Aphelios – Brand Identity Design: Case Study
Design the logo and brand Identity scheme for aphelios, a specialist logistics startup focused on the commercial resupply service (CRS) series of flights to bring deliverables to locations such as the International Space Station (ISS), Earth’s moon, and future interplanetary logistic locations.
Skills: Logo Design, Brand Identity
Industry: Logistics/Off-Planet Logistics
The primary goal of aphelios is to bridge the gap for Interplanetary Supply Chain Management and Logistics Architectures (IPSCM&LA) and develop a comprehensive SCM framework and solution for space logistics.
Aphelios’ overall objective is to develop an integrated capability for paving the way and guiding the development of the interplanetary supply chain that will be required to enable sustainable space exploration of the Earth-Moon-Mars system and beyond.
The Main Logo
The main logo. Star of the show, and used in most applications with color variants. The logo is used in a horizontal state or stacked with the icon above the type where horizontal space may be limited. The icon may also be used alone where space is vastly limited or to provide visual interest on otherwise bland backgrounds or large featureless open spaces.
It’s always hugely important to think about how a client logo is going to be used and applied to products and items. In Aphelios’ case, the logo would hardly be used on products. Perhaps coffee mugs at office locations and pens left at meetings.
Most uses of the logo however, would be large trucks, shipping freight, and aircraft. Potentially even space shuttle and spacesuits. At the very least it would be on uniforms, shirts, overalls, and business materials such as envelopes and business cards. This means the logo had to be subtly vibrant, but understated enough to not scream at people from whatever it may be used on. As such, a simple color palette was created to be used in conjunction or support of the logo colors where applicable.
Designing The Typography
Crafting the logo typography was a fun process. It began with looking for a potential font suitable for the brand image. This was a challenging process at first. I came across a few suitable candidates, but none that came close to the impact and modern style of the Nexa font family.
Though, something still felt a little off. After playing with shapes, angles, kerning, and character width, it still felt a little too rigid. Not ideal for a brand who’s entire business is based on the future, delivering cutting edge technologies to mission critical launch and delivery locations.
After further experimentation, I played with rounding the edges of a few letters. I quickly discovered that the typeface could be rounded in an elegant way to compliment the corners of the icon concepts of the logo.
Getting To The Final Logo
It was brilliantly obvious from the start that the aphelios brand would be massively unique, given the nature of their industry, it’s progressive movement and involvement in interplanetary logistics. This presented the challenge of trying not to appear too much like anything else. We couldn’t lean too far into the logistics side of design, or aerospace and space brands. Creating something inline with the UPS or USPS logo wouldn’t do aphelios justice. Equally, creating a logo to a similar style or aesthetic to SpaceX or NASA would be too cliché. After all, the aphelios brand that was more than just a courier or space faring rocket brand. This business helps deliver mission critical gear and equipment. As such design needed clean, simple, yet modern with a touch of progressive, forward thinking design.
How Did We Get There?
The icon was probably the trickiest part. From circles that represented planets, to abstract shapes and arrows, I had to create something truly unique and meaningful. While we’re all aware a logo doesn’t need to explain a company, I felt there needed to be an element of fluidity and movement to help represent the type of industry that Aphelios is a part of.
This is one of the reasons that the logo has so many rounded edges. Second was the color and the reason for the triangle.
Gradient, Colors and Shapes
The choice to use a gradient slowly grew on me when looking at more modern technology and progressive, innovative leaders in business. Commonly we have seen gradients be a design faux pas regarding their use for logos. Yet, further research led me to establish that this wasn’t becoming a modern trend from the likes of Meta, Instagram, SAP, Mindtree, or General Motors. This choice is being used more frequently on progressive, pioneering brands that are leading the charge in their industry.
So, Why The Triangle?
The decision was made to use a triangle because of it’s shape. Specifically an Equilateral triangle. Whichever direction this type of triangle faces, so long as it remains an equilateral triangle, it looks like it’s pointing somewhere. Again, the Aphelios logo will be used at scale on large vehicles. So, whichever direction they’re moving, the logo won’t look or feel as if it doesn’t belong on a particular surface while in motion. Other famous logos must be more selective about their placement to avoid this. The Aphelios brand however, can be more energetic with their choices.
A complete identity is nothing without it’s visual assets. From media concepts, layout for media interaction, and physical assets like busines cards, letterheads, convoy vehicles and more. Every asset had to be carefully considered to portray a bold, simple, progressive, and futuristic nature that is key to the aphelios brand.
Emphasis was made to highlight the contrast of brand colors. The logo icon and name were used to create a dynamic and subtly eye catching impact that pulls attention, but keeps a more fluid undertone with smooth rounded edges and simplistic layout. Print and media assets were designed to the same goal.