A Quick History of the Digilent Logo

You may have noticed, but recently we rolled out our new logo, and it’s just the first part of a whole new look for Digilent! This is the 3rd logo design I’ve done for Digilent, and I thought some folks might find it interesting to see where it all started.

Original logo, circa 1999
Original logo, circa 1999.

Clint Cole, the company’s co-founder, was doodling around one day, coming up with a symbol for his new company. Playing around with shapes, he drew a sort of “eternal triangle”… The triangle, or delta, was the perfect symbol for a fledgling company that dreamed of bringing change to engineering education. What Clint didn’t know was that the shape already existed as the “Penrose Triangle”, an optical illusion first created in 1934. Since then, we’ve changed the dimensions and proportions a bit, but we’ve always used the triangle. The first version of the logo had very broad spacing and used a common typeface based on the one used on America’s road signs.

2001 redesign
2001 redesign.

In 2001, I lightly tweaked the original design, tightening up the spacing and substituting a bolder, but still using a geometric typeface, in this case a variant of Futura.

2006 redesign
2006 redesign.

By 2006, I was working full-time for Digilent, and decided it was time for a different design. This time around, I kept the clean, geometric typeface, and we added the motto “Beyond Theory”. The triangle was simplified, losing the gradient shading and gaining softer edges. This is probably the logo people recognize the most, as we’ve been using it the longest.

Our new logo & brand!
Our new logo & brand!

Here we are in 2015, and one of the projects I can finally tackle is a company-wide rebranding. This will take place over the next year or two and will cover web, print… pretty much everything! For a start, I felt we needed a cleaner, simpler logo. The lettering is based on a typeface called Halis (it’s been tweaked slightly) which keeps the geometric, bold, but informal look from before. The heavy borders and outlines are gone, and our old friend the triangle now carries our company colors. This puts the emphasis back on the two important elements: our name and our symbol.


Look for new packaging, sales sheets, and a whole new website, coming this year!


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3 Comments on “A Quick History of the Digilent Logo”

  1. Simplicity is the key to a well-designed logo. Designs like yours that are classic, simple, and easily understood are the best. They usually include the mark and name of the company in them.

  2. I prefer a simple and clear logo just like yours. It makes the logo easy to recognize, memorable and versatile. Most importantly, it helps to convey the message to the clients. Thanks for this informative post.

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