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A Brief History of the Genlighten Logo — Part 1

Posted On: June 25th, 2008 | Posted by: Dean


I really like our new logo: the colors, the typeface, the modest-yet-bold “genealogy documented” tagline… and especially the stylized illuminated tree. Which is kinda funny, since when we first started out, the last thing I wanted was “another tree logo”.

Not long after we registered the Genlighten domain name, Early genlighten logowe started brainstorming logo ideas. Most were some form of the name itself, in lower case, with a change in the text color to try to emphasize the word “enlighten” hiding inside “genlighten”. Next to the name, or perhaps in place of one of its letters, we tried placing different sources of light: a lighthouse, a candle, even an old oil lamp (we thought that gave the logo a sort of early 1800′s ambience.) The image above is an example of our early efforts. Notice the lack of any sort of tree!

With this basic concept in mind, we approached Logoworks and began their multi-round process. They churned out a surprisingly rich set of lamp-centered concepts, several of which we found quite appealing.
cool lamp logoa classy lamp versionslightly old-german

But they also offered an option which was clearly different from what we had in mind, but that somehow sent the clear message “if you’re smart, you’ll choose this one.” After some minor tweaking to put the candle flame atop the ‘l’ in genlighten (with the l representing a candle) the version below became our initial official logo: the one that went on business cards, flyers, banners, and the early alpha versions of the site.
logoworks flame

The twin shades of brown helped guide the pronunciation: gen-’light-en — with the emphasis on ‘light’. They also sent a message of constancy, dependability and permanence — or at least that’s what the Logoworks employee told me on the phone as we talked from a hotel somewhere in Wyoming in the midst of a mid-summer road trip to deliver my daughter back to college. In a subsequent post, I’ll try to describe how we came to replace that “permanent” logo with something substantially different.

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