A New Logo

After many intra-office discussions, we decided to codify our thoughts, aspirations, + interests before embarking on a logo redesign.  Armed with Brand Deck, we devoted a working session to what we are, what we are not, + what we want to become.

To understand the history of our logo is to know our history.  From humble beginnings to …

1993-1996: PJA Architecture began in 1993 when our founding principal established Phillip Jordan Architects in the attic of his house.  From the outset, Phil recognized that the technological advances of the early 90’s would provide his one-man studio with the ability to offer quality architectural services to clients of all sizes.  To demonstrate the easily repeatable precision the computer allowed in drafting, Phil developed a logo that mixed geometry and line types/weights with ordering principals that the computer and pen-plotters could effortlessly reproduce.

PJA 1993-2002 Composite.jpg

1997-2002: Having laid a solid foundation for Phillip Jordan Architects, Phil knew that the company was now a recognizable brand within the sphere of his current clients and increasing staff.  The practice had grown during the initial years and it was time to revise the logo.  Phil wanted one that was bold, easily identifiable and continued to demonstrate the influence of the digital techniques, available at the time, in PJA’s workflow and design thinking.  An expressive font was chosen for the acronym of the company, a drop shadow added to the letters and five squares [in reference to the geometry of the initial logo] where rhythmically placed below the letters.  

2003-2004: By the early 2000’s, 3d renderings were becoming commonplace in the architectural process.  In keeping with the founding principles of the firm, Phil cultivated a culture of experimentation with the digital methods of the time.  The revised logo envisioned the PJA as solid red letters whose shadow was created by a light source that could be placed within the 3d space of a digital model.  The initial rendering was advanced by the standards at the time, but PJA was about to refine and master cutting edge rendering techniques.

2004-2012: Refining the previous logo was a priority given the increased capabilities of rendering software and hardware that PJA was beginning to acquire.  The background for the logo was imagined as a sphere that existed behind the letters and squares.  This gave PJA the opportunity to showcase the ray-tracing and complex illumination strategies of the rendering software.  The color of the letters was made bolder and the spot lights positioned to exaggerate the shadows and depth of the letters.

PJA 2002-2015 Composite.jpg

2012-2015: Having steered PJA through the difficult recession, Phillip Jordan Architects became PJA Architecture as Christian joined Phil as a principal of the firm.  In the process of weathering the tumultuous times, PJA became more lean and agile, and as a result the logo underwent minor revisions.  The red of the letters was made more uniform and the shadows given a stronger logic.  The paring down of the logo set the stage for what was to follow.

2015 – : With PJA becoming a recognizable part of the community and continuing to expand its client base, we sat down and discussed the state of the firm in terms of: what we are, what we are not, + what we want to be.  What followed were several months of deep, revealing discussions about the studio and our culture.  Countless iterations were studied, the last of which were refined with the input of a local graphic designer.  What we concluded was we wanted a logo that was bold, clean + ordered.  As Bruce Mao posited in his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth:

29.  Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

We wanted a logo that was not driven by the technology or the software at the time, but rather the ethos of the firm.  The A of PJA retained the red as an homage to the founding company name and that it all began with Phil.  ARCHITECTURE took the place of the squares below the PJA and maintains the drop shadow that has been an important part of the logo for so many years.  The A of ARCHITECTURE is given color as well so that it appears to rise above the rest of the letters as an indication of where we believe we are heading.  After 22 years, we are looking forward to the future while remembering our history.