Evolution of a Logo

Created: Friday, 28 September 2007 Written by Gary Elsbernd Print Email

Geocachers have nicknames they use to sign the logs and in the forum.  Mine is Agilefox – from my days in Wood Badge training in Boy Scouts.  I was in the Fox patrol and was anything but Agile.

Some cachers like to leave signature items in caches to show they were there.  My brother, Team Nutty Dog, leaves dogbone shaped caribeners.  Other cachers spend a lot of money to mint their own coins.  I chose to go closer to the cheap end of the spectrum and make wooden nickels.

My first wooden nickel came from Geocoins.net.  I sent them my logo and they laser  burned it into an inch and a half wooden disk.  They were cool, but kind of expensive and I couldn’t  design a back side or have color, or change the design easily, so we stopped using them as soon as the initial order ran out.  I also wasn’t happy with the amount of detail in the design and felt the need to simplify the design.  It felt crowded and didn’t give anything real emphasis.

I switched to 1.5″ laser printed labels applied to a 2″ wooden nickel blank from wooden-nickel.com.  I made them myself and could customize them or change the logo as often as I liked.  My next design had a colorful palette of oranges, browns and teals.  It was influenced by the Kansas Koyotes (whose mascot’s ears form the “a”s in Kansas) and Team Gridlox who had a possum looking out of a round frame.  I liked the  Warner-Brothers look of this design, similar to Bugs Bunny popping out of the center.  After thought, however, the colors and gradients overpowered the name and everyone kept calling it a “Team Gilefox” coin.  Weird that they could read the first “A” but not the second, but the black ears and orange text with a blue outline were too dissimilar to connect.

With that user testing feedback, I talked with Chris Mackey (of Fox-and-the-Hound, and a great coin designer) about how to make my brand more prominent.  The next iteration had no color gradient and fewer colors.  The ears were extended to the edge of the design and all text was made black.  I made versions with and without the crossbar on the A’s.  I wasn’t as happy with the orange circle but I thought it would balance the orange in the fox’s face.  This design didn’t last long, as cachers still referred to it as a “Team Gilefox” coin.

Finally, I decided to simplify once again.  I  dropped the orange circle, detached the ears and added the geocaching logo to it.  I am very pleased with this design and no one has confused it with “Gilefox”.  I used this on the rest of my geocoins, and then switched to 1″ stickers on black poker chips from Wal-mart.  I spray them with a sealant and off they go.  This has the finished look I wanted and are cheap enough I can leave them in every cache I like.

I enjoy reading through logs on caches I’ve found and hearing about how people like and grab the chips.  This is the coin design I would use if I ever decide to mint a coin or pathtag, but so far I like the releasing aspect much more than I think I’d like the collecting and hoarding that can go on with many coins.

If you visit one of my caches, or cache with us as a team, or just happen to find a cache I’ve been to, you might find one of these chips.  I hope you enjoy them if you do!