liontree logo design

Final redesign of the LionTree logo.  Adobe Photoshop, 2000 x 377 px. 2017.

I started this redesign adventure by sifting through a small stack of random magazines I pulled from the library, looking at ads and articles that may feature any faulty logo design. I came across the LionTree logo at the very bottom of an ad for a fashion show or something of the like, along with logos of other sponsors. It caught my eye because the image next to the lettering was very small and hard to make out, even compared to the other down-scaled images around it. This was an immediate problem. The “tree” portion of the logo was also hard to read, as it’s only a few leaves. Finally, the design was too complicated in my opinion, with several lines fighting for attention in the lion’s form. After a little research on the internet, I found the logo and the bank that it belongs to; LionTree is an investment bank started in January 2016 that focuses on the technology, media, and telecommunications sector.

When researching possible redesigns for this logo, I thought immediately to look into designs that used figure-ground reversal so that both the lion and the tree were recognizable in the design. I actually found something that was quite similar to what I had in mind, a logo with a lion face in a tree. I also looked at simplified images of trees and lions, along with some more tech savvy designs.

I then began sketching out some ideas I that had, testing out different designs in my sketchbook before moving to a digital platform. I decided that I would keep a similar font, drastically changing only the image portion of the logo. Despite the big changes, I decided to use a silhouette inspired by the lion in the original design.

My first iteration keeps the lion facing to the left on the left side of the lettering, and the whole logo remains black (hex code #000000). The font used for the lettering is Baskerville. I made the initial elements of the lion’s silhouette and the shape used for the leaves and the lion’s eye in Adobe Illustrator, then manipulated them in Adobe Photoshop.

After the initial redesign, I added more leaves to the tree/lion’s mane, as well as filling them in with solid black. I made the lines of the lion’s face thicker because it looked too thin compared to the text. I also experimented with the placement of the logo as well as wich direction it was facing.

Deciding to have the lion face right but still remain to the left of the lettering, I began polishing the final design. I applied color to the logo, testing the image and the lettering.I added a few more leaves to round off the form. I played with the size ratio of the image and the lettering.

My final design features a figure-ground reversal image of a lion and a tree. The leaves/lion’s mane is colored green (hex code #0F7C11); the lines of the lion’s face/tree trunk is brown (hex code #583509); the lion’s eye and the lettering are still the original black (hex code #000000). The lettering’s font is still Baskerville, as in my first iteration.

Black and white


I believe my design to be more distinctive and simple than the original logo. The lion is clear because of the recognizable silhouette and the tree comes through stronger because of the color palette. The forms are clean and simplified while still be representational. Mine is also easier to see when scaled down to a smaller size than the original. This exercise helped me feel out logo design and recognize that there is always room for improvement, even in professionally designed logos.

After a peer critique, I once again reworked my logo for LionTree. With this final revision, I made the green of the leaves darker (hex code #075609) and incorporated this green into the lettering. Making the text was done to unify the color scheme, as suggested in the critique; I used a darker green because it made the text less strenuous to read. It was also suggested that I keep the lion’s face black, to avoid the brown being thought of as a printing error or not being noticed at all. Another recommendation I received was to give the lion a more distinct silhouette. I did this by straying away from the face of the lion used in the original logo, as well as arranging the mane in a less circular shape. The silhouette is now more unique and distinctive than the original, which was very circular; it now gives the lion a bit of forward movement as well.