I’ve always been interested in knowing about not just the meaning behind some of the world’s most famous logos but also the history of their design. Processes differ between agencies and amongst designers of all skill levels, which means that most famous logos will have been designed using various methods and during differing timescales.
I managed to track down the company responsible for the logo design of one of the most popular social network brands of the 21st Century. That brand is of course Facebook. Mike Buzzard, of Cuban Council generously answered my questions about how they went about designing a logo that is viewed by almost a billion people on a daily basis:
Hi Mike, how did you land the prestigious job of designing the logo for Facebook?
contacted us at the beginning of 2005 after being referred by a friend of his. Our company had 3 people at the time, being the three original founders, myself, Toke Nygaard & Michael Schmidt. We just getting organized with our own business entity, and had yet to establish lasting clients, a line of credit or anything of the sort; we were working project to project.
Was there a design brief in place and if not how was the direction for the logo decided?
There wasn’t a brief. At that time our process was a bit looser than it is today. Most of our dealings were with Sean, and once with both Sean and Mark at our office just after they received their funding. We had a variety of meetings in our SF space as well as in Palo Alto
where they were setting up their first official office on Emerson Street
. The brief was basically formulated through conversations during these meetings while the direction was determined based upon type selection/disqualification and then customization/refinement.
How was the decision for the final wordmark made? Was it a modification to an existing typeface or was it drawn from scratch?
It was a modification of the typeface Klavika
, which was designed by Eric Olson
. Type and graphic designer, Joe Kral
, who was a good friend that was working closely with Cuban Council at the time, completed the type modifications and final word mark, whilst I oversaw the project.
Was there any particular reason for the choice of blue as the main brand colour? If so, were any other colours originally selected?
We experimented with a variety of colors, but Mark was pretty adamant about using a blue that was derived from the original blue he had used on thefacebook.com
, which he had chosen based on his colour blindness, so he told us.
Do you still keep in touch with Sean and Mark?
At one point Sean asked us if we’d be interested in receiving equity for the work, but having been through the bubble burst of 2000-2001, we confidently declined. Since the project we haven’t had much direct contact with Sean, but we’ve met with and worked with some of his peers.
What is it like knowing that you played a huge part in the design of one of the worlds most iconic logos of the modern digital age?
When you put it like that, it’s a bit intimidating. I think it’s really a matter of perspective — the outside perspective is that we orchestrated “one of the world’s most iconic logos”, but to us at the time we were just working with another start-up who was lean on cash and needed a good, lasting design to get them afoot. I think I am desensitized to seeing the mark, the icon, the variations of the logo nearly everywhere I turn — but when I stop to think about it, I’d say at the least it’s extremely rewarding.
I’d like to thank Mike & Cuban Council for taking the time to answering my questions. If you haven’t already taken a look at their website, please visit www.cubancouncil.com, you won’t be disappointed.