In the early 1990s, EF contracted Paul Rand, designer of some of the best known identities and brand systems in the world to design a new logo for us.
Philip Hult met with Rand to discuss the project. Known to be a bit brash in his interpersonal relations, Rand proclaimed, “I’ll only design one version of your logo. Because the one I give you will be perfect. And I won’t change it. You pay me half up front, and half upon delivery.” To which Philip replied, “If you won’t change anything, why don’t we just pay you all up front?”
Despite his stance, Rand enjoyed the project so much he ended up designing 5 logos for EF, of which this was the clear winner. The instantly recognizable ‘EF’ and its rings has been the consistent cornerstone of our brand identity ever since.
Before our involvement with Rand, our logo had been through some changes over the years. Here are the most drastic variations from the 1960s – 1990s.
There are two relevant ideas captured in Paul Rand’s logo: the first is communication, represented by the custom, hand drawn rings.
The second idea embodied by the EF logo is travel, represented by the angled italic letters at 11.5°: they are in motion, they’re travelling.
In all instances where the EF logo is out of context, the ‘Education First’ text is fundamental to communicate what we do. The EF Pro Cycling Team is a good example of this. The majority of customers who invest in EF products receive a bounty of swag for their tour or course. A simple logo application reinforces brand trust, especially if that item is functional.
The backpack is EF’s symbolic thing that represents what we do. Therefore, applying the EF logo on a backpack helps reinforce this idea. For group leaders on tours around the world, having a clear and identifiable mark that our customers can remember and gravitate towards is also essential, and our logo is unmissable in these cases (and, the pink helps).
It’s important to give the logo room to breathe so it can effectively communicate and stand out. Any closer to the edges and the logo will feel squashed and cramped – nobody wants that!
Half the height of the EF logo (✕) represents the safe area around the logo when placing it next to other key elements on the canvas.
There should be some flexibility as to where you can place the EF logo on any given canvas. Please refer to these positions, and utilise the best placement option for your particular design.
One of the things we’ve worked out among all of these logo rules is the minimum size for particular use cases of the logo — which now exists in a responsive state.
The EF logo can be used on a variation of backgrounds and in our preferred colors (more about Color guidance here). The primary, correct uses of the logo are listed here, along with the strict don'ts below.