Giving Rocket Lift a Facelift

Welcome to the new Rocket Lift.

For those of you who’ve been following Rocket Lift for some time, you’ll notice that this is a huge change for us. Those of you who are new, thank you for visiting!

I started working as a contractor to Rocket Lift in October. From the very beginning, I fell in love with the team and was excited to see what we could do together. In January, I was hired as Director of Design (fancy title, I know).

Rocket Lift had never had a designer as part of the permanent team before, so I was tasked with giving the company a design direction. Till then, most of our work came because of our skill with WordPress. We needed to show the world our maturation as a company and the quality of design work we can offer.

That’s where I came in.

At first, I was hesitant to be in charge of the logo mark. Logo’s were always something I shied away from, because I didn’t feel I was any good at designing them. I’m so glad that I was urged to do it in this case. Not only did I have a great time developing the idea behind the logo, but it’s hands down the best logo I’ve ever designed.

Choosing a Typeface

The logo type is set in Ratio. Ratio is a beautiful sans-serif typeface with some very interesting letter forms. I spent a couple of hours just testing the words in a myriad of different typefaces (yes I tested it in Myriad). I looked at how the “f” and “t” interacted together in all these typefaces, and after talking it over with Matthew, we decided to go with Ratio.

I went with Ratio for various reasons, but one of the biggest was it’s versatility. We could potentially do all of our brand materials, contracts, and other documents using only one typeface, because of the great way the weights interact with each other. Ratio is also a face we could serve through something like Typekit, which was good to have in case we wanted to use it on our website.

The Rocket

When we first set out to rebrand, the rocket was off the table. The team felt it was cliché and maybe a bit too playful for the type of company we wanted to present ourselves as. I had come up with some other ideas, but I quickly realized we were hindering the mark’s potential by completely excluding the idea of a rocket. I wanted to create a rocket that was almost subtle, and not overpowering in any way.

For several hours, I looked at hundreds of images of rockets; both real and illustrated. I examined the details of each, asking “What makes a rocket, a rocket?”


An early comp of the Rocket Lift logo

As you can see, the rocket has a porthole. This seemingly small detail had a lot of discussion and debate around it. In the initial comp which you can see above, the porthole was a circle. Internally we spent about two days debating what the shape of the porthole should be and what better resembled that of a real-life rocket. Many IM chats later, we arrived at what you see today.

In contrast to the initial comps, the rocket is now more refined and the streak begins on the side of the “o”. Thanks to the knowledge our team has of real-world space travel, that was done on purpose. Can any of you space geeks guess why?

Redesigning The Website

Our old site was pretty bad. It was difficult to read because of bad type dimensions, lacked a good content plan, and didn’t offer much to our audience. Its only redeeming quality was that it was somewhat responsive, but that wasn’t good enough. In fact it was a “mobile-only” design — a “mobile-first” website that never grew beyond mobile dimensions.

The old site was limiting our growth.

The Rocket Lift team had doubled within a couple of months, the projects we were working on were bigger, and we wanted to present who we actually are and show what we are now capable of. We do great work; from a design perspective, a development perspective, and a content perspective.

We’re solving some pretty exciting problems with WordPress. We’re helping companies have a web presence they can be proud of. We’re building websites that tell stories well from day one and that live and grow with our clients. Add to that the fact that all of our recent projects have been fully responsive, optimized for speed, search engine friendly, and coded with best practices…

This new site is our vehicle to show off what we can do. It presents our team, showcases the work we’ve been doing, and gives the Rocketeers a place to spill some of that brilliance they bring to the job everyday.

Again, thank you so much for visiting. We hope you’ll keep an eye on what we’re doing and writing in the upcoming months.


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