If you’re looking for information on Atlassian’s latest redesign announced in September 2017, check out this post for the whole story. Below is the story of our 2011 redesign.
As I’m sure you’ve already seen, Atlassian has a new look! After the months of hard work leading up to this we’re all really excited to have our new brand released into the wild.
I thought it’d be fun to take a peek at the process behind the core of our rebrand: the new logos. It took a lot of exploration and refining over the course of several months, but gradually we honed in on the winner.
While the old logos had served us well, we thought it was a good time for them to be updated with a more contemporary look. Below you can see some of the stylistic and technical problems we found with the old logo:
We all agreed that the icon should remain in some form – due to the brand equity, ties to company culture, and the still-apt Atlas reference – but because the “figure with outstretched arms” has been done in so many logos, it would need to be redrawn to be more uniquely and distinctly ours.
Here’s a sampling of less-distinct “outstretched figure” logos:
And a sampling of more uniquely drawn “outstretched figure” logos – we wanted the new logo to fall squarely into this group:
Once I gathered some reference & inspiration images, I started sketching. Any scrap of paper within arm’s reach became sketch-fodder, which would then find itself littered in a pile across my desk. Here’s some of that process:
After sketching for a while, I had a handful of logos with potential. I scanned in the sketches and began drawing them in Adobe Illustrator. From there it was easy to produce many variations on each idea. Here’s a taste of that:
I looked at a ton of font options for the logo, and honed in on Klavika, which seemed to convey the perfect balance of friendliness and strength.
Here’s the gallery of some fonts I looked at:
We narrowed down the options, and presented these logos to Mike & Scott:
After talking through the pros and cons of these logos, we realized that while I was on the right track, none of these had quite nailed it, and went through a few ideas for revisions. We also discussed how far the icon should stray from the old logo, and decided that it should remain fairly true to it – somewhere in between options #1 and #2.
So I began exploring in that area. The best of the bunch was when I took #2 and veered it more towards #1 (see the image below). I liked how the icon’s body was looking like 2 mirrored curves overlapping each other, it seemed like a subtle nod to a “collaboration” or “multiple parts making a whole” concept that I’d been trying to infuse in some early options. To emphasize the overlapping, I added the notch to separate the two halves a tad, and almost make it appear like a shadow casting downward from the top curve. Might not be picked up on by many, but it led to a look that I think works visually, and adding the notch to the letter A really made it click for me.
Jay, Mike, and Scott also liked this logo, and after another couple rounds of minor refinements – rounding letters’ edges, decreasing the size and width of the crescent, increasing the head size, reducing the number of notched letters, color tweaks, custom alterations to letter shapes – we had our logo!
From there it was on to the product suite to apply the new look. I wanted a consistency to cascade through all of the logos, but left the main Atlassian logo as the only multi-colored logo, to help make it the clear “parent” of the group.
Making It Real
Throughout the process, I tested the logos by placing them in the contexts they’d be seen most often: the products, the website, t-shirts, signage, etc:
And at the OnDemand launch I learned that there’s nothing that’ll make a rebrand feel more real than seeing it on 200 hard hats, and blown up 12 feet wide:
A special shoutout to everyone who offered valuable feedback throughout the process, especially the iWTF team, Jay, Mike, and Scott. I’m really happy with how these turned out, the Atlassian staff is happy, and we’ve had great reviews from the public, including this great review from Brand New, a leading blog on branding.