Phonebloks is a concept for a modular smartphone designed by Dave Hakkens. By plugging third-party components to a main board, users would be able to customize their phones according to their needs and easily replace broken parts. This project aims at reducing electronic waste and fighting planned obsolescence.
While the purpose of Phonebloks is to raise awareness and give ideas to the phone industry, the idea seduced me so much that I decided to design a self-initiated logo for it, as if it was a real commercial product.
The smartphone industry is highly dominated by brands that focus on sleek design and user friendly operating systems, while Phonebloks is about longevity and repairability. It appeals to a specific audience for whom durability is the first concern.
The typical Phonebloks customer is someone who cares about the environment, and wants to avoid having to change his phone all the time (hence the tagline « A phone worth keeping »). He’s on board with changing components himself and likes the idea of being able to customize his devices to his needs. He’s most likely a technology enthusiast, but not necessary someone who has advanced engineering knowledge.
Phonebloks communicates a lot on the way it works like Lego bricks. It’s a big part of its identity, what made it well-known, how people remember it and describe it to other people.
The Phonebloks logo needs to be highly versatile, from a billboard to a tiny social media avatar, but also on physical product as printed graphics or a debossed colorless shape. It must be perfectly legible and recognizable at any scale.
Phonebloks is a two-word brand name that needs to be remembered as is, and not as a generic company that sells phone parts; that’s why I decided to make a single line logo. The words seamlessly blend into one name, for a stronger and more impactful identity.
I decided to draw each letter as blocks, as a reference to Phonebloks’ mechanism. I went for a blocky sans serif style to evoke the sturdiness and durability of the product, with rounded corners to give it a more modern and friendly look. I tilted the logo a bit to create a sleek and high-tech feel. The letters, perfectly parallel, look like they fit together.
This impression is strongly reinforced with the monogram, which uses the « P » and the « B » as two interlocking blocks.
The logo purposefully doesn’t use ligatures, to underline the idea that nothing is permanently attached: the blocks can be freely added and removed.
The tagline uses Avenir in black weight, a round and simple sans serif typeface that creates a nice contrast and balance with the angular aspect of Phonebloks. It is discreetly set on a second line, aligned to the right, in order to follow the dynamic of the logo.
The full-word logo works well at big and medium scale. Its horizontal orientation makes it easy to fit on most communication mediums. It has a great readability and remains legible with its baseline down to 60mm wide.
The monogram version is usable for small-size mediums, as well as derived products and parts that need legible branding on a small surface.
The logo uses absolute white, mid-grey and dark blue. This subtle yet contrasted palette offers great readability and reinforces the solid, reliable impression about the brand. The mid-grey makes the baseline perfectly readable either on white or blue background. Its sobriety allows the eye not to be distracted from the logo.