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Diving Deeper with Whamcloud and Chroma

By on Jun 18, 2012 in Brand and Identity Design

Update: This article has been expanded to include more detail about the Chroma logo’s conception and development. Also, it was named one of 2012’s Top Ten Logos by HOW Magazine.

Congratulations to our friends at Whamcloud on the launch of their flagship software product, Chroma. Their new software runs on top of Lustre, a filesystem used by supercomputers, and makes it easier to monitor and manage.

Whamcloud partnered with Loud Dog to help  name their new product and to create an iconic logo for it that will be used to build brand awareness, make an impact at industry events, and look great on a t-shirt (man, engineers love a great t-shirt!).

Chroma Logo with T-shirt

A name that stands on its own

After our initial brand and website engagement with Whamcloud, we led a namestorming session focused on developing some creative directions for the name of their new software product, which they wanted to stand on its own apart from Whamcloud. The Whamcloud product team left this session with a number of options, and eventually chose Chroma.

Chroma is a great name – it’s a Greek word for color, which relates the product to the phonetic sound spelling of Lustre (luster and color) and alludes to the purpose of the software: it allows an administrator to see more information (more color) about their Lustre system.

Once Whamcloud selected Chroma, it was up to Loud Dog to create a supporting logo that was conceptually strong.

Diving into Whamcloud’s water metaphor

We began by exploring a number of different concept directions, some based on the idea of color (there was a prism direction that was fairly strong), some oriented towards representing the software’s UI, among other ideas.

The direction that stood out to both the Loud Dog team and the Whamcloud team was based on Whamcloud’s messaging and branding platform, which uses water and the ocean as a metaphor for the massive amounts of data that move through the Lustre filesystem.

The Chroma software product allows system administrators to see deep into their data and filesystem to know what’s going on. We thought about the ocean metaphor and explored the concept of a deep sea diver representing Chroma. The Chroma diver doesn’t just skim the surface — he (she?) goes deep into the unknown waters of enormous file systems.

Chroma inspiration

Some of our inspiration

We started by looking at photographs of atmospheric and deep sea diver suits (ADS). At first, we attempted to incorporate the three circular windows in the helmet to differentiate the character from an astronaut, but eventually settled on a single window for a simple, more elegant outline. We added a few bubbles to make it clear that our character was underwater – without them, it could be drifting in outer space.

The evolution of the logo

When paired with the word Chroma (the “logotype”), the diver is small. Its scale Chroma is an intentional juxtaposition of the metaphorical “system administrator” tasked with overseeing the vast storage environment.

We put a flashlight in his hand so that he could “illuminate” the complex world of high powered computing (and part of the text in the logo) to complete the final logo.


In addition, the logo can be used without the diver as a wordmark for environments that require a simpler logo application. Whamcloud liked the flexibility of being able to use the Chroma logo in a variety of formats that will work in different scenarios for different audiences.

We’re pretty excited about the end result and look forward to seeing it in action on a t-shirt!

Whamcloud is a leader in the Lustre community and HPC industry, focused on enabling application scaling and information insight through HPC. To learn more about Whamcloud and their services, visit them at

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Hey! This wasn't written by a congress of ravens! It was written by , who does awesome work at Loud Dog, a digital branding firm in San Francisco that helps businesses express themselves authentically via identities, websites, and marketing collateral.

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