Dennis Cortes

UI & UX Designer, Letterer, Illustrator, and Graphic Designer.

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Google’s Material Design Announcement

I will admit that I am a diehard Apple fan just because it was the first device I have received and continue to enjoy, but Google’s announcement of their new UI called Material Design really had my natural instinct for flat aesthetics go through the roof. Between their truly flat design and seamless animations, it really made me wish I could get my hands on one of their devices which unfortunately cannot happen because of my one phone line and incoming iPhone 6 Plus. Didn’t want to go into too much detail about it but just wanted to mention how downright beautiful that UI looks. Make sure you go check out their announcement video on Youtube if you get a chance, it won’t disappoint.

Apple’s October 16th Event

Last Thursday, Apple held it’s last event of the year and announced a few products as well as software that was already known about, just with specific dates for their launch. See a paraphrase of each announcement below:

iPad Air 2 

The iPad Air 2 now has a Touch ID feature just like the iPhone as well as a depth of 6.1 mm, more than a millimeter of difference from the previous iPad Air model. Apple has also developed a new screen that has an anti-reflective coating as well as a screen fuses the previously separate components to help create a thinner display as well as better viewing angles with less distortion because of the lack of air pockets. There has been no change in resolution or size of screen from the previous iPad Air. They have also given a boost to the camera on the iPad, bumping it from 5 to 8 megapixels as well as an added burst mode and slow-motion recording.

Other than those features, there really wasn’t too much added. Apple’s biggest selling point was reiterating how thin the device was but that isn’t the selling point most people were looking for, myself included. I personally just took advantage of the price drop of the iPad Air and grabbed a 32GB model for myself for around $500 including the case.

iPad Mini 3

The new iPad Mini was a huge let down to almost everyone. Apple pretty much just threw the Touch ID sensor and made a gold model and a 128GB model available and called it done. I personally have no interest in the iPad Mini anymore as I owned one and found it to be too small for my liking and also because I have an iPhone 6 Plus coming in the mail and they are almost the same size, so as I mentioned i opted for the larger iPad Air model. But, if you must have an iPad mini, save your money and go for the iPad Mini 2.

OS X Yosemite

After a few months of beta, Yosemite was released to the public and is now available free to download from the App Store. I won’t bore you with all the features as they can be easily found online but I’ll just tell you it is gorgeous from a designer’s standpoint. Still not truly flat, but definitely a huge upgrade from older OS. 

iOS 8.1 

Apple also announced iOS 8.1, not a major update but has a few important new features. The main updates being the introduction of Apple Pay and continuity, which will allow features such as handoff and calling on your OS and iOS devices. iOS 8.1 will launch this Monday, October 20th.

My New Branding Decision

Why The New Logo?

Well it’s quite simple, my old logo just wasn’t versatile. Sure I loved the imagery and mystery behind the quirkiness of the 3 arrows, but it just did’t work well in too many situations.

Printing the logo was a pain, way too many small crevices for ink to bleed and blur the logo. It didn’t feel bold enough either. Too thin equals weak in my mind, it also had nothing to do with my studio name, CortesArts.

What’s the Story of the New Logo?

Believe it or not, it took me 4 weeks to finalize my new logo. Between choosing the imagery direction and deciding whether to keep a symbol or go more towards my studio name and choosing the perfect color combination, I had a lot to think over and did not plan on rushing anything as I want a logo I can stick with for at least a few years. Changing logos every 6 months is confusing to consumers and they do not get to build a well enough relationship with the logo to be able to recognize it easily.


When choosing which colors to use, I was torn between going completely grayscale or having a color or two. I usually do not like using color in logo design because it creates an already acquired feel to the logo. I ultimately decided to include an accent color to be able to have more to work with when it comes to print or business designs.

Although I did include a color outside of greyscale, I did not want the accent color to be too bold or overpowering from the simplicity I like to keep relevant with my brand so I went searching for the perfect neutral accent color. I loved red or blue as an accent color but I could not find a value of those colors that I think worked. Also, most businesses go for blue or red from my personal experience.

I then tried a gold color from a design project I am currently working on and saw that it worked pretty well, but still was not perfect. I must have gone through about 75 shades of gold until I found one that I fell in love with. It worked so exquisitely with the other colors I had chosen and wasn’t too overbearing or bold, I had found my perfect neutral accent color. Now on to the imagery choice.


As I mentioned previously, I was very torn between using a symbol or something that related more closely to my studio name, CortesArts. At first I was set on creating a unique symbol of an animal or something having to do with design. I spent a few days trying to think of what would best represent my brand and my thoughts always led back to the same thing: simplicity. 

When I think of my brand, a few words that come to my mind are simple, clean, efficient, intelligent, bold, just to name a few. Those words amongst others are what I wanted my logo to bring to mind when people saw it. To me, a symbol could only meet all these expectations if I took years working on one symbol, and I just didn’t have the time for that (as I am quite an impatient person).

So, I went for something that related to my name and that could portray the words mentioned previously. I wanted to have symmetry and balance as some key elements as well so I kept it simple and started with a circle. I played with many variations of a circle and eventually came to a sideways “C” (as seen in the bigger circle of my logo). I then tried adding different types of “A’s” but everything seemed angular and contrasting with the smooth circle of the “C”.

I decided to strip the letter A down to its bare elements, 3 lines. Lines just wouldn’t do it for me, I needed the A to have curves. I tried different layouts of curves but ultimately came back to a circle.

The outer circle represents a C and the inner circle represents an A, which creates a CA monogram, for CortesArts.

Hopefully this gave you a bit of an insight on a few of the process points in my new logo, if it did, let me know how this helped you or what you think of my design choice through my email

Thanks for reading,

Dennis D. Cortes