There’s nothing I love more than a good redesign.
Getting the opportunity to carve out a brand, a personality for a company is one of my greatest joys as a designer. It sets the tone for the entire company. Design can create or communicate a culture. And the question is always, what do your want that culture to be?
When I think about companies, I think about people. I think about their personality, their energy, and what they radiate out into the world. And the first thing I felt about the Perfect Venue team, is that they’re about positive vibes. Not just a party for a good time, but what that represents. An appreciation of the moments worth celebrating in life.
So when I had the opportunity to redesign the look and feel for Perfect Venue, I knew it had to feel like the joy of walking into a room with people you love at the beginning of a party.
My first order of business was tackling the logo. I feel like the logo is the tip of the iceberg of a brand and company. It’s the flag at the top from which everything flows down. And luckily, I liked the overall concept of the existing logo enough to not want to change it completely. I thought it had an interest mid-century modern, geometrical vibe to it that I could lean into. It just needed some refinement. The corner radius felt a little uncomfortably tight, the stroke felt uneven and the font felt like it was retro but not in a good way.
To redraw the logo, the first think I did was create a grid with the golden ration. The golden ratio is a set of squares and circles that for whatever reason feels extremely pleasing to the eye. I’m not a scientist and I could google it real quick, but suffice it to say, the ratios in the shapes it creates just feel really RIGHT.
I used the shapes, and created a range of logos with different stroke widths and corner radii to figure out what felt just right.
At first I really liked the one with the most roundedness, but it ended up feeling like it looked a little too similar to Instagram. So we decided to go with the one that was slightly more square. I conceptually liked the idea of it feeling like a room (a square with 4 walls) and a circle in the center with an open door. So going more square made sense.
As for the font, I wanted something that borrowed a bit from the mid-century modern aesthetic without being kitschy. I’ve always been a fan of Avenir and it seemed like the right balance. It has a nice roundedness and some funkiness without being quite as quirky as Futura. I love the way it’s described in the background story about it here.
“The word Avenir means 'future' in French and hints that the typeface owes some of its interpretation to Futura. But unlike Futura, Avenir is not purely geometric; it has vertical strokes that are thicker than the horizontals, an ""o"" that is not a perfect circle, and shortened ascenders. These nuances aid in legibility and give Avenir a harmonious and sensible appearance for both texts and headlines.”
The next thing I wanted to consider was the color palette. The existing red and blue colors made sense to keep, but they needed to be refined as well. I wanted them to feel softer and a bit more human. I imagined the color of a worn blue kitchen apron or a navy duffel bag, and the ivory tone of parchment paper in a kitchen. For the red, I wanted it to feel just a bit warmer, with the brightness and bold optimism of mid century design. And to soften the contrast between the red and blue, a pink that gives that slight millennial vibe. Because we can use pink in design now! And honestly, pink just makes me happy.
Speaking of happiness, when people ask about where I derive inspiration for design, I’ve realized it comes down to just one thing - what you love. What makes you feel deeply and genuinely GOOD.
For me, there’s just something about the cool, calm and collected and yet radical approach to design in the 50s and 60s that just excites me. I remember seeing traces of it all over New York when I lived there, and absorbing the aesthetic while visiting Palm Springs many times. You see it furniture designed by Eames that still prevails to this day. It’s boundary pushing yet grounded and practical. And I think with all design, you have to start from a source of inspiration that just feels good. Something that’s almost more of a philosophy than anything else. I love the fact that Steve Jobs was inspired by discovering Buddhism. That experience was the underpinning of his approach to design and building products.
“In Buddhist philosophy, life is often compared to an ever-changing river. There’s a sense that everything, and every individual, is ceaselessly in the process of becoming. In this view of the world, achieving perfection is also a continuous process, and a goal that can never be fully attained. That’s a vision that would come to suit Steve’s exacting nature.”
I also love this remark about Jobs from Yamashita Ryōdō, one of the most influential spiritual figures of Japan.
“He didn’t do any kind of marketing research,” notes Yamashita. “Through his practice of zazen, he went deep inside to see more clearly what he wanted himself. The things he made resonated deeply with others precisely because they came from a place deep inside himself. For him, the ultimate marketing research tool was discovering what exactly he himself really wanted.”
So with that, the final logo was born.
Next I turned my attention to fonts for the design system. I knew I wanted a serif font for headlines, and I quickly came across Gazpacho, which beyond having an appropriate name for a food related brand, it has just the right weight and roundedness to feel friendly and fun yet strong, with a slightly retro 70s vibe (notice a theme here).
For the body font that would be used heavily throughout the website and product, I veered toward another modern font called Circular that’s admittedly used by a lot of brands you know and love (Spotify, Airbnb), but there’s a reason for that. It’s just GORGEOUS. So perfectly round and geometrical yet balanced. It’s just so good.
The last thing to consider was imagery. I knew I wanted to use photographs as well as clean, simple icons. I wanted to sprinkle fun shapes around like confetti at a party and keep the images feeling a little bit more edgy and real. Like really stepping into a party with close friends and family. The warmth, the slightly low lighting, the sense that a good time is about to be had. Because ultimately, Perfect Venue is about parties! It’s about creating special events and celebration which is really about expressing joy and appreciation for life, friends, family and the moments we want to capture. I wanted the brand and design to evoke that feeling.
Here's how all the elements came together in a mood board.
The next thing I turned my attention to was applying the brand to the product and website. I wanted it to feel warmer, more colorful and inviting, and easier to use while finding fun ways to inject the playful brand voice where appropriate..
And we can't forget the backbone of every great company, the swag! Which I'm happy to say looked great on the team at our last team gathering.
I'm so excited for what's to come as we continue to build a great product for the people who help make wonderful moments happen. And I'm grateful to be part of a such a great team who embraced the fun in this design (and the pink)!
And of course there's a lot more to do. Now that there's a whole new look and feel we can get into the meat of the improving the user experience in every corner of the product. So stay tuned for more updates as we keep pushing new product improvements!
Here's to this team, our awesome users, and what comes next! Let's keep the party going. 🎉