
Bryon: Just like the mark, we wanted a color that stood out and was uniquely us. If you take a quick look at other agencies, red is a popular color, so it was out. Blue? Too corporate. Orange? Don't even think about it. Green? Hmm. That had potential. Once we saw our new mark in the current green, we knew that was our color. Bold, vibrant, and energetic.
Rebranding isn’t something that can be done overnight. It takes time, consideration and the patience to accept what doesn’t work and why not. The decisions you make when deciding upon color, shape, name and more are things that ultimately shape that everlasting first impression of a brand.
If you have questions regarding your own branding or rebranding efforts, please feel free to contact us.