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A Brand New Day

Blogger: Doug Wignall, President of Architecture
April 14, 2014

It’s a big day for us here at HDR. Today, we reveal to the world our refreshed brand, including a new visual identity, a new logo, and a new voice. 

I understand a brand is more than a logo, or a shiny new coat of paint on your visual identity. A brand is, to quote my friend Paula Brammier, “a complex mixture of feelings, facts, histories, relationships and personalities that combine to provide an impression of who you are and what you stand for.” 

But a brand doesn’t change overnight—a logo does. And people have deep emotional investment in the logos of the brands they love. 

Believe me, it’s not something we took lightly. When we started this process, more than a year ago, it wasn’t anyone’s intention to come up with a new logo. Refreshing our brand was identified as a critical element for our growth—an opportunity to strengthen our promise to our clients and each other, while modernizing our look and the way we talk about ourselves. It had been over 10 years since the last time we went through an exercise of this magnitude, and a lot changed in that time: we hired thousands more employees, made 43 acquisitions, and expanded our work outside the U.S. and around the world (with projects in 60 countries to date). 

Simply put, we wanted our brand to keep pace with the growth of the company: both the company we are now, and the company we will become in the future.

George Little, Eric Keen and I all worked closely with branding firm Siegel+Gale to update and refine our identity. What we discovered along the way was that while the HDR logo was identifiable, it felt like a symbol of something we once were, rather than what we are now or something we wanted to become. 

Our challenge to them was to create a symbol that would push us forward and represent all that we aspire to. During the creative process, we looked at hundreds of options; many logos were outright rejected, but others were contemplated, debated, refined, and reconsidered. Finally, after this long percolation process, we landed on the undisputed winner—the logo you see on our blog and our website today.

For HDR, the new mark works in many different ways. Not only is it designed to bring our brand into the 21ˢᵗ century, it’s a visual representation of how we work. None of the letters exist independently from each other; each letter depends on another to complete its form, just as we depend on each other to do our best work for our clients. Also, the form works not just as a word mark but as a global symbol—especially important as we expand our work in countries where the Roman alphabet is not as commonly used.

For me, the most exciting part is that I feel it’s a logo to live up to, a symbol of our future, our potential. It’s the logo of a company I’m proud to work for, one that truly represents who we are.

We are HDR.

Images courtesy of HDR. Thank you to Siegel+Gale for the help!

Reader Comments (2)

Before I saw the new logo, I was nervous for all the reasons you described so well. When I did see it, I was immediately excited (and relieved) because Siegel + Gale nailed it. It's modern and fresh but most importantly, it visually represents the teamwork that makes us who we are.  Thanks for a great post!

How exciting! The logo is a perfect nod to the historical logo while forging ahead with it's contemporary and fresh look. Kudos to all involved.

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