My local university re-branded its main campus bar back in autumn, ditching the ‘Glo Bar’ moniker and associated logo which read more like ‘grow bag’ in favour of the name ’The Pulse’, as chosen by student vote (yes, democracy is alive and well). I was drafted in to create an identity and logo for the venue, something which had been on the cards since I gave one of their other campus bars a new identity a year earlier.
The idea behind the name is that, as the main campus bar, the venue is the focal point for student activities, particularly in the evenings, and so is the heartbeat of the Students Union, a line which has been used to market the newly branded bar. This led to a stipulation in the brief that the logo should contain some kind of heart monitor pulse graphic.
I knew straight away that I didn’t just want to pick a typeface and set the text in it straight off the peg; it almost always makes me cringe when I see a logotype which is just a straight untreated typeface - there’s no unique defining characteristic of a logo which is formed in this way, and therefore has little to offer in terms of unique identity, which is one of branding’s basic tenets.
So, after trying a few options, I picked a clean, modern, stylised typeface (in this case, Moderna) to set the basic text in and then started tweaking it into something which gelled as a logo. I actually dislike quite a lot of letterforms in this font, but the ones I needed for this design worked well together, so I was happy to go with it.
I wanted the letters to appear connected up, almost as if they were constructed from one continuous line so I overlapped the individual characters and added a white outline to separate them. Then I manually added, subtracted and rotated elements of the characters until they linked up in a fluid, balanced way without hindering readability. The curve at the bottom of the ‘l’ really brought it together for me - once I added that, the whole thing fell into place in a matter of minutes. The red heart monitor pulse underline serves double duty in framing the logo and providing a baseline which helps to ground the lettering and balance it in a way which was difficult to achieve with the stalk of the lower case ‘p’ descending below the baseline of the rest of the text.
The placement of the ‘the’ rotated 90 degrees mirrors that of the previous campus bar I created a logo for, creating a convention for all other bar identities to follow at the university. The logo also looks great in white on black too, as evidenced by the lightbox sign situated above the bar entrance.
Inside, I arranged to have 4 large format prints installed showing some great photography from concerts which have been held at the venue in recent times. These have a really strong visual impact on the interior space, especially when the lights are dimmed and the spotlights are trained on the prints - it ends up looking halfway between a bar and an art gallery, which is no bad thing in my book.