My role on this project: Visual designer

CHHS Logo design

In 2018 I worked briefly to create a new logo for California’s Health and Human Services department (CHHS). This work was undertaken in part with collaborators who helped to conduct sketch sessions and gather feedback as we iterated on designs.  We kept a swift pace in our work and cranked out a winning logo, new color palette, and selected a print and web-friendly matching font in about a week.



The team gathered inspirations, two of which stood out the most for their legibility, easy recognition, and crisp minimal designs. The team also liked that the designs felt very modern, and were especially impressed by the US Digital Service logo which looked somber and official, while at the same time approachable and even a bit friendly with its soft edges.


Early sketches, best of the batch

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After an early team sketch session, three leading designs were chosen: two based on form, and one based on its strength as a tagline.

Choosing a font

We also needed a font to accompany the logo. The team needed something that would be:

  • Supportive of multiple languages

  • Web-safe, with free or cheap with easy download for future graphic design

  • Geometric, with a “block” feel to match design, but still have a humanist /approachable vibe

We reviewed a several fonts and landed on Open Sans; a Google web-font that scaled well across devices and had had a nice duality; being blockish in when used in all caps, and very humanist and soft in lowercase.


extended color palette

Next, we looked for a way to extend the existing color palette to add bolder colors that would make any logo design we brought into the mix more activating. We also wanted these colors to be extended into the design of the rest of the org’s website. We reduced some repetitive blues and brought in warmer colors.


Time for concepts

With our sketches, new font and new palette in hand I was ready to generate concepts. I produced three as a starting point.



We’ll fast forward through round 2 a bit…

Exploring color with choice designs

In Round 2 we basically chose our favorites from Round 1 and iterated through color combos. We wanted to create a sheet of variations and see if something really stood out in terms of color and clarity. In Round 3 we were planning to take designs in front of a larger group of stake holders and we wanted a batch of logos in both traditional / current colors and also some using our new color palette additions.


Final round of variations

In the final round we selected the logo that had speech call-outs. We’d narrowed down color choices and worked through a few final variations. It was time to choose a final design.

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final design

And here we have it! The final design! All that was left to do after this was export the icon on various sizes and provide a specification sheet with font guidance and hex codes for the color palette so the developer and embedded design team could carry the work forward.