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Rejected CloudFlare Logos

by Matthew Prince.

Early in CloudFlare's history we realized we needed a logo. Years before we started CloudFlare, I'd met Lindon Leader at a Chamber of Commerce event in Park City, Utah. Lindon is probably one of the leading brand identity designers of the last 50 years, having designed logos you can picture for companies like Double Tree Hotels, Ryder Trucks, Hawaiian Airlines, the NCAA, and FedEx. If you don't know the story of the subliminal image in the FedEx image, stop reading right now and check out this terrific interview with Lindon.

Lindon is not only talented but a really great guy to work with. Even on our limited budget, he took time to understand what we were planning on building at CloudFlare, what we wanted our brand to stand for, and worked with us to come up with the logo that is now in the upper-left corner of this page. Searching through some old email today I came across some of the other designs that we rejected.

Rejected CloudFlare Logos

When we got the designs back from Lindon Michelle and I sent them around to friends and advisors to get their take. Almost unanimously they preferred the versions with blue cloud over the ones with the orange cloud. It's funny to look at the blue version today because it seems so clearly not right given what our brand has become. But, at the time, it was what almost everyone thought we should use.

We really liked the semi-futuristic font which Lindon created specifically for the logo. At one point I make an off-hand comment that it reminded me of the Oracle logo. Lindon didn't like that one bit. "Your logo" he wrote in an email I still have, "shouldn't be evocative of anything other than your own brand." I said I was perfectly happy if our fledgling startup was evocative of Oracle, a $160+ billion tech behemoth, but Lindon was adamant. We tried other variations of fonts he created, but kept coming back to the original as our favorite.

Rejected CloudFlare Logos

In the end, we decided that the part of the logo that really reminded us of Oracle was really the pitchfork-like "E". Lindon redrew the font with a differently styled "E" and immediately the similarity to Oracle's logo vanished.

Our logo has remained versatile and helped us define our brand. Some of my favorite customer messages are when people write in saying they spotted one of our t-shirts on someone they didn't know. We got one the other day that read: "I had no idea what your company did before now, but I saw someone at a club in LA wearing one of your t-shirts and I need to have one!" We're proud of the fact that people love our service, and our logo, enough to literally wear it on their chests.

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