4 Lessons I Learned From Designing an ERG Logo System

In a June blog post, our CEO of Glassdoor Christian Sutherland-Wong stated “To date, Glassdoor has not done enough to fight racial inequities in society or to proactively foster a higher level of diversity and inclusion within our own company.… Going forward, we will focus on driving transparency on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We’ll begin with transparency and actions in our company.” Supporting our employee resource groups is part of this commitment to grow diversity and inclusion at Glassdoor. 

I’m a Senior Visual Designer at Glassdoor and have been on the Brand team for the past 3 years. When I was asked to create a logo system to establish a visual presence for the Glassdoor ERGs, I felt excited and uncertain. I couldn’t wait to be a part of such important work, but I was far from an expert when it came to know how to represent each ERG in a genuine and meaningful way.

Instead of rushing to a blank canvas to play around with logo ideas, I invited in the “not knowing” and took it as an opportunity to see what I could learn.

Lesson 1: Letting the Real Experts Lead the Way

Like many designers, I often start projects by creating a mood board of inspiration. Not this one. I realized that the creative insights wouldn’t be coming from me or any generic google search. Instead, I handed over the mood board creation to each ERG. What I got back was design gold.

LA FAMILIA: The Glassdoor La Familia mood board is full of rich textures, stunning artwork, and images of delicious meals. One section that the group particularly liked showcased vibrant, hand-crafted tiles.

PRIDE: The Glassdoor PRIDE mood board is overflowing with bright, uplifting rainbow graphics, incorporating all of the colors of the updated pride flag. The imagery emphasizes inclusivity, strength, and self-expression.

WING: The Glassdoor WING (Women in Glassdoor) ERG already had a logo that they liked so we used it as their “mood board” to inspire the new design. The logo was the word WING constructed out of overlapping geometric shapes. Made out of three triangles, the “W” especially stood out as it felt like a symbol worthy of a superhero.

BUILD: The Glassdoor BUILD (Blacks United in Leadership and Development) ERG made a beautiful mood board that includes striking images, gorgeous fashion shots, and a strong color palette of red, green, yellow, and black. They shared a variety of creative concepts such as using “building blocks” to reinforce the group name.

DICE: The DICE mood board conveys the power of a diverse community joining together. Visual inspiration includes colorful hands reaching towards the sky, empty seats surrounding a round table, and people linking arms in solidarity. 

The mood boards were unique, insightful, and full of life. Now I just needed to learn how to connect them together. 

2 Article Image Mood Board

Sample of images from the BUILD mood board

Lesson 2: Gathering Ideas From Other Companies

Next, I looked around to see what I could learn from other companies, especially those with the branding I admire. I discovered quite a range of techniques and approaches used to visually represent employee resource groups. Some companies apply clear systematic rules, while others treat each logo as their own individual project. Some use branded illustrations while others let group photographs take center stage. After compiling my favorite examples, I came away with a clear spectrum of design options. On one end were highly unique logos with little connection between the groups and at the other end was a very consistent system and brand experience with less individual expression. 

I needed to find the sweet spot for Glassdoor.

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Sample of ERG Design Research

Lesson 3: Brainstorming With Other Designers

At this point, I was still not quite ready to decide on a final design direction, so I shared the spectrum of research examples with the rest of the Glassdoor Brand team. Their fresh perspectives and ideas really highlighted the pros and cons of the various options. They pointed out the importance of creating a logo system that provides enough space for the personalities of each ERG to shine through. We also chatted about how we could be flexible with some design elements such as color while maintaining consistency with other elements such as the overall shape to visually link the groups together. 

I came away confident that we had landed on a solid design plan that balanced the top priorities.

Lesson 4: Putting It All Together

Inspired by incredible mood boards, a range of ERG logo examples, and insightful advice from my team, I got out my sketch pad and started drawing. I had learned so much during the exploration of this project that the actual designs flowed fairly quickly. It was like I had collected these amazing puzzle pieces during lessons 1 through 3, and the final “lesson” was about trusting the process and giving myself the freedom to play around with how they best fit together. 

The final ERG logo system uses a consistent diamond shape that visually connects the logos to each other, as well as to the graphic, for an overarching program at Glassdoor called “Embrace”. When it came to color, we decided to allow full flexibility to maximize creative expression. However, we made sure to include brand colors wherever possible and incorporated Glassdoor green into all of the logos to build continuity. We also linked the logos together through a similar illustration style as well as fairly symmetrical layouts.

4 Article Image Logos UPDATE

Final Glassdoor ERG Logo Designs

When I handed over the logo files, I realized another lesson I learned during the ERG logo system project was the gift of not knowing exactly how to do it. One of my favorite parts of being a designer is constantly learning new things and discovering areas where I can grow. However, this doesn’t just happen. It requires reaching out, connecting with other people, and asking for help. More importantly, it requires truly listening to the thoughts and perspectives that are shared. You never know who will inspire the best creative direction. And that’s what makes the design process so fulfilling.

About the author: Shandra Johnson
I love to research and I'm very organized. I've worked in retail which is enjoyed. I wish I could find a job that allowed me to have more time with my son.

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