Tusk primary logo

Re-branding to tusk & Nelly the narwhal.

March 5, 2018 | Ed Stennett

Re-branding to tusk & Nelly the narwhal. hero

Blog / Re-branding to tusk & Nelly the narwhal.

As you will will probably know by now (the clue is in the title), we have rebranded and are now called tusk. Why would you do such a thing after only one month of being uWork, you might ask… and that is a good question.

We never planned to have to re-brand so soon, but thanks to the charming legal team of a multi-million dollar company from across the pond, our hand was forced. BUT, with much credit owed to our wonderful designer, Steady Eddy, and some beer fuelled creative sessions – we came up with tusk and significantly, our icon: Nelly the narwhal.

It would be lovely to be able to say that we sent Ed off to the far reaches of the earth to seek inspiration for the icon and Nelly is the result of 3 months camping on Canada’s arctic shores.

Alas, the tale he has to tell is far more exciting that that… a story that begins around 500 BC – and here it is. In the words of our very own Ed Stennett:

Now the re-brand is complete, I can finally give away my secrets and share some insight into the logo design process and how I used the designer’s favourite irrational number; the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio has a value of ~1.61803… and it describes the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions. The Golden Ratio, or Phi Φ (the 21st number of the Greek alphabet), and the Fibonacci sequence are intimately connected. Fibonacci numbers are characterised by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144...

Dividing each number by the previous number gives:

1 / 1 = 1, 2 / 1 = 2, 3 / 2 = 1.5, and so on up to 144 / 89 = 1.6179….

The resulting sequence is:

1, 2, 1.5, 1.666..., 1.6, 1.625, 1.615…, 1.619…, 1.6176…, 1.6181…, 1.6179…

As the Fibonacci sequence tends towards infinity, the sum of dividing each number by the previous number tends towards Φ.

It will be these numbers that form the basis for the Logo design.

The name

Weeks of research, video calls, meetings, workshops, and deliberation eventually led to deciding on a name; Tusk. The processes involved that enabled us to come up with the name and the whole rebrand itself are for another post, but, we had a name and the attention turned to the logo mark. We wanted to base the logo mark on a Narwhal, a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large “tusk” from a protruding canine tooth, as using an animal would help us build a strong and memorable identity later down the line. It was therefore over to me to begin the logo design process to create the logo mark we had already begun affectionately calling Nelly.

Designing

I began with my sketchbook, drawing various ideas for the logo mark, looking for a shape that I felt worked and would clearly define the brand. As a UI/UX designer, sketching is something that I can do, but certainly isn’t my forte, especially when it comes to graphic design. Sketching ideas for a user interface is, in my mind, very different to sketching concepts for a logo mark, especially one that involves a geometric representation of a Narwhal. However, after a few days, I had a sketch I was happy with.

sketch

Within Illustrator, I created a series of 8 circles where the radii of each were part of the Fibonacci sequence; I would then use these circles to form the basis of the design.

Fibonacci radii

Next, I began to arrange the circles in a way that seemed to fit with the original sketch. If you look closely at the image below, you might be able to make out the outline of Nelly.

Fibonacci radii arranged

It took a bit of trial and error but I eventually had an arrangement that I was happy with. I could make use of Illustrator’s shape builder tool to create an outline.

Fibonacci outline

The edges were a little sharp, so I used the anchor point tool to smooth them out a bit, giving a slightly cleaner, rounder look.

Fibonacci smooth

With the logo mark complete, it was time to get to work on the word mark and complete the logo. I wanted a geometric sans serif typeface to form the basis of the word mark. I used Nexa Bold, a simple but beautiful font that would form the basis of the word mark. With a bit of fiddling here and there, I got it just right. You can see the difference between the unaltered type and the final version below. Note the hook on the t, the root of the u, and the stem of the k.

Fibonacci type

Putting the two together, I arranged the logo type using the same Fibonacci circles and set a safety area. The width of the logo mark was set to 1.61 times greater than the width of the word mark, funny that?!

Fibonacci bounds

Finally, removing all the guides, we have a finished logo! Introducing Tusk.

Fibonacci final