By David Boersma, Mojave Creative Lab Founder and Art Director
After nearly a decade of work, we are excited to present a new look at Mojave Creative Lab. This isn’t something we take lightly. Brands take years to build and rebranding, to various degrees, can have pitfalls. But we at Mojave believe in placing your best foot forward. And for us, that required a pretty extensive overhaul.
This all began several months ago when we started researching US trademark laws, with the intent of protecting our brand—something every business should seriously consider. Ironically, in the process, while reading relevant trademark articles online, we realized one website had a nearly identical logo. Although the company was started several years after Mojave, the likelihood of our winning a trademark suit was slim. Proving our first use would be difficult and costly—the similar brand now employs hundreds. Rather than dig in, we recognized Mojave might be ripe for an overhaul anyway. So we embarked on a mission to reshape our brand, beginning with our logo.
Between 2010–2014, Mojave Creative Lab was merely a freelance operation, with myself as the face. During those years, I held down a regular desk as the designer for several agencies and organizations—Mojave Creative Lab only a budding business. The logo was a reflection of that. By 2014, Mojave Creative Lab was fully established and the logo was updated with a new desert palette and mountainscape, retaining the shape of the sun, warped by desert heat.
Time for a Redesign
With a redesign at hand, we had to dig into our roots and navigate the questions we ask in all of our client work:
Have we clearly identified our audience?
Are we on brand?
At Mojave Creative Lab, we exclusively work with clients in outdoor recreation and environmental advocacy. Our reason for this is simply a subject of passion. We want to be inspired by our work and give back to the community that’s given to us. Being avid participants in the ideals and activities these brands promote connects us with their mission. Our audience is who we are.
Mojave Creative Lab got its name from my early work being inspired by time weekending in Joshua Tree National Park. At the time, I was working retail at Patagonia Pasadena, venturing off to the desert every chance I could get. The Mojave Desert inspired a natural fit—and Mojave Creative Lab was born. In the years since, we have located to Colorado, where the same “weekend warrior” mentality holds true. Only now, Utah and its rugged and desolate tiered steps, and canyon carved scapes play host to the desert wandering. With our roots in the Mojave Desert and relocation to Colorado, this is where our brand finds its inspiration.
Start the Process
As we set out for a redesign, we had two goals in mind.
Retain what we could from our old logo, so as not to veer too steep
Pay homage to the southwest where our roots lie
Generally, our former font use worked. The oblong “O” is reflective of the distortions of desert heat and the mirages on the horizon. The rest of the letters follow—strong, clean, and clear. With some work, the font had staying power. And with our color palette of orange hues still relevant to the desert terrains we’re inspired by, we left everything else behind and set out ahead.
The trail ahead
With Mojave’s roots in the southwest, we wanted our brand to reflect that. Southwest art is inspired by native peoples who’ve inhabited the land, time immemorial. We wanted to honor that legacy. Equally and as much part of this, geometric shapes are intrinsic to the regions geologic past and present. It’s hard to imagine how southwest art couldn’t have been inspired by the rugged and tiered terrains that define the region. Carved by canyons and awakened by the rising sun, there’s no place more awe-inspiring than the desert southwest. Mojave Creative Lab’s new look is a representation of all of this—encompassed by artistic influences and inspiring terrain, both past and present.
One More Consideration
The outdoor industry is currently undergoing some important conversations around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. When designing our logo we’ve been sensitive its southwest influences are heavily inspired by native peoples’ art. We tread this with care. We want to be a force for positive conversation and change that honors this heritage. As part of the process, Mojave Creative Lab reached out to various stakeholders to get input whether our redesign would be mindful of people who have long been harmed by westerners. The feedback was positive, but suggested we might consider giving land acknowledgments in our photography. We too are constantly learning and found this to be a great first step at recognition and respect for the native peoples whose land we benefit from. As a company committed to doing the most good, we commit to this and recommend others do so as well. If your company is interested, we’d encourage it to take the pledge to #HonorNativeLand. The photo above was taken on the traditional land of the Ute.
There’s nothing more important to a company than its logo. It’s the first impression others will have of your brand. We set off on a journey to re-explore our roots and are enormously proud of the result. Our work remains; we’re committed to building beautiful designs for our clients and are looking forward to the trail ahead.