Yet another new logo design- Suggestions? (please!)

laurieann143's picture

Some day, I will be more than happy to pay someone top-dollar for this work. Today though, I'm just glad to have internet.

I own a business, changing directions and looking at going into the nonprofit sector. I'm designing (by necessity) my own new logo. I've pieced together a sillhouette image that I think I want to use, but an important part of the image might be too small.
My main question is, how to position the lettering? Is it ok to have the company name and website floating off to the side like this? Any constructive criticism is welcome!
Also, I want the font to be clean and modern, "respectable", yet have some character. This font is called "Cicle." Oh, and the lower one is Calibri.

Thanks!

laurieann143's picture

I guess I should have said up front: looking for a new font!

HVB's picture

[Non-designer, non-professional opinion follows]

I think that the text, no matter what the font, is too small relative to the overall size of the composition. A better balance between the size of the tree and the size of the text should be aimed for. Because the main text is adjacent to the widest part of the tree, it looks squeezed in and almost pushed off the page. Rasing it up about halfway to the top would give it more room and allow it to be bigger (unless you're ok with splitting the name into two or more lines)

The url could be completely separated from the name - placing it closer to the ground would also improve the overall balance.

As to the font(s) themselves, have you considered how the logo will look next to whatever font(s) you want to use for your webpages, snail-mail letters, and so forth? It's not easy, but it's best to be able to consider the organization's image and typographic identity as a whole, rather than as separate pieces.

- Herb

R.'s picture

The illustration strongly reminds me of this one for Amazon Kindle. Sure, it’s a rather generic subject, but you might want to avoid mix-ups.

laurieann143's picture

Holy sh*t. Thanks, R. I've never seen that. There goes about a week of my life...do you think it looks like plagarism?

The tree is a vector graphic I got somewhere, and the child was a photograph I took myself. It's the one thing I've done myself I was happy with.

laurieann143's picture

Thank you, Herb. I messed with it...


Clearly, I need a professional.

hrant's picture

Yes, it's too close to the Kindle motif.
Replace the kid with a bow.
Dump the grass (or if you keep it, make it coarser in detail, like the tree).

For the font I think something heavier and more organic is in order - like this:
http://www.erinmclaughlin.com/
Or if you're crazy consider this gem:
http://www.1001fonts.com/antherton-cloister-font.html

Most of all: good luck with your venture.

hhp

JamesM's picture

I agree with most of the comments above; here are a couple of other thoughts.

Consider dropping "www" from your URL. It makes the URL longer without adding anything useful. It's 2013 and everyone knows that "[name].org" is a URL.

Also, why does your organization's name start with "the" but your ULR doesn't? It would be better if they were consistent. If that's not possible, consider downplaying "the" in the name; it's a weak beginning for a name anyway. Maybe put "the" in smaller type.

5star's picture

The Gift of Green??? What the does that mean ...I mean really. And seriously count the number of times you've graphically stated /green/ ...by my count 5 times!!

Funny/ironic that the illustration is rendered in white lol! but is trying to communicate green?
The sky is green ... wtf? Smog over Beijing ... is that green smog of the organic kind? Or are you selling eco paints?

What's this nonprofit all about?

n.

laurieann143's picture

Thanks, all. Super helpful.
Here's a different version I had earlier...I decided it looked more like a banner than a logo.

(I just removed the www- thx James)

5star: You don't pull punches, cool. I agree it's kind of a 'green' overload...but I was attributing it to myself being sick of staring at it. Do you really think the background color is bad because it's not sky colored, or are you just giving me a hard time?

5star's picture

1st rule of graphic design ... personal emotions not allowed. It's not that you shouldn't develop a thick skin ... it's a matter of you don't need one.

Green bg is ok, but it's to general. There's no hierarchy. And the white just knocks a hole right through it. Not every element should be all that dramatic. Drama is created by using a contrast or by using either a crescendo or decrescendo technique.

For instance, as an example, a simple broad course brush stroke. The stroke imparts direction, movement, an organic aesthetic. Solid graphic design is knowing how to strip an idea down to what really matters ...removing all cheap sentiment.

Hope that helps.

Even with your second rendition I still don't know what Gift of Green is all about... and proportions are all off, is that a bonsai tree? Why use the word /the/ at all? Stop cramming everything all together. Green smudge.

n.

laurieann143's picture

You're right. Elegance. Thank you.

JamesM's picture

> 1st rule of graphic design
> personal emotions not allowed

If you're saying that a designer shouldn't be bothered by criticism, I don't think that's realistic for most folks. I'd agree that a designer should listen to feedback and use it as a way to improve his/her work, but nobody likes having their work criticized.

Luma Vine's picture

Do not Criticize: Indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way: "they criticized the failure of Western nations".

Do Criticize: Form and express a judgment of (a literary or artistic work).

Source: google dictionary

5star's picture

Elegance.

Wayyy back, when I was really green, I was given a list of words to graphically design ...elegance was one of them. In fact it was that one word which led me down several paths of study/investigation/learning ...classical music being one of them. In the end I began to develop an understanding that I could learn from Masters in other disciplines.

Elegance ...has rhythm of its own. Is that what you're after ...elegance? What to you is elegant?

If you're saying that a designer shouldn't be bothered by criticism, I don't think that's realistic for most folks. ...nobody likes having their work criticized.

Ain't that the truth. But there's really nothing better than receiving honest crits and comments from those who have the ability to express. Peter Schjeldahl (who I absolutely respect) to name but one. And speaking of Peter Schjeldahl this is what he has said about the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei...

Not much about what he does is aesthetically novel. But his art works are always elegant, superbly crafted, and mightily theatrical, perhaps making up in splendor what they lack in fertility. *

There's that word again ...elegant ;)

n.

*www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2012/10/22/121022craw_artworld_schjeldahl#ixzz2I48PSsVn

JamesM's picture

A tough thing in business is learning how to criticize or disagree without offending, and learning how to take criticism constructively. Whole books have been written on the subject.

Some people are thick-skinned, of course, but others aren't. In my first full-time job after college I told the company copywriter that I disagreed with some of her editing, and she was angry at me for weeks, which was a problem since I had to work with her on a daily basis. Over the years I've seen many writers/artists/designers who were easily offended by criticism.

But I agree that honesty (tempered with tact) is usually the best policy.

laurieann143's picture

I came here for honest criticism. I'm an amateur. I'm a plants, trees & dirt person (gardener.) I own my own company & do everything myself, including all the advertising & web design, even though I don't have a clue what I'm doing. Everything is from the gut and any helpful criticism is more than welcome. Here's my website- malonejohnsonlandscape.com I'd love any advice on that, too, seriously.

The Gift of Green is going to be an offshoot of my existing business. I can't stand the fact that by necessity, I've been focusing all my energy on catering to people with big bank accounts. It's become almost a luxury to be able to sit under a tree and read a book (that's what the logo image idea was all about.) Not to mention the native birds and bugs need the native plants to live. PLUS, I have a sick kid-it's not always easy to get her outside in nature, but when she does, those are always her best days, and I know that this is true for human beings in general. So I'm adding a service to my company which will enable us to go beyond the standard way of doing things- hopefully, being able to help ANYONE who wants a little bit of nature to have it. That's why I'm going nonprofit. So it needs to appeal to potential donors-those who give for environmental reasons, and human wellbeing reasons. That a lot to pack into one little logo. I want to channel Steve Jobs and Ernest Hemingway, that's all. No pressure. And I don't even know how to use Photoshop.

I definitely do not want to conjure images of smog over Bejing. Do you think I should scrap it and start from scratch?

laurieann143's picture

To answer the question re: elegance, yes, it is what I'm after. To me, elegance is unobtrusive but persuasive. It is suggestive of good taste.

Luma Vine's picture

Your story is way more powerful than anything made with photoshop.

laurieann143's picture

Thank you! ...how do I tell it in this format?

JamesM's picture

That's an inspiring story; good for you.

> That's why I'm going nonprofit.

Do you mean your entire business is becoming a non-profit, or are you keeping your regular business and forming a separate non-profit?

> So it needs to appeal to potential donors

That's a nice idea but it might be difficult in today's economy, especially with competition from so many other charitable organizations. Getting volunteer gardeners to donate a few hours of their time might be easier than getting cash donations.

JamesM's picture

> That a lot to pack into one little logo

Logos are important, but a small non-profit organization's clients are probably going to come mostly from word-of-mouth recommendations, referrals from people and agencies, and so forth. It's not like your logo is printed on millions of product labels or featured in a huge advertising campaign. Just a nice, clean, simple logo will probably serve your non-profit well.

If you're offering a good service for free, you probably won't have any trouble finding customers. :) And since it's a non-profit, maybe you could find a local graphic designer willing to donate some time to help develop the logo and advertising materials.

5star's picture

n.

laurieann143's picture

My goodness. That's pretty cool.

laurieann143's picture

I would like the whole thing to become a non-profit. I know, I sound delusional. We'll see how it goes.

5star's picture

My goodness. That's pretty cool.

Thx, just free flowing with what you've expressed.

I know there's something awesome going on perhaps to seen somewhere down road. A street raw poetic quality without all the puss of a romantic ooze.

Perhaps.

n.

JamesM's picture

> I know, I sound delusional

No, not at all. I just think it might be difficult. I have a friend who is a landscape designer and she's involved in an ongoing charitable project (a large memorial flower garden) and they find it challenging to raise funds. (Getting volunteers is a bit easier, but only in the planning/planting stages; no one wants to come during the summer for the less exciting jobs of watering and weeding.)

laurieann143's picture

Yes in fact, it's darn near impossible. I've been mentally picking apart the problem for a couple of years, writing and trashing business plan after business plan. I have an *idea* that needs to be put into the right words to present it to the right people-. I think I'm almost there, with that. I've bounced the idea off of 2 people with economics degrees and got their approval, for what that's worth...it's pretty detailed, but basically simple. -I am starting on the website, and need to get ready to make signs and letterhead etc.

laurieann143's picture

5star, I really like what you did. That way of breaking out of my uptight little box...it's what I need.

JamesM's picture

> writing and trashing business plan after business plan.

You've probably thought of this already, but you might want to see if you can find other garden design non-profits that are successful, and ask them for advice.

laurieann143's picture

Thanks, James. I've done a bit of searching, but haven't found anyone who does this particular thing. It's going to be interesting to find out if my plan has potential.

My biggest obstacle is that I don't work alone very well. The hours turn to days...to weeks..months...

5star's picture

5star, I really like what you did. That way of breaking out of my uptight little box...it's what I need.

Thx again, interesting remarks on several levels.

Trying to be clever is lethal. Forcing a graphic to do tricks like it's performing in three ring circus is fine ...until the next trick comes along. And then it become used/stale. Most graphic designers try to be clever, try to find a trick. A clever twist on this on that. But the problem there is that it all becomes boringly clever. How many different ways can you merge letter shapes? How many different ways can you make words perform tricks? Until everything is nothing more than a clever little amusement ride of tricks??? And upping the trick by adding an image to the text, only adds a smirk to the cleverness. And on it's lowest level ...clever alignment dulls the senses.

That's the 'box' ...trying to be clever ...in my humble opinion of course.

The above graphic works because it is honest ...nothing more than overlayed raw relationships of organic expressions. The bottom layer is of natural forms in vibrant mono-color, a tree, a human figure, a field of grass. And the rhythms thereof. A top layer of unnatural forms in non-color, white Georgia type and black text blocks. And the rhythms thereof.

One dynamic organic rhythm over another. One rhythm of color, one rhythm of non-color (achromatic). And the viewer ...and that is where the rubber meets the road :) Allowing the viewer to participate... inviting the viewer to participate. Depth...

No tricks.

n.

laurieann143's picture

I see what you're saying. It's kind of the same with what I do in landscape design. You don't want your work to look like you're trying really hard; you want it to appear as if it just grew that way because it works so well with its surroundings.

5star's picture

Hey yo what up?

n.

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