The Logo: Then & Now
“We asked for a new logo that did not completely erase our original logo, yet was not immediately seen as a spinoff of it. A tall order to be sure. ”
-Kurt Gough, Founding Partner
We set out to develop a logo that was new but continuous with our original one. Over the years, we developed a pattern of using the logo in two ways: 1) as a full identifier that said SHELTER plus a tagline such as “Live Better,” “Architecture,” or “Interior Design” and 2) as an icon that signified the brand but didn’t spell anything out (we used the red rectangle outlined by the LT). One of the criteria for the new logo was that it could similarly function in multiple ways. We also wanted the new logo to be less rigid than the original. Adjectives that came up in discussion included “softer,” “approachable,” and “playful.” Finally, we hoped that the new logo could feel “built” or “constructed” with each piece playing an important role. We likened the construction of the logo to a pair of designer shoes or a designer handbag in which the construction of the object is evident. The way each piece comes together is as important to the design as the finished product. It follows an overarching, but not overbearing, logic.
Malley Design started by building a font based on a grid that determined letter proportions and spacing, in much the same way that the old logo was built. They developed custom letterforms based on straight lines and segments of perfect circles. The grid and kit of letterform parts provides an overall logic to the logo. It appears to be built piece-by-piece. Certain letters break the geometry of the grid — we adjusted the pieces to make them less regular and emphasize that they are custom. A breakaway segment of the initial S becomes a sheltering device over the whole logo and serves as our stand-alone mark. The E’s are cut back in a way that leaves the rest to your imagination, while the L and T overlap to create dynamic negative space and hearken back to the original logo. The final stroke of the R dips below the baseline.
We pair the new logo with a variety of tag lines as needed. It also works well all by itself.