Logo Design Revisited. Old logo amended | WebReference

Logo Design Revisited. Old logo amended

 
  Old logo amended
 
 

As for the differences between these two logos, they can all be ascribed to the general desire to simplify the original design.  After the presence of an engaging "visual concept" mentioned above, simplicity is definitely the second most important prerequisite for a successful logo. Auguste Rodin once said that he created his sculptures by taking a lump of material and removing everything which was not essential; here, the old design was that lump of material, and it was not all that easy to figure out what was essential in it and what was not.

  • While the old design had three squares at different angles, the new one has only two.  This is not merely a simplification; this change implies a different visual concept. As I mentioned, the old logo presents the idea of a "transition" between the two objects with one intermediate step, while in the new one we only have a static square and its drop shadow on the floor.

    Although the new concept is admittedly less complicated, perhaps even to the point of being commonplace, from the visual viewpoint the simpler design has some advantages precisely because it's simpler.  For a transition theme to really work, the transition stages must be more equal in prominence, and for the meaning of transition to be immediately obvious, the shapes should ideally be positioned symmetrically (in other words, the logo's asymmetry may clash with its core meaning of transition).

    Also, in the old design the topmost shape is hardly a square as it's stretched too much vertically.  In the new logo, I changed the shape to an exact square not only to meet the "squareware" implication of the company name, but most importantly, because the old distorted shape was a serious design mistake.  If some of your elements resemble a square or a circle, they must be a mathematically precise square or circle, or they'll become a major annoyance.  When distorting something in a logo, you must go up to the point when it becomes evident for everyone that the thing is distorted, not that the monitor is slightly maladjusted.

  • The most drastic change, however, is that of the textual part of the logo and its connection to the graphic.  It was to be expected from the beginner designer that I was two years ago that some artificial, far-fetched means would be used to make an integral whole out of the graphic and the text.  Quite naturally, these unnatural means could not produce a satisfactory result.

    The small sphere with a highlight that ties together the dot in "i" and the common corner of the three squares in the old logo was motivated by the feeling that this important point in the graphic, if left alone without proper emphasizing, will "hang in the air." This apprehension was plain wrong; on the contrary, the bottom corner of the squares feels much better when it's absolutely free, not only without any sphere, but also without the text pushing it too closely from below.

    So, paradoxically, a much better coordination of the text and graphic is achieved by moving the company name further off the graphic, almost to the point of the composition falling apart.  Of course, this sparse placement should be supported by the corresponding sparsity in the close neighborhood of the logo on a page: if you place something closer to the logo than the logo's text is to the graphic, you won't have an integral logo any more.

    I also had to make the size of the text much smaller in the new logo than it was in the old one (in some sense, reducing the text size is equivalent to moving it further apart of the graphic).  My goal was to make the text not a counterbalance for the graphic (which is pretty much balanced in itself), but rather a complementary element, a visual extension of the bottom black "shadow."  Hence the small size, bold (i.e. "black") face, and a sans serif font (Franklin Gothic) legible in small sizes.  This element's spaced-out lettering, besides further de-emphasizing the text, helps it to remain a part of the logo despite being almost torn off the graphic.

  • The color scheme, as always, deserves a separate discussion.  The old logo's "transition" theme dictated using three shades of the same hue.  This is perfectly logical, but the problem is that four colors (counting the text's black) is definitely too much for any logo, even if there is only one common hue to them (as the black has no hue of its own, it can be always considered the hue of its closest neighbor color).  The resulting color scheme cannot be accused of motleyness, but it is nevertheless too complex and subtle for a logo.

    The first obvious step was to make the bottom square the same color as the text, i.e. black.  Along with abandoning the idea of a transition and eliminating the middle square, this made it possible to limit the saturated color to the top square only, and gave me much more freedom in choosing that color without regard to whether it can form a good "transition" sequence of shades or not.  The bright green I selected was approved by the customer as fresh, energizing, and not too conventional (the majority of logos today use blue tones).

 

Created: Nov. 10, 1998
Revised: Nov. 10, 1998

URL: http://www.webreference.com/dlab/9811/amended.html