Typographic logo set critique

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David Somerville's picture
Joined: 1 Feb 2007 - 12:13pm
Typographic logo set critique

Well, hi! My name is David, and I've been watching in stunned silence for quite some time now as you type masters gambol among ligatures and kerning. I'm deeply impressed by the breadth and depth of knowledge represented here, and would now like to get a piece of the action!

I'm attaching a bit of logo design I made for our small in-house educational materials publishing company. I not only welcome critiques on these, I ask for them in imploring tones. I might stoop to begging, although hopefully it won't come to that.

Please be as theoretical or as nitpicky as the mood suits!

Alaskan's picture
Alaskan (not verified)

You're requesting nitpicky? Are you insane? I've been thinking of changing my official job title to Graphic Nitpicker. :)

Overall, I really admire the work you've done; it's not easy to make five logos work together. Can we see them all on one page?

First off, Pop Quiz is my favorite. Very clever and whimsical - well executed. Nice.

Tapestry needs kerning - especially between the T and A ... and the "STR". Also, if you're going to vary the size of the text, then perhaps the word "of" could be smaller? Right now it looks too close (in size) to the rest of the font.

I like where you're going with "Writing Aids," but I don't understand how changing fonts adds anything. Did you try it with one font?

Map Aids has potential - but I wanna take my dustbuster to it. Perhaps fewer swirls, carefully placed with thicker lines, would have more impact?

Egypt works well at small scale - but viewed at full size the words "go" and "to" run together.

Feeling nitpicked yet?

Ryan Torres's picture
Joined: 1 Feb 2007 - 5:58pm

Take everything I say as my personal opinion, and as how I would approach these logos. As with everything, a little bit of Morton's iodized would go well with my words.

1. Tapestry of Grace - The letters could do with more letterspacing. Using small caps just breaks down the quick readability and a little more letterspacing could help. If you need the overlap of R over A see if there is a swash character available and stretch the outline. The "of," because it is the most different in forn, is upstaging the rest of the type. If you are going to change size make sure you change it enough to make it look like a choice and not a mistake. It just ends up clashing here.

2. Map Aids - What is the intent of the logo, because the wordmark of map is communicating "messy" and for aids is "sterile." Try a more humanist sans for aids, and maybe remove the extra strokes around the a and p of map, The geometry is making me feel as if no one really wants to help me and I'll get a computer-packaged answer.

3.Writing aids - Match the x-heights on writing and aids, otherwise it communicates a comparative preference of writing over the aids and the idea is to make the difference in height large enough to not look like a mistake and instead be a conscious choice.

4. POP Quiz - Nice idea. Kerning on the Q and U is off. The tie acts as an arrow and leads my eye away from the logo. I never see the word Quiz. Have you experimented with other placements for it? Also, look for the swash alternate on the Q, and see if you like that better.

5. Egypt - The idea is a little on the nose. Egypt in torn papyrus looking text... a little on the forgettable side. Again open up the letterspacing. It's okay to do it, I won't tell, and will help legibility at smaller sizes.

Overall, nice explorations, but I feel you can push further. Be more experimental and make things more memorable. Make sure you pay attention to what the logo is communicating, your message needs to be tighter.

David Somerville's picture
Joined: 1 Feb 2007 - 12:13pm

Thanks Alaskan and Ryan, that's really helpful! I knew my letterspacing was off - thanks for detailing that. And Ryan, your impressions of the logos are excellent. I definitely feel like I have direction for improvement.

I was pondering last night, I think my word choice of "logos" may have been misleading. As I mentioned, I work for an educational publishing company, so these logos are product logos, more than corporate identities (which doesn't negate any of what was said, but I think might be helpful in honing further input). Go here and here to see some of them in context.

Here are all five on one sheet, with brief(ish) explanations. Is that helpful?

Also, regarding the input on the sterile sans serif, our corporate font identity consists of Minion Pro and Univers (hence those specific choices for Writing Aids). How important is it to use the text font in the title, would you say? That is, given that the product is set in Minion Pro and Univers (or, for some web products, Arial), is it appropriate to put the title in another text sans serif, or would that dilute the visual consistency?

And how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if he had a land clearing permit and a backhoe?

Matthew Anderson's picture
Joined: 5 Apr 2006 - 11:33am

i just wrote a more detailed, helpful entry than this, then deleted it. now i don't have time to repeat it. my apologies. but i was just playin' around here, what do you think?

David Somerville's picture
Joined: 1 Feb 2007 - 12:13pm

My initial response was, out loud, "Oh, cool!" My boss said, "What?" I was gonna show her, but then I thought it might take too long to explain why I wasn't staring at InDesign. ;0)

I really like that ... but I feel like I would need to tuck the tie higher up into the collar to make it work, don't you?