Due to some recent recognition, I had the opportunity to dig through the Oxide archives for some additional information on a project from the studio’s early years. Seeing some of the concept sketches made me realize how refined our design process has become since those days. In turn, that led me to think it’d still be a great chance to show some fascinating tidbits from the vault.

Springbok Instruments logoSpringbok Instruments logo

Some years ago, we developed the name and designed the logo for Springbok Instruments, a company that designs, manufactures and markets innovative electronic test equipment for the low voltage power industry. At the time, we engaged in a process of name development and logo design simultaneously. These days, we understand that’s not a very effective way to create the best solution – it’s best to lay each layer of the foundation in order. We also showed way more initial sketches than we do anymore. Now we have the confidence to understand that part of our job as professional designers is to exercise a critical eye before heaping too many options on the client.

Shown below are various original concepts, each presented to the client with a name suggestion along with some rationale for each choice.

PowerSinePowerSine was the original name brought to us by the client. “PowerSine – This name does a good job of conveying the right impressions. If I have one concern about this name, it’s just in terms of the name’s “spellability”; will it be confusing to customers?”
Voltaic“Voltaic – A different thought on an electrical-sounding name. Could be paired with any number of descriptor words or used simply as Voltaic, Inc.”
Ampere, Inc.“Ampere, Inc. – This name might be a good jumping off point for a different train of thought. The logo is intended to convey the electrical aspect of the product and the concept of “positive”, while barely implying the “˜fixing’ or “˜healing’ nature of marks like the Red Cross (although this mark would never be used in red).”
Impala Instruments“Impala Instruments – This is a different and evocative approach to the name and logo. The idea of Impala symbolizes speed, strength and agility (accuracy). In a field mostly filled with “techy” names that contain parts like Tech, Power, Wave and the like, this approach could help set you apart. And the strong style of mark still implies power and stability.”
PowerSine, Lightning Bug, and PowerLineVarious other sketches that were presented, for the names “PowerSine”, “Lightning Bug”, and “PowerLine”, respectively.

I’m happy to report that – despite being inundated with way too many options – the client made the best choice in this scenario. They were intrigued by the idea of “zigging” with their name and identity when everyone else in the industry was “zagging”. We also made a serendipitous discovery when pursuing the “Impala” name. The concept of naming the company after a South African gazelle works conceptually because of the animal’s speed and agility. But when doing more research, we found a type of gazelle that’s exponentially more appropriate. When excited, Springbok leap into the air with their back arched and their legs stiff, in a practice known as “pronking”. (Fascinated? See it in action here and here.) The logo captures this unique activity in freeze frame, with the tips of the Springbok’s hooves implying the pinpoint precision of the company’s fault location technologies. Other elements of the logo aim to convey the literal electrical current tested by Springbok, as well as the charged spirit of the company.

View the project page for Springbok Instruments.