Embedded electronics surround us. Computer chips operate our appliances, cars, phones and thousands of other devices, performing functions beneath the surface of our awareness. The technology that operates these devices was developed by embedded designers. But, just like the computer chips, the work of these engineers goes largely unnoticed and unappreciated (at least until something goes wrong). The EntrepreneurShip was hired to create a new identity that describes the difficult, delicate work of engineering the invisible technologies that create the quality of modern life.
Message and Context
The original company name was misleading and could have easily been applied to a retail computer store. It was regional in nature, which could have dissuaded customers in other locations from hiring the firm. It did not convey the serious side of this process: poorly designed hardware or a faulty bit of programming can create catastrophe.
A new name was chosen after several conversations with the client, who repeatedly mentioned the critical importance of focus in the production of well-designed circuit boards. Devices are a mix of hardware and software, and the programs that will run on a device dictate how the hardware should be developed; the symbiotic relationship between the two must be factored into their development. The only way to produce a quality device is to focus on the interactions between electronics, programming, manufacturability, environment and users.
If the work of talented engineers is largely invisible, why not make the logo invisible as well? The new name — Focus — was cut from a sheet of metal, then placed over gears and circuits. This treatment creates a message: the company invents the technology found beneath the surface. We appreciate the aesthetically beautiful exterior of a car or a bullet train or an airplane, but these things are worthless without the dedicated talents of scientists and inventors who make them travel. This logo peers beneath the surface and speaks to the qualities that make for great engineering:
- the innovation required to transform existing technologies into new inventions,
- the thoughtfulness required to create designs that function as expected in a wide variety of real-world situations,
- a desire to build things that last, refraining from a "quick-fix" approach in favor of building technologies that serve users faithfully,
- and a focused, conservative approach that minimizes waste and makes manufacturing less costly.
Personality and Aesthetic
During development, the client mentioned a new trend — steampunk — that he felt conveyed a feeling of quality and solidity appropriate to his message. This neo-Victorian aesthetic movement has blossomed in recent years. It seems to be a response to our "throw-away" culture, where a cell phone has roughly the same shelf life as a jar of mayonnaise. For Focus Embedded, the correlation was clear. The steampunk ideals are incorporated into the logo with the use of dozens of gears that float over a modern circuit board — a visual blending of present technologies and well-built machines of the past.
The logo is constructed from an elegant serif typeface, establishing a tone in direct opposition to most of the futuristic logos created by modern tech companies. In a nod to the ancient art of engineering, the logo was constructed to adhere to the golden ratio. While "Focus" is invisible — appearing only by its absence — "Embedded" is displayed by a set of raised letters, an allusion to beautiful, complex timepieces carrying the logos of their makers.
In full-color and greyscale applications, the "o" is completely removed and a gear visually replaces it. In 1-bit applications, the "o" is replaced with a solid color gear. The surface plating and gear arrangement can be customized for individual applications. The plating can be colored or replaced with a photograph, alluding to the ways that embedded technologies underlie every aspect of modern life.
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