Responses by Curtis Pachunka, design director, Wieden+Kennedy Portland.
Background: We were asked to strategically update computer-assisted design (CAD) software company Autodesk’s brand with a new positioning and reconcile its 100-plus products under a distinct and recognizable parent brand. The refresh needed to resonate with its current and new users alike. Autodesk wanted to grow awareness of who it is as a company and show that it’s innovative and progressive.
Design thinking: The team recognized that the brand refresh needed to balance real-world problem solving with next-generation challenges. The visual identity is emblematic of these principles. The static symbol is an abstract A, but in its three-dimensional form, it reveals angles and shadows for the viewer to discover. It hints at the process of creating something new, just as Autodesk’s software enables users to create.
Challenges: For nearly 40 years, Autodesk has been an industry leader in CAD technology and various software products that serve many industries. As Autodesk continues to grow rapidly and evolve for a changing world, there was a growing awareness that although Autodesk products are popular and successful, users were less aware of the Autodesk brand itself.
Favorite details: Our team created a dynamic, future-facing mark in static and three-dimensional form, as well as a tagline that speaks to who they are as a company and what they do. We guided them to simplify in areas that could be improved upon and suggested a confident voice moving forward.
New lessons: It was refreshing to have a brand inspire you the more you researched it. At the start, we were relatively uninformed about who Autodesk is and what they wanted to achieve. Once we looked at the brand more closely, we discovered that its software enables so much innovation. There are many great stories of people inventing and improving things to make the world better with Autodesk’s software. With that thinking, we knew we had something from which we could take inspiration.
Visual influences: Isometric and orthographic views of abstract objects—i.e., prototyping parts and machine parts. We loved the idea of exploring a logo in 3-D by seeing it from different vantage points and having it reveal shapes that you weren’t aware of at first glance. We even explore generative design a bit too. We loved how futuristic that process looked, and it was a great starting point that informed ideas early on.