Updating the WinthropDC logo

David Meego - Click for blog homepageBefore I worked for Microsoft, I ran my own business called Winthrop Dexterity Consultants.

Winthrop because that is the suburb of Perth I live in, Dexterity (Microsoft Dynamics GP’s development environment) as that was my primary focus and Consultants as that is what I was doing.

The logo for Winthrop Dexterity Consultants was a localised play on the sun and wheat logo of Great Plains. Click here for a history of GP logos. The suburb, Winthrop, was a pine plantation before the land was developed, so instead of three stalks of wheat in front of a red sun, we had three stylised pine trees in front of a yellow sun.

Winthrop Dexterity Consultants
Can you see the “W” formed by the trees?

When Winthrop Dexterity Consultants was formed in September 1999, we did consider using the word Development instead of Dexterity, but decided that using Dexterity would be more specific for people in the GP community.

So wind forward 15 years and I am back out on my own again. However, this time I wanted to have a name that would not confuse the general public (don’t remember how many times I explained that Dexterity was a programming language and did not refer to hand eye coordination) and also not be restricted to developing in a single environment or language.

So I registered Winthrop Development Consultants as a trading name for the company Winthrop Dexterity Consultants.

Now came the task of updating and modernising the logo and company image. We already had a version of the original logo with the new name from 15 years ago as a starting point.

 Winthrop Development Consultants

We approached the graphic designer, Simon, at the printing company we use, Inkpot Printing & Design, and gave him the brief to modernise the logo, to make it cleaner and brighter while still keeping the heritage of the sun and trees. Based on that brief the designer came back with the first couple of draft ideas.

Draft 1Draft 2

In the first design it was hard to see trees, the green looked more like mountains. In the second design it looked like you were looking through a porthole or round window. So we suggested extending the trees to bring them in front of the sun and also moving the sun side ways to the right a little to offset it.

Modified Draft 2

The design that came back had made the changes as requested.

Draft 3

It did have a side effect, the trees now looked like sails in the wind. So we requested that the trees should look more like trees, and for the sun to be more orange like a setting sun and be offset further. We also asked for the Winthrop writing to stand out more that the Development Consultants and we wanted to maintain the W in the trees.

Draft 4

The design that came back did have all that we requested, but the trees were a little too “cute”. We did like the colours and the updated text.

Draft 5

Taking away the tree trunks still left them looking like cute cones and not stylised trees. The designer came back with another suggestion based on chevron or arrow head style trees.

Draft 6

This solved the “cute” issue, but still was not easily recognisable as the sun with three trees in front. The next changes we asked for where to finish the curve of the sun, to size up the logo to match the text and to line up the text so that its left edge formed a parallel line with the right edge of the trees.

Draft 7

We were getting closer, but the trees did not look like 3 individual trees. So the designer separated the shape into three objects and adjusted the shading so that edge of the trees were defined where they touched.

Draft 8

Now that was pretty good, but I was not sure about the spikey bits sticking out at the bottom of the trees. What does it look like if we adjust the bottom edge to remove the spikes?

Draft 9

Hmm. What does it look like, if we smooth off the bottom of the trees?

Draft 10

Then we did a test, shrinking down the logo to business card sized and looking at it from arms length. That’s when we decided that the spikey bits helped define the trees when the logo was made smaller. So we discarded the last two drafts and kept the spikey bits.

Finally we had our design. To give us more flexibility I asked for a vertical version of the logo as well as the horizontal we had designed.


When the designer took the logos and created the business cards and letterheads, he used the vertical logo rather than the original horizontal logo. You will probably see both versions used depending on what fits best.

Designing a logo is just like designing software (or robots), an iterative approach where you keep what works and change or improve what doesn’t.


PS: Click here for a history of Microsoft logos and Windows logos.

This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

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