Design Rules: Tactac Logo Evolution
When the Tactac app was in the early stages of development, we knew that it would be important to have a solid and unique visual branding and design. Graphic design and visual aesthetics can have tremendous impact on an app’s potential success. Not only do they influence a customer’s initial perception of Tactac, but they have long-lasting effects that impact whether consumers return for regular use. Today, we at Team Tactac were reminiscing on some of the unapproved designs and explaining the process that resulted in our current logo.
The purpose of Tactac is to connect you with people you trust for honest, personalized feedback on products. Tactac ensures that you are not wasting time reading through irrelevant information or returning goods that weren’t quite right. It’s an ad-free third-party sanctuary where you can browse all of the products available on Amazon, chat with friends and family, and checkout securely. Tactac’s graphic design is meant to support these principles by creating a calm and user-friendly interface:
Here’s a look back at how our logo and design began.
Sarah, our operational guru, recalls that the first thing we did was to hire Jory [Jory Raphael, Founder and Lead Designer of Sensible World] to develop the UI and design a logo that defined the Tactac experience. We were familiar with Jory’s super skills from his work on CubSpot - another startup we worked with.He’s super-talented, so we didn’t give him too many restrictions. We just asked him to play off of the name and to incorporate the ideas of chat and shopping.
Jory started with a first round of designs that was pretty high-level - some experiments with different shapes and concepts just to see if anything resonated. He kept color out of these first designs just to keep things simple. Ned, our CTO, remembers this being the right call. People have a visceral reaction to color, and we didn’t want it to distract from shapes themselves.
The first round of logos were ultimately unsuccessful, as you can see from Tactac’s current design. “We were afraid we were getting a little too literal with the “tack” concept,” Ned recounted. We didn’t want to imply we were trying to be like Pinterest. Ultimately, these designs were tossed because they failed to depict our primary function: shopping.
It’s amazing what people see in in a logo. For a while, Ned could only see logo C as Batman. It took him a while to realize that was a dress on a pin. Can you identify a wrench? A lobster? An umbrella? Once you see it, you can never unsee it. This was a great start, though--it really got us talking.
We surveyed a focus group and found that they connected with the chat bubble and dress shape (aka Ned’s “Batman” logo). Jory quickly iterated on a few of the logos to see how the group felt with different typefaces and colors. Sarah recalls that “The teal color was really popular, particularly with our target market.” Tactac is an app used mostly by women, and nearly every woman was drawn to teal. That was a big win for Tactac. We had found our dominant color!
Still, none of these logos felt right. We gathered all the comments we could and let Jory put his thinking cap on. The feedback quickly inspired Jory. So, Jory pitched the team a new concept that combined “social” (chat bubble) with “shopping” (bag).
The team really loved the new logo direction. The logo was right on point with the app, and the feedback was instantly positive. Excitement grew. But, not everyone was sold. Ned recounts questioning, “the bag shape and if it was right for our audience. It was fairly purse-like. To be sure, Jory explored different bag and handle shapes.
Picking the perfect shape was hard. We took this picture around and asked women for their opinion on each shape. It was really interesting how people had visceral reactions to certain shapes. Some people felt that the wide-topped bags were grandma bags. The square bags looked like boring briefcases. In contrast, the rounded were often described as fresh, timeless and fun. We clearly gravitated towards the latter. Option D won hands down.
Next came the team’s decision on font. Jory presented several options. Do you recognize any of them as Tactac’s current logo? You shouldn’t.
Font H was most popular with the team and the women we showed this to, but wasn’t quite right. Somehow none of the fonts expressed the fun side of Tactac. Ned recalls that one of the Boulder Bits team members had a strong negative reaction of the “a” letter taking timeless to antiquated. So Jory modified the “a” letter and adjusting the kerning to give a more youthful feel.
That got us really close. Even with so many wins, Tactac had a final decision to make; the app’s color palette. Jory’s experiments with a cohesive color palette were fresh and unique. We really liked the flat colorations, but were really drawn to gradient option for our logo. We were sold.
The top-to-bottom gradient of the dominant teal color really made our logo pop. You might recognize this as the logo we use today.
With input from the team and future customers, Jory did a really awesome job iterating on this very quickly! We use the teals and grays extensively and sprinkle the other colors in occasionally. It took about two weeks from coming up with the “tactac” name to having a complete visual brand that’s flexible enough to scale to future uses. Stay tuned to see how we evolve and bring form and function to your life.
Are you interested in checking out the Tactac app for yourself? It’s available for download here!