I like designing logos, I always have. I must have drawn the classic Star Wars logo a hundred times as a kid, trying to get all the letters and the border just right. Most of the logos I design today are for research projects. That means they have a very short shelf life and a very limited audience. When a friend of mine asked me to design a logo for his energy startup I jumped at the chance to do something more people will see.
I began the project the way I always do, asking questions and making very simple sketches. I follow the "there are no mistakes" philosophy of sketching. I'm just working out ideas. I go back to the sketches after a day or two to mine them for anything I might have missed in the moment. I rarely show these sketches to anyone, even a friend.
I produced dozens of Sketches for IX Power (pronounced Nine Power). Some of the themes that emerged were power transmission, like power lines and poles, but also motion. There is also a notion of multiple parts coming together to create power. It was important not to loose the roman numerals. The company is "Nine" Power not Ics Power or I.X. Power.
When I move to the computer I usually work in black and white until the basic shapes are figured out. In this case, purple wasn't negotiable. Early on, my client favored a 3D look. For a while, the logo was going to be the second one from the top left in image above. Even though my friend was happy with the design, I felt like I owed it to him to keep going. This is a tricky spot for a designer to be in. The job is done, but you feel like another round of work is needed. Proceeding can mean working on spec and possibly loosing some billable hours. Luckily, I was able to convince IX Power to spend just a bit more time developing the logo.
The logo we arrived at retains the roman numerals, has some dimensionality and feels stable. Stability, competence and trustworthiness were important concepts to convey. This is a startup doing business in an industry that doesn't tolerate mistakes. The latter stages of the design process were guided by a conversation about how the logo was going to be used. Many people would encounter the logo in the field. It might be on a piece of equipment, the side of a truck or stitched onto a jacket. It had to look modern, but not out of place around logos from traditional energy companies, heavy industry and governments. To me, that meant something bold with elements that are just a bit unexpected—to make it memorable. The finished logo has been very successful for IX Power. As the startup has grown, the logo has been applied across all their business lines.
Finished IX Power logo