04 Sep How the Digital Oil and Gas Logo Came to Be
Are you curious about the meaning behind the logo for Digital Oil and Gas, and how we landed on this design? It’s not an accident.
Since it is Labour Day weekend in Canada, I’m on a short break, and so this post is less about digital in the hydrocarbon sector, and more on how Digital Oil and Gas has come to be.
When Dominika and I were designing the logo, we first set down some criteria and used the criteria to validate the design. We had no budget to work with, so hiring a design studio was out of the question. We also had to use the free tools available to us (Excel, Word, PowerPoint).
- We wanted it to be distinct from the usual corporate logos of digital companies or the logos for oil and gas companies. Most are names (Shell, McKinsey, Google, Amazon, Siemens), or initials (IBM, HP, EY or PWC come to mind). Only Amazon is even a little playful with the underscore arrow feature that connects the A to the Z.
- The colours in the logo had to be distinct from the competition, not to mention those of my employer, but also reminiscent of the subject matter (digital meets hydrocarbons). Digital is generally represented with colors from the blue spectrum, gas is usually a blue-ish flame, and crude oil is typically depicted as black.
- The logo needed to work on all kinds of devices, including phones, tablets, laptops and TVs, and across different browsers, search engines and operating systems (Android, Apple and others). A quick check on iTunes suggested that a pure logo wasn’t likely to work – almost all podcasts have a name.
- The logo needed to work easily for a number of on-line eminence properties, including blogs, podcasts, ebooks, presentations, and videos. We didn’t know exactly which properties, so we would aim for simplicity.
- The logo needed to work comfortably on all the major social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, iTunes, Google Play Music, and LinkedIn. We needed to be able to use it just as a logo, as a banner, or as a backdrop, with text to the side or above or below, or without.
- Experience told us that a logo could be stylized, but then it would need a text name. Logos that are too abstract would not be sufficiently user friendly. And we didn’t have any budget to drive any advertising to cement the logo as a brand.
The final design came together after mucking around with different design concepts. The initials for Digital Oil and Gas spell the word “dog”, and so perhaps that was something to leverage. Or perhaps we could play with any of the classic icons of the oil industry.
- We toyed with using a cartoon of a dog, but concluded that it wouldn’t be taken too seriously. And more thoughtful dog illustrations didn’t remind us of the subject matter (digital and oil and gas). There’s also a prominent Canadian oil company whose logo is a dog (Husky Energy), and we didn’t want any legal entanglements stemming from someone confusing us with an oil company.
- We tried using Sirius, the Dog Star, in a few iterations, but we couldn’t easily connect the constellation to the concept of digital meets hydrocarbons. Well, we could, but it was tortuous logic. And only astronomy nerds would even recognize the Dog Star constellation.
- We tried using an oil barrel initialed with DOG and the Sirius constellation but it lacked imagination, pizazz and meaning. Other classic oil industry symbols (pump jacks, fuel dispensers, gushers, tankers) leaned towards the industry, but had nothing to do with digital. We worked a droplet of oil, imprinted with a circuit board, and the name, but weren’t confident it would work on small screens.
- We turned to using the initials for Digital Oil and Gas. How about a stylish D with the center cavity a droplet of oil imprinted with a circuit board? Perhaps, but the detail in the circuit board would get washed out on phones and tablets.
In the end, we kept returning to just simple text. It was easy to build a logo with the text, and easy to replicate. DOG it would be.
- First the colours – the purple hue we use throughout the logo is distinct. Although digital companies use the full palette of available colours, we couldn’t find anyone in digital using that particular purple. Same for hydrocarbon companies. We trended to purple because it was on the blue spectrum, was a blend of blue and red, common colours for oil companies, and would not be too off putting for the oil and gas industry (a male dominated, engineering-oriented workforce). By the way, have you noticed how many oil and gas outfits use red, white and blue? There’s a story here involving the earliest days of the industry and the anti-trust decision in 1911.
- The O is presented as a black droplet of oil, recalling the hydrocarbon sector, and is centred to draw the eye to it.
- Next the letters – have you noticed how the D and the G are reverse images of each other? This gives the logo symmetry with the D to the left and the G on the right, but also ties digital and hydrocarbons together. Digital unlocks hydrocarbons.
- In another subtle play with the letters, if you partially superimpose the D on top of the G, it creates the classic “power on button” icon. Digital can power up the hydrocarbon industry.
- The oil droplet O connects the D and the G, similar to how the Olympic Rings connect, and illustrates how the digital industry and oil and gas are coming together.
- The text name, Digital Oil and Gas, carries through with the colours – the word “oil” is in black to connect back to the O in the logo, and the purple hue is used everywhere else.
- Finally, the tag line. Seeing the name “Digital Oil and Gas” doesn’t quite reveal the site’s intent, so we added the tag line “creating and embracing a digital future“. This is also important – the oil and gas industry is sufficiently different (it’s business-to-business, asset intense, and deeply technical) that it must create its own version of a digital future.
That’s the story and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all turned out. And it cost precisely zero dollars.
Dominika Warchol Hann and I collaborated on the logo over a 2-3 week period. She’s a fantastic illustrator, as well as a very creative and imaginative consultant.