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The Bandwidth logo: behind the design

Ben Harris
Ben Harris
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The first, and most important step toward designing a brand identity is to learn as much as you can about the company you’re branding – their business, their customers, and the people who care about it and make it run. One of your jobs as a designer is to absorb the feeling that company gives you and to distill it down to a visual identity that reflects the best parts of that feeling.

Having spent over a year working at Republic Wireless (A Bandwidth company) as Brand Director, I’ve been surrounded by the unique corporate culture here. I’ve talked with very smart people about things that are way over my head, participated in events and competitions with those people, and seen the passion and earnestness with which they do their work. When David and Noreen approached me about helping with the rebrand, I knew that because of the relationships I’ve built here and my exposure to the brand, I was prepared for it in ways that perhaps no agency or freelance designer could be.

Before I dive into the details of the design, I’d like to take a moment to thank David, Noreen and everyone at Bandwidth for trusting me with this design. It was a privilege for me to have been a part of this and I hope I’ve done some justice to the brand you’ve built.

A COLLECTIVE SIGNATURE

It was agreed that any new identity should be a reflection of the people behind it. I began thinking about what sort of visual element might best represent a person. What do people use to brand themselves? This is how I arrived at the idea of starting with a signature.

Like a logo, a signature is a unique expression of a personality. You can tell something about a person by the way they sign their name. A signature is an outward expression of how we want the world to perceive us as individuals.

We use signatures as a way of endorsing something. It’s a way of saying, “I believe in this.” or “I created this.” In a similar way, when a company puts their logo on something, they’re saying, “We believe in this.”

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EXPRESSION, WEIGHT AND DIMENSION

Starting with one of the more expressive signatures, we began adjusting the lines and curves until we landed on a shape that was polished but retained some of the carefree personality of the original.

From the very first sketch, the varied weight of the hand-drawn lines gave the mark some dimension. Parts of the line appeared to be closer to the viewer than others. We decided to exploit this dimensional quality to help differentiate the logo from others in the communication industry.

The single light source from above casting a shadow on the ground below adds to the sculptural aspect of the design. It exists in a space with gravity and has weight.

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UNWRAPPING THE MARK

Staying true to the Bandwidth mission of providing a simple interface for underlying complexity, the mark was designed with more than the letters “b” and “w” in mind. Every letter of the word “bandwidth” is tucked within its curves.

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A TYPEFACE WITH A LONG HISTORY AND A DISTINCTIVE PERSONALITY

To complement the hand-drawn expression of the mark, we chose a humanist sans-serif typeface called Gill Sans. Originally released by Monotype in 1928, Gill Sans has since established itself as a go-to typeface for public service organizations. Most notably, British Railways.

A timeless, humanist typeface with a long history closely associated with vital public services seemed a good fit for a company like Bandwidth, which powers essential communication services around the world.

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MODIFICATIONS TO THE TYPEFACE

To help unify the type with the lowercase “bw” in the mark, we made use of all lowercase letters. With some slight modifications to the default typeface, we ended up with a treatment that fits well with the mark and the Bandwidth brand as a whole.

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PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

The two elements are arranged to form an equilateral triangle. This arrangement provides a firm foundation with upward momentum. The focus of the triangle is an unseen point above the logo symbolizing future growth.

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“BEGINNING” OF STORY

Here’s where you might infer the story ends, but the best part about this logo story is the feeling it evokes of new beginnings. This new mark represents a Bandwidth that has continually evolved over the years—and will continue to iterate and change as its business and customers grow.