Underbelly Creative is a digital design and development agency based in Salt Lake City, Utah. We talk to them about their Morph 3D branding project.
What was the client looking for in the logo and brand identity?
The client wanted to create a logo that felt human and organic, something expressive and connected to art and creation. We knew that we wanted to create a logo with movement and energy–something dimensional that balanced the feeling of being modern, yet timeless in order to carry the brand into the future. We knew we needed to convey expertise and professionalism in the 3D video game and modelling industry while also being friendly and accessible.
What did you have in mind for the Morph 3D identity?
Initially, we were creating marks based off of a polygon style of illustration. The original concept was to take the vintage nostalgia of video games and apply a futuristic and colourful application to the brand. As we continued to work and experiment with this concept, we realised that Morph 3D should be fluid, more of a flowing and changing idea, not rigid and sharp. We decided to smooth over curves in order to create a soft and organic logo. Think of clay–the idea of seamlessly morphing something from nothing.
How many concepts did you create?
Our artists explored several different concepts, we had several designers fill page after page of sketches: the dirtier and sketchier the better. We often start with hundreds of low-fidelity renderings, and narrow the idea down from there as we learn more about our audience and the client. Once we have narrowed down potential directions, we turn those low-fidelity sketches into higher quality concepts, and then present a smaller amount of digital renderings to our clients. Sharing ideas with our clients often is key at this stage to avoid wasting too much time with ideas that don’t hit the mark.
How did you choose the winning concept?
Through internal critique with our team at Underbelly, presenting to our clients, and conducting market research through online surveys, we collaboratively refined the concepts and narrowed our options until we had created a mark that met the overall objectives of the brand and that the client connected with emotionally. We strive to touch base on all of the key descriptors and brand attributes that effectively represent the company. We also focus on choosing a concept that is aesthetically pleasing to customers and employees alike, and is proven to be versatile enough to work on any medium necessary for the brand.
Morph 3D is a sub-brand of a larger tech company that focuses on a similar, but broader product and demographics. We needed to build off of the same technology to elevate both brands, without taking away from the other. The problem was to create a sub-brand that works together in the same space as the parent company without alienating the brand’s current clientele who are already familiar with the core product. We did not want to take away from either brand, so we had to ensure that the brands meshed well together while being distinct enough to carry their own value.
Another of the most challenging parts of the project was that we decided we wanted the logo to reference the human form while still being vague enough to not adopt any one particular human identity. This proved to be a bit tricky to do without having the logo look straight-up creepy.
What message did you want to convey to the viewers of the logo?
We wanted to convey to video game players and video game professionals that Morph 3D is an industry leader. Morph 3D is for creatives, a playground for your imagination. We wanted to convey that the brand is colourful, full of motion, energy, and life. We wanted the viewers of the logo to feel that this is the company at the forefront of 3D modelling. The trick is to show expertise without sacrificing the fun; these are games, after all.
What is your process when creating a logo identity?
On this particular project we gathered as much information as possible through interviews and guerrilla testing with our key demographic in order to get an idea of what direction would be best for the brand, before we even started sketching. We then created a wealth of loose concepts and ran those through internal critiques and conversations with our clients to help us narrow down which direction we were heading. We take these directions and identify a number of brand extensions that we need to test in order to identify which concepts work most effectively across a variety of necessary brand applications.
Finally, we reached a direction for their logo and secondary design elements that make up the brand design system needed for the company to present and maintain their brand correctly. Typically logo engagement will conclude with us sending a client a comprehensive style guide including their logo, colour scheme, type, how imagery should be used for their brand–everything the client needs to present and maintain their brand. With Morph 3D, we continue to maintain their brand on a consultative basis, and whenever questions come up we fulfil ongoing support to help with new requirements that the brand may need.