While I’ve always been passionate about the logos behind the companies and brands I’ve started (or hoped to start), I haven’t always had the skills required to create the logo myself. For Civil FX, I used a design service called 99 Designs which offered a process I enjoyed and results I was happy with. Through the process you receive dozens of concepts and iterations of logo designs all along a path that hopefully leads to the ultimate design.
But while I enjoy the 99 Designs process or even working with a designer, the ultimate goal for myself has always been to create my own logo. This way, I could endlessly try iterations and tweaks until I’ve achieved satisfaction. Instead of dozens of iterations, you could plow through hundreds when you include the minor iterations and the concepts that pop up (and ultimately get tossed out) between your own two ears.
When I started riffing on the Vision logo (the full story to be shared another day) I hoped to use a design service or designer to achieve my ultimate logo design, but the initial attempts weren’t fruitful. The end result was that I kept trying my own concepts with software I’m comfortable with (Sketchup, GIMP) and eventually software I wasn’t as comfortable with (Illustrator, Photoshop). I knew I was on a path that was leading to a Vision logo I was pleased with, so in early 2020 I took some time to teach myself Illustrator.
(NOTE: During early access in late 2021 the name Vision was dropped, and the software was known henceforth as just Beyond CAD)
I’m still by no means an expert, but understanding the basics of Illustrator was a pivotal moment, not just in the design of the Vision and Beyond CAD logo but in my entrepreneurial journey. It was the freedom I needed to communicate what was in my head for branding for my products and businesses and instruction to my own artists, programmers and managers.
As a quick refresher, the Vision concept and logo were conceived during the Civil FX years. When it became apparent that Civil FX would be sold, and I’d be starting a new company – Beyondware- that would retain, finish and launch the software, I frantically went to work on the name and brand for the new venture. Since I was happy with the Vision logo, I hoped the Beyond CAD logo could have the same design language. The Vision logo was initially green for Civil FX but that was changed to blue to signify the new company and direction. The change to blue occurred during the final stages of the Beyond CAD logo design so much of the initial brainstorming was in green.
The first few dozen concepts didn’t go anywhere. Instead of a path of concepts leading toward an ultimate goal I was finding out much more of what I didn’t want. The best logos are aesthetically beautiful, simple and contain a deeper meaning- undoubtedly a high bar, but one worth striving toward. In researching other logos and designs I really liked weaved logo designs. After testing out a few concepts of this I realized I was approaching something that looked like the original AutoCAD cursor ‘pickbox’ which is essentially a square with a cross through it.
A few more concepts in this direction and I had another realization – a B and a C together can look a lot like the aforementioned pickbox cursor. Now I was really onto something and clearly on the path that would lead to the ultimate design. While I hoped to find a font I could use that would fit the B and the C neatly into the pickbox shape, the final design was nothing more than starting with a pickbox and cutting away until the B and C wear clearly visible. The gap on the C only represented a temporary problem that I soon realized should be filled with an arrow.
We are moving away- and beyond- CAD!
The arrow also allowed the perfect opportunity to tap into the design language of Vision and finish off the design. I found a font I liked for the text below the logo, made all of the dark, light, png and jpg versions I would need for branding on the website and so on, and finally felt the satisfaction that only comes as a result of exceeding expectations of the picky self client I was trying to satisfy.
Because the Parametrix acquisition was still under negotiation, I actually sat on the logo for weeks before sharing it with anyone outside of my own home. When the merger was finalized I was finally able to share the news about the new company and eventually the logo behind it with the world (ie a handful of contacts on LinkedIn). In an effort to convey the meaning and passion that went into the logo design I offered in a LinkedIn post a competition of a $50 Amazon gift card to whoever could best describe the meaning behind the logo. I was surprised by the response from dozens who did their best to catch all of the meanings behind the new Beyond CAD logo. Architect David Truman offered a description that was not just above the others on the LinkedIn post but even was deeper than my own design intent! Needless to say, David was swiftly sent the Amazon gift card.