REXAV identity – case study.

Rexav is a provider of home entertainment and security systems. I have been approached by Krisztian Gabula with the job of designing the company's new identity:

We design, sell and install home theater systems, whole house audio systems, security systems (alarm/video), lighting control, home automation systems, access control systems, computer networks, media servers. All these subsystems are integrated together so we can automate them and achieve a Smart Home.

“REX” comes from the Latin word meaning "king", and “AV” stands for Audio/Visual.

I have a lot of faith in you that you can produce a little art for us that we can use for many years to come.


Below are some excerpts from my communication with Krisztian.

What should the logo tell to your clients?

Doing business with us is a safe and easy process. We are serious about our quality of work and take pride in what we do. We love fun and entertainment and are open for new things but always show professionalism.
Logo should represent quality and security in a sophisticated way.

Do you have any ideas in mind for the Rexav logo?

We are thinking about using a lion's face/head front facing as a modern, abstract, minimalistic design that would express all of our values: secure, honest, friendly, structured.

We are not just dealing with electronics or home gadgets but we offer an experience that makes you feel secure, intelligent, bright, in-control of your environment, modern, fun and a step ahead of the crowd.

I really like minimalism and simplicity.

What keywords would suit Rexav best?

bright, smart, trust, enthusiasm, optimism, vitality, happiness, strong, secure, reliable, wise, leader

Who is the target audience?

The target market is upper-class society with a modern lifestyle or people who look at technology as a way of life.

Boiling down ideas.

After gathering information, the next step is to organize it and point out the most important parts that would work as a backbone of further efforts. These are the general guidelines I have ended up with:

  1. We are looking for a simple, abstract and smart symbol.
  2. Lion's head should definitely be a priority — not only it matches great with the feel of security, trust and being in-control, but it is almost irresistible with the “Rex” part of the name and its “king of the jungle” connotations.
  3. There are very many lion-logos out there, so it would be great if we managed to ran away from any clichéd depictions with something really unique, clever and surprising.
  4. The brandmark should look great on any piece of high-tech equipment and should stand out as a symbol of highest quality. It also ought to match well with modern interior design.
  5. Krisztian has also been mentioning “fun” and “friendly” as important parts of their brand strategy.

Sketching and initial proposals.

When working on a logo that is supposed to include a purely graphic symbol, I usually start out with sketches of that element. This time the symbol was planned to depict a lion, so before getting down to drawing I have looked through quite a few photos. I wanted to make sure that I have a nice feel of what makes a lion really look like one, and not just like some cat, a random animal or a cartoonish face. After specifying the most basic lionish features (which would be essential for proper recognition), I started playing around with initial ideas:

first sketches

First sketches.

You can see how each drawing evolved from the initial idea to a more refined state. Concepts that have been dropped at this stage include:

B and C — interesting geometrical form, yet feeling a bit too blocky and lacking a spark;

D — it is quite unique, but also somewhat weird (I couldn't stop seeing Iron Maiden's Eddie there);

E — well, it is very fun&friendly, unfortunately to the point that is looks like a teddy bear, not a lion on guard.

The rest — namely A, F and G — has made it to the next round, where I paired each design with lettering, tested first coloring options and presented them to Krisztian.

sketche A

Concept A.

This proposal might be considered the most conservative and traditional. It is clearly a crowned lion's head, constructed with a collection of basic shapes, although not going extreme on minimalism. It is esthetically pleasing and no-one should waste a moment wondering what it depicts. It has "trustworthy, honest, proud, secure and professional" written all over it. This concept is also quite memorable and unique and should be able to deftly work on its own, even without the company name.

sketch F

Concept F.

Could be called an exercise in minimalism — it can't get much simpler than that. In fact, it is so abstract and cut down, that it may not be obvious what it is. This might be considered its greatest strength and disadvantage at the same time. Therefore, it might require some further tweaking.

sketch G

Concept G.

Clearly the best fit for the briefing provided by the client. Also, the most intriguing and unique concept of them all. The symbol is very abstract, minimalistic and unconventional. Simple to the bone, yet able to make people see the lion. Extremely structured in such a way, that it should invoke feelings of quality, professionalism, security and trustworthiness. It would make the company look very modern and self-confident.

I don't think I am going to spoil anything by saying that G has been my heavy favorite from the very beginning. Although, such statement might be a bit misleading, because this idea has been developed at the very last moment — I even had to postpone presenting Krisztian with the initial proposals to include this one.

This symbol is so original and memorable, that it should easily stand out in the crowd and there is no way that it would feel like another repetition of the same lion-head-logo cliché. Another bonus of this design is that it could be very potent at generating follow-up graphic elements, that would be clearly associated with the brand. I had no doubt that this would be the right choice for Rexav.

There has been only one issue with all of the above proposals — none of them had much of a friendly feel. It has been clear to me from the beginning that it is going to be very hard to get that impression along the feelings of security and trustworthiness, especially with minimalistic and abstract form. At the same time, it was essential to make sure that the lion is clearly recognizable and that it does not seem childish or silly.

My priority was to make the lion respectable and worthy of the king title, so I have decided to downplay the “fun and friendly” part a little bit. In A, I tried to use as much round shapes as possible, so that the final design could inherit some soft and warm impressions attributed to such forms. In the case of F and G I would call my approach "fun and easy, thru bright and smart". I meant to arouse these notions with an abstract and surprising construction of the lion. I hoped that this would make people think "wow, that's clever, I enjoy it!" (hopefully, followed by "I wanna be part of this!").

Hail to the king!

There hasn't been much dilemma or debate about which design should make the cut. Although, I have been ready to defend the G-proposal with all my persuasive power. Luckily, there was no need for it — Krisztian shared my opinion about initial concepts and was happy to go with my favorite idea.

We have tried out a few modifications to the initial design, but in the end decided that the original logo is the best choice.

Final Rexav logo
Stationery mockup