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Ad Victorem (Latin for “Towards Victory”) has created hundreds of brand names and identities. But creating their own turned out to be their biggest challenge yet, one they likened to naming their own child. The initial coffee-fueled conversation about the yet-to-be-named creative firm’s identity went a little like this:
“So why are retailers failing?”
“First, don’t blame the internet …”
“How will this technology catch on?”
“Gotta stop selling tech and start addressing pain points …”
“What’s up with all the formula marketing by agencies and their clients?”
“Seriously, talk about the bland leading the bland …”
Based on that last note, the team conceptualized a new branding agency—one that took an extremely realistic, hyper-competitive approach and resolved to work only with challenger brands that dare to win. But they needed a name.
Creative director and principal Anthony Wiktor says using his last name was not an option for two reasons: “One, because people mess up the pronunciation of my last name all the time, and two, we wanted it to feel like a brand; we knew we had to name it something that was neutral enough to stand on its own but that still had ‘founder’s DNA.’” Finally, Wiktor had a lightbulb moment: “Just use the origin of my last name ‘Wiktor,’ which is ‘Victor,’ and has so much obvious meaning.” From there the name evolved, as the team tapped into Wiktor’s Italian heritage to come up with Ad Victorem after the Latin “Ad Victorem Spolias”—”To The Victor Go The Spoils.”
Once the name was chosen, Wiktor knew they needed a logo that was easily recognizable, simple, memorable and meaningful—not an easy task. The “victory flag” emerged as good symbol for the agency, as it was used during times of battle. “We felt like businesses and brands today are in a constant battle with the competition, the market, etc.,” Wiktor says. “I simply started drawing dozens of flags, at first thinking it would be a standalone symbol, but then as I started combining letters that could form the flag, similar to the Corvette symbol, everything just came together, and it went from a quick sketch to flushing it out by tracing it in Illustrator.”
He says, hands down, the best part of creating the logo was studying history and gathering insights from the Renaissance Art period to the Civil War. “I also went back to study the processes of my designer hero Paul Rand, and read a lot of his criteria for creating logos,” he adds. “When I revealed it to the rest of the team, everyone loved it. It was instantly recognizable and, most of all, it fit the narrative we crafted from the name and the foundation of principles from which we created the agency.”
Wiktor says working on his own brand gave him a renewed sense of approach to brand identity and logo design. “It was something that was literally on my mind 24/7. Everywhere I looked, my eyes were open to observing and absorbing anything and everything that would inspire a spark of an idea or meaning,” he says. “Essentially, I realized there is no right ‘process’ for approaching this exercise: The key is to keep an open mind, do research FIRST, stay curious and get feedback, never settle or fall in love with your first idea, be open to iterations. The entire process truly reinforced my belief that design without a business objective is simply art.”
Editor’s Note: This project was recognized in the logo category of the HOW Logo Design Awards. The brand collateral pictured above was shared by Ad Victorem after the competition closed—and we’re sharing it now because, well, we like it.
TITLE Ad Victorem Logo | DESIGN FIRM/CLIENT Ad Victorem, Los Angeles; www.advictorem.design | CREATIVE TEAM Anthony Wiktor, Freddy Nager, Greg Nicpon