Main Really Good Logos Explained: Top Design Professionals Critique 500 Logos and Explain What Makes Them..

Really Good Logos Explained: Top Design Professionals Critique 500 Logos and Explain What Makes Them Work

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A collection of 500 great logos critiqued by a panel of internationally acclaimed designers In Really Good Logos Explained, some of todays top creative minds critique and appraise over 500 examples of truly exceptional logos, and explain what makes them work. The insight provided by these four outstanding editors is - like the logos themselves - succinct, specific and effective. Their comments provide a rare and insightful glimpse into the inner workings of excellent design, and offer a new understanding that is immeasurably useful to anyone working within the creative fields today.
Year: 2008
Publisher: Rockport Publishers
Language: english
Pages: 288 / 291
ISBN 10: 1592534279
ISBN 13: 9781592534272
File: PDF, 100.70 MB
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REAllY GOOD lOGOS
explained

explained
Top Design Professionals Critique
& Explain What Makes Them Work

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• • • By Margo Chase
Rian Hughes
Ron Miriello
Alex W. White

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© 2008, 2011 Crescent Hill Books, LLC .

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission
of the copyright owners. All images in this book have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior
consent of the artists concerned, and no responsibility is accepted by producer, publisher, or printer
for any infringement of copyright or otherwise, arising from the contents of this publication. Every
effort has been made to ensure that credits accurately comply with information supplied . We apologize
for any inaccuracies that may have occurred and will resolve inaccurate or missing information in a
subsequent reprinting of the book.

First published in the United States of America by
Rockport Publishers, a member of
Quayside Publishing Group
100 Cummings Center, Suite 406-L
Beverly, MA 01915
Telephone: (978) 282-9590
Fax: (978) 283-2742
www.rockpub.com
Digital edition: 978-1-61673-891-4
Softcover edition: 978-1-59253-427-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-59253-427-2
ISBN-lO: 1-59253-427-9
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Design: John Lee Studio, www.johnleestudio.com
Produced by Crescent Hill Books, Louisville, KY
Printed in China

CONTENTS
The Authors
Margo Chase
Rian Hughes
Ron Miriello
Alex W. White

Chapter One

6
10

14
18
22

Loud&Proud
Bold or Risky Designs That Work

Chapter Two

86

Sleek & Subtle
Understated Designs That Work

Chapter Three

162

Shelf-Savvy
Retail-Oriented Logos

Chapter Four
Smart & Effective
Clever Solutions for Everyday Companies

Bonus Chapter
Not-So-Good Logos, Explained

Just For Fun
Author Favorites, Explained

Index

210

The Authors

The Mistakes of Others
"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long
enough to make them all yourself." - Sam Levenson
There are thousands of books about logos- so many that you might
wonder why we need another. Most show pretty logos, cred it the designer,
praise the client, and sometimes even discuss the process. But this book is
unique.
The logos in this book are not special because they are particularly beautifu lor well designed, although some of them are. These logos are special
because they were designed by exceptional designers who were willingto
submit their work for public criticism; designers willingto learn from their
mistakes; designers willingto try and fail while the rest of us watch safely
from the sidelines; designers who are, well ... brave.
The designers who submitted logos to this book have allowed us to examine, discuss, pick apart and evaluate their work, and publish the results here
for all to see. And that is what makes this logo book special. The readers
don't just get to see a good logo; they getto read about what makes it good
and what could have been improved. The critiques are mini-lessons on
good type design with a little typographic hi sto ry thrown in.
As critics, we have done our best to praise what works and constructively
explain what doesn't. Some ofthe mistakes are obvious, some are amusing,and a few left me ata loss for words. Butwhilethere is often room for
improvement, there are many smart, witty, and just plai n beautifu I logos in
this collection.

"There are thousands of
books about logos. But this
book is unique."

Another enlightening aspect of this book is that we critics often disagree.
While, of course, I am generally certain that my opinion is the right one, our
disagreement should make it clear that even so-called "experts" can make
mistakes. Readingthrough the comments, I noticed places where something I disliked was ably defended by someone else. And there were other
places where someone pointed out errors I had completely missed. We all
have plenty left to learn.
Whetheryou are a deSigner, a client, or even a critic, there is somethingto
learn from this book. So enjoy the carnage, and then be brave-go make
some mistakes of your own.

7

Really Good Logos, Explained

ct Q & A with Margo Chase
My favorite logos inside this book are
the AA Dove (page 132), Water Exhibit (page 240), and Charity Ride (page
34) logos, for three entirely different reasons. The wooden bird flying away
with broken strings trailing behind it is powerful conceptually. The symbolism of cutting the strings is inspiring, and the naive quality of the wooden
bird illustration is both poignant and fun. It's the perfect message for a life
coach.
I also love the Water Exhibit logo for its elegant restraint. The almostindustrial type is beautifully balanced and integrated into the calligraphic
flow ofthe ink/water.
Hand lettering is something I can't live without, so I have to include the
Charity Ride logo with its fabulous fat, Blackletter-inspired letters and tattoo decorations on my list offavorites.lt looks like itwas fun to design and
probably inspired the bikers who participated.

You know your logo is Really Good when
someone who knows NOTHING about design says they love it and someone whose opinion you respect agrees. A great logo should be as loved by
designers as it is by non-designers. You know it works when non-designers
remember it and want it as a tattoo.

What's the best thing a client ever said to you?
"Wow! You designed that?" It usually goes downhill from there.

What is the worst?
"We want a Nike swoosh."
Oreven worse, NOTHING. Hearing nothing is really the worst. It usually
means they're not happy and afraid to say so. Whoever said "bad new
travels fast" never worked in a creative field. We hard Iy ever hear bad news
straight up. We always have to wait around, imagining the worst, until,
weeks later we fi nd out what they were afraid to tell us.

For creative inspiration, I
Fly upside down. Ski. Read. Travel. Shop. Eat. Go to museums.

The smartest thing I ever heard anyone say about logo
design is ...
"People think that design is styling. Design is not style. It's not aboutgiving
shapetothe shell and notgivingadamn about the guts. Good design is a
renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human
need, and beauty to produce somethingthatthe world didn't know itwas
missing."
- Paola Antonelli
"Ugliness does not sell."
- Raymond Loewy

The best career advice I ever received was ...
Workto live, don't liveto work. Early in mycareerl didn't believe it.
Ittook me twenty years to realize that you've got to pick your battles. I think
I'm much better at my job now because I have more experience and more
perspective. I'm not willi ng to fall on my sword over every job-on Iy the
ones that really matter.

Margo Chase drew her first logos more than 20 years ago
for unknown bands that mostly stayed unknown. She believes
in rapid, tireless iteration and not moving to the computer
until a direction is well formed. Chase Design Group, which is
located in Los Angeles, provides research, brand strategy, and
identity work for the Fortune 500, among others. Outside of the
office, Margo competes flying airplane aerobatics, is an expert
alpine skier, and routinely injures herself trying other sports.

8

The Authors

10 Mistakes Designers Make When Creating a Logo
By Margo Chase

1.

Designing for yourself.

expecting something completely different based on your verbal description ortheir own. When you say "fresh and modern" make sure
yourclient knows what that looks like before you start designing.
When the client speaks those words, they may have something quite
different in mind than you do. Show pictures and get reactions. Find
out iftheir idea of modern is 1957 or 2007.

It is crucial to understand for whom a logo is really created. Often
the designers and the true audiences fortheir work have very little
in common. Get as much information as you can about who the audience really is. Meetthem and talkto them if possible. Then design for
them, notforyourself.

2.

Starting with a bad font, not altering a good one, or
ignoring letterspacing and weight.
All ofthis falls under the heading of "craft!' In the era of the computer, craft gets way too little attention. There are millions offonts
available to every designer; some are wonderful, but most are not.
Learn to tell the difference. Most typefaces are created for setting
text on pages and in paragraphs and sentences. Logos have a totally
different level of scale and emotional impact. The usually small number of letters in a logo will be blown up and closely visible.
Ata minimum,everytypeface has spacing issues that need to be
addressed by altering the letters for a logotype to work well.
If you are goingto start from an existing font, choose one with letterforms that work visually and conceptually forthe words you are
using. Then learn to adjust forms and weights to make them work
together. The best is to swallowyour gum and start adjusting and
redrawing the letters where necessary-I use lots oftracing paper- until the shapes start to have the relationships for which I am
looking. Then I work to make the weights and spacing harmonious.
In agood logo the adjustments shouldn't stand outfrom the rest of
the letters; they should look as ifthey are equally part of the font.

3.

7.

8.

Using computer tricks.
This usually results from tryingto decorate a weak design. Applications like Illustrator, Photos hop, and Painter can be a huge asset to
any designer, butthey should be used with restraint. A bad logotype
that is warped, beveled,and drop-shadowed isstill a bad logotype. A
good one would be better off without that stuff. Generally, if you are
thinkingofusingacomputertrick,go lie down until thefeelinggoes
away.

9.

Being a slave to the computer and forgetting to use
your fingers.
Logos and lettering were created by hand for hundreds of years, and
there are many effects and techniques that cannot be replicated
digitally. Distressed textures, calligraphy in endless styles, freeflowing scripts, and happy accidents are impossible to create
believably using only the computer. Even the best CGI metal effect
using de boss (debossing?) filters and good shadows misses the
beauty of the same thing modeled in real metal. Computereffects
can be greattools for creating a comp that you can sell to the client,
but don't rely on them. If the logo needs to look handmade, make it
by hand!

Not having a sound strategic case for the design
direction.

Overestimating the client's ability to translate words
into visual language.

Not considering other points of view.
There are many humorous examples of designs with connotations
that were never intended. Perhaps the most notorious is the tootight spacing between the "L" and "I" in "MEGAFLlCKS." Or did the
people who named the company "Who Represents?" or "Experts
Exchange" think about how their URLs would read? Pay attention to
other ways that your work can be interpreted. This is especially true
if you are designing something that will be translated into another
language. To see some funny examples, do an Internet search on
"bad logos."

When a designer lacks a sound strategy behind his design, it
becomes impossible to defend it against a client's personal taste or
prejudices. If all you can say is, "I like it, and I know best because
I'm a designer," you are doomed.

5.

Not considering the limitations of reproduction.
This is a classic error, usually stemming from inexperience, lack of
technical understanding, or just not asking enough questions. Find
out how the logo will be used before you start designing. Nothing is
worse than sellingyour client on a logo that looks great in full color
detail, and then finding outthat it will only be printed in silk screen or
embroidered.

Not doing your homework/research.
It is impossible to design agreat logo when you don't know what
you are trying to accomplish or what style not to use because a
competitor has used it. Do your best to understand the context of
the business; who the competition is; what, how, and where the logo
will appear; why it is needed and who will see it. Don't expect to get all
of your information from the client. Clients often don't understand
how design can help them, so they don't provide the right kinds of
information. A little digging can go a long way. The more information
you have, the more successful your design can be.

4.

6.

10. Presenting a design you don't want chosen.

Make sure that you and your client are speaking the same language.
It is easy to miss with a logo presentation because the client was

If you have a few designs to present, and you really don't like one,
don't include itto fill out the presentation. It WILLget chosen.

9

The Authors

Navigating Designland
Good logos require good clients, not just good designers.
If you've just bought (or you're thinking about buying) this book,you're
probably either agraphic designer or someone who uses the skills of a
graphic designer-agraphic designer's client. The advice set out in this
book is intended to guide the critical analysis of what does and does not
make a logo a "Really Good Logo" (and not just an "all right, I suppose"
logo). The advice in this book is relevant for clients just as much as it is for
designers.
The client's role in the design process is crucial. How can clients ensure
they get the best from their designers? How can they get the most creative
and appropriate logos possible?
With all the talented designers that graduate every year, we should be
surrounded by beautiful and original designs. There should be no space
left forthe mediocre, the plain ugly. Yet it's still outthere- on billboards, in
supermarkets, on shop fasciae.
Why? Bad designers? Sure, but I hazard that there may be another reason:
there are clients who don't know bad from good, who are, in effect, visually tone-deaf. This book will help those clients become more critically
informed, to know when they are working with good designers rather
than jobbing amateurs or BS merchants who hide behind a smokescreen
of mystifying terminology. In addition, this book will help clients as well as
designers appreciate, and more important, articulate what separates good
design from bad.

UThere are clients who don't
know bad from good, who
are, in effect, visually tonedeaf. This book will help
those clients."

Sure, some differences in opinion may be attributed to that elusive thing
called "taste." But if a logo has an original concept, is well designed, and is
appropriate for its intended use, then the informed client, regardless of his
appreciation of aesthetics, will reap the benefits. The informed client will
present the designer with a well thought out brief so the designer will know
when his solution fulfills the client's needs and when he's way off beam. The
informed client will expect originality and not ask the designerto clone the
look of the competition. The informed client will know when something is
beautiful or ugly and expect the designerto know why The informed client
will not be too prescriptive (there's no point in having a dog and barking
yourself) but will offer reasoned feedback so the designer can arrive at
the final logo with ease. Most of all, good design relies on a clear dialogue
between client and designer.
It may sometimes seem as if designers and clients speak entirely different
languages, but this book will help you navigate "design land" without
accidentally ordering a dog's dinner.

11

Really Good Logos, Explained

~

Q & A with Rian Hughes

My favorite logos inside this book are
the Lab series (pages 28- 29) and Voiceover Artist (page 260).
Both have strong concepts and are elegantly executed with no
extraneous fuss.

•

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You know your logo is "Really Good" when
it stands the testoftime and is still in use and still looking good ten years
down the line.

THELAB ART+IDEAS

What's the best thing a client ever said to you?
"We knew it was right the moment we saw it. We love it. We're not changing
anything."

What is the worst?
"Can you do it again but use this freeware font?" (It was a font based on Iron
Maiden's logo.)
or...

•

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(pointingto an area of negative space) "Did somethingfall off
the artwork here?"

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or...
"We ran out oftime so we handed your roughs to our in-house designerto
see what he could do with them. It's just gone to press."

For creative inspiration, I
immerse myself in all aspects of the project, then sleep on it.

The smartest thing I ever heard anyone say about logo
design is ...
"Design agood logo and people will respond to it like acool clothing
label- they'll wear it on T-shirts, carry a bag with it on it, feel part ofthe
brand-all of which adds up to free advertising."

The best career advice I ever received was ...
"Ideas nevergo out offashion." (Brian Grimwood)
CHRIS ENRIGHT I VOICEOVER ARTIST

Rian Hughes (devicefonts.co.uk), award-winning graphic
designer, comic artist, and typographer, has produced designs
for watches, CDs, animated films, and Hawaiian shirts for
clients from Tokyo to New York. He has a cabinet of
Thunderbirds memorabilia, a fridge full of vodka, and a stack
of easy listening albums that he plays very quietly.

12

,

•

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..

The Authors

10 Mistakes Designers Make When Creating a Logo
By Rian Hughes

1.

The designer didn't have an idea.
Moving random fonts around until the arrangement looks nice
is not havingan idea. Lining up the ascenders and descenders is
not having an idea. Takingthe initials ofthe client and combining
them into a monogram is an idea, but just barely. Stop and ask
yourself a few questions: What is the purpose ofthis logo? What
adjectives would you use to describe the product/company?
What image does the logo need to concisely convey? Where will
it be used, and how? To what audience are you speaking? How can
you address all the above in a memorable and original way? Just
considering these questions should give you a handful of good
ideas.

2.

7.

8.

The designer had an idea, but it wasn't
appropriate.

5.

The client didn't understand the designer's idea.
It helps if your idea is so strong as to be unarguable. However,
si nce some clients may be visually tone-deaf, a short paragraph
explaining what the concept is and why it's appropriate
often helps.

6.

Marketing departments, who find novelty unsettling and ride
fash ions ratherthan setthem, will here be you r occasional nemesis. Dealingwith them is a careful dance. Learn to step nimbly
and lead with a light hand. Originality and sales are not mutually
exclusive. Also see Mistake Number 1, "not having agood idea."

The designer had a lame idea and tried to dress it
up to make it look more impressive.
Use your Photoshop drop shadows, embossing effects, and filters
with caution. Theycan add a final sheen, but adrop shadow is not
a replacement for an idea.

The design was conceptually or technically inconsistent.
If the logo is two different ideas combined, it'll probably communicate neither idea effectively. Try not to indulge the client's
request to "combine this logo with a bit of that logo" because that
is like boltinga rearspoileronyour Model T. Also, remember that
the byline is part of the logo too and should adhere to the same
overall concept.

The design looked just like another design that
was already out there.
Be original. Originality means creating something new, not lifting
from an obscure source on the Web, this book, or the chap sitting
opposite you in the studio. Use your own voice.

Your lovingly crafted grunge/skate logo doesn't look right on a
pack offondantfancies? Read that brief again, and apply yourself
to the job at hand, even if you desperately wish you were doing
rap album sleeves instead.

4.

The designer let the client have too much input.
The best deSigners know how to politely let the client know when
he has suggested a lame idea. Then you offer him a much better
one. That's your job. (Here it helps to be a master politician; try to
charm and persuade ratherthan pout and cry.)

The designer had an idea, but it was a bit cliche.
Cliches sometimes lead somewhere more interesting so, by all
means, explore them. But making the letter "0" into a smiling
face? I think we've seen that before. As it helps to have an idea or
ten before you start, think before you do. Doodle before you Mac.

3.

Spotting technical inconsistencies is the visual equivalent of hearing a bum note in an orchestra. The curves should be well drawn,
the line weights consistent, the underlying grid adhered to, the
colors appropriate and harmonious. The white space should be
considered. The type choices and sizes should be appropriate and
relate elegantly. This is the part where the designer usually knows
far more than the client, which is why discussions about kerning
can feel like talking poetry to the taxman.lt's usually bestto sell
a client a logo design using arguments based on concepts (see
Mistake Number 5), as they're easier to communicate.

9.

The design wasn't versatile, so the client felt
obliged to make "adjustments" in use.
Think of the applications. A logo doesn't exist in isolation. If it's
likely to appear on a shop fascia, it needs to be long and thin. If
there are goingto be carrier bags, then a squarer version, possiblywith stacked type, may work best. Is itgoingto be used on a
busy background? Then an outline or a box may be agood idea.
Sometimes logos are supplied in multiple versions: color, websafe color, black and white, portrait, landscape. It's best to supply
a suite of perfectly finessed and related logos than to risk seeing
the mess the in-house design department made when trying to
adapt your logo to fit on the side ofthe company jet.

10. The designer forgot to invoice.
I can't help you with this one. Give yourself a slap on the forehead.

13

The Authors

The Aesthetics of the Left Brain
What I have grown to enjoy most about my work as a designer is how it
demands that I keep my thinking elastic and pliable, and how it promotes
both right- and left-brain thinking at the same time.
In my experience, most clients are very uncomfortable in a discussion of
aesthetics. Very squishy stuff, aesthetics. It's the kind ofthingthat is hard
to present to "the board" or measure in the P&L or justify as a line item.
But the best deSigners are also effective communicators who don't force
aesthetics. Rather, they begi n with a real curiosity to understand the "Ieftbrain" business objectives first- objectives like, "We're losing our market
edge to those guys from Zizzerpicker," or "We make superior products
that not enough people know about:' or"l don't think our customers know
what we're passionate about inhere."
The best deSigners are very good at figuring out the problem they're going
to solve. And, very often, it's not the problem they're told it is. (I wouldn't
think much of a doctor who believed my own diagnosis for stomach pains.)
Often the right brain serves as the visionary that diagnoses the problem
after the left brain has first explored its parameters.
Aesthetics is "the artistry and inventiveness brought to the problem solving after it is well understood by the left brain." When the left and right
brai ns work together to grapple with a design problem, great things can
come about.lfthe right or the left brain get too heavy-handed, things can
get out of whack in a hurry.
There are no rules for how design must be done. After all, it is the opportunityfor personal expression that attracts people to the design profession.
But there is a discipline to how the design process can work best forour clients and still create award-winning, timeless design. And this book can be a
good tool to better understand what goes on in the minds ofthe designers
who have made peace with their roles as highly inventive left-brain, rightbrain thinkers. I certainly found it to be an inspiration. I hope you will, too.

"The best designers are also
effective communicators."

15

Really Good Logos, Explained

~

Q &A with Ron Miriello

My favorite logo inside this book is ...
The St. David's Academy logo (page 151). This is a perfect solution forthe
client, a rugby academy in England. Rugby is a rough sport, and the logo
needed to communicate that. This one succeeds on many levels.

You know your logo is "Really Good" when
every time you see it,you think, "I'm glad I'm the one who came upwith
that!"

What's the best thing a client ever said to you?
"You're not just designing graphics and products, are you? You're actually
designingyour life."

•
•

What is the worst?

·
II,

,,

,

,,

When the first words out ofthe client's mouth starts with "That logo
reminds me a little of ..."

For creative inspiration, I
discipline myself to create as many ideas as quickly as I can in my journal
book. The exercise is not to judge them or go back and evaluate them yet,
but ratherto create a volume of exploration first and avoid falling in love
with anything too soon.

ST DAVID'S

The smartest thing I ever heard anyone say about logo
design is ...

ACADEMY

"It's not about what the logo says to me that's important. It's about what it
says to my customers."
-A wise and selfless client from the past

The best career advice I ever received was ...
"The good deSigners are the ones workingat their desks. They're not the
ones down at the cafes talking about design. Design requires discipline
and diligence."
- John Sorbie, my college graphics professor

Most designers probably don't know that
some of the best directions can come from your clients. Consider them
valuable partners who know their business in ways you neverwill. (On the
other hand, there are many times you'll need to save them from
themselves.)

Ron Miriello is principal of Miriello Grafico
(miriel\ografico.com) , a San Diego-based design firm whose
clients include Sprint pes, FedEx Kinkos, and Nissan. His
Italian roots often call him home to Italy. And his insatiable
curiosity toward life often leads him to unique places, including junkyards and international flea markets, where he enjoys
finding items to reshape into new designs.

16

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The Authors

10 Mistakes Designers Make When Creating a Logo
By Ron Miriello

1.

Not understanding the desired brand position.
What is the company or brand trying to express? Always design with
that answer at the top of your mind.

2.

Starting the design process without a
clear objective.
Using creative development to lead business decision making can
be a recipe forfailure.lt is often experimental, time-consuming, and
expensive for both you and your client.

3.

Creating a design that doesn't work in the
applications required.
I wish I knewthedesign had toworkon a tie tack! I never would have
designed with such detail. Know ahead oftime the variety of applications planned and their limitations.

4.

Falling in love with a design you've created
too early.
Doing so kills objectivity and the potential for even
better solutions. Fight the urge to push back too soon.

5.

Fine-tuning solutions early on in the process.
Challenge yourselfto generate numerous ideas in a fixed amount of
time. Most problems are solved in quick sketch form,yet most time
is invested in computerized refinements.

6.

Disregarding direction because of its source.
All feedback is valuable. Welcome it and encourage it throughout the
process. (You may even be handed a jewel to polish.)

7.

Being afraid to speak up.
Say you're asked for an "honest opinion," and you know the answer
will be hard foryourclientto swallow. If you have aviewpoint, share
it respectfully. Havingthe courage to express yourself positively in
difficult situations is a virtue.

8.

Using the client's money to pay for a style
that you love.
Don't jam a style into a design because you happen to think it's cool.
Be disciplined. Does it help the communication objective? Will it
endure afterthat style has passed?

9.

Showing too many versions.
Drive and streamline the process byshowinga minimum number
of your best, most appropriate solutions. Depending on the project,
present no more than fourto seven preliminary designs in Phase
One.

10. Not being able to answer the question "Why?"
If your answer to an inquiry about your design solution is,
"Ilike the typeface," or "The colors work well together," then you
shouldn't be accepting moneyforyourwork.

17

The Authors

A Nonstop Discussion of Design
A logo is a business suit. It is the way a business dresses itself.
Individuality and expressive meaning are necessary. A logo's excellence
represents a business's quality and integrity. A logo is also a microcosm of
graphic design: there are a limited number of relationships that must be
resolved in a way that looks thoughtful and purposeful. A logo must balance
contrasts to make the mark visible, and similarities to give it design unity.
As in any other design solution, it is not enough to merely have nothing
wrong with a logo. There must be something demonstrably right with
a logo. The opposite of "really good" is not "bad," "med iocre," or even
"dreadfuL" The opposite of "really good" is "random."
There are five considerations to making a design artful:
1) Agreat idea, simplified to its essence
2) Knowledgeable management of content
3) Precise relationships
4) Exact spaci ng
5) Elegant execution
So, what is right with any given mark in this book? If a sample includes hand
lettering, what makes itgood hand lettering or just some stuff? What makes
its spacing right? Or its use of rules ? What specifically keeps a logo from beingjust a collection of pieces that have nothingto do with one another?

UThe opposite of jreally good'
is not jbad,' jmediocre,' or
even jdreadful.' The opposite
of jreally good' is jrandom.' U

What makes this book different from other logo books is our comments,
which helpyou understand what makes the logos work-and sometimes
what would make them work even better. Most books just showyou
samples and leave it to you to figure out what makes them good-or just
swipe the designs as your own. This book is a tool that, when used properly,
illustrates how to see critically by accurately deconstructing a design and
gives you the understandingto construct your own really good logos.
Betterthan that, it is a nonstop discussion of design contrasts and relationships that you can apply to any design process, not just to logo design.

19

Really Good Logos, Explained

~

Q &A with Alex W. White

My favorite logo inside this book is ...
While many logos in this book use negative space as a positive shape with
great skill, Impande (page 100) is an outstanding balance between concept
and execution. It is superior corporate clothing that thoroughly avoids
random design relationships.

You know your logo is "Really Good" when ...
it uses negative space, or ground, as effectively as it uses
figures.

What's the best thing a client ever said to you?
"Please do another project for us."

What is the worst?
"We're moving in another direction."

For creative inspiration, I
look at centuries-old typography and fine art for relationships I
can reinterpret.

The smartest thing I ever heard anyone say about logo
design is ...
"Simplify."

The best career advice I ever received was ...
"In the process of satisfying the job brief, do it the way you
think it needs to be done."

Most designers probably don't know that
of the three design elements, type, image, and space, type handling has
byfarthe greatest potential to improve a project. Absorbingtype's rules
and becoming sensitive to relationships between type and space make the
most profound impact on design .

Alex W. White is an advertising and editorial design
consultant and the author of five books, including Advertising
Design and Typography and The Elements oj Graphic Design.
He is the president of the Type Directors Club and has taught
for twenty-five years, currently as a visiting professor at
Parsons School of Design in New York. He lives in Connecticut and watches deer and coyotes from his office, which is
lined with barn siding, a heck of a sound system, and a wall of
repurposed taxidermy.

20

The Authors

10 Mistakes Designers Make When Creating a Logo
By Alex W White

1.

Not pairing abstraction to the scale of the business.
A local plumbing service needs greater specificity than a regional
plumbing supply company, and a national plumbing manufacturer
can have still more abstraction.

2.

Attending only to figure and not to ground.
Logos are such finite gems that every part must be considered
and fully used.

3.

Designing a logo in a vacuum.
Always collect competitors' logos and design to exceed that specific
universe. Present these logos before showingyour studies. Thi s provides context and allows your solution to appear superior to others
with whom yourclient will be compared.

4.

Neglecting to blend at least two distinctive ideas
together for fresh results.
"Barbecue" plus "Iceland" are far more useful together than alone as
descriptors of an Iceland ic restau rant.

5.

Not matching the logo with the character of
the business.
The more specific the business, the more expressive the logo design
should be. The more global the business, the more abstract the logo
should be.

6.

Not giving the logo enough distinction from its
competitors.
Neutral is forgettable. Quirky-in a way that promotes character-is
memorable.

7.

Not investing time to understand the clients' unique
standing in the business community.
W hat makes them viable, and how can those qualities be expressed
symbolically?

8.

Using the same pieces as everyone else.
The fonts and treatments on your computer are like frozen food: mix
them any way you like, butthere is a definite limit to how distinctive
your cooking can be. Instead, craft materials off computer and then
import them.

9.

The designer neglects to optimize the logo for color,
gray scale, and line art reproduction.
Orthe designer neglects to provide basic guidelines forthe
logo's use.

10. The designer does not prepare scalable artwork that
would ensure all type and spacing remain
consistently the same.

21

"Buying creative work is hard. Remember this the next time
your work is on the table. Help your client by offering rational
reasons to support what is essentially an emotional decision."
Luke Sullivan,
Hey Whipple) Squeeze This:
A Guide to Creating Great Ads

Loud & Proud
Bold or Risky Designs That Work

Really Good Logos, Explained

oran erOD
Creative hrm
Dale Harris

Creatlvehrm
lab303 inc.
Toronto, Canada

Bendigo, Australia
Client
Dale Hams

Client

Industry
Creative

Industry
Real Estate

Creative hrm
Marko Blagojevic

Creative firm
19B1ossom

KraguJevac, Serbia

Singapore

Client
CrankyFish

Client
Bay tree Club Holdings

Industry
Marketing, Web Design

Industry
Food and Beverage

Orange Group-Real Estate Tenant Advisory

24

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

eroup
"I love the whimsy and simplicity ofthis mark. It has the
impact of an i nternationalsymbol, but the ch i Id like
proportions and hot pink color give it a fun twist that makes
me want to know about the company."

"This is a very eye-catching simplification . It makes the
company look smart and modern. They look as if they could
probably help me with my tenant issues."

"Does what it says, and with simplicity and wit. Not cleverclever, but with an image like this it doesn't need to be."

"The color breaks make this logo smart. The bright orange
makes me think they mean business.
"It's a great concept that viewers don't need to spend any
time on to understand. It just works."

"Simple and clever. A very fun imagethattells some story ofa
windup rhino and is told on a vibrant background.
"These guys have fun with the simplest of items. A playful
and creative group."

"A delightful simplification of two words that uses color
contrast as the lone contrast. If you try this approach, do
check that you haven't inadvertently spelled another word
in the overlap."

"A windup rhino in pink and white-it doesn't get much
more cartoonish than this!
"The out-of-proportion rendering reminds me ofthe wonderful manga-related plastic toys Japan has been producing
in recent years."

"The contrast between the cartoon speech bubble and the
classic text type gives this mark a fun but literary feeling. It's
perfect for a cafe that's about both chatting and reading."

"I agree with Alex's comments below about the slightly offputting image this mark projects. However, it did catch my eye,
which isn't a bad thing in an industryas competitive as Web
design.

"A nice use of empty black space and asymmetry, though
the use of Clarendon throughout would have made it more
cohesive. The bullet points in the line oftext are
somewhat large."

"I do wish the black shards were bolder; they seem lost and tiny
compared to the boldness of the glove/fish. Are they really
even necessary?"

"This word balloon could easily hold together asmall
nuclear explOSion; it's so strong and iconic. The mass
of black ink around the small and delicate type almost
collapses the text.

"Is it a fish? A boxingglove? Either way, it's bold and the bloodshot eyes are cranky. The black shards of glass behind the
fish/glove look like the hairy arm ofa boxerthrowinga punch.
Not sure if it's appealingto their clients, but it is memorable."

"Proportional adjustments would help this mark do an even
better job and make it easierto read when used as a cafe store
sign and in smaller applications."

"Fresh idea to use a boxing glove as a fish. But a heavy
attitude that does not look altogether easy to get along with
describes this young design firm. Between the boxingglove,
large hooded eye, and shards of black-glass-as-exhaust, it
presents what I think might be a challenge to their
prospective clients."

"Asymmetry makes this mark. I wish I could see the
relationship of'wa' to the line of type beneath. There is no
discernable size relationship.
"For some reason, they use two different, though very similar,
sizes oftype. The tail ofthe 'a' is fatter than the serifs on the
'w' and that's a complexity that can be removed easily."

25

Really Good Logos, Explained

oxychem
Creative hrm
Reactivity Studio
Austin, TX

Creativehrm

Client
Oxychem Materials

Client
Fauxkoi Design Company

Industry
Chemical Disposal and Materials Handling

Industry
Design

Fauxkol Design Company
Minneapolis,MN

, MAjOR MiNOR

Creative hrm
Signal smith
Johannesburg, South Africa

Creative firm
MaJor Minor
Sacramento, CA

Client
Tsotsiboi

Client
Self Promotion

Industry
Clothing

Industry
Design

26

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

oxychem
"The strength and simplicity of this mark make a strong
statement about the company. The simplicity ofthe type
works well, too. The lowercase type gives the logo a bit of
warmth and friendliness that balances the serious mark."

"This is a very nicely balanced mark. The big, fat, tech-style
monogram works well with the classical fish and scrollwork.
The contrast gives me the feeling that the company may
have some breadth in their design work."

"The test tube as a symbol for chemistry, though obvious,
gives us a counter here in the 'O'that elegantly echoes the
negative/positive space of Univers, the font below
the sym bol."

"Very handsome use of shades of gray. Why a serifface for
'DESIGN'? Wouldn't it be more unified if it were the same
face and size as 'MPLS' and 'MINN' and would then basealign with the bottoms of the lowest ribbon?"

"Oxychem hopefully uses some pretty strong containers to
transport those noxious materials. This logo suggests they
are organized, serious, intelligent, and responsible. Seeing
this on the side ofa truck or on a proposal would project all
the right things about a company doing serious work with a
high degree of conscience."
"The 'O's counterspace is nicely adjusted. This mark gives
credibility and reliabilityto this service provider."

"The change from cap to lowercase forthe 'j' and 'i' are a nice
way to add character and soften an all-cap logo."

"A very recognizable logo produced very well. The
roughness ofthe face and creepiness ofthe eyes add more
interest.

"Great idea to intrepret music visually. As background, music
in a major scale tends to be bright and joyful; music in a
minor scale tends to be sad or pensive. This essence has
been overlooked in favor of an exploration of 'intervals.'

"All the type feels a bit pasted on. It's a shame the typography
doesn't maintain the overall effectiveness of this logo."
"The rough, photocopy quality of this mark unifies art and
type. Probably done digitally, it looks as if it could have been
crafted off-computer, then brought in .

"If 'spaces between' are to dominate, then chopping off
parts of letters would make sense. Contrasts of caps and
lowercase letters are well executed; all are crafted with a
common weight. 'MAJOR' appears to have more open
letterspacingthan 'MINOR;which looks accidental."

'''Couture' is the third part ofthis mark that isn't as unified,
and it is sufficiently decorative to visually compete with
the primary word. But at least it's got bumpy edges and the
x-height is about the same height as the cap height of
'TSOTSIBOI.'
"Incidentally, Tsotsi, the movie, has a delightful logo, too
(though not the one on the face of the DVD, which is mere
typesetting)."

27

Really Good Logos, Explained

THELAB ART+IDEAS

Creative flrm
Ellen Bruss Design
Denver,CO
Client
The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar
Industry
Art Museum

28

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

-

~ THELAB ART+IOEAS

"I love the humor ofthis series. The dogs in the other three
symbols are much more appealing in their typically dog-like
endeavors than in the basic mark. I wish the basic dog had
a bit more life. The brown and gray color palette and clean
type are in tastefu I contrast to the dog's i nd iscreet activities.
THE LAB seems smart and direct."
"The epitome of a logo being led by a strong idea. The design
is cool and functional;you don't need to overdress agood
concept. Is 'TH ELAB' supposed to be one word?
"This series illustrates how agood, strong concept can be
very versatile. I can see this series being extended
indefinitely without losing any of its power and humor."
"The idea of an innocent dogsticking his nose in everyone's
business is both disarming and funny. It's strongest as a
series where the variations on the idea become stronger and
more obvious with each new element. I would liketo have
seen the type treatments not trace around the circle so the
type is more readable and supportive of the word-andpicture play."
"I love this series because it is the epitome of'risky.'
Misusinga chocolate lab retriever in these four installations
is a delightful twist. But it only works if you are workingon
behalf of an idea and art laboratory."

29

Really Good Logos, Explained

TRL

-

OUSE

-

-

Creative n rm
Robison Creative Studios

Creative nrm

Springneld, MO

Sibley Peteet Design Dallas
Dallas, TX

Client
Talent Mouse

Client
American Heart Association

Industry
Entertainment

Industry
Health

"A mouse in shades is agreat idea, but I wish this guy was
simpler and had a bit more color differentiation. The
sunglasses are so close tothe dark red color that they're lost
when the mark is small, and the thin white lines don't show
at all. The type feels too small and light forthe heaviness of
the mark."

"Ilike the juxtaposition ofthe road sign image with the
lounge chair; it's a quick read that communicates the idea
easily. It's nice to see a serious idea communicated with a
touch of humor. It makes it less preachy. I'm going
jogging now."
"A nice idea, executed in a lackluster manner. The chair is
obviously made offour rounded rectangles and needs the
same character and personality as real road signs or
warning images."

"Talent Mouse has personality and quite a coniidence about
him. His type may be better served below and in a face that is
better balanced and reproduces well. If 'Talent Mouse' was at
an angle and less flat, he may come alive and be less
airplane-like."

"Though an extension of a heavily cliched idea, this mark is
initially amusing because ofthe unexpected placement of a
stationary 'vehicle' on a road sign. It is also very well crafted."

"Wonderfully stylized mouse with the feel of a B-2 Spirit
stealth bomber. Best part: the whiskers. This is a dynamic,
fun mark."

30

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Creative nrm
Turner Duckworth
San Francisco, CA

Creativenrm
Britt Funderburk
Upper Montclair, NJ

Client
Palm

Client
TYPO.

Industry
Electronics

Industry
Publishing

"The bright orange 3-D 'jellybean' circle makes this
otherwise fairly typical design feel very happy and
playful. It also communicates simple interactivity, which
is key to the brand."

"Ilike the design of this symbol quite a bit, but I'm not sure
why there's a family or couple involved in a logo about
experimental typography. It confused me a bit. It would be a
great mark for something else."

"That this is a button indicates interaction-an
appropriate idea for Palm's products. I might have
tried astudy in which the tops of the 'm's' were extended
upward just a little so they are optically aligned with the
median, waistline, or top of the x-height of the 'p' and 'a.'
Curved letterforms always have to extend beyond a straight
line to look equivalent."

"A nicely executed visual motif."

"I love the idea of making the negative space in the
counters become visible as foreground elements. The price
that must be paid to achieve this effect is by adjusting the
four letterforms in height and shape. Addingto the
difficulty is making the dots align vertically overthe
'T' an d 'Y.'"

31

Really Good Logos, Explained

realitydigital

Creative flrm

Creative flrm

Helena Seo Design
Sunnyvale,CA

Jeff Andrews Design
Salem,OR

Client
RealityDigital, Inc.

Client
Jeff Andrews

Industry
Entertainment

Industry
Retall,Apparel

Creative firm
The Studio of Pius Eugene
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Creative firm
Jeff Andrews Design
Salem,OR

Client
Self Promotion

Client
Conrad Coffee Company

Industry

Industry
Food and Beverage

Design

32

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

realitydigilal
"The monitor serving double duty as a speech bubble
distinguishes this mark. Symbolism adds depth of meaning
to a mark; compare this to some marks that are mere
illustrations of a simple idea."

"I like the illustration ofthe shark boy. It's well drawn in a
funny, retro way. I'm not so happy with the type. It feels like
an Adobe IIlustratorflltertweak ratherthan one done by
hand with the same attention given to the shark. It should be
much more nuanced and interesting, and maybe violate the
edges of the circle like the shark does."
"Shark Boy is on his way. The type is inventive and well crafted
and might be more expressive breaking out of the circle
some.
"The colors work but seem to wantto be higher-key.
Less detail in the illustration will make this a better garment
application image. A small label application of this would look
like a bear. Keep it simple and save the complex version for
the movie poster later."

"This type stack is nicely executed-maybe too nicely.
Everything is boxed in and lined up. It's supposed to be a
mark for 'creative thinking,' but I'm not really seeing much
creativity here-rather more order than chaos. Give me a bit
more mess and unpredictability,and I'd feel it was conveying
the actual process of creativity."

"Punctuation is uncommon in logo design. The type
is distorted to appear as if underwater. Very nice illustration.
Two white outline thicknesses seem unnecessary; making
them look the same will unify the mark. Because of
embroidery's limitations, heavyingthe thinner line around
'Shark Boy'would probably be worthwhile. Then thin the
bold, white line betwen the blue circle and the gold ring
to match."

"A typographic solution made possible by the happy fact that
most ofthe words in this logo are the same length. I would
have been tempted to add another typographic trick to
communicate the opening up of one's mind-increasingthe
leading as we read down the page, for example."
"This stacked treatment works. The type becomes an
identiflable icon much like a theatre poster might. The
content of the text suggests breaking out or discovery of
possibilities, while the logo stays in the rigid box tothe end.lt
seems there may have been a homage to change or
evolution as the statement evolves, while still keeping with
the simple, bold, negative spaces design."

"I love this character mark-it's fun and well drawn. Not sure
I wantto drink their coffee though-I might end up feeling
like he looks!"

"A very different approach in which letterforms almost
become art. Note that 'CLOSE' is the only word to be
chopped in half horizontally, which fliis it with meaning.
Unfortunately, the impact is weakened by 'MI ND,' which is
missing a bit along the bottom, and the much smaller
ampersand. Make these competing elements 'go away' by
making them agree with their surroundings so the one true
focal point becomes visible."

"This works, because bikers and coffee are such an unusual
combination. A memorable, well-executed mark that steers
clear of coffee-cup and coffee-bean cliches."

33

Really Good Logos, Explained

"This would look great on the back of a leather jacket! I love
the complexity and balance of bold lettering and delicate
details. It has so many great references, from tattoos and
playing cards to bike gangs and military insignia, all
combined with talent and dexterity."
"A complex execution, but it's been pulled off! Gothic
German Blackletter, Victorian Circus font, and tattoo
motifs all combine to give a summation of biker cliches,
rendered with cohesion."
"Kudos for putting this much detailed work into a pro bono
project. There's a high degree of craftsmanship and
rennement here that helps say'This event is something
special.'
"Getting all elements to read well and hold together is no
small task,and this logo does a great job. It works well in black
and white, driven by the likely low production budget for the
event, but it would also sing in color."

Creative firm
Sayles Graphic Design
Des Moines, IA

"Wow! This mark combines seven pieces oftype and one
motorcycle into a single entity-and it works! Lots of value
added here. Just don't make it too small, orthe sponsors
won't be legible."

Client
Sports Page
Industry
Community event

34

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"The drawing style ofthe bull and rider are wonderful and
eccentric. The big red dot helps to make the thin lines stand
out visually. The mark has an artistic quality that makes me
think the developers care about the history ofthe area, not
just about building houses.
"I wish the line weights in the type had as much variation and
life as the mark. Hand lettering ratherthan a typeface would
have been a better choice here."
"Great visual storytelling here. The illustration quality is
unique, though very delicateforthe massive circle that
contains it. It will be difficultto use in some applications, and
that could have been avoided with different line weights.

BLACKSTONE
Creative nrm
Fresh Oil
Pawtucket, RI
Client
Blackstone StudIOS
Industry
Real Estate

"While it's memorable and visually rich, it seems out of place
for a real estate company and their need to demonstrate
stability, confidence, and such. A different, cleaner typeface
forthe name could have helped establish more business
confidence."

The Reverend Blackstone was a
quirky outcast in his day.
He traveled on a white bull, often
reading and writing as he went.

"A well-reasoned solution that has led to an interesting logo.
I would have preferred to see a more freehand approach
taken to the lettering, and I'm not surethe underline is really
necessary. Simplify where possible."

This symbol for Blackstone
Studios, a work-live space for
artists, looks as if it may have
been rendered on one of those
bumpy rides. The terra-cotta color
hints of the numerous red-brick
mills that, along with the studios,
line the Blackstone River.

"This is an ideal solution to the circumstances described in
the designer's statement. There is meaningto each of the
qualities-the wiggliness throughout and the brick red
color-and decisions in this creative result. This is a
solution to a well-defined problem, and thoroughly defining
a problem always makes knowing when you are done much
more evident."

35

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative fi rm
Roskelly, Inc.

Creative firm
Britt Funderburk

Portsmouth, RI

Upper Montclair, NJ

Client
WinkFlash

Client
Nicholson

Industry
Photo Prints

Industry
Full Service Digital Agency

"Simple and clean. The colors are well chosen. I would have
rendered the sheet of paper without the black outline. It
may have even been possible to show there was a sheet
simply from the curve ofthe emoticon and the shadow,
leaving the sheet itself as negative space."

"I'm guessing that a 'full service digital agency' is something
like a service bureau? If so, I love the squares even more for
theirtie-in to pixels. The simplicity of this mark gives a very
profeSSional, corporate feelingto the company. They may
not have a sense of humor, buttheirwork will be perfect
every time."

"Perfect! The intentionally tight letterspacing makes the
name a wordmark ratherthan mere typesetting, and the
color change makes a word space redundant."

"The central position ofthe vertical strokes within each
diamond, terminatingatthe diamond's midline, is very
elegant. Positive and negative space in complete
harmony."
"So much is gotten out of so little in this mark, in the way the
'N' is created so that the two squares take on new duties. It's
always a pleasure to see, both as a designer and as a viewer.
This is a logo that will age well overtime. Even its colors work
without beingtrend-driven."
"A really good logo must, in my opinion, use-or at least
acknowledge-negative space. The 'N' doesn't actually exist
at all in this mark. It is the familiar shape we recognize when
the black and blue squares, with their missing chunks, are
positioned just so."

36

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Creative nrm
Britt Funderburk
Upper Montclair, NJ

Creativenrm
Robison Creative Studios
Springneld, MO

Client
Hammerschbn GmbH

Client
KidzKamp

Industry
Manufacturing

Industry
Camp and Recreation

"Hits the nail on the head, This is a great example of ' less is
more.'There is nothing extra here, and everything that is
here works-even the color."

"Ilike the enthusiasm of the boy's head. It communicates
fun and eagerness quite well. The body adds nothing to the
communication . The head alone would work better as a
symbol. It needs something more to communicate the idea
of camp."

"A simple, straightforward idea, but an entirely appropriate
one for a no-nonsense hammer supplier. The red color is
again suitably straightforward. The curves on the claw end
ofthe hammer could be more flowing."

"We have a stylistic mismatch between the way the head and
the hands are executed."

"An example of agenre of marks in which a simplified image
is inserted into the negative space of a letterform.ltforces
imagery to become space. The trick is to simplify the image
so it acts as negative space without oversimplifying it,
causing it to lose its distinctive character for that
specific client."

"This is a charming illustration, but it makes me wonder
where the line between an illustration and a mark is.
"I think a representational mark, one that may be first
perceived as an illustration, has to be viewed repeatedly to
register as an identifying symbol.lfthis rendering had two
'K's forfingers, representing'Kidz Kamp,' it would become
more of a symbol. Also, color use must mean something: if
two out ofthree clothes are in color, why is the hat eVidently
made offlesh?"

37

Really Good Logos, Explained

The Decoder Ring
Austin, TX

Creative ~rm
Dale Harris
Bend igo, Austral ia

Client
Austin Museum of Art

Client
Blank Expression

Industry
Museum

Industry
Music, Entertainment

Creative ~rm

"This feels more like artwork for a T-shirt or a skateboard
than a logo meantto last. But I'd wear the T-shirt."

"This is a rip on lots of street art, but that's what makes the
connection to New York work. It's a rat, not the Statue of
Libertyfor a change! I hope this was for a show about New
York street art, or I rescind my compliments."

"A fusion offound parts-an 'x: wings, and hairy tailsall damaged by age. The designer has imbued this mark with
attitude, which is necessary in the music and
entertainment industry."

"Looks like it was authentically spray painted using a mask.
That's the essential quality it must achieve."

38

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

intava
Creative nrm
Stacy Karzen
Chicago,IL

Creativenrm
Niedermeier Design
Seattle, WA

Client
AndyNebel

Client
Intava Corporation

Industry
Public Relations

Industry
Retail EnhancementTechnology

"This is a nice poke at PR puffery. The pump and the main
type are nicely drawn and relate well to each other. The
smallertype feels like an afterthought both in style and
placement."

"Friendly and professional. This is a very nice symbol that
conveys a strong feeling of modern professionalism without being sterile or cold. I like the type too, but I wish there
was a stronger relationship of weight and shape between
the type and the symbol."

"Verticality and the gray color unify the illustration and the
type in this humorous mark for a public relations consultant.
There is a slight lack of agreement between 'COMPANY'
and 'Nebel.' This is a consequence of properly matchingthe
size of'COMPANY'with 'THE.' Butthis cascading logic is all
predicated on tucking 'THE' just so in between the
ascenders of 'Andy.' Is that sufficient benefit to cause
another problem?

"A nice illustration ofa touch screen in action, using the first
two letters of the company name. It's simple and it
communicates.
"The gray and green are appropriate-fresh but reliable, not
too hip orwhimsical. The custom type is set a wee bittoo
tight, and the 'ta' and 'va' pairs more loosely than the others,"

"One solution is to size 'COMPANY' to fit beneath 'Nebel'
and work with 'THE'to match, including adjusting length of
ascenders in 'Andy Nebel.'"

"A letter 'i' can be abstracted into a figure and a computer
console. The remarkable thing is that, by carefully adjusting
the negative space, the letter 'N' is present, but not at all
recognizable."

39

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative lirm
PS Cali, Inc.

Creative lirm
Turner Duckworth Design

Los Angeles, CA

London,UK

Client
Renata Helfman

Client

Industry
Retail

Industry
Food

Creative lirm
HlghwaY77 Design
Northford, CT

Creative lirm
Espial
Johannesburg, South Africa

Client
Self Promotion

Client
Vukani

Industry
Design

Industry
Gaming

The Fresh Olive Company

40

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"I love the hand-drawn flow of this script. It feels like it grew
that way naturally. The space between the 'V' and 'e' is a bit
too tight, but otherwise everything about this logo makes
me happy."

"I love the hand-as-tree to communicate 'handmade.' I wish it
were bigger though. The type overpowers the art.
"There is a struggle going on between the rough shapes, like
the olive and the ground, and the super-smooth shapes,
like the hills and the type. For the rough direction to really
work, it should be rougher and more handmade. It feels a bit
undecided."

"Bit more air between the 'V' and the 'e,' please.
Otherwise, lovely-warm, well executed, friendly, organic.
And without any hessian textures or tea stenciling."
"This is a great take on the idea of being green (vert is French
for 'green'). It's very beautiful and modern,yet hand-painted.
I get thefeelingthat the store shows that items can be ecofriend Iy without being 'earthy' or 'crunchy.'"

"A nice, simple idea, executed in the German poster
style of Lucian Bernhard. There is a slight discrepancy
between the smoothness of the type and the shape ofthe
olive, and the colors could be punchier. The hand/tree could
also benefit from being larger in the overall composition,
maybe in a squarer layout."

"Feminine, organic, lovely letterforms."

" An arm as a tree trunk is a compellingjuxtaposition . There
is a roughness to the olive and the black silhouette, which
makes them seem just a bit out of place,given the extreme
sleekness ofthe other elements:'

"This mark mixes metaphors in a very elegant way. Rough
meets smooth, fancy meets plain, road sign meets wine
labeL It will never work when small due to the small script
type, but I love the use of empty space."

"This mark is a wonderfully executed riff on classic playing
card art. It communicates the South African connection
superbly with the mask, dot pattern, and leaves, while the
spade and banner communicate gaming, powerfully, in
any culture."

"How to translate a cliched symbol-a highway signinto your own mark? Process it heavily and don't put big
numerals on it! A spelled-out script number is fresh ."

" Nice execution of a neat idea. Everyone is familiar with the
ornate ace of spades, and this incorporates other elements
without losing that central conceit. However, I'm not sure
what those other elements mean-leaves and a tiki mask?
Still, it's memorable and technically well done."
" A good mark should communicate on a subconscious level.
This one does. Cover the type and you can feel what it
represents. Interesting combination of stylized and natural
leaf shapes."

41

Really Good Logos, Explained

Reflnery Design Company
Dubuque,IA

Creativeflrm
Reflnery Design Company
Dubuque,IA

Client
Home Health Care

Client
Dupaco Community Credit Union

Industry
Health Care

Industry
Financial

Creative flrm

Dupaco Community Credit
Union created The Green
Saver Challenge to educate
children about the
importance of recycling .

..

~

~~ . ": "

..

.*~
~~"~"~~
~.~ .
•

GAY MEN'S

CHORUS
OF LOS ANGELES

Tokyo,Japan

Creative Ii rm
Top Design
Los Angeles, CA

Client
Signatures NetworkforTaproot

Client
Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

Industry
Music

Industry
Nonproflt

Creative flrm
Ian Lynam Design

42

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"While I've seen this type of design before, this one works
pretty well. I wish the cross was not attached to the side of
the house. It makes the design seem unbalanced and tilted."
"Nice, strong linework. A sense of power and energy in the
figure, and a simple, compact arrangement that would work
well on T-shirts, badges, and the like. It should appeal to
children without resortingto kiddie cliches.

"A nice example of a simple figure/ground, positive/negative
relationship in a logo. The concept-a health care cross in a
house-is very straightforward, but the elegant execution
carries the simple idea."

"The color is somewhat weak-the white drop shadow is
more 'forward in the mix'than the type, a design no-no; and
the green is too tonally similar to the background orange,
making it 'fizz' uncomfortably."

"Tasty use of figure and ground, without the need for line.
The process of makinga mark for health care provided in
the home is achieved, quite naturally, by adding asymbol
for house plus a symbol for health care. I wonder whether a
similar result can be achieved, for example, for a handyman
or a home inspection service?"

"Terrific and easily adjusted for one-color use: 'GREEN' and
'SAVER' in black, and drop out all other colors."

"Great name fora band and this font and tree/root system
work well together. This is a memorable mark, butthe
success is that the simple yet rough artwork will reproduce
well on band T-shirts and photocopied venue flyers."
"This looks more like a logo for a kid's party than a chorus.
Why dots? Why a 'G'?"

"The idea of inverting a tree into a root is fun. But how much
artistic freedom is the right amount? Strictly speaking,a
taproot is a straight-tapering root growing vertically
downward and forming the centerfrom which subsidiary
rootlets spring. (A perfect example of this is a carrot freshly
pulled from the soil with its rootlets still intact.) So, while
there is nothing wrong with this solution, there may be a
little more that could be right about it; there must be a tree
that grows more like an inverted carrot than this one.

"Typographically clean and simple. Visually fun and
expressive on many levels. My only question is why a 'G'?
This collection of dots/voices could easily define more
creative shapes or letters."
"Reminiscent ofthe tests for color blindness developed by
Dr. Shinobu Ishihara in 1917, this mark presumably uses all
the colors in the rainbow for more self-descriptive
purposes."

"Also, if every rock band uses Blackletter, is it a sign of hardedged rebelliousness or simple me-tooism? And does it say
anything aboutthe differences in their music?"

43

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative firm
The Decoder Ring
Austin,TX
Client
Carolina Panthers Chefs
Association
Industry
NFL

Logo for use on in-house
apparel and collateral
materials for the NFL's
Carolina Panthers Chefs
Association. The group
informally refers to themselves as "The Dirty Kitchen
Rats," and requested a mark
that represented them more
accurately than the crest
bestowed upon them by the
league.

"This is nicely executed, funny, and smart. The play with
negative space works very well, and the weights all work. It's
a very subtle touch to have the eyes made from
asymmetrical icons when everything else is perfectly
symmetrical. If I were a DKR, I'd want it on my toque."
"Rats in the kitchen-an edgy idea treated in an edgy way.
The negative- space skull is beautifully executed.
Technically balanced and beautifully done. A winner."
"A gross name that evokes disgusting images. But this logo
brings it all to light and makes you laugh. Then it goes
further and adds the skull, complete with a cleaver and
bottle from the kitchen. It's eye-catching, witty, and
produced very well. What more could you want?"
"This mark is tattoo worthy. Love the skull resulting from the
negative space between the rats, and the kitchen utensils as
the skull's eyes."

44

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Creative nrm
Campbell-Ewald
Warren,MI

Creative nrm
Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
Portland, OR

Client
Self Promotion

Client
Triangle Productions l

Industry
Advertising

Industry
Theater, Performing Arts

"Definitely a 'Detroit-looking' logo. Typographically, the
'CAMPBELL-EWALD' could be better ifthe arc was centered
overthe center of the logo as a whole, ratherthan shifted
down and to the right."

"This logo gets its powerfrom the title and those three stars.
As an execution, I can't help but feel it would have been more
effective to cut the shapes out of paper for real. That would
have given it even more immediacy."

"Blackletter with gear teeth, representing the automotive
manufacturing capital ofthe world, distinguishes this mark.
Though not precisely cutting edge, it is worthwhile for its use
of what looks like real metal. The use of authentic elements,
ratherthan computer-generated simulations,adds
tremendously to ach ievi ng a d isti nctive mark."

"Yes, the implication in this mark is provocative. But formally,
the three asterisks are the most potent characteristic. In fact,
if the word were spelled out, it would be a less interesting
mark than it is now. Symbols can replace letters in less rude
words for the same effect.
"I wish I knew why the front wheel has those little black
shards-it is so atypical in this design that it should have
meaning. Maybe if I'd seen the play, I'd get it."

45

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative flrm
Glitschka Studios
Salem,OR

Creative flrm
Glitschka Studios
Salem, OR

Client
Jim Henson Company

Client
Little ChimpSociety

Industry
TV Production

Industry
Illustration Marketplace

Creative flrm
Atomic Design
Crowley,TX

Creative flrm
Korn Design
Boston,MA

Client
liquidator/Paula Monthle

Client
Sage HospitalityGroup

Industry
Estate Sales

Industry
Hotel

46

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

This logo takes the 60S Filmore style and has a fabulously
whacky time with it! The lettering is nicely drawn and
spaced, and the goofy containing shape is just wonderful.
I particularly like the feet."

"This is a nicely drawn monkey-cheerful and welcoming.
I love his face, too; maybe Paul Frank could use some help."

"Playful and fun, but still beautifully executed. The 'Austin
Powers' logo was a very visible example of a psychedelic
logo poorly executed, but this-the colors, the type-pulis
it all together effortlessly. The 'The' slowly sinking into the
top is a lovely touch."

"Good, strong, iconc illustration; nice color choice. Will work
well at small sizes on the Web. I'd have engineered a way to
keep the linewidths on the paws more equal (or even
completely equal, natch)."

"Hilarious! This is more than just a logo for a puppet show; it's
also a strange little puppet itself. It's very well executed and
wi II reprod uce clearly on kids' T-sh i rts, toys, games, and, of
course, puppets."

"Very fun and illustrative icon foran illustrative group. I'm
sure all their members appreciate an icon as fun as the
group's name. I enjoy seeing this 'little chimp' much more
than just seeing the acronym 'LCS' on theirwebsite."

"'The' is in the process of being absorbed by the 'Skrumps'a delightful, kid-sensitive treatment. That Henson's
Muppets caught the imagination ofthe American television
public in the late 1960s is referenced in the funky
psychedelic lettering and color combination ."

"This is the Godzilla of type treatments-big, fat, and bold. I
almost missed the drip the first time I saw itthough. 1think it
should be bigger and 'juicier' to stand out and contrast with
the super-extreme, heavy-duty type."

"This logo is sweetly simple and nostalgic without being
complicated . It's a perfect blend of type styles. It makes me
miss linoleum and lemon meringue pie!"
"For me, putting'the' on the same baseline would have been
better-either that, or centering the type on a horizontal
line-than reducingthe ascender of the 'h' to match the
cap height of'Curtis.' Atthe moment, the 'the' doesn't know
which way to go."

"What makes this work is combining letterforms and an illustrative element in which the letters dominate, but the minor
illustration adds the meaning. This has a slight 'yuck factor,'
and it really is an illuminaton ofthe word's meaning rather
than an expression ofthe business's actual purpose."

"Wonderful simplicity and expressive typographic
contrast. It hints at vintage 50S/60S design,and the colors
are impressive: orange and brown are closely related.
"A design can be considered 'done' when nothing can be
changed-even a little bit-without damaging the overall
result. This is such a design."

47

Really Good Logos, Explained

Brainfloss

OOLLYWOOO
MASALA

Creative flrm

Creative flrm

MINE
A
San Francisco,C

.
Dale Harris
Bendigo,Australla

Client
Bralnfloss

Client
. ment/Bollywoo d Masala
Madman Entertain

Industry
Career Services

Industry
Entertainment

Creative flrm
Hoffl
Cardiff, UK

Creative firm
Smoky Mirrors.com
Bronx, NY

Client
Self Promotion

Client
Self Promotion

Industry
Design

Industry.
. ent
Print, Design, Co mlC Books, Entertalnm

48

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Brainfloss

DOlLYWooD

"This is so close it hurts. The squiggle isn't quite a brain, so

MASALA

it can't be used on its own without the type. That's too bad!
Addingthe drop shadow is a nice touch that makes a 2-D
object seem to be 3-D. The type is nice too, although
possibly a bit small depending on the application."

"What agreat opportunity for lettering with some spirit and
exoticism! The mark here feels very 'computer layered' and
not well related to the type. The type feels stiff and static
when it could move and play with much more grace and
character.

"I didn't immediately see that as a floating brain,just a scribble.
It would be better if the scribble reflected the whorls of the
brain more-without losing its casual immediacy."

"There are so many wonderful references that could have
been used forthis. This feels too obvious and limited."

"This is a cute, simple idea. It's not overdone, but maybe a few
more details in the brain would've made it more complete.
Overall, a nice concept as longas the type stays near the

"Striking and entertaining colors and imagery. Type seems
'off.' It's not quite playful and fun, but not quite formal and
straight. I wish it were more one than the other and not just
uncomfortable."

mark to define what's going on."
"The floating brain, indicated by the oval shadow, is a nice
approach. The semi-seriftype is modern and tasteful.

"The Indian connection is conveyed in the sacred water lily
eNe/umbo nucifera), but the real character in this mark is
delivered by the informal type treatment with the uneven
baseline and inverted and mirrored lowercase 'g' standing

"That there are two other squiggly shapes made in illustrator in this chapter speaks tothe need for a more distinctive
treatment. 'Brain' plus 'floss' can equal something better
than a ball of pseudo-yarn. What is the most extreme way
of showing an idea? What will make it memorable and your

in as a 'b' and 'd.'"

client's own mark that cannot be copied?"

"For once, the relevant choice of Blackletter, with its
repeating geometry, makes this work where other fonts
would have failed ."
"This mark has a beautiful, understated elegance to it,
especially through its off-center placement in the circle.
The thin swashes on the 'H' are a bit rough.lfthose details

"A good example of an ambigram. Some ofthe tight
letterspacingcauses some tension points, but overall,
it's a challenging project that's been well executed. The

were smoothed out, this logo would really sing!"

small curls on the 'e' add a touch of character."
"Technically beautiful. The loop outside the circle is elegantly
done. There seems to be some wonkiness in the curves;
could this be from the original font? The 'H' is too close to
the '0.'"

"Both the positive and the negative shapes have been
carefully manipulated, as Langdon would teach. So this
mark is a worthy interpretation of his work.
"The gothic treatment, based on German Blackletterforms,
might have been chosen for its extra meaning. But perhaps,

"Perfect circle + elegant type + hairline contrast with solid
circle + off-centered ness = tasty mark."

Blackletter characters lend themselves to manipulation into
new shapes because they are less familiar and can be bent
and twisted more freely than, say, Helvetica."

49

Really Good Logos, Explained

q
oJumbfe
Creative ~rm

Creative ~rm

Alambre Estudio
Donostia, Spain

Calagraphic Design
Elkins Park, PA

Client
Self Promotion

Client
The Hurricane Poster Project

Industry
Design

Industry
Fundraislng Katrina victims and Red Cross support, Retail

"Reminiscent of spooled paper on a press, orofa rotated
barcode or CD, thus evoking both the traditional form of
print and the digital form."

"Milton Glaser's iconic 'I [heart] NY' logo is given an
appropriately gritty appropriation here, with the state of
Louisiana doublingas the 'L.' Very nice use of a limited red
and black palette."

"Nice illustrative interpretion ofa lowercase 'a.' Notice the
echo-not the exact reuse-ofthe circular shape ofthe
icon in the choice of typeface for the name."

"Post Hurricane Katrina, any logo representing NoLa had
better be dirty. I see why this mark, designed for a poster,
was adapted for purchasable items. I'd wear it."

50

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Creative nrm
Turner Duckworth
San FrancIsco, CA

Creative nrm
Lloyds Graphics Design, Ltd
Blenheim, New Zealand

Client
Popchips

Client
Rapaura Spri ngs 2

Industry
Food

Industry
Wine

"A nice blend of modernity, organic natural shapes,
and elegance."

"This is a nice use of negative space that adds some fun to
lettering, The missing 'o' and 'i' mess with your eyes and give
the mark character."

"This wine better be as good as the logo. It sets a smart and
sophisticated foundation and would be a dramatic
execution on labels with endless possibilities for print
techniques, none of which would destroy the rock solid
foundation forthe simple graphic. This logo will work as
well in ten years as it does today."

"A nice use of positive/negative space that has a relevance to
the product. More animated bounce might help (although
that is somewhat of a cliche in snack lettering). It looks
somewhat formal as is. The white line clipping the 'c'
indicates there may be even more invisible white elements
to be found if we looked more closely."

"A flower made out of stones? Strings or a stream?
Beautiful shapes take priority over simple letterforms,
though the type is on top. If the red color is chosen for the
winery's excellent red wines,gray must representtheirfine
pinot gris?"

"Proportional thickness defines the ringofthe '0' and the
circle around the smaller dot-a sign of the designer's
control over every detail of this tasty mark."

51

Really Good Logos, Explained

.- ....•
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. ..
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~

.... -..., ,,.:

,
.......
-"
,..,".. -.... -..,
.. ... .•.. ..•.
• •
~

'

Cailiclc
RECORDS

Creative flrm
Fauxkoi Design Company
Minneapolis, MN

Creative flrm
Myles Delfln
Makati City, Philippines

Client
Cat lick Records

Client
Empanada Republic

Industry
MUSIC

Industry
Novelty Bakery

Creative flrm
Artiva Design
Genova, Italy

Creative flrm
David Maloney
St. Louis Park, MN

Client
Ton Mobel

Client
Semi Studio Systems

Industry
Aud 10 Design

Industry
TV Studio Design

52

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

~
CatMc
RECOROS

"Ilike the slightly psycho feeling ofthis cat icon. It definitely
has a retro 'Felixthe Cat'feelingto it, which makes me think
the company might have some revival rock on their label.
Ilike the lightning-bolt-shaped edges of the cat's face but
wish the dot ofthe 'i'was heavier, less of a cliche shape and
tied in with the icon better."

"Technically, the dashed lines should terminate with one
whole dash, not the little bitty ones we have here. Should
the character not be looking at the empanada and
looking happier?"

"The retro-cool feeling of this logo takes you to a place you've
been before in your mind-a place of old cartoons and black
and white comics.

"The client's goal of upscalingstreet food was realized
by both the bright, simple coloring and the unicameral
typeface (a typeface which mixes caps and lowercase into a
single character set) used in 'empanada.'

"When you look more closely at the final execution you want
to rework the contours and have the lickingtongue become
a more memorable feature. The logo was likely created at
too large a size, with too much detail."

"Only the 'P' and 'D' are capitals-interesting that they alone
would have ascenders or descenders if set in lowercase
letters-so only those two letters had to have their weight
adjusted when reduced in size to match the x-height of the
neighboring lowercase letters."

"The two typefaces contrast quite purposefully here.
The only thing they have in common is their width. They
contrast in posture, case, size, and style.
"Nice relationship of line weight between 'RECORDS' and the
cat's whiskers. I suspect the top script is a typeface rather
than having been hand drawn: the 'c' overlap isn't
quite smooth."

"A happy coincidence of modular product and three
repeating initials. The colors are unusual but very effective."
"Flipping the diaeresis on the '0' is a nice touch."

"Another mark-as-diagram example. That the actual shapes
ofthe product are quarter circles and the name ofthe
company has three 'S's is wonderful. One test of genius is
when the result appears inevitable. This mark is an inevitable
result ofthe specific attributes ofthe client. Tasty color
choices, too."

"Nice use of negative shapes. Typographically sound.
A very solid logo at any size."
"This is an excellent example ofthe saying: 'It isn't what
typeface you choose; it's how you use the typeface you've
chosen.' Extra tight letter and line spacing are the activated
relationships that make this mark visible."

53

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative flrm
Jeff Andrews Design

Creative flrm
Fauxkoi Design Company
Minneapolis, MN

Salem,OR

Client
Cat lick Records

Client
Sugar Frosted Goodness l

Industry

Industry
Ill ustration Website

MUSIC

"Choosing one style for a site that represents a range
of illustrators (or any visually minded group) is always
difficult. Havinga male as your mascot also may not fit
everyone, though this may indeed be for an all-male group
of vector illustrators that like pencils! Who knows?

"This logo could easily have fallen prey to over-detailing and
confusing embellishment. Instead, agreat balance of wellunified elements makes this a strong mark with a lot
of personality.
"The high-touch printmaking execution is bulletproof,
holding up well when translated to band paraphernalia and
marketing materials."

"The brave covering ofthe 'G' is permissable, as the full three
letters can be seen on the character's T-shirt."
"Love the abstraction of the 'SFG' by being hidden. But I
can't see any relationship beyond proximity between the
front and back halves.lfthe pencil's tip was as stubby as the
weight of the letters behind, there could be a conceptual
connection."

"Interesting that this mark uses a Cyrillic 'De,' equivalent to
our Latin 'D.' I get the gothic overtones, but that Cyrillic
letter is intriguing. Nicethat the spontaneous splattering is
not symmetrical."

54

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

Ro~nu

Creative nrm
KFR Communications, LLC
New Egypt, NJ

Creativenrm
Robison Creative Studios
Springneld, MO

Client
North Gate Ministry

Client
Royale BUilders

Industry
Recreation

Industry
Construction

"Skaters would connect with the energy of this logo and the
street-made feeling. I could see the figure in a second color
on top of everything else, making it less flat and more active."

BUILD[R~

"I assume this building company has a list of very high-class
clients. Typographically, the centered layout does emphasize
the fact that 'ROYALE' and 'BUILDERS' are not the same
length, and the designer has had to alter the letterspacingto
accomodate this. I wonder if there would be a better solution-stackingthetwo words beneath, for example-that
would obviate this inelegant necessity."

"Careful overlaps and enough splatters to make it look
youthful and 'skateboardy.' Note that there's no obvious
religious reference shown, so this becomes an emblem of
'belonging'-probablya powerful attractant to the target
audience."

"Royal Builders looks like Royal Gourmet Chocolatesand I want some. Have them redo my entire kitchen in
chocolate, please.
"The center carrier shape has a lot of depth and richness. The
small detail in the cartouches will undoubtedly be a problem
reproduced on the builder pickup trucks or on the side of his
hard hat."
"Love the crown most of all. Quite a distinctive mark,
especially for a builder. But if you cover the word 'BUI LDERS,'
what does this enterprise do? If you can'ttell, then the mark
may not convey enough nonverbal meaning."

55

Really Good Logos, Explained

babyflrst
Creative flrm
Mad Studios
Hong Kong, China

"Time was clearly spent making this baby icon well drawn
and sweet. The pacifier is a great touch . Too bad they didn't
spend more time spacing the type."

Client
babyflrst
Industry
Retail

Babyfirst sells high-end childcare
products in Mainland China. The
) client wanted to convey the
company's "foreign origin" but
cater to local tastes and cultures.
The Chinese government encourages
families to have one child, hence the
single swaddled "HUG ME!" baby,
communicating the preciousness of
an only child . It is a Chinese tradition
to swaddle a newborn baby in red
to confer good fortune on it. The
pacifier communicates well-being.

"A nice execution ofa simple idea. The baby owes a bit too
much to the ellipse tool in Illustrator, and more organic yet
stili-graphic curves would have given it more life and
character. Still, a nice design."
"The designer's statement explains a reason for everything
on this logo: baby, singularity, arms outstretched for
hugging, red color,and pacifier. In the face of such clear
thinking, who can quibble with the 'yfi' and 'rst' ligatures?"

56

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

camp242

Creativenrm
Sayles Graphic Design

Creative nrm
Eye Design Studio
Charlotte, NC

Des Moi nes, IA

Client
Warehouse 242:: a church forthe city

Client

Industry
Church

Industry
Food

Campbell's Nutrition

"A nice interplay of old and new, though the 'C' in the star
could have been better positioned so thatthe top left
cropped either in or out ratherthan just nick the edge."

"This logo feels like a modern update of a classic from the
turn of the century (the last one). It retains a natural feeling
in spite of the clean, flat graphic treatment which gives the
company a sense of history.

"The clash between the classic star and the ornate pattern
creates a beautiful logo mark here. The simple lowercase
type stays out of the way, yet remains highly legible and
complementary. The logo communicates a feeling of old
values in a new context oftradition with modernity."

"It looks like the carrot and 'C' could be pulled out as a
separate icon that would work on its own, too. The script
type is nicely done, and all the details balance well. Nice job."
"This is interesting and very nearly works. A combination of
60S geometric greenery and block typography, rendered in
bold green and orange (and black). The carrot is too basic
compared to the rest ofthe design and could have been
done with more definition and detail, and 'NUTRITION,' in
a flimsy letterspaced serif, seems to have snuck in from
another design.

"Two primary contrasts make this mark work: the curvilinear
shapes ofthe 'C'within the angular star, and the two weights
of type. Nicethat the white space is allowed to infiltrate the
star's perimeter. A border would have killed that activity and
made the star more dominant than the 'C As it is, they are in
near equilibrium."

"The ruler-and-compass curves need some smoothing
throughout as well, but somewhere under all that there's an
eye-catching design."

57

Really Good Logos, Explained

/

~
Creative hrm
The Decoder Ring
Austin, TX

Creative firm
The Whole Package
Fort Collins, CO

Client
Boost Mobile, Inc. and Cornerstone Media

Client
Leila Singleton

Industry
Communications

Industry
Fashion

TREE LEAF
MUS I C

Creative firm
Dotzero Design
Portland, OR

Creative firm
Calagraph ic Design
Elkins Park, PA

Client
Tree Leaf Music

Client
Calagraph IC Design

Industry

Industry
Political

MUSIC

58

"-

"Trashbags" are purses made by hand
from recycled and scrap materials.
Though every bag is unique, they are
all characterized by quilted patches
constructed from old, plastic
shopping bags. The Trashbag logo
was designed to recall thread and
convey a sense of carefree, quirky
elegance. A gestural scribble is paired
with an abstraction of a handle to
create a funky purse icon, which flows
into the logotype. The script typeface
is a custom design.

""

./

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"I'd have liked an icon to go with this."

"I like where this logo almost gets. The idea of a scribble
that's also a purse is great, but this lettering and the scribble
look awkward, like they were drawn with a mouse and not by
hand. Imperfection can be great, so why not push it and do it
by hand (the way the purses are made)?"

"A bold and blockhead logo. It looks like a tattoo on the arm
of a band's roadie. This logo conveys tons of character yet is
executed soundly."

"The designer's statement is complete, and the mark
reaches everyone of her goals. Still, the handle of the purse
is unresolved, because it has nothing in common with the

"Delicious modernist characters that lack curves are set
on a curve-a wonderful contrast. These letterforms
harken to Germanic Blackletter without actually
being Blackletter."

rest of the mark; it contrasts in color, weight, shape, and
line quality.
"Balancing contrast with similarity is the true goal of
relating design form, so having more in common would
make that particular handle the 'right'treatment. That I can
accidentally read 'frashbags' is a smaller quibble, because I
like 'frashbags.' "

TREE LEAF

"A neat little idea-soundwaves and leaf spokes. Typographically, the 'L' is too wide, the 'RE' and 'AF'too close together,
and the ruler-and-compass constructon and rounded end
strokes don't seem to be of the same style as the leaf itself.
"The paler sound waves have a kink in the center due to
the curves not being smoothed out sufficiently; in fact, it
may even bea more elegant logo ifthe lighter waves were
dropped completely. The concept would still be there."

"Appropriate use of'Block'forthe text; it nicely matches the
photocopied and worn nature of the illustration."
"The non-designed quality of this logo makes it work well. It's
about the idea, while the execution stays simple and almost
crude. I want to see the word 'VOTE' larger and almost with
an exclamation point at the end."

"The way the leaf and the tree images both get equal play and
complement each other well is the real success behind this
logo. The colors also workto unify the mark, and the type is
stable and appropriate with or without the logo accomp-

"I completely agree with the sentiment of this mark: participate! But that is either one huge donkey or one youthful

anying it. It works well on many levels."

elephant. The relationship made in the shared girth of their
waists is rightthinking, but the result appears to emphasize
the donkey. That is probably unintentional. Or it is an
insiduously subconscious political message?"

"Love, love, love the leaf. Relatingthe artto type through the
use of color is excellent. But does the use of two fonts add
anything? Why couldn't 'MUSIC' be set in the same face as
'TREE LEAF'? To the extent that it distracts from the leaf art,
it is a wrong choice. One word set in a smaller size is arguably
more distinctive than the one word set in brown, so there is
an unnecessary competition in hierarchy."

59

Really Good Logos, Explained

DogStar
Birmingham,AL

Creative flrm
Alambre Estudio
Donostia, Spain

Client
DogStar

Client
Luma Industnas SA

Industry
Design

Industry
Motorcycle Locking Systems

Creative flrm

"I love this lucky dog mark. It's fun and funny and great as
part of the Dogstar holiday series. Nicely drawn, too."

"I'd love to see how this one was applied. It's an aggressive
mark that seems perfect for the motorcycle market. The
pointy ears and Fu Manchu mustache give it a slightly
devilish quality that works."

"This logo has a beautiful balance of positive and negative-the eyes and nose have a similar weight, shape, and
characteras the clover's 'inlets' and stem,giving it a stylistic
cohesion.

"This bouncer is precisely the kind of guy I'd want to protect
my hog. The mirroring of the eyebrows and mustache reveal
a good relationship, creating design sensitivity."

"The top two leaves nicely double as ears in a simple an
non-contrived manner, with just the right degree of whimsical 'flop.' Finally, the simple green color scheme is all that
is needed."
"If you don't seethe stem as a tongue, you may not see the
dog at all. That suggests the combination of dog plus lucky
clover is skewed slightly too much toward the clover."

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Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

HOT~<l~WEAAS®
M
WARMTH YOU CAN WEAR

Creative nrm
Coastlines Creative Group

Creativenrm
Masood Ahmed
Bronx, NY

Vancouver, Canada
Client
Hotwears

Client
Reds BBQ

Industry
Clothing, Accessory

Industry
Restaurant

"Elegance is the absence of complexity. Note the precision
with which 'WARMTH YOU CAN WEAR' aligns with 'WEARS.'
And I think the flame has a slight suggestion ofthe letter'H.'
Overall, very nicely unified."

"Hot food? Compact urban mark that has a touch of Deco
dinerto it. I can see this working well on shirts, bags,
and menus.
"Typographically, the addition of dots between the 'BBQ'
letters on the right would help overcome the lack of
symmetry (four letters versus three), and curvingthe actual
letters of 'BRONX' rather than just the baseline would have
been more elegant."
"A fitting solution for a Bronx eatery that makes its claim
from being hot and in the Bronx. The use of the thermometer suggests temperature hot, which seems a bit off from
the hot flavor of BBQ they might want to suggest."
"This mark seems about 20 percent too busy, so what is the
most likely candidate for editing? 'BRONX' gets my vote; it
doesn't agree enough . Delete the word and its U-shaped
stripe and embed the word overthe street signs. The added
benefit is the thermometer's bulb then hangs down in all its
roundness and true importance."

61

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative nrm
David Clark Design
Tulsa,OK

Creative nrm

Client
Cherry Street Association

Client
Intellitax

Industry
Tourism

Industry
Accounting

Niedermeier Design
Seattle,WA

"This is a very nicely designed mark that sets exactly the right
tone. The international-symbol simplicity is perfect for a
software product,and the gray matter defined by numbers
gets the mathematicaljaccountingaspect across elegantly
and succinctly. Even ifthe details ofthe smaller numbers are
lost a bit at very small sizes, there is enough information left
to make it work."

"This is a clean, simple icon that really doesn't need type to
communicate."
"Street and cherry-a simple combo drawn directly from
the name. You can't argue with that, though I wonder why
the cherry is slightly larger. It might have been nice to try a
photo ofa real cherry, which may have stopped this design
from sliding into slight dullness."

"Accounting software is interpreted as a brain-which is
literally gray matter!-with numbers. The spacingofthe
numerals and their modest abstraction is handled
sensitively."

"This mark is nne as far as itgoes, which is my way of saying
this looks fairly generic. A diagrammatic approach such as
this needs character.lfthat can't be invented, maybe more
than a diagram is called for. Maybe a photograph ofa stem?
Or a photo of a cherry on top of a photo of a traffic lightanything for an unexpected twist on what is a basically good
idea- so the client can 'own'the mark."

62

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"The feet/bike chain part of this mark is very clever and eyecatching. I wish the application to the googie shape and type
had been better thought out. The type is crying out to be
stacked less rigidly, especially when joined with the
asymmetrical googie shape.
"If the type was less lined up, 'bike'wouldn't have to be
smaller than 'walk', and the ampersand could also be a more
comfortable size."
"A neat concept, well executed. I wonder if we had flipped it
whether we could also have had a 'W'forwalk instead
ofan'M.'

bike&

"The type is a little airy, mainly due tothe ascenders on 'walk.'
Caps may have worked better, though using a rounded style
in keeping with the image is an excellent point of continuity."

walk

"The bike-links-turned-feet concept has legs! The eye wants
to linger on the links-turned-feet illustration more than the
television shape they're in or the rather bloopy type that
changes character as it get bigger and smaller. While those
would be improvements, the sign of agood concept is that
it's hard to kill, and this one survives the day. The people of
Marlborough have an event they can be proud to
participate in."

marlborough

Creative flrm
Lloyds Graphics Design, Ltd
Blenheim, NewZealand
Client
Bike & Walk Marlborough

"Nice combo of feet and bike chain! The type suffers from
size-itis; as type is enlarged or reduced, its weight also
changes, so these four sizes oftype have four different
weights. A logo needs to be handled differently and with
greater care than the typesetting of a headline in a
magazine, where speediness mitigates casual craft.

Industry
Nonproflt

"Also, does the ampersand deserve the visibility it receives
from the contrasting green color? Seems a black plus sign
would blend in and putthe emphasis back where it belongs:
on the sweet artwork."

63

Really Good Logos, Explained

SaGarDOeTxea

hem baten erroak

Creative flrm
Alambre Estudio

Creative flrm
M3Advertising Design
Las Vegas, NV

Donostla, Spain

Client

Client

OpalStar

Sagardoetxea

Industry
HealingArts, Health, Yoga

Industry
Basque Cider Museum

Creative flrm

Creative flrm

Fauxkoi Design Company
Minneapolis, MN

Refinery Design Company
Dubuque,IA

Client
The Dollys

Client
Specialized Bikes

Industry
Music

Industry
Entertainment

64

Chapter 1: Loud & Proud

"The type looks suitably New Age in that vaguely Eastern way
that is suitable for a healing center. Gullible hipsters sign up
here-bringyour own dream catcher."
"This intriguing image inspires several feelings and takes the
mind on a quick little voyage. Good things for a spiritually
conscIous company.

"The crisp, clear use ofthe repeat stripes and the negative
shape forminga structural roof says much with very little
effort. These elements create a staccato energy and suggest
a place, like the mark, that is more than first meets the eye.
That's probably just what a logo for a cider museum in Spain
should be suggesting!"

"The dimensionalized type draws you beyond and suggests a
journey to wonderful places. The custom type treatment is
both appropriately quirky and very distinct."

"The Basque Cider Museum would be a great assignment: lots
of unique attributes (Basque culture + apples + museums)
to play with.

"The dimensionality of the star is exceptional. The type treatment is risky and novel.

"This image is not altogether clear. The Basque region,
straddlingthe Pyrenees Mountains in northern Spain and
southern France, is shaped like a wide triangle, and I suppose
the brown rectangles could be Spain squeezing in from
either side.

"I wish that the type's and star's forms had more in
common. Given this star, it is hard to see what is right with
these lettershapes.lfyou are goingto make custom
letterforms, by all means, do things that unite them with
their image."

"By the way, in Basque, which is a non-Indo European
language, sagar (apple) + ardo (wine) = sagardo (cider). Does
the use of a third colorfor'herri baten erroak' make ittoo
special for its own good?"

"Dollys is on its way to being way cool. The added weight of
a thicker cast shadow would help the mass ofthe logo, as
would an out-of-register print look. The rope is campy-cool
but could be improved by being less detailed and more
varied in weight. The 'the' is almost completely lost.

"Unlike some ofthe other cartoon icons here, this drawing
exhibits a stylistic unity due to consistent line variation and
style. Nicely executed, and an original, left-field but still
relevant idea to boot. I especially like the way the cycling
helmet doubles up as an apple-impact protector."

"The color choice and washed-out look are key to holding it
together and giving it the un pretentiousness that makes it
work."

"Nice quick read with motion and an expressive face. The use
of an extreme perspective really helps with the idea offalling,
gravity, and speed."

"Nice thinking! Classic iconography of country music, circa
1960. The rope's inconsistencies aren't quite rough enough
to look like it's this way on purpose. This would be a killer if a
length of real rope had been shaped and photographed and
slugged in."

"Excellent use of speed lines to double as exclamation marks
as our hero is aboutto get bonked byfallingfruit."

65

Really Good Logos, Explained

Creative nrm
Lloyds Graphics Design, Ltd.
Blenheim, New Zealand

Creative nrm
Fresh Oil
Pawtucket, RI

Client
Spark Events

Client
Yoshi

Industry
Event Creation

Industry
Restaurant

"This logo has a nice color choice; it is well matched tonally."

"The'S' remains readable despite the level of abstraction and
the unusual name."

"Simple execution that is well balanced and communicates
confidence and competency. The kerning in 'SPARK' needs
a little more attention, butthe overall effect is a logo that
communicates 'This is a company prepared to add ideas and
execute on the promises it makes.'''

"This is a clever and expressive logo; it says 'Japanese with a
twist.' And it's highly memorable and effortless in its
simplicity. Reversed out (on a chef's uniform or on a neon
sign), it can't be ruined or weakened. And it's very
ownable, too."

"Handsome, clean relationships. Great color combination:
gray plus a color is always a terrific pairing that shows
restraint, sophistication, and energy.

"Excellent combination of highly abstract digital typemuch of which comes from Japan-and the traditional
'Rising Sun.' ''

"I just checked : Google lists overtwo million images of sparks,
a few of which might be more distinctive than this Illustratorcreated version."

66

Chapter 1 : Loud & Proud

"Tharn it! I love the eye illustration here; it's very creepy and
powerful, but the type really lets the symbol down. This
feels like the designer needed to get off the computer and
use his fingers."
"The expanse of black and the crop ofthe eyes definitely
communicates an edgy intensity. There is a mismatch
between the roughness ofthe type, the roughness of the
black panel, and the roughness of the eyes.
" This logo would have more cohesion if the art had been
prepared with traditional cut-and-paste methods using real
typewriter type enlarged on a copier or PMT camera, then
assembled, copied a few more times for added grit, then
scanned and saved as a TIFF for final art."
"The eyes peering out ofthe black window set a bold tone
and stark drama. The overall effect of this mark is
successful, but attention to craftsmanship and detailing
could have turned a solid idea into an enduringone.
" The square form that contains the eyes takes on the shape of
a 'blockhead' and makes me wonder if a different shape and
possibly including some of the type with that carrier shape
would be stronger."

Creative Ii rm
Misha Birmele DesignerGraphics
Pasadena, CA

" Intensity comes through loud and clear. The scratchy type
is well matched to the style of the artwork. Two thoughts on
the type: the lowercase '0' stands out because it is the only
miniscule letter (the rule for making something effectively
disappear is to have it agree with its