Revolution has its downsides. Evolving a 20-year old brand can sometimes be a better path.

Back when this project was still a secret, we gave it a code name, Project Comet Ensō, referencing two of its core, underlying concepts. Utilizing the comet and the ensō to conceptualize the brand, we designed a path of evolution forward that integrated the past, present, and future of Portent, rather than tossing 20 years of company history to the curb and just “rebranding” from scratch.

History should inform the present, and by making a point of considering where we’ve been, we are better equipped to create a future that is viable, productive, and responsible – to take an active role in melding what we will become.

Evolution, not revolution.

Portent Brand Evolution: Concept Image: Ensō – Emerald Seven
Concept Image: Ensō

ensō noun

1. In Zen Buddhism, an ensō “circle” is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void).

2. The ensō itself is a universal symbol of wholeness and completion, and the cyclical nature of existence, as well as a visual manifestation of the Heart Sutra, “Form is void and void is form.” One can see in these paintings of the ensō that form and void are also interdependent and, in fact, define each other.

Source: Wikipedia

Concept Image: Ensō

ensō noun

1. In Zen Buddhism, an ensō “circle” is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void).

2. The ensō itself is a universal symbol of wholeness and completion, and the cyclical nature of existence, as well as a visual manifestation of the Heart Sutra, “Form is void and void is form.” One can see in these paintings of the ensō that form and void are also interdependent and, in fact, define each other.

Source: Wikipedia

Portent Brand Evolution: Concept Image: Concept – Emerald Seven
Concept Image: Comet

por·tent noun

1. a sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. “they believed that wild birds in the house were portents of death” synonyms: omen, sign, signal, token, forewarning, warning, danger sign, foreshadowing, prediction, forecast, prophecy, harbinger, augury, auspice, presage.

2. archaic an exceptional or wonderful person or thing. “what portent can be greater than a pious notary?”

Source: Google

Concept Image: Comet

por·tent noun

1. a sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. “they believed that wild birds in the house were portents of death” synonyms: omen, sign, signal, token, forewarning, warning, danger sign, foreshadowing, prediction, forecast, prophecy, harbinger, augury, auspice, presage.

2. archaic an exceptional or wonderful person or thing. “what portent can be greater than a pious notary?”

Source: Google

Portent Brand Evolution: Old Logo (Before)
Starting at One, Not Zero

Before the brand evolution, the Portent logo featured a capital “P” with a lowercase “i” in a circle.

Starting at one, not zero.

A company logo is a very particular thing. It needs to represent the brand, be legible at multiple scales, be flexible for varied contexts... We could go on. But besides all that, it simply needs to feel right. When you’re working with an existing company, they’ve been through it before – even though they want something new, the old logo felt right at one time, and it shouldn’t be disposed of without consideration.

Portent Brand Evolution: Dissecting The Old Logo Diagram into Its Elemental Pieces
Exploring the Elements

By separating the “Before” logo into its fundamental elements, we can explore the meaning of each independently.

Exploring the extracted elements.

The old logomark is composed of a circle; from there, we evolve to the ensō, a traditional symbol of wholeness and the cyclical nature of existence. The word portent, meanwhile, is defined as an imminent sign of something momentous, historically this was often a comet.

Portent Brand Evolution: New Portent Logo – Emerald Seven
Evolution

The new logo reflects the old, a product fitting a 20-year-old company celebrating its legacy.

Evolution.

Rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, the new logo retains the feel of the old. There is continuity and familiarity in the evolution: longtime clients see that Portent remains current, yet also, still is the company they’ve relied on for decades.

Portent Brand Evolution: Logo Transformation Through Integration Diagram – Emerald Seven
Conceptual “Math”

When you look at it another way, we can use abstracted mathematical concepts to illustrate the transition of the logo from old to new.

Conceptual “Math”

When you look at it another way, we can use abstracted mathematical concepts to illustrate the transition of the logo from old to new.

Portent Brand Evolution: From Comet to Ensō Diagram – Emerald Seven
Perhaps a Little Animation?

Should Portent want to play with a little animation in the future, imagine the inspirational comet traveling into view, then spiraling to the form of the logomark.

Perhaps a Little Animation?

Should Portent want to play with a little animation in the future, imagine the inspirational comet traveling into view, then spiraling to the form of the logomark.

Transformation and animation as iteration.

Consider exploring an existing logo through its components. If the lockup is the statement to resolve, first factor the equation, leaving the “P” in the circle, the “i” isolated, and the wordmark.

Divide by “i” to remove the vestigial component from the mix. Invert the “P” in the circle, and you begin to see that negative space can still read as the letter itself. Integrate the logo and wordmark back into the new lockup, and voila!

Looking back to the concept of the comet, we also imagine a way to animate the logo into being: traversing the sky (or page, or screen, as it may be), then spinning inwards to form the logo.

Portent Brand Evolution: New Portent Logo with Basic Brand Color Palette – Emerald Seven
Logo & Basic Brand Palette

Before this brand update, Portent’s main blue was bright and vibrant. Unfortunately, the blue logomark with the “Pi” in it looked very similar to signs for parking lots around town. But, the new palette doesn’t throw it out. The bright blue remains as part of the basic palette. For most cases, the new logo is shown either in white, or in Portent’s new main color: a rich, midnight blue.

Portent Brand Evolution: Business Cards MockUp – Emerald Seven
New Brand, New Business Cards

With a spiffy new logo, you”ll need some spiffy new business cards to go with it.

New Brand, New Business Cards

With a spiffy new logo, you”ll need some spiffy new business cards to go with it.

Portent Brand Evolution: New Logo on Portent.com Website in MacBook Mockup – Emerald Seven
New Logo, Meet New Site

Before the new logo rolled out, Portent’s website evolution was already live. (Check it out in the portfolio!) We swapped out the new brand graphics, and, BOOM: awesome new set up that still feels like Portent.

New Logo, Meet New Site

Before the new logo rolled out, Portent’s website evolution was already live. (Check it out in the portfolio!) We swapped out the new brand graphics, and, BOOM: awesome new set up that still feels like Portent.

Let’s make It real.

And that’s that! Portent’s updated logo is live and out and about. Paired with a basic palette of colors (along with a series of tints and shades of the main brand blue), designing and developing for digital and print media is a breeze. From business cards and letterhead, to the pages of portent.com, the new branding keeps this decades-old company fresh, yet still familiar.

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