A logo can be a powerful image, and probably one of the more important aspects of your overall brand besides the product itself. Traditionally, we’ve all been given a certain set of rules on how a logo should be – the right color scheme, size, resolution, etc. We’re also taught to take into consideration the medium we’ll be using a logo on – which are usually stagnant and one dimensional.

The founders of Orchestrate are something of nonconformists (evident by the product they’re building to begin with!) so when they came to me about designing the company’s logo, it was clear that rules weren’t going to be as important to them. Conveying a message about their product clearly was, though. They wanted their logo to be simple, yet fluid, and something that would break rules and common notion of design.

For some context, Orchestrate is building an API that will change the way developers build apps, especially in regards to how they manage and scale databases. In fact, they want to eliminate the need to run databases at all. Pretty compelling stuff. So to reflect the overall theme of the company, I wanted the Orchestrate logo to feel dynamic and functional, as if it were powering something and had a ‘drive’ to it.

We considered a stagnant ‘O’ for a moment, but quickly threw that out the window. Almost everything’s gone digital, their technology is global, fluid, and seriously, who cares what it looks like when it’s printed. We created a logo intended to always be moving, and to blur when captured as a still. It’s all a metaphor for the vision of the company. We could go on forever about the concept behind the logo, but let’s take a look at the practical aspects of actually creating it.

  1. The themes of simplicity, unity and dynamism were key, and they reflect the technology. I decided to work this idea of unity into a moving logomark, which would have action and movement, but also have a central point where the various movements would align into a single unified image. I started with the 2D, basic concept of the logo design – the central point in the logos rotation. Ultimately, I developed the end result first, and worked backwards to layer in the action.


  2. Upon deciding the final form, and having a vague idea on how it would work, I recreated my 3-ringed shape in Cinema 4D, using tube with no height, and toyed around with a variety of different rotations.


  3. I then set random rotations for each ring at a rough midpoint of the animation, while keeping keyframes at 0,0,0 degrees and both the start and end of the animation. I choose 600 frames initially, but quickly realized that it continued for far too long. I ultimately ended up scaling it back to 130 frames, for a briefer 4 second rotation.


  4. The results here were rather erratic. Looking into it more, I realized it was because we needed to have some influence from one ring on the others. After some experimentation, I decided that the smallest and ‘lightest’ ring should be quickest to move and ‘ahead’ of the others. It would also be the first ring to reverse back to it’s original state. Despite each ring having it’s own motion, the overall feel and flow of the design needed some sort of cohesion so as not to be jarring.


  5. I then set the keyframes to ‘cascade,’ and tuned each ring so that the movements felt natural and ‘weighted’; the lighter, smaller rings being ‘pulled’ by the heavier outside rings.


  6. The rings were then given a luminance of pure black, and I inserted a background object with luminance of pure white, in order to creating a nice silhouette effect. This is a great effect for creating 2D forms in 3D software and can be applied in a variety of ways. I recommend trying your own variations.


  7. Since real objects blur when seen moving on film, I added some blurring effects to the rendering process. But do be warned – the settings of these greatly affect render speed and quality.


  8. Finally, I exported my first animation and dragged it into photoshop to play around with final lockups. It’s important to note that this method means that you will not be able to send your client vector format files, and will have to share high resolution raster files (and video), instead.


And so, we’re left with this final, perpetual motion logo.