Most brands with their logos are like Ferrari’s with bumper stickers. Beautiful souls serving the world, represented by a weak, sub-par drawing.
I wanna give you something deeper.
Something way more f***ing powerful.
A story with meaning, a logo born from wisdom.
‘Cause most of the ‘logo tips’ out there are ‘surface tips.’
- "Choose a good font"
- "make it relevant"
- "make it memorable."
All good things, yes, but… tip of the iceberg.
And most logo tips out there are stuff that just doesn’t click.
"Make your logo reflect who you are."
Does that <click> with anyone?
Does anyone hear that and go: "OH! SNAP! That’s what I’m missing – putting ME into it — I’m totally gonna change it now!"
In fact most will hear & see the phrase above many times in their life, with very little effect, and won’t let it guide their logo design.
Why are so many peeps designing symbols meant to represent a huge project or their life’s work, but they design it with no knowledge or background in symbolism, sacred geometry, and visual languages?
Why’re entrepreneurs pulling logos out of their ass & hiring vaguely competent designers, instead of investing in someone who gets Universal Principles like meaning and identity, and applies them to logo design.
Is it ’cause those designers are rare? Is it ’cause entrepreneurs don’t know any better? Is it something else?
Well, either way, I’m here to say:
Make your logo an iconic pillar of your legacy.
This won’t be an "actionable tips" post, but I’ll share with you the story of Ryze’s logo birth and evolution.
Ready? Here we go.
When I was younger, I made really sexy logos, with ease.
My friends all wanted me to design ’em tattoos.
They swarmed me with yearbooks begging for full-page artwork.
I was hyper-creative, and the logos I drew were simple, memorable, clear, reproducible, etc.I used all the tips found on E-how, and I thought that was enough to create powerful logos.
Choose colors. Use software. Create multiples. Etc.
And it’s important stuff, for sure.
But they’re the LAST skills you need to focus on to nurture a logo for an #empire into life.
A sexy-looking logo alone, even if you use all the tips you can google, won’t let you play on the level of the big boys.
I know, I tried, and failed.
So despairingly, 8 failed businesses (and 8 failed logos) later, I moved in with my friend Joy.
And while I crashed there — sleeping on his floor, by the way — I designed him a logo for his mobile app, and we had an incredible chat about world class, legendary brands.
And he pointed out some key things that I’d missed while designing Ryze’s logo.
He convinced me to take a breath, stop working on the Ryze logo directly, and spend a week or a month simply working on a wordmark. (ie: the official font included in the brand name)
Start there ’cause we’re all familiar with letters, and letters can be powerful symbols, if you use ’em right.
"Facebok, Google, Microsoft — their logos are just their names. Why can’t you do that for Ryze? Take some time and get it right. We’ll talk about colors after." – Joy Lushington.
His reasoning felt strong, and he and I have had some of the wisest, deepest, most amazing chats in the whole wide world. He’s been there with me and for me through thick and thin, literally a guardian angel at times — and it was easy to act on what he said.
(Side Note: If you can attract a friend like Joy into your life, do it. A single person like that can turn your life around, often when they’re not even trying.)
First I focused on the name, and what Ryze stands for!
When I actually turned my creativity and focus to the name ‘Ryze’, and it’s meaning – things went faster than I thought.
(I won’t get into the massive amount of personal development that got me to this focused, creative stage in my life.)
In a week I’d burned through a bunch of fonts that didn’t work, and was satisfied by modifying Futura Medium.
I played with upper-case and lower-case, kerning, spacing, leading and more. I aimed for uniqueness & memorability, but more importantly, I aimed to have each letter have meaning.
But… this post is about logos – the design of the Ryze font-face is a story for another time; the point is, I reached a new understanding of empires & icons and their ‘image decisions’, and I started noticing patterns.
So next I let it breathe, took a break, and allowed inspiration in.
Then some research led me to sacred geometry, heiroglyphics, and symbolism.
I learned reasons why the symbol of the cross is so powerful.I learned what vertical and horizontal lines each mean, and that these meanings are universal across all cultures.
And this is the power of logos. Meaning. The beautiful ability to hint at a story through an icon.
Even though language gets confusing, and even though people who speak the same language can mean totally different things… a symbol – like an arrow – means basically the same thing to anyone viewing it.
A horizontal line means the Earth/horizon, grounded, feminine.
A vertical line means the Sky, above, masculine.
People get this on a core level.
The curvy Ryze arrow logo all started with a cross, but you can’t tell, lol.
The cross is the perfect blend of these two things, and the cross is a symbol that has impact to everyone, everywhere. It touches people on a primal level.
And yes, it’s also the main symbol of Christianity, which I was raised on — a religion which I summarize as:
Love your god; love your neighbor as you love yourself.
That’s a message I’ve always felt powerfully in me, and I aim for it in all I do.I`m a `baller, for sure, but I`m also crazy spiritual.
I understand and love the deep powerful laws and forces of life. I can feel God at work in everything, and I focus consistently on that.
I love people — like a boss, yo.
So I serve ’em.
I offer a LOT, from my heart.
And I feel there’s more helpful, uplifting, eye-opening, game-changing wisdom on Ryze than anywhere else on the net. I love myself, I’m confident about it, and I love everybody else.
We’re all Ryzing Stars.
Anyway, I`m rambling — what I’m saying is, I felt a cross-based symbol would be a super-powerful, meaningful, legendary icon for Ryze.
So that was my first design, and I loved it, and was glad I experimented with it…
But Ryze must be sexy, poppy, & appealing, so a cross by itself wouldn’t really work.
Way too heavy-handed and stigmatized, but it was a start.
(By the way, as this story flows, are you getting how much love, time, wisdom, history, symbolism, and energy goes into a game-changing logo?)
I felt more was needed. I amped the logo up. I sex-ified the cross. I Ryze-ified it and applied some more symbolism, this time using the directional, ryzing power of the up-arrow, and the poetic visual appeal of a soft curve 🙂
Once I’d made that, I was on a roll, feeling extra inspired.
I felt compelled to play around, go the extra mile, and try some other ideas.
Applying more symbolism… I turned that cross into a trio.If you`re familiar with sacred geometry at all, you know that 3 is incredibly powerful in design.
Even if you’re not, you still probably use the power of three everywhere.
- Do you write blog posts with a Beginning, Middle And End?
- Do you interact with solids, liquids, and gases?
- Do you get that you have to use the power of your body, mind, and soul?
There are trios EVERYWHERE.
In fact, a triangle is the most stable shape, period.
So, using the power of 3, I now had a logo that spoke of ‘Group Ryzing.’
Then I played with other principles of design, geometry and symbolism.
Crosses, waves, trios, spirals, etc.
Pretty hot shit, eh?
But something didn’t feel right.
Ryze is supposed to be sexy and appealing and expressive, and these logos didn’t feel sexy enough.
A long time ago, I’d read how Ferrari’s main designer spent 50% of his time looking at women & fashion, NOT designing cars.
He did it for inspiration, because the curves & flow of a Ferrari are inspired by women and fashion.
That really stuck with me, and for a while I thought I might be using it to justify how much I Love Looking At Women.
But if you’ve been reading Ryze, you know that I love talking deep wisdom & surface beauty.
So even though I understood the symbolism of a vertical line as masculine, and a horizontal one as feminine, the first versions just didn’t feel right.
I decided to take a hint from Ferrari, and I added some flowing curves in Ryze’s logo.
I already had a Ryzing arrow/cross, but it didn’t feel "done."
So, after looking at pictures of lightning bolts… I decided to change the logo again, so instead of being all straight-angles, it flowed like a river instead.
Thing is… river’s flow down hill, but we want emotions to… RYZE.
I asked myself a question:
Why is this logo flowing upward?
The answer came like a flash of inspiration, because…
…Ryze takes you higher, but it does so in a flowing way.
That felt right.
I’d injected more meaning, understanding, and identity into this simple-but-powerful icon.
So I sandwiched The Wave/Flow logo between the two crossed-based one’s. (power of 3s!) I called it "The Ryzing Wave".
Then, I felt like bouncing the progress off others, so I sent it out to my super-valuable list of Ryzing Stars.
The response was an overwhelming yes on the curvy design.
Here’s some excerpts from people who personally e-mailed me about it!
I feel like [the Ryzing Wave logo] is the real path to ryzing up…
I ryze up and then I all of a sudden freak out and think oh shit I can’t do this —
so I start to go a little sideways, I start to curve back around,
then I fall back down a little reverting in fear…
and then I get some courage, and think yes I can do this.
So I turn back around and start to curve back up…and then I take off.
And Andi-Roo of TheWorld4Realz had this to say:
I love that logo, because it implies that while you have direction, you’re still easy & able to roll with the punches. Also, it shows that instead of moving forward blindly, or punching your way through walls, you choose to move around obstacles, likes a flowing river. You’re easy-going & loose.
Besides, curves are sexier than straight lines, lolz!
I couldn’t agree more, you beautiful stars, you.
Now, the sentiment could be because:
- Human beings appreciate curves on a core level.
- Or ’cause much of my list are hot chicks looking to feel more power and beauty in their lives.
- Or ’cause of how I laid out the designs, putting the wave design in the center.
But I don’t care about these subtle details, ’cause the time, space, and putting it out to the Ryze community gave me the perspective I needed.
When I saw your feedback on the Ryze Logo Survey, I checked in with myself, and I agreed – the middle, wave-based, curvy logo still held the most appeal to me, too.
And it felt more right than ever, but I noticed it was Ryzing the ‘wrong way.’
It needed forward motion.
(again — are you getting the excessive tweaks & meanings involved in creating a powerful logo? 😛 – This is WHY I charge what I charge for my empire branding, design, and consulting work. When you practice this stuff and get good at it, you can create power logos & brands very quickly — but it’s a rare skill.)
The ryze wavearrow was leaning to the left, which represents backwards’ (at least to Westerners :D), so I flipped it horizontally as the final change before release.
I also made the curve slighter, and made sure it didn’t back over itself, but at least moved sideways — because life never really goes backwards.
Ryze is born.
The first ready-for-public version of the Ryze logo was done, and it made it’s debut, ninja-quiet, in Ryze’s "So What-The-F***s A Happy Life, Anyway?" FREE 5-part Info-graphic Series.
I hope you enjoyed the birth of The Official Ryze Logo.
And yes, it may evolve, but hopefully I nailed it out the gate – and it remains pure like this for centuries, either way, I’m open.
But I do know that it’s the most powerful logo I’ve ever made, and I’ve made MANY.
And if it’s anything like the Ryze Wordmark — people are gonna want it everywhere 🙂
“Some wonder what’s so difficult about creating a good logo. They’re small, they look easy to do, so no problem, right? When you only see the result of a designer’s efforts, the logo creation can look like it was a simple task. But it’s not. A logo takes thought and creativity, and many elements combine to make a good one.” – Harrison McLeod
I’m not 100% satisfied with this log, but it’s evolving. A big part of what’s missing is *scalability* – the thin arrow doesn’t resize well, which is vital if you’re going to have fans of your logo put it on big banners, tiny buttons, or tattooed on their bodies.
I’ll likely have to come back here and update this as the evolution continues.
Still, to create a logo, I could’ve easily followed the same process as 90%+ of the population, even the ‘great’ designers people hire.
I could’ve used a stock photo. I could’ve created an ok-looking logo, just ’cause I’m artistic. I could’ve made it extra-complicated. I could’ve given it shallow meaning… but I didn’t do those things.
And you I suggest you don’t either.
Note: I only design logos for empire creators who ‘get it’, and it’s a rare, inspired magical bonus I volunteer if I feel deeply appreciated by a client, and I feel it’ll truly be used well.
Your Turn: What do you think? Did you learn anything about the true power of logo, design, and identity from my story? Has reading this changed how you see your own logo, or the logos of others?