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I served as Creative Director for ViaFone. During that time I named the company (no small feat!), designed the logo above to reflect their focus on helping companies go wireless (the Via is clearly wires, it passes through the “O-logo” that’s seen as either a keypad or phone receiver, then comes out wireless after the “E” at the end.

Since it was a dot-com startup, I was in charge of all design, from logo to cards to collateral (complex six-color brochures in three days!) to trade-show booths and corporate tchotchkes. If it had a logo on it, I had an hand in it.

What’s especially useful about this logo is the way it can be used in pieces. Because the company was new (founded in late ‘98--ah, I’m nostalgic for the old 20th century!), they can’t just have an abstract graphic logo--people wouldn’t know what it stood for.

So instead I designed the full logo you see above specifically so that part of it could be pulled out as a stand-alone graphic “shorthand.”

The “o-logo” is used throughout the identity, large and small, as a simple, strong and unique “brand.” Remember, the word “brand” literally comes from what cowboys used in the wild west to brand their logo into the sides of their cows. This meant that if a cow wandered off, or was stolen, people could still tell who owned it from the “brand.”

Should ViaFone ever get into cattle (hey, cattle are wireless, and even somewhat autonomous, and I bet they’d make a very big splash wandering around trade shows, mistaking electric cords and USB wires as hay), this will make a mighty-fine brand for them.

I designed all of ViaFone’s web sites--four in one year (see two here). From the first one while in stealth mode that had to say absolutely nothing--but stylishly, to one with a Flash home page complete JavaScript “window” (as if you were looking through the o-logo, to a revision which was still dramatic but didn’t rely on the complex JavaScript “round window” on inside pages, to their last one which was more corporate and was called “Groovy Neo-70’s Retro Chic” by I was alive in the 70’s, and I remember it all too well. I am not sure how to take this, so I’ll take it as a compliment.

I also designed cards (two sided and blind-embossed, pretty well impossible to show on the web, but great in person because they’re tactile and the embossed dots in the o-logo match up on both sides) and letterhead, two tradeshow booths, countless PowerPoint presentations, hats, t-shirts, and various tchotchkes from a round Lucite one-year award to a squishy cell phone.

Like most dot-coms, ViaFone is now ViaGone. It was sold to Extended Systems which then became iAnywhere. Go figure. So the ViaFone logo (and those fantastic embossed cards!) are now merely ephemeral mementos.

Copyright © 2006 Daniel Will-Harris,

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