Re-Design: PavelComm

The company PavelComm evolved out of the nationwide deregulation of the US telephone system in the 1980's. Initially, owner Jim Pavel focused his business efforts on the phone-specific needs of his clients. Pavel also created the first identity for the firm (below left), and I was told it was produced on his original Commodore 64 personal computer.

I've known the Pavel family for a number of years now. I always felt that the company logo had hint of the very familiar Pirelli tire company identity (above right), but never said anything because I was never asked to critique the image. There's probably some truth in my sense about the inspiration as Jim Pavel and his son, Jimmy, both race cars as a form of recreation.

In 2008, I was asked to update, or redesign, the identity of the business. PavelComm was now a customer service focused organization specializing in complete technology solutions. In addition to dealing with all aspects of corporate phone systems, the company provided fiber, voice and data cabling for organizations around the country. The services offered, the Portland headquarters, and client expectations were all more sophisticated. However, the business branding had remained the same for over 20 years.

I appreciated co-founder and owner Bonnie Pavel giving me complete creative freedom in taking on the identity project. Still, in creating a image to assist PavelComm in moving forward, I hoped to include some historical perspective in the new image.

I've never been much of a sketcher when brainstorming concepts. Instead, as noted from some excavated artifacts of past projects, I tend to doodle on Post-It notes, envelopes, memo pads and other scraps of paper. In this case, I did find myself scribbling all over a somewhat wrinkled piece of laser printer paper (above).

Not being one to often just slap an icon next to a type treatment of a business name, I took the circle containing a "P" letterform from my initial doodles and incorporated it with the remaining text to spell out PavelComm. The "C" in the company identity had not previously been capitalized. In making the "C" an uppercase element, I felt it put a put a bit more emphasis on the actual activities of the firm. We seemed well on our way to a finalized logo for PavelComm.

Still, I sensed a bit of hesitation from the decision makers. The upper and lower case treatment of the type spelling out the business name was liked by all; as was the movement implied by the text being italicized. There was positive feedback on the incorporation of an icon, making the identity unique and eye-catching. Those providing feedback did express concerns about the typeface being a bit more "high-techy" looking than desired and that, while the logo as designed appeared a bit more high-end and professional, it said little about the products and services offered by PavelComm.

As we were finalizing the logo design and selecting colors, Beverly Wells, a major player at PavelComm and Bonnie Pavel's sister, was able to articulate her concern about the design. She conveyed her feeling that the logo was not successful in projecting what made PavelComm different from other firms in the same industry. She told me that PavelComm was much more than a company simply providing office communication equipment and services. The "comm" portion of the business moniker also referred to the ability of PavalComm staff to truly listen to the needs of the customer base - and communicate technical information in terms the client was able to understand.

With a little "a ha," I literally went back to the drawing board. A "voice bubble" element was pulled from my original doodles and was incorporated into a skewed Palatino type treatment as a replacement for the "o" letterform (above). "Comm" now contained a visual element conveying the term communication.

The upscale graphic redesign of the PavelComm name still did not contain my desired historical reference to the longevity of Jim Pavel's original logo design. That was easily accomplished by making red the predominant color in the new identity.

The new logo was adopted by PavelComm as the worldwide economy took a dive in late 2008. Due to internal budget concerns, the corporate rebranding of the company is currently an ongoing process.

(Note: My book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

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