This is the story of my personal logo, the MD monogram. A logo that has been stolen so many times I already lost count. Here’s how it all started.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a very long time. I postponed it for as much as I could, up until the day of November 20-th 2023 when I am typing this article. With the new update to my personal logo, which I will reveal at the end, I thought it was about time to share the story behind my MD monogram, how it came to life and how I watched it grow and evolve like my own kid. 

Humble Beginnings

The year was 2008, I was 19 years old, I just graduated high school, and I was preparing to enter university. Since I had a lot of time on my disposal, I started playing around with the idea of creating my own logo based on my initials MD. At that time I wasn’t involved so much into design, and had almost no clue what a good logo is. I remember picking a font and trying to find a natural way to connect the letters in Photoshop. I succeeded and ended up with this version right here, I was so proud of my creation. I used to rock it as an avatar on forums and websites like deviant art.

mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram 2008
MD Logo Designed in 2008

At that time I considered it genius, and had no intention of changing something as it served me well. And it actually did, I used it for many years. To be more specific, until 2016, that’s 8 years with this logo. I had it printed as a sticker and I would place it on my cup, computer and even on my car.

Starting from Scratch

In 2016 I was laid off from a design agency and while looking for other opportunities I realized I needed to start from a clean slate and update my logo because the actual one was not a good fit anymore.

began by drawing shapes and playing with type in Adobe Illustrator, however nothing was to my liking. In that period of time I was connecting and talking to a lot of designers, who were much more experienced than me. I was constantly chatting with them and picking their brains in terms of the design decisions they were taking and random stuff about bad logo redesigns we mutually did not like :)) 

One of those awesome designers was Kostya CK. At that time he was designing amazing logos and was working for an awesome design agency, one which I could only dream of. I sent him some of my ideas, which were very basic and too generic.

He gave me some feedback but also replied with a sketch. I looked at it and I was stunned. The simplicity, the idea, the way he managed to connect both of the letters into one visual square and yet keep the logo unique. Wow!

mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram sketch
MD Logo Sketch from Kostya CK, 2016

For me, in all honesty this was a genius execution as it captured what I wanted to convey with my logo but had no idea how to do it. To this day, I still think the connection between the M and the D is mind blowing. I also liked how unique it looked. This logo has been copied over the last 7 years, so many times to the point where I’ve lost count to be honest. Someone on instagram once sent me this logo painted with a spray can on a door shop in Brazil. 

“I wasn’t even mad, my logo made it to Brazil without me!”

I started using the logo right away and the first thing I did was to update my avatar on Facebook. I am glad I did, because this has served me as proof many times when completing DMCA takedowns or reporting theft on instagram or facebook.

mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram 2016
MD Logo Designed in 2016

As time went by I started noticing flaws in terms of the execution. At first I didn’t pay too much attention and thought I should just go with it. After a while they were bugging me. I wasn’t happy with the circle as it took too much space. The logo was too thin and lacked readability at small sizes.

In February 2019 I started playing around with some updates for the logo. I wanted to make it more compact so it can fit visually within a square. I wanted bolder lines and better geometry. Also the circle had to go. I did all of this within the new version, with the invaluable help from Vadim Carazan. I also decided to give it a fresh neon green and dark blue for the background. At that point in time it seemed like a good decision, because I wanted the logo to have a fresh and bold personality. Later I would realise  it is better to achieve this with the help of the shape rather than with color.

mihai dolganiuc design md loo monogram 2019
MD Logo Designed in 2019

I was extremely proud of this version. I shared it on dribbble, which again served as proof of copyright, and updated all of my social media channels. Overall the logo was received well by people.

With this one I went even further. I had stickers for it. Laser cut wooden figures, coasters, I even made a 3D sign by myself out of wood. I added some radial type to the logo which led to these awesome badges. I used it in a lot of my client presentations.

mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram 2019 stickers

Honestly I loved this update so much, to the point where during 3 years of ownership I didn’t actually see its flaws. 

Love is blind, am I right?

It was in the beginning of 2023 when I started asking myself if the logo could use an update and what would that be. I no longer loved the colors Neon Green and Dark Blue so much, I found them not so good in terms of contrast ratio so I started using the logo in black and white only. It actually looked very good on a dark background, the shapes were standing out very well. 

However, I started noticing it was lacking mass and could use some boldness. This thought was provoked by a speech on Youtube held by legend Tom Geismar from CGHNY. He mentioned that a good logo needs mass, to ensure it’s strong in any circumstance, especially when scaled down at tiny sizes. 

This stuck with me for a while and wouldn’t give me peace. I started redesigning in my head the logo and the most natural thing for it to do was to gain some weight. Much like his owner. 

I quickly sketched out something, opened up Illustrator and having the existing logo as a starting point, I reworked the thickness and then made some optical adjustments. 

I posted everything on twitter and people actually loved it. I knew then I would stick to this version for the upcoming years, for how many exactly? I don’t know. One thing is for sure — for now I am happy with it. For Now.

mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram 2023 explorations
MD Logo Update Explorations 2023
mihai dolganiuc design md logo monogram 2023
MD Logo Updated in November 2023

For a closing statement, I would like to add the following — good design takes time and time itself is the ultimate test of a logo. There is simply no other way around this matter. Whatever you like today, you will probably not like within a year because this is human nature and how progress works. 

Start with an idea you have, work on it, let it marinade for a while and then let it out into the wild so it can be seen by people. Over time you will start to see its flaws and perks. Based on that you can adjust, while moving forward with your career.

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this article please share it with someone.

Mihai.

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