Hey CMHberry et al,
Thanks for the feedback. Completely disagree that it's a fail though. Give it a few days and you'll see the logo and think Mobile Nations. Not concerned about it from an infringement point - it's plenty unique from that angle (will show you it below), but will give you some background on how we got to our final design and what some of the usage intent is. Once MobileNations.com is launched with the full site design, we were planning on doing a "behind the logo design" post anyways, so will give you a forums preview of it here.
Not sure if you guys have done any logo design work before, but if you ever have taken on the task you'll probably quickly learn that almost every logo design has been done. Very hard to make a logo that isn't somewhat similar to something else.
We actually went through a pretty big process on ending up with the final Mobile Nations logo. Along the theme of nations and mobile, we did look at everything relating to those themes - stars, flags, olive branches, the wifi signals, crowns, etc.
Ultimately we wanted a logo that didn't compete with our individual properties, but compliments them and can work with them as it is a network brand. We also wanted a logo that was simple, inferred mobile but didn't scream it, and also works as a banner or flag. It's very easy to clutter up a logo - which may look cool at first, but then quickly becomes old. Staying power is in simplicity (exceptions to every rule, but that's my belief). For fun I played around with adding antennas, etc. to this design per the OP's suggestion, and to me it just ruins it (looks tacky vs. simple and powerful).
In the end, the Mobile Nations logo really only has TWO basic design elements:
- the banner (the outter square rectangle - think coat of arms), representing nations
- the offset transparent cut out with rounded corners in the center, representing mobile
You'll notice the logo will never be used on a solid white background. The design intent is that there is something always showing through the "display" of the logo. So even above when showing it on a white background, we "put" something in it. In the top bar and footer, the background shows through. You'll even see other usage cases in time where we put very photographic elements on the display (part of a device photo for a review, etc.). We also have design uses where we put the logos of the other sites onto the display. See below.
I should also note that we thought about rounding the outer edges of the orange rectangle, which would arguably make the shape look even more "mobile", but the issue with that look is that it loses the tie to "nations" (the banner aspect of the design is gone) and that when re-sized small, it starts to look sloppy.
If you want to see some of the designs along the way, check out the attachments. We have a bunch more than this I could dig up, but this gives you some insight into it. Looking at mn-beta-3.jpg is the revision before we get into our final design phase. We really liked the simplicity of a basic shape and how we could work within it to layer on other simple cut-out elements. It still wasn't right yet as those versions felt a bit "heavy". We tried a lot of colors along the way too (but I love ORANGE so that kind of dominated and won for color choice).
After mn-beta3.jpg, that's ultimately when we had our A HA moment and cut out the mobile shape from the solid orange banner. We balanced the proportions of the shape with the font, tried a few iterations around that, and ultimately fell in love with what we have.
Is it similar to some other logos out there, National Geographic and Nationwide being referenced? Arguably yes, but it's also very distinct. Distinct colors, distinct proportions and we have distinct usage cases. National Geographic has a picture frame representing photos. Nationwide is a window representing broken glass for insurance. Mobile Nations has a silhouette of a mobile device, representing Mobile. Different industries, plenty unique. See below:
The fact some of you think it's like National Geo or Nationwide kind of makes me really happy... sounds like we're in great company and destined for GREAT THINGS with Mobile Nations. As for the comment on THINK BIGGER... that's exactly what we did. Doing something more on the logo (antennas, etc.) would be thinking smaller IMO. Simple and iconic is BIG thinking.
So that's a brief look at the background behind it. Again, once we have the new Mobile Nations site launched I'll have our head of design to a blog post on it going into more depth. But since this thread popped up I thought I'd give you some insight.
And like I said.. give a few days... you're going to see it and think Mobile Nations. Not anything else.