If you do a Google image search for "security tech company," the designs that come up are a homogenous mass of masculine, Matrix-inspired graphics, the visual equivalent of the buzzword "disrupt." It’s a type of branding that only reinforces the tech bro stereotype—the aesthetic makes Silicon Valley seem even more of an inaccessible geek bubble.
The makers of Fugue, a new software that simplifies the creation, operation, and regeneration of cloud infrastructure, wanted to, uh, disrupt stereotypical tech graphics. For their branding, they tapped the ever inventive New York-based design studio Sagmeister & Walsh. The designers created a calligraphic identity, app, and animated logo that changes based on user data. This artful use of data visualization turns the branding into an interactive game.
"We wanted to design a brand that visualizes the functionality of the Fugue software," Walsh writes in an email. By replacing maintenance of long-lived components with automated regeneration of short-lived ones, the software eliminates problems like hacker intrusions and bit rot (the decay of data over time). Sagmeister & Walsh wanted the animated logo to visualize how the software moves data from one place to another in the cloud. "We did this through dotted lines that are constantly moving and regenerating in space to form the Fugue logotype," Walsh says.
Sagmeister & Walsh’s Fugue app allows the company’s in-house design team to upload any SVG line drawing, then transform it into the logo’s visual style. "This allows them to easily generate new patterns, illustrations, and animations as they need over time," Walsh says. The designers also developed the software so that the user can scribble onto an iPad or Wacom tablet, drawing his or her own illustrations in Fugue's dreamy style, then export these graphics. (Here is an example of one Sagmeister & Walsh created.)
The branding looks more like something from the art or fashion world than from the coder realm, and the app fuses tech with music, too. The software’s name, Fugue, references a music composition technique made famous by composers like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Fugue’s creators are former musicians, and the software's functions reference musical terminology. "We wanted to pay homage to this in the branding, so we developed the software to also load any music from a user’s library," Walsh says. The speed and pace of the animated logo changes to reflect the music’s beat. "These musical logos with sound can then play at trade shows, in the application demo, or online as animations," Walsh says.
One potential downside is that the logo is a little hard to read at small sizes given its wispy, cirrus cloud-like typeface, but the brand will use it most often at large sizes, at trade show booths, on products like t-shirts and tote bags, and on the web. For occasions when a small size is needed, Sagmeister & Walsh created a simple serif version of the logo.
The elegant branding stands out from the current tech design landscape—how many other security tech company logos would you want plastered on a T-shirt or tote bag?
See more about the identity here.