As you’ve probably heard, Miles Design recently joined forces with a fellow Indianapolis-based branding agency, Redwall, to form MilesHerndon. While this new venture is exciting for our entire team, it also presents a huge challenge to our design team. Jon McClure, Stacey McClure, and Lee Eisenbarth were tasked with creating the new MilesHerndon logo in rapid fashion. While the challenge was daunting, we had the perfect team to deliver what Josh Miles and Daniel Herndon wanted. Here’s a rundown of our design process as we created the new MilesHerndon logo.
There are a few obvious challenges associated with rebranding a company like MilesHerndon. First and foremost, you’re combining two brands with substantial brand equity. Both Redwall and Miles Design have done a lot of great work with a lot of great clients over the years. Both Josh and Daniel have very strong personal brands, including authorship and wide-spread public speaking tours. Capturing the history and culture of both of these companies and expressing them in one mark is an extremely tall order to begin with.
Now compound that with the fact that this is a national branding firm with business from coast-to-coast. Creating a strong logo for any company after combining teams is tough, but for a branding and design firm, the logo better be great.
This was one of the tougher assignments we have gotten, and having your “client” be the two principals of your own company can be pretty nerve-wracking. After several long nights and a lot of coffee, however, we’re pleased with the results.
The first decision the team had to make was one of the most pivotal. Should we build a completely new mark or create a combination and evolution of the existing Redwall and Miles Design marks? While a compelling case could be made for each, the final decision came down to brand authenticity.
When Miles Design and Redwall teamed up, they weren’t deciding on a new direction. In many ways, we already had the same values, mission, and vision. Heck, we even battled it out over a few of the same clients. The direction wasn’t changing, we were just building a stronger army.
Our next hurdle was the name. We wanted to ensure that both Miles and Herndon held equal weight, which made any “MH” mark inherently difficult. If one person saw more “H” and another saw more “M” in a given design, the balance was off.
Finally, we had to make sure that it had great visual consistency with what Josh and Daniel expected. They wanted something classic and timeless, but also contemporary. They wanted something that would work in only one color. They also wanted something that could work on the side of a pencil and the side of a building.
After over 90 initial designs and plenty of debate, we designed the following logo:
You’ll notice that we took Redwall’s square and Miles Design’s mark and combined them. Next, we inset the mark in order to make it appear less overwhelming. Finally, we rounded off the edges in order to make it look softer and more contemporary.
A few other benefits of the new mark:
In addition to a great logo, we needed a bold color palette and complementary typefaces.
As we selected our typefaces, we wanted to make sure that we paired a great serif with an equally impressive sans-serif. This is tough for myriad reasons, but after a lot of pairing (and paring down), we were able to find two typefaces that worked great together.
We wanted to be able to develop marketing materials that felt editorial, so we looked for typefaces that would work well with blogs and case studies. FF Tisa was the perfect serif for us because it feels smart and has a personality, without being overly playful. Used as a headline on an article or a case study, FF Tisa carries the right amount of authority, which is exactly what we were going for. Another benefit of FF Tisa is the lettering of its italic set. We were very impressed with how different the lettering looks in the FF Tisa italics, which adds to its versatility.
We paired FF Tisa with Texta because we wanted a sans-serif that was legible and versatile. We were looking for something that works well in all sizes and weights. Texta was perfect.
Put into context…
Coming from two companies with limited color palettes, we wanted to give ourselves some more versatility for the MilesHerndon brand. We wanted to remain classic and timeless, but we wanted a wide color palette that would feel more contemporary.
Black was the consensus choice for our primary color, but building out a wide palette that could facilitate more contemporary usage–from webpages to office walls–proved difficult.
This is what we came up with.
Each of these individual colors was tested against fields of black and white to ensure proper color balance. The way we see it, our brand is always evolving and changing. We wanted to develop a palette that can evolve and transition with the company. Every brand wants to own a color. We wanted to own a spectrum and let the brand evolve every day.
So there it is. The logo, the typefaces, and the color palette–all coming together to create one great brand. The end result looks like this, and we couldn’t be prouder.