My first Critique (Court Logo)

aluminum's picture

I hope this is fitting for this forum. It's more logo-related than logo-type-related, but seeing the great critiques here compelled me to post. Plus, I'm the only graphic designer in the building, so it helps to get other's input.

This is a logo for our branch of government here in MN. I've come up with 3 variations that I (and a few others) seem to think are the strongest. I now need your harsh, honest critiques!

There's one disclaimer, and one I'll probably take some heat for saying...but I an limited to only free fonts and whatevers on my machine (gasp!). As our state is in the hole a few billion, getting darrel a few licensed fonts isn't really on the priority list.

So, here they are.

Logo one (uses Tanek, from CSA) represents the state (duh) and the 10 court districts rendered in a stained-glass-like way. This also hints at the stained glass ceiling installation in the supreme court. PROS: nice double-meaning, simple CONS: not as nice in one-color.

Logo two (uses Futura, from Apple, and Covington, from apostrophiclab) is the more 'elegant' of the bunch (if not just a bit hokey). It's the state bird perched upon a roman column. (bird = MN, column = courhouse) PROS: most 'regal' of the bunch CONS: is it hokey? (Most have said 'no' but I still wonder...)

Logo three (uses Futura, from Apple) is a simple rendering of common iconography...the state and the scales of justice. PROS: recognizable iconography CONS: cliche? Too trendy?

Logos (GIF)

now, let me have it!

John Hudson's picture

I'd be concerned in the third option about misinterpretation: 'In Minnesota, the road to justice is a crooked one'.

What about blindfolding the majestic loon and hanging a scale off each wing? Just kidding!

rburke's picture

I agree with Stephen, #3 is very nice. But, if
you decide on number #2, I'd try some other
font variations. The Futura/Covington combo
isn't working for me.

You may also want to simplify the illustration
a bit and fine-tune the logotype to work as one
solid unit.

hrant's picture

The loon is just looney. The third one is too artsy. I think the first one is the nicest, and the b&w version could just dump the districts, or render them as lines.

hhp

brennan's picture

yeah, what Rick said.

I did a search and got this pillar style:

pillar

I think the logo has to say strength and durability.
I also did a search on Judicial branches in the
US and 99% of the logos were contained in a circle.
Boring.
Looks like you have a chance to do something unique.

bren


aluminum's picture

Hey guys...thanks for all of the critiques! This is helping.

To respond to some of the comments...

> you have some kerning to do

Yea, I really need to work on all of the type on these...I just set them as-is for now.

> I'd be concerned in the third option about
> misinterpretation: 'In Minnesota, the road
> to justice is a crooked one'.

Do you think people would read that much into it? It's an interesting observation.

> The loon is just looney.
and
> is the only one that seems appropriate
> for a judicial branch.

*sigh*...that's been my dilema. I'll think I'll let the client decide on this one ;o)

> 1 has a good concept, but the
> execution is too... Well, too CSA

Ha! There's a reason for that. I had a buddy over at CSA critique it and suggest a lot of what you see there...not to mention that (coincidently) the face I was using was from CSA as well. ;o)

I have some other variations of that that I'll work on...the fine-etched engraving idea is a good one.

> Is there a classy way to render the loon,
> so it's not so cartoony?

Do you think it's the illustration style, or the fact that it's just a loon? I'll work on that some more.

> #3 is way too trendy...even though, we could all guess that the client asked for it.

It kind of goes without saying that one of the options needs to be a state/scales of justice. Yea, it's incredibly cliche, so I tried to at least have fun with it. I do have several other style variations that I'll post when I get the chance for comparison.

> I think the logo has to say strength and durability.

Could you say a bit more about that Brennan? I assume you were referring to the column logo. Were you referring to the style? Line weight?

Again, thanks everyone. I'll try and post some more this afternoon (if not new stuff, some of the sketches up to this point...)

-Darrel

brennan's picture

>Could you say a bit more about that Brennan?
>I assume you were referring to the column logo.
>Were you referring to the style? Line weight?

Well, the way I see it is that the Judicial system
is about strength against criminality.
A simple solid logo would convey that and I think
No.2 will work well in that style. That pillar pic
I posted was the kind of style I am refering to,
bold and simple.

bren


capthaddock's picture

Far out!

I like #1, but it's definitely unorthodox. But if it works with the attitude of Minnesota and the state's other identity schemes, go for it.

The spot colours in the stained glass part will look neat overprinted like that.

I'm not sure I like the choice of fonts in that one.

I agree with Hrant: the black-and-white version should leave out the stained glass bits altogether.

Paul

aluminum's picture

> Well, the way I see it is that the Judicial system
> is about strength against criminality.

That's just one part of it. Criminal court is just a segment of the court system. There's juveniles, divorces, bankruptcies, child support, etc. So it's more about 'fairness for all' than the courts being 'against' anything in particular.

That doesn't mean it shouldn't be a 'strong' mark, though. ;o)

>But if it works with the attitude of
>Minnesota and the state's other identity
>schemes, go for it.

Well, in some ways I am fortunate in that I'm starting from scratch. There really aren't any departments with an identity (except for maybe the tourism board).

Well, I was hoping to have new stuff to post, but the project has been side tracked this week. I did promise something, so here are some of the logo variations prior to the ones above...



No need to comment on them (unless you want to). I just thought I'd post some of the steps in the process thus far...

aluminum's picture

Well, four months later, and here's what we are close to going with:

final court logo

Of course, as many of you have pointed out (and as I've always known) if you show a client multiple options, they'll always choose the least interesting of the bunch. I did try and simplify it a bit so it wasn't quite as trendy and hopefully the lock-up in a color block will be used consistently. We'll see. ;o) I still need to tweak the kerning and such.

Thanks for all of the advice everyone!


kakaze's picture

Aww, I wish I'd seen this thread earlier.

I really like the first design...it has a cool 50s feel to it. Even the font has that 50s sort of look to it.

It's a shame they never pick the more interesting logos :-\

sativo's picture

I think the final is nice. I liked the mark version with the shape of the state in the background with the star. Adds a little more weight to balance out the typogrpahics.

brennan's picture

Darrel, it has been a while!
I'm glad that you have *almost* reached a final version! ;p
(I know how some clients can be)

bren

Stephen Coles's picture

I like all of these, Darrel. I'd go with the bottom right.
If you go with #1 you have some kerning to do. The
"MN" is tucked into the 'J', but the "BRANCH" is not
into the 'L'. Maybe that was on purpose, but it distracts.

Joe Pemberton's picture

#1 has a good concept, but the execution is too... Well,
too CSA, and is inappropriate. I'm sure there are better
ways to execute an illustration here. Think fine-etched
engraving (like money perhaps).

#2 is the only one that seems appropriate for a judicial
branch. The pillar is a better (less obvious) way to say
'law' than the scales of justice. That said, the pillar is still
obvious. Is there a classy way to render the loon, so it's
not so cartoony?

#3 is way too trendy. The color, the illustration stlye,
even the subject matter is ultra-obvious (which is why
you've rendered it this way, I'm guessing). I'd avoid this
direction, even though, we could all guess that the
client asked for it.

Best of luck.

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