Back in December, my boss at StormFrog came to the design team with another little development project he had cooked up (if you remember Twake). This one was for a mobile developer’s tool which would force end-users to update their apps, without the developer having to write their own code to do such a thing. We had a long brainstorming session with some key people, and eventually settled on the name “krooshal” for the tool.

After that, fellow SF designer Matt and I went back and spent a while designing a variety of logo options, considering the techy target audience and logo design of other tools already in the field.

My first step was to do some word clouds to help come up with what kind of imagery might be relevant, but in the end I decided a type-only mark would be the best way to go. Some key words that informed the process from there were:

  • Crucial
  • Simple
  • Critical
  • Fresh
  • Techy
  • Control
  • Software

Then I did a lot of sketching, trying all the combinations I could come up with. Mostly I did a lot of sans-serif type options, as those are the go-to for modern techy things, and for a product as small and abstract as Krooshal, it tends to be hard to come up with a representative icon. I tried a few more fun directions, and a variety of unicase options (where letters are mixed majuscule/minuscule case but have the same letter heights, the way an all-caps word would).

Logo sketches

At some point I started liking a stacked setting of the letters, since that’s always something to watch for with even numbers of letters. After conferring some with Matt, I decided I liked the idea that “krooshal” sounded a bit Russian (like Khrushchev) and I explored some more blocky “Russian letter” styles in a stacked style. With some feedback from Brian, we decided it would be a good idea to separate the two syllables of the word, because there had been some discussion of creating a little mascot called a “kroo,” so we could have commandments that said “kroo shall…”

The other direction I stumbled on was the idea that one could reduce the letters to their “crucial” shapes – plenty of sci-fi logos do things like taking the bar out of the A and so on, so it would bring a bit of a techy flavor to the word. All the letters were also unambiguous enough when reduced that they would be difficult to confuse with another letter. I liked the intellectual concept as well, since many of the names of these little developer tools are simply set in a modern-looking sans serif, with no more iconic meat on them than that.

As usual for the design process, we presented the options in black-and-white, to prevent decisions being made based on color preference. All logos need to be reproducible at huge and tiny sizes and in black-and-white, without the crutch of color. In the end when we brought the logos back to the key decision-makers, the vote was very evenly split between the two options I’ve shown here, but what finally broke the tie was when Brian declared he didn’t want to have to explain the name to people at trade shows, and with the missing areas of #2, he was sure to have some spacecases who would need it clarified.

Once the decision was made, I tweaked the letters a bit more and tried a variety of colors. From the start I was pretty sure a blood red color would be a good option, since that conveys emergency, necessity, and lifeblood. I felt like the Red Cross was a good reference in that regard. Nonetheless I tried a few options and presented a navy blue (classic, subtle, steady – for a more sidekick message, this being just a tool to create awesome dev projects), and red (which was chosen).

Final logo

From there, Matt D’Angelo took with a kickass design based on my request that the logo block be treated like a bookmark (think the Adobe tag logo), be primarily gray and red, and maybe have a bit of grunge in the header. I’m really happy with how he was able to take my suggestions and make them into something that was his own but was also true to the vague idea I had in my head.

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