Take a stroll through a decade of evolving faces

The August branding facelift is far from the first time that AEI has changed its look. This month we take a reminiscent walk through the company’s history, starting with its first website, launched in late 2001.

The Early Years

click to enlarge »

This was a temporary site, created by founders Whit Gurley and Eric Clarkson, who departed for less Western pastures in 2004. Since we hadn’t created a proper identity yet, it was merely designed as a quick showcase of what we were capable of. Brief as it may have been, it bore a sharp, unique aesthetic that was a sign of design successes to come.

Notice anything familiar here? »

The company identity was therefore our subsequent task. Each of us worked on logo concepts for the next couple of weeks, and ended up with… (drum roll): a roadblock. Neither of us were thrilled with what the other had produced (see examples to the left). So we elected to go with a very simple, austere (and style-neutral) type treatment, “Ae” in a bold, sans-serif font.

First angle: corporate »

That logo led to the first “real” AEI website, shown here. Though the company consisted only of the two of us, the design and verbiage was geared to make us look bigger, and to appeal to corporate clientele. While somewhat conservative in its visual style, the site made clever use of modern HTML structures to create a seamless, “kiosk-style” interface to viewers.

The Second Age

Second angle: bohemian »

The corporate AEI style held for a couple of years after Mr. Clarkson left, but eventually it was decided to move to a more “authentic” branding treatment that reflected the fact that Angled End was now a single person company. The reserved “Ae” logo was abandoned for the more funky 3-D logo that was recently replaced and the site went in a much earthier, more personal direction that was split between Whit Gurley’s professional work and his personal projects.

An Angled Evolution

The business underwent another dramatic transformation in 2009, this one as much behind the scenes as with its public appearance: it was incorporated, became involved in the Chamber of Commerce and other networking organizations, employed more expansive marketing tools like social media and inbound lead generation, and established working relationships with a number of design and development contractors.

Third angle: a beautiful hybrid »

This new upwardly-mobile status required a major shift back to a branding treatment more appropriate to corporate clients, though it wasn’t necessary or desirable to return to a state quite so dry as its 2003 iteration. The 2010 AEI site maintained a dark, earthy aesthetic in some regards, but it also took on a more austere typographic treatment, and dropped the “Whit” side of its previous dichotomy for obvious reasons.

The cobbler’s children get some shoes »

Another major accomplishment of this era was the creation of our first printed company brochure (click here for an online version), which featured a wide cross-section of Angled End’s best work in a narrative format describing its structure and philosophy.

A New Game Plan

Let’s start playing »

Thanks to faithful client Adonal Foyle and our friends at Bay Area Sports Management, AEI was able to usher in a promising new direction for the company in 2011: Angled End Athletics, the sports industry arm of our organization. Through AEA, we’ve been able to create dynamic brands and websites for pro athletes like Joe Thurston and sports organizations like the Oregon Football Association, as well as create a revolutionary pro team communications system, the Mobile BackBoard.

What’s Old is New

An old friend announces a new era »

When 2012 rolled around, the company was still in the middle of that upward trajectory, but the iconic building-blocks logo was starting to feel inappropriate for the image that we wanted to be projecting (sophisticated, stylish and reserved). The “new” logo is, in fact, one of the oldest AEI logo designs, slightly tweaked (click here to view a picture of some of the oldest sketches, featuring a few familiar faces).

A new era exemplified »

No branding revamp would be complete without a new website, of course, so the AEI team reevaluated what we wanted for a brand-new web presence. The short list of features included: mobile-savvy structure, home page portfolio, a promotional info-graphic, and flexible-resolution portfolio galleries. The end result was an elegant, dynamic, device-agnostic site that we’re exceedingly proud of.

That’s a fair amount of visual history for just twelve years. We hope you’ve enjoyed our self-indulgent trip down memory lane. Here’s to another dozen years of amazing memories!