This year we hit a pretty big milestone as a company. We are celebrating 30 years in business! To celebrate and share our achievement, we designed a 30th-anniversary emblem to work alongside our current logo, which you may have already noticed when it made its way onto our homepage and on a few marketing materials. We wanted to make a quick animation using the new emblem to take the place of our current stagnant Facebook cover photo. Here’s a look into our animation process:

Ideation and Approach

Initially, we pursued more literal approaches, as you can see in these early draft gifs. The lightbulb filament growing out from the interior of the logo, the logo as a lightbulb screwing in and lighting up, and a shiny, effects-based idea. Ultimately, the effects-based solution made the most sense, was the most straightforward, and had the most potential mileage.

Photonics Logo Concepting
Photonics Logo Concepting
Photonics Logo Concepting

Here are the original handwritten notes for boarding the cover photo itself – taking into consideration the format and the 30th-anniversary emblem that would need to have an animated entry as well. You can see versions of this idea persisting through many of our iterations.

Design Process
Photonics Logo

After considering the starry night image we use in many of our digital materials, it seemed like a strong direction to pursue as an eye-catching backdrop. Using this technique by Augustus Hinton, it was simple to make a subtle animated star background.

The cover photo animation was done entirely in After Effects. We went with a green version of the Photonics logo to work on the darker background. There were some versions using the Photonics “P” on its own (without the box), but the logo just couldn’t compete visually with the 30 Years emblem, so the usual square version was used.

Alternate Versions

Version 1

In this version, we tried a simpler, snappier animation of the 30 Years emblem than what was used for the final. You will also notice a softer, far more subtle logo effect. The Saber plug-in from Video CoPilot was very useful in fine-tuning some of these approaches.

Version 2

A punchier version of the glow-in, because many of the effects on the logo could be mix-and-match and several combinations of flares and burn-in with subtle differences.

Version 3

We even tried multiple variations using the text-based Photonics logo and an alternate layout!

Version 4

This is the most energetic version of the animation, utilizing a technique from Avnish Parker. The effect seemed overwhelming so the particle rotation was removed for the final version. Interestingly enough, this was the first version of the logo effects and the last version of the 30 Years emblem.

Final Version

And here is the final version that went live on our Facebook page. The timing was cleaned up all around and gave us a smoother, less over-stimulating experience that still shined. We added an exit animation for both elements so that the video would loop properly. The logo and the emblem background fade out, while the text picks up its initial rotation again and moves off-screen. Most people aren’t going to watch a cover photo for that long, but it led to a more polished product. What do you think of our final choice for our Facebook cover photo animation?