CATS Dev Journal: New Logo

CATS 5.0 (codenamed “Nala”) marks a fundamental reshaping, rebranding and recreating of CATS. As part of that extensive process, Shawn Milliken, UX/UI designer at CATS, created the company’s new logo.

Let’s start at the beginning of your process. Where did you start? And, where did you go from there?

Milliken: Well, we know we wanted to maintain some historical connection to the old logo.

What do you mean?

Milliken: We wanted to tell a story of where we were to where we’re at now. That meant maintaining some aspects of the old logo, but also making it new and exciting. The original logo had three people and its meaning was purposefully obvious. Making a logo explicitly recognizable is a dated method. Modern logos are more symbolic and less explicit in their depictions—more elegant. So, we just wanted to strip the first logo down to its basic elements.

And why is that preferable?

Milliken: Because, standards in design have changed since the creation of our original logo. Big images, bold colors, symbolism and simple shapes are aesthetically pleasing. It’s easier to create something that is visually striking and recognizable. You have to be able to see and recognize a logo right away, and nothing can get in the way of that.

So what did that look like?

Milliken: Well, like I said, we wanted to maintain the three avatars in some way, which were basically three heads. And, a minimalistic head is a simple circle.

And, that’s where I started. But, I wanted them to be connected in someway. So, rather than having just three circles in a row, I connected them, as if two people were being linked together. As an ATS, that’s what we’re trying to do, bring people together and help make meaningful connections between recruiters and candidates. So, the first step was expanding upon just the three heads to something more abstract while illustrating that CATS connects people.

So now we have these three connections, talk to me about how they were oriented.

Milliken: Once we created the initial design, I was talking with the marketing manager about it and he suggested we turn it on its side. By having the bones go from top left to bottom right, it suggests forward motion. The eye follows that motion into the word CATS. Also, we like to think it invokes a cat scratch—an abstract connection to our name.

So, this was a collaborative process?

Milliken: Yeah, it was a big collaborative process. It was good to have people involved and get everybody’s opinion. That’s one of the reasons it took around six months to get finalized. It wasn’t like we went to a marketing company and said, “This is our brand, give us a logo.” It was, “Who are we, where are we going, why do you like this, where do you want to go with this?”

Why move to a different color palette?

Milliken: We wanted to make a bold statement with this rebranding. So, we made a departure from the old colors to make a statement and paint CATS in a different light. We chose cooler, less bright and playful colors, colors that depict professionalism.

Purple represents power and elegance, and blue signifies confidence and wisdom. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have green or orange in our palette, but those have definitely taken a backseat to the primary colors that depict progress and forward motion.

Final question: Why is a good logo important, and what makes this a good logo?

Milliken: In my mind, a good logo is easily recognizable. It’s simple, modern, and clean. Elegant is the perfect word to describe this logo. Elegance describes something that is effortless but effective. Our new logo is a solid foundation for who we are and what we represent, a forward thinking company with powerful, modern software for professional recruiters.