Episode 89

The Star-Spangled Bojangles Logo Blues

This week on Overtime, we have a very special co-host joining us—Art Director, Designer, and Letterer Adé Hogue! Adé and Meg discuss the new Bojangles’ logo, a Tesla engineer redesigning a chocolate chip, and how to stay productive and hyper-focused during these crazy times!

Sometimes, things just don't need to be redesigned… It's okay to feel dated in comparison to some other places.

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Meg: This week on Overtime, a heartbreaking – I’m telling you emotions are elevated – logo redesign gets very personal. Oh, and a Tesla engineer re-designs a chocolate chip and I find that to be extremely funny, plus, staying productive and getting hyper-focused. Let’s go!

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Meg: Now, before we get into the news today, I have something special to say because we actually have a co-host guest today, and I’m so excited about that. It’s been so long, it’s nice for me to have somebody to talk to. It’s none other than designer/art director/letterer and friend, Adé: Hogue. Hi Adé:, welcome!

Adé: Hi, Meg.

Meg: Okay, so I’m just very excited to have you here because normally what I do whenever I have a guest on this podcast is, I reach out to them and I’m like, “Hello, my name is Meg. I host this podcast. Would you like to be on my podcast?” And you, I’ve been trying to get for a while, but you don’t like being on podcasts.

Adé: I do not.

Meg: But something was called to your attention that you were so passionate about that you reached out to me and you said, “Meg, I need to come on and talk about this subject.” And it’s perfect because it’s about a logo redesign and I often have to talk about logo designs on this podcast, which is really hard because I don’t have strong opinions, so I’m so glad that you do.

Adé: Well, I usually don’t have super strong opinions about this kind of stuff. This is just one particular instance, like I think that’s the thing about you know, you see these comments on brand new websites like that, right? And everyone freaks out about a company rebranding or being bad and they paid so much money for whatever. I usually don’t care because I understand that it’s corporate structure and you have to appease 700 people in the process. So, yeah, sometimes you just get something that isn’t that great, it’s a byproduct of it, but this one means a lot.

Meg: Okay, so this one means a lot to you because it is the logo for the one and only Bojangles. Let’s first start off by telling me about what Bojangles is. What is Bojangles and what is Bojangles to you?

Adé: Oh man, Bojangles is a chicken place, I guess, a chicken fast food restaurant. It is, like, the better of them. It is a southern-based one, so I don’t think they have any location really outside of the South. I think the farthest north is Kentucky or something, I don’t know. But so, I am from North Carolina, Bojangles is headquartered in North Carolina, so it’s always a special place in my heart. And every time, my sister will tell you this, every time I go back to North Carolina, as soon as we set foot out of the airport, I look for the first Bojangles. Like, I have to have it. It’s what I need.

Meg: So, let’s talk about this redesign. So, if you would’ve asked me to talk about the Bojangles logo originally, I would have been like, “I don’t know about that logo.” But I don’t have sort of this nostalgic view on Bojangles that you do. So, what did you love the most about the original Bojangles logo?

Adé: I mean, it just feels so right in all the wrong ways and I think that that’s okay. Like, it looks like it was something that was made in the 70s and was not super, like when thinking it through typographically, like how well it holds up at small sizes and that kind of stuff, looks like it wasn’t really clearly thought out. It’s like, the type is red with a black outline over a yellow shape and it’s like it’s super, I don’t know, it’s hard to read, I get it. So, I understand why you would maybe think you would want to rebrand this or change this, but then a big part of me doesn’t understand it at all.

Meg: Has Bojangles done that thing that a lot of American casual dining chains have done where they’re trying to like, modernize the interior?

Adé: Yes, in a big way. And like every time I go to one we used to go to as kids, sorry, Meg’s laughing right now because she sees the excitement on my face, but when I go back the one we used to go to, it’s super modern now. And it’s luxury, and all the floors are done, and the seats are nice, and like, this is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to look like it came from the 90s and is rough and hasn’t been updated in 30 years. Like that’s okay. [Sighs]

Meg: Wow, this is a powerful moment.

Adé: Yeah, this is like, I’m barely talking about design in general, so to give them a podcast talking about a logo is crazy. Like, it’s true love.

Meg: Yeah, but how dare they? Okay, so explain to the listeners what they’ve done to the Bojangles logo.

Adé: So, they removed its character, they tried to keep that same sort of like, the Bojangles logo has like a bouncy-ness, it has a rolling sort of baseline that the letters are on that are kind of weird overall, like all the letters are sort of all over the place. But they got rid of that blackout line. They tried to keep – so Bojangles does this thing where it’s like they’re making campaigns: “It’s Bo time.” And they use the large Bo, they’re like overemphasized and they use that a lot of time. So, they tend to keep this same sort of aesthetic, and they knock out the “B” and make it look like the “B” was sort of behind the “O”, it just doesn’t come across that great in my opinion. [Sighs] But I mean, yeah.

And then the big thing is they also removed the, I guess the sort of an apostrophe of sorts, I don’t know, they removed the apostrophe and it’s not in the new version.

Meg: Interesting. So, before it was like Bojangles was someone and this is theirs, and now it’s like, more than one Bojangle.

Adé: [Laughs] Yes, it’s just multiple Bojangles.

Meg: So okay, but the fun part about that is that if you have a sack of Bojangles, it’s like everything in your sack is a singular Bojangle, so if I say, “What’s in your bag?” you just you say, “I have Bojangles.”

Adé: I mean, I didn’t think about the consequences of certain punctuation marks until this very moment.

Meg: Wow. Okay, well, my condolences to you on the loss of this important logo.

Adé: Thanks.

Meg: I hope that at some point in your life, you can get an original Bojangles sign of some kind to have in your home.

Adé: Yeah, I gotta find something. I think like, they have to be getting rid of the signs that are on the road, right? Like the massive ones? Maybe I’ve gotta get one of those for our office so it’ll always be Bo time, like that’s what it will always be in my office.

Meg: Alright, before I make you stop talking about Bojangles and move on to the other topics, is there anything else you need to say?

Adé: [Sighs] I guess the only thing I want to say is I understand why it could happen, why they felt like this needed to happen. But sometimes things just don’t need to be redesigned, like let us live in the past and it’s okay. It’s okay to feel dated in comparison to some other places. You don’t have to be Chik-fil-A, you don’t have to be like, you know, that’s not what this is. And it’s okay. It’s okay, just be who you are and know your position in the world. You’re a southern chicken chain that serves breakfast biscuits. Like, just be that. You don’t have to go nationwide with this look and this aesthetic.

Meg: That’s a really good point. I saw a tweet, I think yesterday, about, I think they announced that they’re bringing ‘Ren and Stimpy’ back, which I find exciting, but somebody was saying how we keep bringing back and we keep reemerging things and reinventing things and bringing them back when maybe we should just be who we were and allow room for new people to have their own ideas.

Adé: Right, new people, new stories, new whatever. I think about that with movies that are rebooted over and over again. And it’s like yeah, I mean, yes, are there sometimes better versions of the movie? Of course. Like, the new Spider Man series with Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland are so much better to me than some of the older ones, and it’s cool that there are new stories, but also part of me just wants to enjoy the old Tobey Maguire walking down the street doing the little gun shooting thing, the finger gun thing. Like that’s cool too, you know, and it’s like if they would have ended there, like that’s just where it ends, and we appreciate that for what it was.

Meg: Yeah. Money and power, that’s all anybody wants.

Adé: To keep trying to suck more money out of us.

Meg: That’s right. We can’t blame Bojangles for chasing that cash.

Adé: No, no you can’t, you know they probably, realistically, after they saw what happened with Popeyes, because Popeyes rebranded recently, and tried to keep that little same sort of flair in their logo but modernize it with modern sans serif type that’s tracked out like the same sort of thing. I feel like they saw that, and were like, “We need to do that too,” and now we’re in this place –

Meg: Where your heart is broken. They’ve broken your heart.

Adé: It really is, it really is.

Meg: Okay, let’s move on.

Meg: Alright, this news story I’m really excited to talk to you about because I saw, it seems like every news outlet is covering the story, which is really funny to me because that means that someone created a press release for the story. So, there’s a company, a chocolate company in San Francisco called Dandelion Chocolate. So, just tech people chocolate is basically what I want you to imagine in your head. So, tech people chocolate company also reached out to an engineer from Tesla, and they asked this engineer to redesign the chocolate chip to become more tasty, I guess, and yeah, to taste better and to cook better. And so, this engineer from Tesla got what I would imagine is a dream project for an engineer redesigned the chocolate chip to become the perfect chocolate chip. And so, this engineer does a redesign of the chocolate chip, and now the new shape is something they’re calling a facet. And it’s flat and shiny and sort of pyramid-like and it’s really big. And that’s the story.

Adé: I’m so glad that we’re not on video. I’m glad this is just an audio thing because my reaction to this whole story is eyebrows just moving all over the place because I fully don’t understand redesigning a chocolate chip, right? Why do you have to make a chocolate chip taste good? Chocolate already tastes good. You could just like, pour it in a slab and it’s going to taste good.

Meg: It’s so silly. I’m really interested to know how much this engineer got paid.

Adé:: Probably more than we care to think about, like, it’s probably a lot and we’re going to be pissed off because of it

Meg: So, nothing really is different about the recipe of the chocolate chip. It’s just their standard chocolate recipe, it’s just the shape that’s different. And apparently, because of the facet-like shape, it allows you to have more surface area. So, whenever you bite into the cookie, there’s more chocolate. But you know, why? What’s wrong with just a nice rectangle shape?

Adé: Yeah, I don’t know. That doesn’t really make sense to me because I feel like there’ll be a whole lot of surface area if it comes in a little square like Ghiradelli, whatever, you lay that flat on your tongue, that is like maximum surface area. Right? Am I crazy?

Meg: So, we really just need to be making tongue shaped chocolate chips is what you’re saying?

Adé: Like, make it as thin as possible to fit your mouth as precisely as possible and boom, you’ve accomplished the same thing. Like, whatever this person got paid, I want to get paid to reinvent the chocolate chip again, and I’m going to crush it.

Meg: You just need to contact Bojangles and say, “Hey, look, redesigning the chocolate chip worked for Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco. I think it can work for you. Let’s go.”

Adé: Yeah, let’s try to redesign the chicken biscuit because I think I would just put more chicken on the biscuit and done.

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Meg: So, Adé:, how are you getting through this pandemic? I don’t know about you. I’m constantly thinking more about myself. And the way that I have nothing else to do with my brain because there’s less distractions, so I’m just fixated on what’s happening, what I’m doing, who I’m affecting, and so it’s making it really hard for me to feel productive because I think my brain is busier than usual right now with things that are not what it’s supposed to be fixating on. So, how are you finding this pandemic? Are you feeling some of the same things? Are you productive more than usual [or less than usual right now?

Adé: I mean, it would be hard to say that I’m not more productive than usual, and it’s a byproduct of being busier than usual. Having so much work to do makes it so that I don’t have a choice but to be pretty productive. And the last two or three months have been pretty intense. So yeah, I mean, it sounds bad to say like, “I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on other things or to focus on the outside world,” because I clearly have, and I’ve been making art for that stuff too. But not necessarily getting time to just sit down and think about it and scroll through Instagram endlessly, or Twitter endlessly, like having so much other stuff is a distraction from those distractions.

Meg: Well, that’s good. This is the best possible answer for me to hear because it sounds like your productivity hack is just having work to do.

Adé: And I mean, if I didn’t, I probably would be real bad about, yeah, just like sitting here and just trying to soak up more information and getting distracted by it by constantly.

Meg: Yeah. Well, I also think what I was curious to ask you about is, historically, I know you do something that I also kind of do, where it seems like whenever you get an idea to do something, you kind of just seem to drop everything, and you run to work, and you just do it. And you seem like you’re really good at hyper focusing, and I want to know more about how that happens for you. Do you find that it’s because you’re a freelancer and you’re sort of able to have a free schedule and are in charge of your schedule, that allows your brain to be able to work like that better?

Adé: Yeah. Being a freelancer makes it easier to be able to do that, so I drop everything. But if I’m being 100% honest, my last job was at an agency, and I did the same thing. Like, if I had an idea, like, this is when I was really first starting to learn photography and starting to learn how to do – this is when I first really is playing with type and that kind of stuff too – we would shoot portraits all the time. The studio would have a thing there called curiosity hour where we had an hour every week that we can bill towards just being curious and doing whatever. And I would just, in the middle of the day, stop and go do stuff. And while it’s not really good for your job performance, and maybe not good for your reviews or whatever normal people do, I felt like I had to. It’s like, I guess I value the creative energy and the spark so much that if it’s right in my hands or in my brain, whatever in this moment, it’s like I have to run with it right? Like it’s like if someone threw me a ball and it’s like, what are you going to do with it? So, it’s like I’m either going to fall down with it or, I’ve got to run with it. I’ve got to move forward with it, right?

Meg: Excellent sports reference.

Adé: Yeah, sports reference, I mean it’s Dribbble, right? Yeah, like, oh, okay, let’s use a basketball analogy. Like somebody passed me the ball, it’s like what do I do? Do I either pass it or not shoot the shot, right? I’ve got to shoot the shot right now. Right? You know, shooters shoot, that’s what you do.

But yeah, just knowing that creative energy is limited, and it’s not that it’s rare, but it’s rare that you get these moments like, “Oh man, like this is a brilliant idea and I need to do it.” Like, I feel like if I have those moments, I need to capitalize on it immediately because I might not have the opportunity ever again.

Meg: That’s a really good point because I think that’s sort of how creativity works for, I would assume, every human brain. And I don’t understand how people with full time job-y jobs do this, when you just have to be creative on a certain day at a certain window of time, when someone’s just like, “We need you to complete this by 4pm,” and you’re like, “Okay,” because I think when you don’t have the freedom to drop everything, which most people don’t, then you end up having to create things in a certain window of time and then you just make worse work.

Adé: Yeah, I mean, I think you sort of see it when you when it comes to agency work or whatever, it’s like sometimes the work is not that good. And I can attest to the fact that when I was at an agency, I think there’s plenty of times on which I made bad things as a byproduct of not having time, you have to just force it out, I had to do something right then right there. And that that’s just sort of how it happens. And sometimes when you have those moments to have more time, then you can fully lean into those moments and create something better. I think that’s the trade-off. Sometimes you make some really good stuff because you have lots of time or lots of resources, sometimes you don’t, and it’s like, “Well, okay, it’s alright.” Like, it’s just a social media post, everybody will forget about it in 24 hours anyway.

Meg: Exactly, that’s a very good thing to remember. I also feel like, on that note, I think that I’ve observed the fact that you also are really good at setting boundaries for yourself when it comes to phone stuff. Help me. Tell me what to do. What do you do? How do you do that?

Adé: Well, so my secret is just to not respond to people 90% of the time. It makes you look like a horrible human being, and an even worse friend, but I understand my attention span is low. It’s like I can’t focus on things for very long, I get scatterbrained and I want to think about something else. And it’s the same thing with creativity, right? That same sort of catch the ball and shoot it sort of thing like, if I’m doing something and I get a text message and it’s not urgent, like, “What are we doing next week?” I might not text you back right now. And the next thing I know, I forget about it for a week and a half and I’m like, “Oh, you still want to do this tomorrow?”

Meg: Well, I think what I’m taking away from what you’re saying though, I think it’s important to just do what you need to do for your brain because you know how your brain works best, and you know what you need to alter about your lifestyle in order to make sure that your brain is most successful. And I think there’s nothing wrong with not responding to people, especially if they know that’s how you are and you can just be okay telling your friends that, like, “Hey, look, I might not respond to you right away, this isn’t anything personal about you, this is just what I need to do to be most productive.”

Adé: Or just to survive, like to be healthy mentally. It’s funny because my sisters are very aware of this, and I’ve had, my sister had a friend who wanted me to design something for them, and then they texted me and then I didn’t respond back for a week and it’s like, then they emailed me and I’ll respond back like two weeks later because the lead times are even longer there, and my sister has to tell them like, “That’s just how he is,” like, you have to set the expectation sometimes and it’s okay. Sometimes people are going to think you’re not a nice person, and I feel like that when I get on Instagram with all these messages and DMs and comments and like, do I want to respond to every single one of them who says something nice about what I do or what I’ve said? Yes. But do I have a mental energy to? Absolutely not. And so, I just have to set those boundaries, I’ll like usually scroll through for a couple of minutes, respond to a couple things, and then the non-urgent questions, they usually get forgotten about, and it sounds bad, but it’s what I need in order to be productive.

Meg: This is so nice to hear, because I always felt the same way, and I’m sure everybody does, especially when it comes to DMs on social platforms of trying to respond to everybody, because people are saying such nice things, and of course, they deserve a response, but it can be really taxing to try and get through everything all the time, on top of it always. And then just the nature specifically of Instagram is that things go away eventually, or they get buried and then you lose them, right? And where’d they go?

Adé: On average, I would say if I post something on my Instagram stories that gets, like, there are certain things that I just know is going to get a lot of comments as soon as I put it up there, like people are going to message or respond to the story image, and generally there’ll be 15 to 20 on a single story post. And there might be 20 of them, or 15 of them that are just fire emojis, right? And then how many times does that bury an actual comment that’s in there and like, you have to open up all these things to try and view them and try to make sure people are heard. It can be difficult.

Meg: It can be difficult, but it sounds like you’re really good at – this is something I think people know about themselves of like, “Hey, I have a problem with this. I have problems sinking myself into my phone for hours at a time.” Me, I certainly have a problem with it. I do everything I can to set myself up for success, but then I just kind of cheat constantly, and then it makes me feel worse. So, I think you’re doing a great job of being aware of what you need to do and you’re just doing it, which I love. And I think that’s just the fact that I think you’re a disciplined person, which really helps.

Adé: Sometimes.

Meg: Sometimes.

Adé: Sometimes I seem disciplined, sometimes I have no discipline whatsoever.

Meg: When you pop yourself into a Bojangles, that’s where your discipline is gone.

Adé: Absolutely, yep, I have no willpower, self-control when it comes to certain foods, like when it comes to sweets or chicken. Like, any kind of candy or chocolate and chicken, there’s no self-control. I’ll buy it, I’ll eat it all. but when it comes to texts and Instagram, yeah, I’ve got plenty of self-control there.

Meg: Wow, this is fascinating. Okay, this is very helpful. Are you also one of those people where you look at your email only certain times of the day? Are you good about that? Because I’m not.

Adé: Yes and no. So, of course, I think it’s a byproduct of having the, I use Mac mail, of course, and like the little thing pops up and it shows you every message, so like, when I’m working on something and I know I’m waiting on a response, if I see someone come across, or a new work opportunity that I need to respond to quick, I, of course, keep an eye on it. But I think I would say I’m actually pretty good at settings parameters, in almost a bad way. Like, sometimes I set those parameters, like I don’t respond to an email, and I forget about it for a couple of days. And then, what I ended up doing is once a week, oftentimes, I’ll just click and open all the emails, like as they come in, like, “Oh, I need to respond to this, but it’s not urgent.” I click it, and it opens up a new window and I just keep doing that over and over again. And so, at the end of the week, I’ll have like, twenty of these, and I’ll just sit down in the office, it’ll be like a Wednesday morning, and I’ll just sit here and I’ll just, one at a time, in the order that they’re in, respond to the emails. And that’s just sort of the best way that I can do it.

Meg: That’s fascinating. So, you just have twenty open windows all week until you respond to them? Wow.

Adé: Yeah, it gets a little confusing because sometimes when you click the mail icon, it’ll open up a window, and I’m like, “No, no, no, don’t take it out of order. Like it needs to be in the stack.” And it’s almost like people giving me messages on pieces of paper and I stack the messages up and I’m like, “Okay, let me respond to message number one and put this in the email, message number two, put that in the email.” Like, can we start thinking about email as if it was mail again? Like, let’s go to the real thing.

Meg: Adé, thank you so much for being here with me today. Question for you: where can everybody find you on the internet?

Adé: Well, you know, just don’t look for me, it’s you know, I’m worthless on the internet. [Laughs] No. Okay, I’m @adehogue on I think almost everything, I don’t think there’s anything that’s not @adehogue, which, yeah, you know, keep it simple.

Meg: Alright, thanks, Adé:.

Adé: Thank you, Meg.

Meg: Well, okay, that’s it for this episode of Overtime. Wow, memories, we made them together. Thanks so much, Adé: Hogue, for hanging out with me today. And if you’d like to take this conversation on to the old internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or of course, tweet or tag me, my handle is @yourbuddymeg, and make sure to give our co-host guest Adé: a shout. His handle is @adehogue. Bye, hear me next week, bye!