You are here

Unofficial Drupal Association Logo Rethemeing

Monday, May 16, 2011 - 08:41

UPDATE: Take a look at Part 2 of this post where we make some revisions and incorporte the wordmark into our exploration.

The other month I finally got off my can and became an individual member of the Drupal Association. I’ve been using the CMS increasingly since ’07 and the Chicago registration process reminded me that I should chip in.

Beyond the sense of goodwill one feels from giving some money back to the community, Association members are provided a selection of seals they can place on their site promoting their contribution. Unfortunately they are ugly.

Drupal has a branding problem.

If having Drupal users join the association is something desirable, wouldn’t it be wise to make the membership seals attractive? That would make members want to use it for starters, and it might even attract new memberships to help raise money.

So, it became obvious to me that I should contribute what I do best back to the community. That said, I’ve decided to offer a logo design exploration for the Association to consider. Now, retheming the Association is not exactly a new idea. Another designer attempted to doll up the Association seals back in ’08 as you can see here. But respectfully, I still felt we could do better. So lets get started.

Original Logo

Original Drupal Association Badges

Original Drupal Association Badges

First we need to analyze the original mark to consider its strengths and weaknesses.  From there we can make improvements:

What was wrong?
  • The hierarchy of information is not entirely clear as the icon, membership level and Association text all speak at about the same volume.
  • It is not attractive.
  • Its use of color make it visual busy and something of a violator.
What was working?
  • The use of color segmentation quickly identifies the levels of membership
  • It is legible even when reduced
  • It is extractable

Design 1:

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 1

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 1

This is a close-in adaptation of the existing identity in the sense that it maintains the circular seal, general composition and tone. Where the existing logo tries to appear 'official' with its use of filigree I’ve introduced a woodcut style to take it someplace almost presidential.

Knowing the mark will have to live within foreign brand environments I think it is best to keep our pallet simple and somewhat recessive. As such I am relying exclusively on the original color segmentation, but dialing back the intensity.

Design 2:

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 2

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 2

This solution takes a conceptual leap by interpreting the drop icon as a halftone pattern formed of smaller drops. The message is that Drupal and its Association are the sum of their member parts.

Typographically the design emphasized the term ‘Member’, which I feel is the most important communication once the icon is identified as Drupal.

Here again we are keeping the mark reasonably monotone. However we are using a gradation to include Drupal Blue within the lock-up.

Design 3:

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 3

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 3

This option might be the most conservative treatment were it not challenging the original mark’s choice of words. In this case we hold it self evident that the Drupal Icon is synonymous with the word Drupal and therefore deemed it redundant in the interest of a cleaner logo.

Going one step further, I have also jettisoned the ‘Association’ moniker. Perhaps the word introduces a distinction I fail to appreciate, but my contention here is that ‘Drupal Association Member’ is to ‘Federal Express’ as ‘Drupal Member’ is to ‘Fedex.’ It’s just a more concise way of saying the same thing.

Now I know you might argue that anyone can be a member of the community without being an Association member. Fair enough. It's a round 1 exploration so we're shaking things up. Public Television, like Drupal is free, but member supported. If PBS‘s supporters are simply members, then the nomenclature might work for Drupal as well.

Design 4:

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 4

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 4

I love the Drupal icon. We all do. But if we are being honest with ourselves we must acknowledge that it comes off more 'tie fighter' than 'suit and tie'. When we are attempting to design a logo that feels viscerally formal or traditional it can get in the way. As such, this mark leverages the drop shape, and Drupal blue to speak to the brand.

Much like the concept behind design option 2 we are using an arrangement of drops here to speak to Association as the sum of many smaller contributions.

While we are using all of the original logos language within the logo type, we are introducing the D|A as shorthand for the association. Perhaps the bug could come to exist on its own. As with the other options, leveraging color to highlight the levels.

Design 5:

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 5

Drupal Association Badge Design Concept 5

Our final offering infuses the thinking of several of the other concepts. It does not use the Drupal spaceman, however it leverages Drupal Blue and water as a motif to invoke the brand.

It speaks conceptually to giving back to the community through the image of a water drop impacting the surface and making waves.

Like Design 3 it attempts to abbreviate the language of the original mark to create a highly legible, reducible icon.


So there it is folks. I want to thank those of you who participated in our poll or submitted comments.  The results can be seen below.  Again, please take a look at Part 2 of this post where we make some revisions and incorporte the wordmark into our exploration.

Poll Results

Design 1: 6 Vote(s)
Design 2: 10 Vote(s)
Design 3: 1 Vote(s)
Design 4: 12 Vote(s)
Design 5: 4 Vote(s)
John Gavula
Contributed By John Gavula

John is the creative director of Gavula Design. He has provided design and illustrator services for many of New York and the region's biggest brand consultancies. Leveraging this experience, and his multidisciplinary background he now works closely with Gavula Design’s clients as a trusted branding partner and steward.