This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

New Adventures identity

25th January 2011

A number of folks have asked why the New Adventures logo has so many variants, and how it all works together. So, here’s a post exploring the final logo and logotype variants we ended up with after a lengthy process.

Firstly, credit to Ollie

Everything was skillfully put together by my good friend Oliver at Joff+Ollie, and whilst we collaborated a great deal on getting this right, all worthwhile credit must go his way. I’d recommend his little studio for any print, identity and signage needs you may have now or in the future.

The name

As I mentioned earlier, the name is a composite of three parts. For this first event, we have New Adventures in Web Design, but the only part that will always feature is the word “new”.

So, we could end up with all sorts of variants in the future, such as (invented purely to explain possibilities):

  • New Adventures in Web Design
  • New Thinking in Web Development
  • New Publications for Web Standards
  • New Workshops for Designers
  • New Opportunities to get blind drunk… and so on.

Therefore, Ollie opted to create a set of components that would allow the logo and logomark to be incredibly flexible going forward. This is useful, as I have no idea where any of this is heading.

Why these circles, arrows and stuff?

Well, the New Adventures website features a number of interactive diagrams focusing on key elements of visual grammar, created in CSS3 and complex background layers. These diagrams are taken from the excellent book Visual Grammar by Christian Leborg.

I initially used these diagrams on the site partly for fun and as a challenge, but also to immediately demonstrate that this conference (and any related events) was pitching itself as an intelligent, thoughtful event exploring broader issues regarding design, language, and taking things forward. So, Ollie then took these ideas and worked through a number of abstractions, breaking free of anything too grounded in specific grammar or science, before arriving at a balanced and extremely flexible set of ideas for the New Adventures identity.

The final identity

Below I’ll take you on a very brief tour of the various uses of the logomarks and the wealth of resulting material we have to play with.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 1: One of the final logotypes, used predominately at #naconf 2011.

I love Akzidenz Grotesk, and I created the original (temporary) logo using it. It’s such a brilliant everyday “jobbing” typeface, and it’s no wonder it’s still popular. For me, it has a slight cheekiness to it. On one hand it’s formal, strong, and bold, yet there’s something ever-so-slightly handmade about it. This character is a perfect fit for New Adventures, and Ollie ran with it, making particular use of Bold Condensed and Light Condensed.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 2: Typefaces, specifically Akzidenz Grotesk.

On the site, we pair this with varieties of Proxima Nova (served from Typekit) for a clean sans-serif feel, and in the newspaper we pair with Meta Serif for sheer bloody serif beauty. I reckon it’s all works pretty well.


Next up, Ollie defined a set of warm and complimentary colours to act as a base for all the variants that followed. Taking inspiration from my subtle use of colour on the New Adventures site, he presented me with a palette it was easy to love.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 3: Carefully selected colour grounds.
The basics

We first arrived at the following logo and logomark, devoid of any colour distractions, and ultimately perfect for b/w printing, stamps and so on.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 4: The logo devoid of any colour treatment.

Logo and logotype contractions:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 5: Basic logotype contraction with text.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 6: Simple text-only variants.

This was then reduced to a pure graphic symbol:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 7: Abstracted graphic-only variant.

Next, Ollie combined everything that went before and arrived at a suite of colour options:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 8: Logo and logotype colour variants.

Eventually, we went with black “New Adventures” text against all colour marks, for a bit of continuity and strength. Naturally, various contractions came next:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 9: Colour contractions.

Then, some type-only contractions:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 10: Basic circular colour variants.

iNew Adventures logo variants

Figure 11: Basic square variants.

Finally, Ollie worked up colour versions of the graphic abstraction:

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 12: Colour abstractions of the logomark.
Oh, and here are some early (abandoned) ideas

The early approaches weren’t quite right, and there were lots of these. All in all, the right components are in place, but something wasn’t quite right. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s all a bit too fussy, and hopefully you much prefer the stuff up above. I know we do.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 13: Abandoned early ideas.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 14: More abandoned early ideas.

New Adventures logo variants

Figure 15: Yet more abandoned early ideas.
And that, is that

We really hope you like the final results, and hope they worked in practice last week at the event. We’d love to know what you think, and if you have any questions about the process for myself or Ollie, just shout. Well, leave a comment.


# Darren Armstrong responded on 25th January 2011 with...

I always find it interesting to see the creative process behind design work so thank you for sharing the process behind the design of the New Adventures identity. I really enjoyed Veerle Pieters’s talk at the conference for exactly the same reason :)

# Sam Hardacre responded on 25th January 2011 with...

Love reading about design processes especially when they include the abandoned ideas. You really get a feel for the overall journey to the finished piece.

Great post mate! :)

# Philip Readman responded on 25th January 2011 with...

Hi Simon, Ollie

So glad you published your thinking behind this work.

To me circles and arrows portray life new beginnings and recycling. Taking things of which are used and old and reproducing them to something innovative and new. I especially think the arrowed circle being outside the main coloured circle is a very strong aspect of the identity as to me it shows breaking out of the norm and doing something new! What is new one day again needs to be built upon and hence recycled. I think some of talks highlighted this theory particularly well. I love the visual element as a stand alone logo, so powerful!

Anyway thought I would just share my thoughts on a very successful logo and event.

# Gareth Joyce responded on 25th January 2011 with...

Inciteful read!

Its interesting to see the date on some of these earlier ones is 2010. Was the conference originally planned for 2010 or have I missed something?

# pixeline responded on 25th January 2011 with...

Awesome post, i was hoping you would explain the visual identity you created. Starring at it all day at the conference, I came up with various stories for the circular arrow, ranging from “scissor guides to create a peep hole into the future”, to “close that bottle of ale Alex, alcohol only plays a small part in the design process.” There was also a 3rd story about n-dimensionality of web design. 2D-3D + circular arrow = time. Pointing to the web as being a microcosm or something… (My hang over did help in making these up.)

I really dig Andy’s point about stories. In graphic design, everything we do is about telling a story. It doesn’t have to be funny, original nor sexy every time, but it does have to be sensible and true. Same goes with interactive design. Designers are first and foremost storytellers.

# OuterbridgeMike responded on 26th January 2011 with...

Great post, Colly.  Thanks for sharing your thought processes - particularly the abandoned ideas.

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