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  • Writer's pictureBrian Rice

Case Study: McFarlane Logo Redesign (for Portfolio)

Updated: Apr 17

Today’s post is a brand logo redesign that I did on my own featuring McFarlane Aviation Products, a company that manufactures components and replacement parts for the aviation industry. Founded in 1971, the company has been enormously successful, and by all accounts is a great company to work for. Below is their current logo:

Current logo

I started by writing down keywords related to both McFarlane as well as aviation-related items, then I looked up other aviation parts companies to see what their logos were like, and I copied and pasted them on a "mood board" to use as a reference point:

The next step was to begin just sketching out thumbnails, first on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil in the Procreate app, then with a good old fashioned sketchbook and pencils (that I still had from college!):

Screen saves from iPad Pro drawing session
Screen saves from iPad Pro drawing session

Sketchbook thumbnail sessions
Sketchbook thumbnail sessions

I wanted to retain the old logo's vertical stabilizer (what I simply call the tail fin), and over time you can see how that evolved to eventually feature two tail fins side by side to resemble the letter "M" (for McFarlane, obviously). I finally took to Illustrator to create the logo icon, and then began to experiment with the typography to choose a font that would work:

I settled on a font called Designer which is a sans serif font—common for the aviation space—slanted forward to simulate movement (like the "M" in the icon), but I didn't like how the small C looked, so I changed the font of that to Montserrat. I then realized it would be good to add a couple of "wing tips" to the actual letter "M" in the name to tie it more to the "M" in the icon (I did temporarily add those wing tips to all of the letters in the name, as you can see in the examples above, but decided it would be too much, plus it would kind of render moot the whole sans serif aspect).

For the color scheme I went with what was consistent with the aviation space: blue evoking the sky while conveying calm and trustworthiness, and the red in the word "Aviation" putting forward the idea of boldness and strength. The black in the "McFarlane" name itself speaks for itself reinforcing that sense of strength and reliability.

The new logo, including a version in reverse (white on blue)

The old logo once again for comparision
The old logo once again for comparision

I also did some other mockups focusing on just the icon and a retro "throwback" logo...

And finally, it wouldn't be a proper portfolio piece if it didn't feature some mockups of the logo in potential use-case situations (like business cards, shipping boxes, etc), and so...

With the exception of the airplane hangar photo (which I took at the Garmin KC Air Show last summer), I got these markups at,, and VERY useful and effective mockups for just this sort of purpose. Check them out.

Thanks for visiting! I look forward to continuing this journey as I update my portfolio with new work. Cheers.

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