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A Brief History of the Genlighten Logo — Part 2

Posted On: June 27th, 2008 | Posted by: Dean


In a previous post, I talked about our early logo brainstorming and the process that led to our original “candle flame” logo. This post will focus on our current logo, how it came about, and the message we hope it sends to our potential users.

In March of this year, I was introduced to Kevin Menzie and his team at Slice of Lime in Boulder Colorado. [I believe either Brad Feld or TechStars referred me to them.] We were looking to take the look and feel of the Genlighten site in a new direction, and they quickly proved equal to the task.

In the early comps they showed us, they offered a simple update to our brown-on-brown flame, recast in the red and gold color scheme they were using for the new homepage.
Slice of Lime early version
This had a warm and inviting feel that we really liked. But as we pondered what tagline should go with it, we saw for the first time that we had never made a connection in our own minds between what the symbol represented and what we were trying to accomplish with the site [an important insight!] Were we “a light in the midst of the darkness” of genealogical research? Would we “light a fire” under new genealogical success? Somehow, the candle flame just wasn’t working for us.

So began a new round of introspection, eventually resulting in the decision to let Kevin and his team tackle a completely new logo design.

As we’d experienced with LogoWorks, Kevin came back with a wide range of design “families”. They incorporated several intriguing new themes: a magnifying glass, and… trees and leaves! My initial reaction was “Oh no! Not trees and leaves! … We’ll look like the twenty-something tree-themed genealogy sites already out there…” (This seems an even more relevant concern in light of a certain lawsuit.)
Flaming Leaf

But Kevin won me over by explaining his initial reaction to our name and how that had inspired his logo ideas. To him, “Genlighten” had an almost Zen-oriented feel. He pictured a path towards genealogical enlightenment, perhaps resulting in document-obtaining bliss. (I’m embellishing his description here a bit.) Though we hadn’t ever really looked at Genlighten in quite that way, it now had a powerful appeal.

In that spirit, I found myself drawn to one of Kevin’s designs that seemed to connote a family tree “enlightened” by the insights that only source documents could offer. The tree seemed unlike any other I’d encountered on a genealogy website, with unique leaves and an almost “burning bush” ambiance.
Slice of Lime Illuminated Tree logo

Our informal “friends and family” focus group gave it the thumbs up. All that was left was to craft an appropriate tagline to replace the generic “genealogy research” text in the version above. I’ll talk about the tagline in a later post.

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2 Responses to “A Brief History of the Genlighten Logo — Part 2”

  1. Slice of Lime Blog » Blog Archive » Genlighten Logo Says:

    [...] Genlighten was very happy with the end product and went on to write their own blog post about their experience working with us. You can read that blog post here. [...]

  2. Genlighten Blog — Genealogy Documented » Blog Archive » A tale of two logos Says:

    [...] talked in an earlier post about the genesis of our logo. We filed for trademark protection on it in June of this year. I have [...]

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