As designers at Brandient, we are mainly focused on how things work. Is the identification work accurate? Are the symbols used differentiated for the consumer? Can the payload of meanings be turned into a potent internal instrument for modelling the organisation’s ethos? Is the brand efficiently hard-wired to its Romanian origin? Looks are important, but the strategic design mechanics are more so.
We worked with Bitdefender, creator of Internet security and antivirus software, for two years in order to be able to answer these questions with yes, yes, yes, and yes.
Here is a short making-of video:
The brand foundation is the legendary symbol of the Dacian Dragon-Wolf. Half wolf, half serpent, this totemic creature guarded the Dacian people in their wars and has come to stand for resilient defense. The modern interpretation of the ancient symbol completes the brand promise with sleekness, making the brand relevant to digital society while clearly asserting its Romanian roots. I won’t talk about the design difficulties related to the decision of rebuilding a link with our past at 20 years after the bloodiest anti-communist revolution in Europe. It is too vast a subject for this time and place.
This archetypal symbol was given two shapes, for the two purposes it needs to accomplish: a 3D avatar, for establishing a bond with the consumers’ minds, and a highly abstracted symbol focused on encapsulating the edge and energy of the Dragon-Wolf, more than its shape, for representing the new chapter in the history of the Bitdefender organization.
The brand avatar is the consumer-facing side of the identity, epitomising the sleek qualities of the product, and it’s designed to keep evolving in time:
Avatar genesis: from a drawing of the Dacian Draco to its cyber-descendant:
The main vector for the brand avatar is the package. Here’s a small part of the package design process:
And the final package design:
The symbol needed to be abstract enough and open to interpretation in order to be able to talk to a highly intelligent organization of young, extremely competitive people, so we approached the design process almost as we were designing for a hi-tech sports equipment company instead of a software one.
Dragon-Wolf symbol very early explorations (the working scenario at the time was that of a flexible identity):
But we weren’t differentiated enough — design-wise it was a direction that might have led to something viable, but it kept failing branding-wise. Too obvious and not insightful enough. So we restarted from scratch, trying to depict the mysterious beast via its absence:
We found ambiguity fertile: the symbol works as a pretext that gives room to questions, stories and personal interpretation for people unfamiliar with its Dacian origin and it comes with a new angle for people conversant with its cultural roots. Then the contour was reduced and then reduced some more — removing all explicative pieces — to the very essence of compressed spring energy and darting movement:
The line modulation of the symbol is compensated for small and/or reverse applications using subtle optical adjustments and ink-traps:
For the wordmark we chose to go custom in order to be able to deliver consistent edge and severity, and the glyphs were rendered and then adjusted with these objectives in mind:
Icon versions and a look and feel test (in a Mac dock, I know, that’s were the early tests were):
Many wallpapers were designed for Bitdefender offices, here is the tongue-in-cheek “Trophy Wall” with the most (in)famous bugs Bitdefender squashed during the years:
Neither branding nor design are destinations, but journeys and this is only the first step, the direction, the beginning. The best things are to come. Thank you.
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I really, really like this. A very well thought out rational and thought process through to execution. I certainly prefer the ‘hero’ brand avatar as as opposed to the line art symbol as, personally I feel it could be made a bit more wolf like, having said that the simplistic need is obvious.
Thank you, Steve.
Awesome. Such a well thought out campaign and the work truly shows that. As Steve said I do like that you took the simplistic approach of the line art for the logo and kept the avatar for other applications. Everything is just drawn together so perfectly in this, from the font to the line art. Great work guys!
I’m very impressed by the systematic approach and great design skills that are on display here. There are two semantic aspects where I’m not 100% sure that they are on the same level as the rest. The name ‘bitdefender’ is a little too obvious and lacks the refinement otherwise found. The mystical rendering evokes resemblance to a snake and as such that of an intruder (rather than a defender).
Awesome redesign. I absolutely love the new logo, especially because it has a strong background story which now merges with the new. It’s amazing how the flowing lines of the Dragon-wolf meet the F-117 Nighthawk’s jagged lines. I like the textured belly of the 3D logo and as shown throughout the presentation, that can be used for many different things while maintaining a link with the logo. I’m happy this isn’t a redesign of the color scheme too, keeping the Red/Black it’s like saying “Yes, this is the same great product you’ve been using, only better and in new clothes.”
Great job guys!
Plus, I need to get myself that T-Shirt from 1:23. :)
Obviously a lot of thought, care and work went into this. I wish some of our clients allowed 2 years for an identity change… The dragon-wolf symbol is quite an effective manifestation of the brand (though I find the line art versions so minimal as to be a pure abstraction).
I wonder why some kind of distinction between the words ‘bit’ and ‘defender’ was removed, though? While the previous wordmark was ripe for a change, the fact that the word ‘defender’ was differentiated really helped make the name more powerful. To me, turning the word mark into a single word makes it hard to read (at least for English speakers) and reduces its impact.
@Michael, thank you.
@Paul, two years of development can wear out many people, so—careful what you’re wishing for. :)
Regarding the “bit” and “defender” fusion in the wordmark, there are a few reasons for that — I’ll mention two here: firstly, both “bit” and “defender” are common (dictionary) name parts, thus hard to “own” and… defend. Secondly, we found “bit” in certain key markets having undesired connotations. A complete name change was impossible, so we opted to forge the two words into a single proper noun.
Really interesting concept and development process.
Keep up the great work!