New Logo: Design Notes from Michael & Carlos

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    Last Friday we updated the official Pinterest logo! When first designing Pinterest, we wanted a scripty font to contrast with our boxy pinboards. We chose Bello Script. While we thought it was decent, we’d always been itching for something a bit more distinctive.

    To help us out, I contacted Michael Deal. I’ve always LOVED Michael’s work, which ranges from apparel to infographics (http://www.mikemake.com). Michael also invited his friend, Juan Carlos Pagan (Carlos) to help out. Carlos is a typographer and designer studying at CooperType. He brings a rare old-world craft to his type projects (http://jcpagan.com). It was incredibly exciting to work with two such talented guys and they were kind enough to share a bit more about their design. Get their design notes after the jump.

    Michael (http://www.mikemake.com)

    The visual surprises that can emerge during some projects can be the best part of the design process. But designing the new Pinterest logo had relatively few surprises. The final mark is pretty close to the ideas I discussed with Ben in our initial chats, and I’ve been reminded of how satisfying a project can be when things end up nearly exactly as first envisioned.

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    After we weighed some different approaches to bundling the kit of logo elements, it became clear that this was not a time to get too clever with the brand’s kit of parts. We opted to follow a proven model of using a logotype as the primary mark and site header, and developing a badge-like mark that repeats the initial letter “P.”

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    It was uniquely easy to get a good undersatnding of the Pinterest audience. The whole site is a giant dynamic moodboard for its users (if only every project could have that luxury!) We agreed that the previous logo was already a start in the right direction, and that keeping with a script logotype was appropriate. But there are an infinite number of voices a script can have:

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    We needed something that seemed casual, but that also carried signs of careful craft. It was important to sense the touch of the hand in the forms, but to stay subtle. We also wanted it to carry a feeling of nostalgia, without seeming retro. The need for contemporariness drove many of the initial experiments, where I played with fully upright scripts, and tuned down the range of line weight variance. The bolder type also served well under the ever-present logistical issue that the logo would be seen almost exclusively on screens at only a few pixels tall, where small details don’t translate well.

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    We used ligatures to signal the brand’s appreciation for thoughtful craft, without resorting to something overtly hand-touched or ornamental. I wanted to make sure to leave the “P” freestanding and to force the letters in “interest” to connect. This allowed for some unique moments in the second half of the word.

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    Carlos (http://www.jcpagan.com/)

    ike came to me with a bunch of really great sketches of logotype ideas and all we had to do was put the finishing touches on it. As we were digitizing the logotype, we encountered some interesting opportunities. For instance we found by using the discretionary “st” ligature we were able to balance out the weight of the “P” to visually bookend the logotype.

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    Another fun moment was the “re” connection. We experimented with a more traditionally scripted “r,” but came to the conclusion that by using the lowercase italic “r” we could give the logotype a bit more own-ability and charm. It also happens to be my favorite moment in the logotype.

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    The component we finished last actually has the lead role in the identity: the “P.” We auditioned many shapes to find one with distinct personality. For most of the project, I had avoided making visual reference to the image of a pin because it seemed too literal. But the “P” started to lend itself too well to the shape of a map pin. Carlos and I spent a good bit of time finessing the character to find the right degree of suggestion. Too much of a pin shape compromises legibility, where too much subtlety leaves less justification for attempting the concept in the first place.

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    Carlos and I agree that this was a great collaborative experience with Ben, Paul, and their team. We’re excited to see what’s next for Pinterest!

    Stephanie Lim, Community Specialist, Currently obsessed with pinning to A Few Big Words.