David Airey is an independent graphic designer working with companies of all sizes since 2005.

New work: goTeach

goTeach is a London-based startup that will offer an annual subscription to schools for unlimited online advertising of job vacancies. I was given the task of creating the goTeach visual identity.

goTeach mind-map

“People should feel that goTeach, whilst being a newcomer in this sector, is a professional service that is encouraging and strong and ambitious (for them) and safe (for schools to advertise and for job seekers to explore opportunities).”
— GOTEACH

It was a requirement that the domain extension be clearly shown in the logotype.

View the portfolio entry here: goTeach.

My second book on Amazon

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49 comments about “New work: goTeach”

  1. Wicked.

    All of my logo sketches are so all over the place and explosive, I love how yours are structured. Do you ever show your clients that process? I mean, showing them your sketches and thought processes when delivering a concept?

    Either way, I’m glad you stick to pen and paper (or a tablet) for your ideas. Word of advice for any beginning designers out there: You’ll come up with your best ideas if you rough things out on paper (or a tablet) beforehand. Designing strictly from the computer has its own benefits, but I think too many logos suffer from a generic or a geometric look when you avoid using your hands.

    Great process, thanks for showing it! Keep it up.

  2. Impressive, as usual, very helpful process as well. Well done.

  3. I’m assuming you did not come up with the name as well, but it’s kind of unfortunate that it reminds me of goatse.

  4. Really liking this one. At first I was rather lukewarm about it, but the way you adapted the logo for the Science and Art thing really added a plus point to it. And that bottle ad was just hilarious. Did you come up with that?

    One thing I’d like to point out though, is that on the bottle, the difference between the logo’s typeface and the copy typeface is noticable when you see the difference between the ‘g’ in the logo and the one in the URL. I’m not sure if this makes a difference, but personally I feel a typeface closer to the logotype in terms of letterform may have worked.

  5. I probably sound like a broken record – but I loved this one too. I could see that it was a clever logo from the development work, but seeing the “adaptability” part is what blew me away. That’s what will open most people’s eyes to how versatile the logomark is.

  6. Shouldn’t the bottle read “keep with in reach of children”?

    Other than that I agree with Ash, it wasn’t until I saw its applications that I really warmed to it.

    I’ll be interested to see how its adapted for the web. Let us know!

  7. Rob, I’ll only show clients sketches if they’re options I think will work. In fact, presenting a few sketches rather than a polished design can save you time, because there’s more focus on the idea, and less on a specific typeface or colour. Showing too many sketches, however, can be unproductive (it’s much easier to choose one from two, than one from twenty).

    Arvin, I didn’t work on the naming, no.

    Ash, the medicine bottle was something I came up with after completing the project. My client hasn’t actually seen it, but I thought it could have legs. You’re right about the URL. An adapted logotype to include “www.” would help with consistency.

    Mark, Enrique, thanks very much.

    Richard, I like your thinking. Could definitely adapt that line.

  8. I’m a big fan of your work process and I can appreciate how much thought you put into each of your logos, but I have to say I’m not a big fan of the end result. The adaptations are well done, but the logo on its own really doesn’t do a lot for me.

    For one, I personally don’t think the “ladder” metaphor is that obvious. Especially since “goTeach” on its own evokes the classroom but not the workplace and careers. The metaphor might make sense once you explain it, but what about the first time people see the logo?

    But the biggest problem is that it doesn’t look like a ladder to me. Ladder are not wide, they’re long.. So this reads more like a window or some kind of symbol.

    So although I like the overall identity, I think you could have done much better for the actual logo mark.

  9. I agree with Sacha. I was quite puzzled the first time I saw the final version of the logo. It took me a while to know the meaning behind it. But I guess Dave is well known for creating some interesting and unique concepts which we should all appreciate.

    Not all brand identities visualize what the company actually does. I think its how you market the company that makes it what it is. I am not saying a well grounded logo that follows the principles of design should be neglected, all am saying is it all comes down to how the company portrays itself. Only then can a logo really stand out.

  10. David, thanks again for such great insight. I’m currently in the middle of a logo design I’m struggling with, so definitely going to give the mind mapping approach a whirl.

    Keep meaning to buy the book. I will do I promise, once I’ve whittled this stack on my desk down a bit!

    Where did you source the images for your situation examples? Could do with stocking up a selection of such images to present different scenarios to clients.

    Cheers

    Nathan

  11. Hi,

    I love how your approach is structured and you seem to have a systematic approach where you narrow down to one idea or so. When I sketch, I also come up with so many ideas – often all over the place. Sometimes I feel that this is beneficial – open to new ideas. Do you narrow it down to your concept in the mind mapping and then just exploit that one or so options until you have a winner?

  12. Just interested in more detail on your thinking behind this – why the tapered (i.e. getting thinner as it goes up) rungs for the ladder?

    I’m not a fan of the blur/normal combo on the poster; however I love the simplicity of the medicine bottle and its message, works really well with this branding.

    Very intriguing to hear that Andy Clarke is doing the web side of things – I saw his talk at DIBI this year and I’m a big fan already.

  13. Hi Sacha, you asked about the first time people see the logo, and not knowing what the symbol represents. Obvious can be good, I agree, but it’s not always necessary. What’s important is how the logo separates the business from the competition — and that’s one reason why the ladder’s wider than it is tall (to be a little different from the norm).

    Bibi, you’re right. A logo can fade or it can stand-out, depending upon how the company identified performs.

    Nathan, I keep getting reminded about book reviews I said I might be able to publish, so I can empathise with the stack. As for the imagery, I find Thinkstock is a great source, and there’s always Flickr, too (the Creative Commons search feature is a nice addition).

    Hi James, the mind-map helps me narrow the idea focus, but I don’t normally rule anything out until I’ve tried sketching it (the sketches shown are a sample from this project).

    Leanne, the narrowing rungs were added to signify levels of competition — as an example, there are lots of general teachers at the bottom of the ladder, with few principals at the top. The first iteration had each rung the same size, but I think the change adds some visual interest.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone.

  14. I think the medicine bottle is the strongest concept. I think the design loses some effect in the science teacher approach, as the symbol is not as bold and in your face as the plain black. Was good to see the whole design process from start to finish. Thank you.

  15. Wow. David, as a very young designer just getting my feet off the ground, your work has been an inspiration to me, and continues to be. Thanks a lot for posting this.

  16. Hi David and welcome back!

    Thanks again for sharing your logo design process. I never get enough of your mindmapping…which to me is the most essential beginning of any logo/branding project.

    I do have one question and I apologize if it’s been asked or if sounds silly…
    What is the purpose of the period separating the work “teach”? Does it have to do with their domain name as you pointed out that requires inclusion in the mark?

    This puzzled me more than the ladder…the ladder I get and like it.

    Thanks again David.
    Pam

  17. Nice write up. Thanks for taking the time to post the design process of how the ladder came to be.

  18. Richard,

    I like that line! ‘Keep within reach of children’ sounds like it’d be fun to use :)

    However, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate here, as the brand seems to focus not so much on the teacher-student relationship as it does the teacher-employer relationship. Somewhat like a career portal specifically for teachers.

  19. Hi David,
    I have always loved your design process. The adaptability of the logo is impressive. I like the ladder being more wide than high. A versatile and easy to remember brand mark.
    Did you start using tablet instead of sketchbook? The sketches are more clean and beautiful.
    Keep inspiring us.
    Thanks David.
    Regards
    Deepak

  20. I too didn’t really get the ladder concept, but I wouldn’t be overly worried about that (I’m sure you’re not). I, and I’m sure many others, never noticed the arrow in the FedEx logo or the bear in Toblerone for years and it hasn’t done them any harm!

    Showing your thought design and sketching is very useful though. I’m not a logo or graphic designer myself, but I can appreciate how useful seeing the thought process of a professional can be to others.

  21. Just as I do thumbnail sketches in animation (trying to get the right gestures, key poses, and silhouettes), it’s just as effective in saving time in visual identity.

    The ladder concept is a bit confusing though. Maybe its because I’m from America.

  22. Love it. Its very exciting to see the thought process and the evolution from an idea to a finished product. Good work.

  23. Awesome, David!!!
    It’s always a pleasure visit your blog and give it a look…
    IGreetings from Brazil, mate!

  24. Totally lovely. I love the way you were able to include different uses for the logo (art, science) as well as the different treatments (I love the way the old book spine looks).

    Any specific reason the lower run is thicker? Balance? Ideas that the first step is the hardest?

    Great work, I can’t wait to find time to read your sample chapter. I just did a bit of work and included a small, custom icon that I came up with and maybe I can use some ideas to spice it up.

  25. Very nice identity, this looks similar to the Chinese character for ‘Sun’ or ‘日’ (if you can display UTF-8 encoding). I like its simplicity, and the messages and values within, a real winner. The theme demo is very effective too.

  26. Nice, the process reminds me of my graphic design teachers from university. I am very happy to see some one showing the default and most rational way to make logo design. Keep the good things good!

  27. Hi Pam, that’s right — the dot within the word “teach” signifies the domain name. It’s not a “dot com.” It’s a “dot ch” (Swiss extension).

    Hello Deepak, I’ve yet to use a tablet for any significant time — never owned one. I made use of good old pen and paper for this project.

    Typegeek, I’ll paste a paragraph from my last comment that answers your question:

    “The narrowing rungs were added to signify levels of competition — as an example, there are lots of general teachers at the bottom of the ladder, with few principals at the top. The first iteration had each rung the same size, but I think the change adds some visual interest.”

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I appreciate your time.

  28. I think a good logo design should always go through this type of timeline because it is there to grow while your business grows. If you logo design is done right it could easily carry you into success.

  29. Genius, David.

    Your book was excellent, but I’m happy to see some new identity designs.

  30. I like the flexibility of it, especially the art teacher one, but I can’t help but think of a bunk bed when I look at it. But I like your colour pallette, sutble but creative. Good work!

  31. Hi David.
    Like your options! For sure I’m liking them but one thing I would change is the science teacher solution. Since your mark looks much like DNA perhaps you could change the logo to look more like that. The texture you have behind is sort of hard to make out so I would keep it to simple colors!

  32. Nice work David! what font did you use? it looks similar to Calibri, but obviously it is not.

  33. nice and clean work! i love the design :)

  34. Hey David,
    I must say I appreciate your work discipline and your love for the Rockstar of Graphic Design; Logos.

    I agree that logos should not be too easy to decipher as it could take away what sets it apart from the competition. For example my favorite logo of all time is (surprise, surprise) the FedEx logo. Now I’m pretty sure that if the Arrow that appears between the E and x would have been emphasized by the use of another color it would have totally killed the genius effect of it. Instead what we have now is people that see it and people that don’t, and the people that do figure it out or are told about it quickly share their discovery with someone else. I just love that aspect of logos.

    So in regards to your logo that’s what the viewers are faced with, they have to say what is this symbol and why was it chosen for this company… and once they figure it out that’s when they say: Yeah I get it… it’s pretty cool.

    BTW I just have one question for you, did it ever occur to you (and the client) that people might just read it as Go Tea ? Was that ever an issue ?

    Anyway keep up the great work and keep ‘em coming

    Giuseppe
    Montreal, CANADA

  35. David,

    Once again you have created a stylish yet elegantly simplistic logo. I really admire that you put on your blog the journey from getting the brief, brainstorming, and conceptulisation, it really reassures me about the way i approach creative projects like this and its interesting to see where the final logo emerged from.

  36. I’m going to be honest and say that this one doesn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of what you’ve done David (and I bought your book :-) but this identity looks a little forced for a number of reasons (again, personal opinion here, from someone with way less design experience!)

    First, the ‘ladder’ looks more like an equals sign in a box (both negative spaces being the same thickness?) …not vertically centred …and a box with odd-shaped ‘bookends’. If the ladder symbol tapered in at the top, more inline with ‘real’ perspective, it may have worked better?

    (Before anyone argues I’m not supposed to be seeing the negative space as the main focus of the icon, the ‘science teacher adaptation’ emphasizes it by placing a picture within the shape)

    Your comment above about thick vs thin rungs meaning to represent ‘there are lots of general teachers at the bottom of the ladder’ doesn’t gel with me, and actually has quite negative connotations. Is this business not trying to change the perception of there being lots of mediocre/inexperienced/bottom-rung-of-the-ladder teachers in ‘the system’? Should it not place more emphasis on being at the top?

    Secondly – and I know this isn’t anything to do with you – but that domain name sucks. It strikes me as trying to jump on the “trendy URL-as-a-name” bandwagon which doesn’t fit this sector, and will probably date very quickly (if it hasn’t already). It doesn’t fit the image this type of business perhaps should be portraying – it’s not taking itself seriously enough (not that it should be uber-serious, but I hope you see what I mean).

    I also have a problem with the “two words as one, light font next to heavy font” style, which again I think is overused these days (Ford has a lot to answer for there, I think).

    As a result of the capitalisation, I read the logo as “go Tea”… it’s a swiss site (.ch) about tea? (I first thought it was a Chinese site about tea – drawing conclusions from ‘China + tea drinking’ associations – but yes, .ch is the top-level domain for Switzerland… which for me just adds another layer of confusion – again, not your fault I know).

    Everything also feels quite upright and static. With a name like “go teach” I would have expected to see some kind of movement – *something* to represent action/progress… (again, mostly because the ‘ladder’ icon doesn’t do this for me).

    All of this makes it hard to appreciate any one part of the identity – there’s perhaps too much to decipher. My thought process went something like: What’s that symbol? An equals sign in a box? > Is this about tea? > Why should I ‘go’ to tea? > Is this a Chinese website about tea? Huh?

    Finally, forgive me, but the ‘art teacher’ logo adaptation – lots of colouredy blocks – seems a little cliche… I’ve seen that style a lot in other logos/identities, as I’m sure you have David, and it seems a little too ‘easy’. Also, the blurry vs crisp blocks idea just looks confused. When I saw it, I tried to find some sort of pattern/hidden message in the placement or colouring of the sharp blocks… or the blurry blocks… or the combination of the two… but there isn’t any pattern?

    Maybe I’m looking too hard into all of this. But again, it’s all personal opinion, make of it what you will. Not trying to be critical for the fun of it. Just being honest.

    I’ll keep reading :)

  37. Hello Giuseppe, my client tested the name in the education sector and the feedback was very positive.

    David, thanks very much for reading my book. Good of you to pick-up a copy. No need to ask me to forgive your comment. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

  38. @Jeff I totally agree with you.

  39. A month late. Yes. That’s how I roll.

    Anyway, I’m here to point out the fact that the logo adapted to the art teacher looks a lot like a DNA-string to me, making it more suitable for the science teacher adaptation.

  40. “The narrowing rungs were added to signify levels of competition — as an example, there are lots of general teachers at the bottom of the ladder, with few principals at the top. The first iteration had each rung the same size, but I think the change adds some visual interest.”

    And, about this, I thought the narrowing rungs implied movement, as in the optical distortion that occurs with every moving object. In this case, if you move upwards fast enough the bottom rungs would appear thicker.

    Movement also has a better connotation than a pyramid in this case *wink*.

  41. I think its amazing to see the rough work of a respectable (to say the least) entity of the industry. Thanks for taking the time to post the content on these pages. It serves as motivation to witness a vague idea slowly but surely transform into the solution of a problem, regardless of personal “taste”.
    Looking forward to learning much more about the process.

  42. Hi David,
    I’ve just stumbled upon your website and am bookmarking it as we speak. Like the others have said in this thread, it’s very good to see your initial pencil scamps and mind-maps that you’ve done.

    Bare with me, I do have just a few questions/comments as I’m excited to discover your website.

    My first comment would be that it would be good to see the process once you’ve taken your work in adobe illustrator (or whatever vector program you use.) This process is what usually takes me the longest and I would be very interested to see your process. All the different versions that you go through, how you weed them down to the final 5 etc…

    Another comment in creating the logo in a vector program, for example, with the Berthier logo that you’ve done it looks like you’ve started with Gotham and severely streamlined and adapted it to fit your brief, which I think you’ve done a really good job by the way (if this isn’t the case, than excuse me.) In any case, it would have been good to see some of that process working in Illustrator where you probably spent a good deal of time in getting it right.

    Another question I had, do you ever draw a typeface completely from scratch? I’d be very curious to see this process as well as I’ve not often done typefaces completely from scratch as that isn’t my strength. I usually search for days sometimes looking for the right one that I had in mind and adapt it to meet my needs or what I already drew in pencil. If you do draw them from scratch it would be really good to see that process as well where this is where a lot of people get stuck

    And just one final question, and excuse me if the answer already exists on your site as I haven’t looked through it completely. When asked to do a new logo for a client, do you also work on the other aspects of what makes a brand? i.e. do you give them colour and brand guidelines, imagery/graphics, possible messaging that compliment the logo? Or even what their first campaign (if it applies) could be? Do you also usually talk about the philosophy or meaning behind new brand that you’ve created for the client?

    Sorry I know that’s a lot of questions.
    Anyway, I enjoyed your site and will continue to follow it.

    Kind Regards,
    Stephen,
    Montpellier, France

  43. Hello Stephen, no need to apologise.

    I’ve yet to design a complete typeface, but I’ve created a range of characters for use in different wordmarks (so a much smaller effort overall). To answer your latter questions, yes, I’ve worked on guidelines, and often discuss messaging, meaning, etc.

  44. I really liked the whole process and the final product! Very nicely done indeed.

    I just happened to open their site gotea.ch and saw they have used a colored version of the logo on a dark colored background….which I thought was just not right. Logo is not visible too much – let alone readable!

    I don’t know if you think the same way….Cheers!

  45. Hello David,

    I have recently been reading your book which is very insightful and useful, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. I often read books and interviews by the design masters of the 20th Century (Paul Rand, Milton Glaser etc.) and it’s interesting to see the differences in each designer’s approach when it comes to dealing with clients. Rand would only ever show one logo to his client for example… Very brave.

    Anyway I like the GoTea.ch logo, very well done. The proportions of the ladder are well balanced and the varying line weight is a nice touch. The concept is not an obvious one to go for, which I agree gives it more strength and uniqueness. I’m not sure if anyone else has made the observation but I find it also resembles a (fairly handsome) bookcase, which obviously has connotations with knowledge and study.

    I like it when a logo can have multiple meanings (intentional or not). But do you find a logo that can be easily interpreted in different ways hinders the desired message / concept of the logo? When designing I often sway towards leaving my logo open to different (but relevant) interpretations, however since reading your book I’m questioning whether this is actually a bit of a trap that dilutes the main concept.

    Thanks again for your contributions to design.

  46. Hi Jordan, thanks very much for reading my book. I’m glad you’ve found it of use. From what I know of Paul Rand, he didn’t always show just one design. I believe he did, however, for the NeXT logo.

    To answer your question, I think memorability is more important than personal interpretation. Will a quick glance remind the viewer of the product or service represented? There can be exceptions, because of previous associations with the symbol — the swastika for instance.

    Good question.

  47. Keep ‘in’ reach of children, surely?

    Or are all the best teachers kept away from young minds, to stay fresh and alert…?!

  48. David:

    Great job on the logo. I realize you posted this a while back and perhaps I overlooked a comment on this question: Why the dot before the CH?

    Thanks!
    Josh

  49. Hello Josh, it was a requirement to show the domain extension in the wordmark: http://www.gotea.ch/

Anything to add?

Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.