Take a look behind the curtain and explore the ins and outs of our recent Street Level Studio rebranding. Grogg, our creative director, and Chris, one of our senior designers, led the project, so I sat down with them to get to the bottom of the process from start to finish.
Question: Hey guys! Thanks for sitting down to chat about the new SLS logo!
Grogg: Absolutely, our pleasure.
Chris: Yeah, no problem!
Q: So let’s get into it—what prompted the update?
G: Simply put, it was time for a change. We’ve changed a lot over the years, but specifically in the last two, SLS has experienced some major changes. It started back in 2015 when Tanya took over as managing director and owner. Since then we have doubled the staff and added several new clients in a short amount of time. We needed our logo to reflect the evolution within the agency.
Q: Nice! I see the colors stayed the same, is that something that should always happen with logo updates?
C: I wouldn’t say that it’s cut-and-dry 100%. We chose to keep the colors the same for consistency and uniqueness. Yellow is an underused color in many brands, so we like that it’s a color we can “own” and be identified with.
G: Yes, exactly. Some companies could benefit from changing colors with a redesign. Color is a powerful brand component and can really change the company’s vibe (if that’s the desired outcome), but it’s definitely on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Does the same apply to fonts? I see you have updated the font.
C: Yep, also on a case-by-case basis. For this particular project, we knew the font needed a facelift. There was nothing wrong with the old one, but upgrading to a more streamlined, modern choice really helped the look evolve.
Q: Tell me about the icon.
G: The original icon was a literal interpretation of a manhole cover, chosen to really emphasize “street level.” The change gave us the opportunity to update the design and incorporate our “SLS” abbreviation. The manhole cover is still represented in the circular shape and outline, but it’s less obvious. Hidden design choices are always great for logos.
Q: Yeah, I noticed the SLS! Are you transitioning the name from Street Level Studio to SLS?
C: Oh no, definitely not a name change.
G: Yeah, just trying to include our abbreviation. Internally we refer to ourselves as SLS all the time, and many times our clients do too, so it’s just another reference point for clients and people in the community.
Q: How was this different than redesigning a logo for someone else? Was it more difficult?
G: We knew going into this project we would need to take a step back and treat this like any other client. We couldn’t be more attached because we wouldn’t get the result we needed.
C: Yeah, the key was definitely taking a step back. Even though the end result took more revisions and rounds than most redesigns, we knew to expect that. Some of us are newer to the company, and others have been here for several years, even decades. Just like anything else, you get attached to logos, and it’s hard to change something you’re so used to.
G: Exactly. We run into that with clients all the time—why would we be any different? In the end, this logo was a labor of love, and I’m really happy with how it turned out and even more thrilled with the discussions it prompted throughout the studio. Chris did most of the legwork, but we are really proud of the whole team for sharing their thoughts and giving feedback. It’s a logo we can all be proud of and feel that it represents our agency.
Q: I sit next to Chris and can definitely vouch for the hours of thought and detail put into this final look! Y’all should be very proud of how it turned out, and I think I can speak for the rest of the team by saying we’re excited about the new look!
C: Thanks! It was really helpful to have different perspectives throughout the process.
Q: Speaking of perspective, how are you communicating the change to clients? What are the best practices for sharing logo changes with customers?
G: Great question! For our agency and other B2B companies, we will just talk about it as it comes up. We’ll specifically use it as a conversation starter with clients about the importance of logo updates and such. But for B2C companies, such as our clients, we recommend using it as the ultimate PR opportunity. Use it to increase social interactions, distribute new swag, talk about other updates to the company, etc. Transparency is a key part of any sort of brand change conversation, so talking about why the updates are happening is important. Whether it’s a leadership change or a shift in product focus, customers need the reassurance that they can still expect the same quality and response times from your company.
Q: So even if you’re not a huge company with a highly recognizable logo, it’s still important to talk about it?
C: Definitely! Think about it: your logo is everywhere and all of a sudden it’s different—your customers will notice, especially if you’re changing the shape, font, and colors. That’s a lot to process and should all be taken into consideration when doing a redesign. Change is good, but it can be startling for some. It’s a fine line, but that’s what we’re here to figure out!
Q: Sounds like there is a lot to consider?
G: Absolutely! No one should take redesigns lightly, and we certainly know the impact they can have on a business and customer relationships. That’s why it’s so different for each company. There is no textbook rubric for this type of job—it’s very brand specific, and the process, like the logo, should be tailored to each company.
Q: And with that great advice, I’m out of questions! Anything else y’all would like to add?
C: Nope, thanks for interviewing us… it was nice to look back on the process.
G: Agree! And I think that’s a wrap!
The moral of our story, like many others, is there is no set logo formula from one business to another. The decision to redesign a logo or not can be the hardest part, but the execution doesn’t have to be as difficult. Whether your in-house team is taking on the task or you’re working with an agency like us :), the purpose and intent should be the same: make sure it emphasizes and embraces your unique brand.