Episode 88

New Logo, Who Dis?

This week on Overtime, the U.S gets a new independent military branch and debuts a new logo that designers hate! Plus, we also dig into Toyota’s most recent rebrand. Then, Rebecca Brooker and John Hanawalt from Queer Design Club stop by to chat about their LGBTQ+ design community and share shocking facts from their recent Queer Design Count survey.

They had a really interesting opportunity to make something brand new and very impactful... and they sure didn’t.

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Meg: Boop-y beep beep! It’s me, your host Meg “I’m Better With a Little Bit of Salad Dressing on Me; Try It, You’ll Like It” Lewis, and hello, welcome back to Overtime! It’s about time to Overtime – that’s not a good tagline, I will never say that again. But very much so, this is Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I give you design news and the tips you need for your very best work. Hello, and welcome back. This week on Overtime, the U.S. gets a new independent military branch and debuts its logo, and designers hate it. Plus, Toyota went through a redesign and guess what? It’s flat. Oh, yeah, and Rebecca and John from Queer Design Club bop on in to tell me about their organization and some shocking facts from the recent queer design count survey. Let’s go!

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Meg: News, news, news, let’s talk some news, let’s talk-y talk some news. And this week for news, we have two, not just one, but two logo redesign news stories. And I know you’ll love when I review logo redesigns because I don’t have that many strong opinions. So, it’s a lot of me saying, “I like it, I don’t know,” and, you know, I think that’s really fun when you listen to a podcast host who has no opinions, but not really. So, the first logo redesign I want to talk about is the Space Force logo. And this one’s really exciting to me because I think it’s hilarious and, generally, all designers have not loved this one. So, if you’re not aware, the Space Force is basically a new branch of the U.S. Armed Forces called the U.S. Space Force, which was established as an independent military branch in late 2019. So, we’ve had a few months to deal with this information. Well, recently, they showcase their official logo, and you might be confused because a few months ago, they released this seal thing that they previously designed, but this is the official Space Force logo.

Okay, so it’s a big deal to have a brand-new logo for a new military branch, so let’s talk about it. What does the space force logo look like? Let me tell you, it basically looks like – what’s it? This Starfleet logo from space? Oh my God. I’m constantly mixing space and star now because the words star and space and force and trek will reoccur throughout this review. So, the Space Force logo basically looks like the Starfleet logo from Star Trek. It’s a delta shape, which I will not lie and pretend to be someone else that I am not, I did not know what a delta shape was specifically. Heard of it, flown the airline, so I googled “delta shape” and learn that It’s a triangle. Delta shape is a triangle. So, it looks like a triangle, it like, goes in the middle. Anyway, if you imagine the Star Trek sort of seal logo thing, it looks like that. It kind of has, like, some paper airplane elements to it, like there’s some drop shadows happening with the Space Force logo. So, it also has a star in the middle because you know, America, United States, they add a star, why not?

But basically, nobody likes it, and Fast Company came out with an article where a bunch of designers weigh in, people who are professionals at critiquing designs weighed in, and gave their opinion and everybody tore it apart. The feedback is generally like, I understand all this feedback, I’m not really necessarily disagreeing with it, is that it takes so much inspiration from a bunch of different things, Star Trek being one of them, that they generally missed the opportunity to make something new. It’s a very important thing they’re designing for, and they had this really interesting opportunity to make something brand new and very impactful, and they sure didn’t.

But also, a lot of the critique is that the Star Trek reference totally overshadowed any meaning of this logo at all, the fact that it looks like Star Trek. So, whether or not Star Trek was the first, you know, brand to us this delta shape is irrelevant. It’s just the fact that we all pop-culture-wise think of Star Trek, whenever we look at this brand design, it’s really overshadowing the brand and the logo itself. So, I get that. Also, I think an interesting comment was made about how this sort of design is such a vision of the future that belonged to the 1960s, you know, when we put people on the moon and all that, and it really has nothing to do with present times. And it’s just such, you know, that futuristic version that we thought of in the 60s. I like that style, personally, I think it’s pretty fun, that atomic design, but does it belong here with a military branch? I don’t know.

Somebody else was saying that it’s not as simple, scalable or memorable, which, ouch. But my favorite quote from this piece from Fast Company was Waqas Jawaid, who’s a partner at Isometric Studio, who said, quote, “The really remarkable thing about the Trump administration is that it takes the worst parts of America and amplifies them to an extreme level. Instead of focusing on saving American lives and reforming the justice system, Space Force imagines yet another non-existent enemy as a pathetic attempt to rally an increasingly skeptical public.” Wow, Waqas, flame roasted. It’s very interesting, you know, when we mix politics and brand design, and that’s definitely what’s happening here. So of course, these opinions are happening, I do not blame you Waqas, it makes a lot of sense to me.

I don’t know if I really have anything great to say about the Space Force logo, especially because I watched the show ‘Space Force,’ so now it just seems like a parody. So, this logo design, I can imagine a lot of people on Dribbble redesigning their own version because, what a fun project? This is a really fun project to work on. What a great challenge? And really, if you did design something new, I’d love to see what that would look like. Like, if you designed something new that had no references to the past or no references to what we think of when we think of a space organization, then what do you have if you have something brand new? What would that look like? I’m so curious to know, that seems like such an interesting challenge to me. But anyway, I don’t blame you if you don’t like it. I’d love to hear from somebody who does love it and thinks it’s perfect. I really wonder if that person exists.

Okay, let’s also talk about the second logo design I want to talk about today, which is the Toyota logo design. So, Toyota recently launched a logo redesign, refresh, brand system refresh situation. And this was designed by a group called The&Partnership. And if you’re wondering what the Toyota rebrand logo redesign looks like, think back to all of the other logo redesigns that I’ve talked about and reviewed from other auto companies. And I think if your hunch is to assume that Toyota just took their existing logo and made it flat, you would be correct. So basically, she’s flat. It’s a flat logo now. It’s the same logo, but now it’s flat. It’s just one color. It’s black. And rather than being shiny and silver like it used to be, it’s the same but black.

I’m sure there are some subtle nuances, maybe they tweaked some thicknesses and some thinness’s, doesn’t look like it to me, but I’m sure they’re there. What happened during this process? I’m sure The&Partnership came to them and were like, “Here are all these options of completely new logos,” and Toyota was probably like, “No, the same one just flat.”

To maybe consider The&Partnership’s work here a little bit, I will say that the brand refresh is more than just this logo situation. There’s a whole system, like a brand system that got rolled out, so there’s more happening than just a logo redesign. But one of the most enlightening things I’ve learned in looking into this brand refresh, is that apparently – Toyota’s logo is a trio of ovals, it’s three ovals that are intersecting in different ways. And apparently, those three ovals, when you put them all together, they spell out Toyota, and I definitely had to look at the logo and go, “Okay, where’s the T, where’s the O, where’s the Y, where’s the other O, where’s the other T, where’s the A?” And they’re all there, it is right, I had no idea. This is like whenever you learned that there was an arrow inside of the FedEx logo, this is a really big deal for my brain. My brain is having a great time with this information.

But also I kind of wonder, you know, if you also design logos like me, when you were in school, or maybe whenever you’re designing for a client or for a brand, and you make a choice that is really happenstance, you just happen to do something, and then all of a sudden, the person looks at it, and they’re like, “Wow, it’s really interesting how you’ve somehow managed to create us a logo that includes all the letters of our name in it,” and you totally didn’t. But you go, “Yes, yes, I did. I did. I did do that. That was very intentional. I’m very smart. Everything I do has meaning.” I just love it when someone else finds the meaning for me in the work I create that I didn’t think about at all. What a treat, and I love to be able to appear smarter than I am. So, I really hope that’s what happened with this Toyota logo. It was like just three ovals and somebody was like, “Oh, it spells Toyota!” And then they said that they intentionally did that forever. I hope that’s what happened because what a delight, what a treat for that to happen to you.

This is why I’m better as a podcast host than a logo designer probably, right? Yeah, let’s leave the logo designs for large systems like Toyota to someone who is more intentional than Meg Lewis is, probably a good idea. I don’t know. I like my logo design process. I pop some ovals together, say “This looks nice,” and if I have to spell out the name of the brand I’m working on, great. I’m cracking myself up today. Ah, this is a great day for me to have a co-host that I don’t have, but luckily, I sit in front of a mirror at my desk. I sit at a mirror at my desk because my desk is facing a wall and there’s an entrance to the room behind me which is not great Fung Shui and it makes me very nervous that somebody is going to pop into my room and scare me. So, I sit in front of a mirror because it points at the door so I could see the door entrance at all times. But in relation to this podcast and this conversation, it’s great because I can look at myself as though I’m my own co-host, and I can say, “What do you think co-host?” and smile at myself and my co-host just smiles right on back at me and it’s great. I’m not alone anymore. Hmm, feels good. Alright, let’s move on.

Meg: Oh, you know I truly believe that everybody deserves to have a safe space to be themselves. And when it comes to the design industry, I think we all know that we have some serious disparities among groups of people represented in our industry. Well, let me tell you, Rebecca Brooker and John Hanawalt started a community called Queer Design Club that’s absolutely huge now. It’s so impactful, it’s such a great place for queer people, and non-queer people actually, in our industry to hang out. And I thought it’d be so fun to bring them in to chat with me about what they’ve made. Hi, it’s our buddies Rebecca and John. Hey, John, hey, Beck’s, how’s it going?

Rebecca: Doing well!

John: Hey, it’s going great!

Meg: Good! Thank you so much for being here and talking to us today. First of all, before we dive into specifics, I just want, in your words, for you to describe, to me basically, what Queer Design Club is and what’s going on and what’s happening and what’s a part of this community?

Rebecca: Yeah, so thank you for asking, and thank you for having us. We’re super excited to be here. Queer Design club is an online community for queer graphic designers and makers and anyone working adjacent to the field of graphic design. We are really just a community of queer people who work within design and love hanging out with each other. We have an online directory where people have their professional profiles kind of hosted and we have a more informal clubhouse community in our Slack group. We have a really good crew.

John: It’s a really lively community too, really inclusive. When Beck’s and I were founding it, we had a common understanding, or we agreed really early on, that we weren’t going to police who was queer and who was in design. And so, we’re just super diverse in just about every way that you can imagine in our community. We have people who don’t touch pixels at all, type designers, illustrators, developers, we have my favorite project manager that I’ve ever worked with in the community as well.

Rebecca: We have photographers too, even people who go into interior design and architecture as part of design are in the community. It’s really been an interesting step of seeing what people consider design to be.

Meg: Absolutely. How many people do you currently have in the directory and in the slack group?

John: We just broke 500 last month in the directory. And in the slack group, we’re over 1000 people now.

Rebecca: Our free Slack group, by the way, our free Slack group, which please, sponsorship! We need a home for these thousand designers.

Meg: That would be quite an out of pocket expense if you had to do the paid plan on an over 1,000-person group.

John: Slack was really great. They gave us one because one of the things that we’ve been able to do through our community is help our members find work during the COVID crisis. But that pronoun field in your slack profile doesn’t pay for itself.

Meg: No, it sure does not. So, what do you have in place as far as those who are non-queer designers? What do the allies do? What do you have in ways or suggestions or what part of the community would you suggest for them to join?

Rebecca: Yeah, so this was something that John and I had to agree on really early on when we were forming the club. We kind of had this question, what do we do with allies? So, we decided that in our public directory, we absolutely do not let allies in. Again, we don’t police anyone, so we can’t say if you’re queer or not, it’s really up to you. But our understanding and our rules and code of conduct specify that anyone applying to the directory should identify as LGBTQ. If we have doubts, we’ll send them an email and say like, “Hey, just want to make sure that you know, this is a community for LGBTQ people, if that wasn’t clear.” And then in our Slack, something that we struggled with is we wanted allies to feel like they had a part of this and understand their role in bettering the community, and also that allies were also probably the majority of people who are going to be able to provide opportunities to queer designers. So, we allow allies into our Slack. We have a channel dedicated to allyship and talking about topics that make you a better queer ally. But that was something that we really couldn’t exclude allies in that way because we depend on them to help us further our presence.

John: Yeah, I think one of the things that I think is really important to remember about allyship is that it’s really contextual, and it’s also in the moment, like “ally” is more of a verb than it is an identity, I think. There are moments when I am an ally, even within the queer design club community where I’m trying to be an ally to our designers of color or our trans designers. And so, we definitely see a place for allies in our Slack community if people want to join and learn from our community. We also have a very active jobs channel, and so if people want to come and share opportunities that are at their company, as long as they are not spamming the channel and also are actually doing the work inside their companies to support LGBTQ people, they’re welcome to do that. And then more broadly, you know, we ask that if you have privilege, to use it for people who don’t. And so that means if you’re in a position to hire, turn to directories like ours to find talent. We were very inspired by communities and directories like Blacks Who Design, Techqueria, Latinxs Who Design, Women Who Design, there are so many resources for finding talent. And if you have a position to bring someone in for an interview, it’s incumbent upon you to do that work and find them.

Meg: Yes. And thank you so much for making it extremely easy for people to do that. It’s so much work managing communities, especially moderating and all of that, so I acknowledge and love everything that has been put into this, because this is a huge community that you’ve created, it is really incredible. And also, you did something recently that was very interesting to me. You conducted, it was basically a 2019 field study for surveying queer designers and people across all design industries and disciplines called the Queer Design Count. So, I’m curious to know what some of the results were like and what you found through this count and the survey.

John: Yeah. It was a really great effort. It ran for a few months at the end of 2019. We just launched the report, so if you want to dig into the data in depth, you can go to, but it started with actually another field-wide survey, the AIGA Design Census. So, they do an annual count in the fields of design, and they ask all these sorts of demographic questions. 2017 was the first time they asked about LGBTQ status, they asked again in 2019 and 15% of their respondents identified as LGBTQ. And so, if you’re listening at home and you’re not up on the national statistics, that’s about three times the national estimate of LGBTQ people. So, the design industry is pretty queer. But you know, that doesn’t tell us what the experience in design is like for queer people. And from the AIGA Design Census results, we saw some indication that maybe it’s not all it could be. There were some disparities in leveling and pay and seniority. So, we wanted to dig into that.

And so, we talked to nearly 1000 designers through this survey from all across the United States and even internationally, we got some international respondents and there are some interesting results. I think one of the questions we wanted to answer is design has this reputation for being more progressive in other industries. Does it deserve it? And it’s like a yes and no situation. So, if you look at the national workplace averages for reporting things like overhearing anti-queer jokes or being told to behave less queer on the job, it’s much less likely to happen in design. Our respondents were half as likely to report that happening. But half as likely is not unlikely. For us it was still about 10% of our respondents had overheard anti-queer jokes on the job or had been told to present less queer. We heard that a lot from people who are in client services in design. And, you know, 83% of our respondents reported experiencing some kind of anti-queer bias in design. So, you know, it’s some good news and bad news. The design industry is a lot more inclusive, but we still have a way to go.

Meg: We sure do. I think we’re all learning that a lot this year. And truly, the optimist in me says there’s no better year to be better than this year.

Rebecca: Here’s the thing, like, you will be surprised at the benefit that employees get out of an employee resource group for LGBTQ people. I mean, there are several different types of ERG’s (Employee Resource Groups) that you can have for identities, I have started two ERG’s at my companies before and they thrived past me being there. And it’s really just about making space to tell LGBTQ people, “Hey, it’s literally okay to be yourself here. Like, you can be you. Like, secret, don’t worry about this.” And it’s when you make that space, you’ll be surprised at how much better people can perform and do their job when they just feel like they can let their guard down and they don’t have to worry about being told or tone policed in the workplace about how to prepare or how to act.

Meg: It’s amazing how simple that seems, but yet how impossible it’s always been for people to accomplish, to just create a workplace environment where their employees feel safe and comfortable being themselves, which in return gives better results as an employee.

John: Yeah, go figure. That was some of the more promising stuff that we saw in the data from the count is diversity inclusion efforts like Employee Resource Groups do positively impact the experience of LGBTQ people and in the workplace. So, just having diversity inclusion efforts that address diverse sexualities and gender reduce the experience of bias by almost 10% in our respondents, and it really is a flywheel effect where if you can create a space where people feel safe coming out and being themselves, that gives permission to other people to do the same. We saw that having highly visible queer people in the office, especially in leadership, just really drastically changed the numbers of who was closeted and who was open. Seeing other LGBTQ people in the office and seeing them succeed in that company gave other people permission to come out and be themselves. And so that’s one of the things that I think, from the count, makes me most hopeful, that, you know, there are concrete things we can do to make the industry more welcoming to people and better.

Meg: That’s great, because I think a lot of times we assume these things to be the case or we observe it and we have a hypothesis that this is probably happening, but the fact that you’ve been able to put together some solid data from so many respondents is really, really helpful I think, because if companies need change, they need proof that they need to make change, and I think this is the proof that they need.

Rebecca: Absolutely. Another huge data point that we found was the way that people of color were still left out within the queer design community versus white designers, white queer designers. One of the most shocking stats for me was that 22% of designers of color make less than $25,000 a year versus 15% of white designers. That’s a huge seven-point gap. And when we talk about numbers, that’s a huge number of people that are making a lot less money than white designers do. And that was something that we hope to address with companies in the future. It’s just that while you’re making space for LGBTQ people on the whole, that’s great, but you also need to start with the people that are at the bottom of that food chain. You need to make sure that the people that you’re paying the least, which are most likely the people of color, let’s be real, you need to make sure that you’re elevating them first, and that you’re not giving privileged people within a minority more privilege within their minority, and that’s something that I think a lot of companies struggle with.

John: I think in terms of that, things we’ve always suspected and have had confirmed, one of the things that we saw really clearly is that the familiar biases we see everywhere else play out within the LGBTQ community as well. So, not just queer people of color, but being trans or gender non-conforming in any way also increases your experience of bias and disparities in the workplace. Being anything other than a cis man, not great in terms of outcomes statistically.

And so, you know, it really highlighted for us that diversity inclusion efforts really do need to take an intersectional approach. I think that’s something that we’ve seen in the national conversation around, you know, wanting to highlight trans black women as we’re talking about Black Lives Matter, because their lives are some of the most devalued. And so, when we talk about elevating designers, you know, no shade to myself, but as a cis white guy in the industry, I don’t need much more help. So, it’s really important to me when I get awesome opportunities like this to talk to y’all is to highlight the fact that the people who really need our support are the trans designers, designers of color, women, and, you know, other communities like that that are still being left out.

Meg: Absolutely. I’m very thankful that you’ve created a community where we can have these conversations and you’re facilitating that for us. So, I’m very excited to see what you all come up with as we move forward with Queer Design Club, and you’re able to maybe create some resources and other additional things to help us out, which I’m sure you’re working on but I don’t want you to spoil anything for us yet. So, where can everybody find Queer Design Club on the internet?

Rebecca: Yeah, you can find Queer Design Club online at You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @queerdesignclub. And we’re like the first thing on Google when you search Queer Design Club.

Meg: Nice, way to go. So, Beck’s, where can we find you and your work on the internet

Rebecca: Yeah, I am, and you can find me on Twitter @beckybrooker.

Meg: John, where can we find you on the internet?

John: I’m the hardest to find. My website is It’s a Lithuanian domain. And on Twitter, I am @h4n4w4lt, but all of the A’s are fours. So, good luck friends.

Meg: And we will link to all of that in the show notes to make things nice and easy for everybody. Thank you both so much for being here today.

John: Thank you, Meg.

Rebecca: Thank you, Meg, this was great.

Meg: Well, well, well, we did another one. That’s it for this episode of Overtime, we made some memories. I looked at my mirror, saw myself but pretended it was you, because I wish I could see you instead of me in real life. But all we have is ourselves at the moment, and that’s okay too. Well, we laughed, we cried, I actually got to talk to other humans on this episode for once, which feels really good again. And really, we’re just here to pass some time and to make this world a better place together through our earholes.

Okay, so if you want to continue this conversation on the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or tweet or tag me, my handle is @yourbuddymeg or head to to learn more about me and my work, or judge me, or what else can I have you do on there? There’s a forum you can fill out, you can boop around and click some buttons and hover over things too, because it’s a website. Okay, bye. Hear me next week!