Calligrahic monogram & wordmark for photographer

mitchell's picture

This is for a photographer just getting started out on his own name. He is primarily focusing as a wedding photographer. He wants something classy (obviously), and since he is going for high-dollar clients he wants something exclusive feeling and fashion-like.

version 1
v1


version 2
v2

He's really liking what I have so far but since I've very little experience with calligraphy I am mainly concerned with how well the monogram is working. I have two versions and am aware of their need for polish on the curves, but how are the base forms and is stroke variance as it should be?

Of course, I'd love to see any comments on the type as well. I'm using Candida for the name, and Helvetica Neue 33 for

sean's picture

Nice work.

I am fond of the "L" in version one, and the "B"
in two.

The main thing I see is that the modulation
in the strokes that encircle the letters should
be varied.

For instance the "L", in one, should not stop
but should continue on till the end of the top of
the "B" where the stroke is the thinnest.

The same thing is true with the swash of the
"B" it should be thickest toward the middle.

I am also wondering if the color of the symbol
could better match the color of the type. They
seem a little disconnected to me.

I think it is quite nice despite my critique.

-smc

hrant's picture

I think "photography" should be in a font highly compatible with the "B"; like maybe Isadora; you might have to match the inclination angles.

hhp

mitchell's picture

sean, thanks. I think I'm with you about the "L" in 1 and the "B" in 2. I'm going to look into working that in to version 1.

Also the modulation you suggested was what I naturally went for at first but I thought that it was detracting from the mark, but that was on much earlier and rougher versions, and I've been thinking I'd look into it again. I realize that currently it's not how it would work if the pen was held at a cosistent angle troughout.

As for the color of the mark I'm quite sure that I don't want to go any heavier with the face used for the name, so I'd have to lighten the mark. Is this what you mean?

Hrant, good call on Isadora, it was the face I looked at most when coming up with this. I have tried it for "photography" but the client is really not into it. He feels it is just what you would expect. I think it goes well with the mark but am with him on not using it (or any other scripts). Especially since the bold weight of Isadora seems the best match and is overpowering to the name. But if anyone feels that the helvetica is quite an eyesore in this please speak up.

Thanks for the critique. I'd love to hear more from anyone.

mitchell

mitchell's picture

sean, I've got a version with what I believe you were thinking of with the stroke modulation. I also bumped out the bottom bowl and pushed in the upper bowl of the "B" to make it more like the one in version 2. Whadaya think?

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mitchell's picture

v2, now with modulation on the surrounding strokes
mmm... more stroke modulation
comments?

sean's picture

OK Mitchell, out of the latest two versions I
like the "B" from the first one and the "L" from
the second. I know I am totally flipping my
preferences but that is just how it is. Does that
combination work?

I like the slope of the first one better as well.

Concerning the stokes that surround the
letters I think it is looking better, but now they
might be too heavy. I say cheat them and
make them technically lighter than the second
try but appear appear that they may be the
same width as the letters. I am sure that
I like the strokes on the second one better when
they do not wrap as much. It is getting there in
my opinion but it still needs some clean up on
those curvy arm things.

I wish someone else would share their opinion.

I am a little worried about the top of the "L"
disappearing at smaller sizes. You will have to
determine that. It is too hard to tell on screen.

-smc

mitchell's picture

>I know I am totally flipping my preferences
So your saying I should take the

sham's picture

I like the first versions better - the circle in the new version wants to be an "O" to me and makes it harder to focus on the pretty ligature.

I think the one from March 31 suits the purpose best, but I'd still like the encircling decoration to have less heft.

It would look lovely embossed (really embossed), but where the loop of the "L" crosses the circle might be funky. Would this direction work?
no cross

gulliver's picture

I think Ly has a point; whereas before, the "BL" symbol was the focus, enclosed in a sort of circle, now the unintentional letter "O" has been introduced to the symbol, and detracts attention from what should be the focus.

My two cents (adjusted for the economy).

David

aquatoad's picture

Hi Mitchell,

I think you're off to a lovely start with the mark and agree it would look excellent embossed. I'd like to speak to the text for a minute. I think there are a three issues to consider:

1) I thing you've got too many styles working in one logo. There's the script mark, the serif name, and sans photography. I think you would do well to limit the design in this regard.

2) Given that your mark is really calligraphic with diagonal stress and large variance in stroke weight, It probably makes sense to choose a serif type with similar properties. One that comes to mind that would keep the feel of what you've got going is Poetica small caps (I wouldn't use any of the swashes, keep it simple and let your mark do the talking). As an alternative, maybe try a script. While I can see the why Hrant would point you towards Isadora, in this case I think its the wrong choice. I'd first try a spencerian script.

3) I think the current arrangement of mark and logotype are out of proportion/position. In a mark-on-left arrangement, I'd reduce it's size by at least 70%. Also try a centered arrangement.

On a side note, two fashion faces that come to mind that are at least as prolific as helvetica... Optima and Didot, neither of which would work with your mark. (So helpful!)

BTW, I don't mind the heavier circle/O.

Good Luck,
Randy

aquatoad's picture

Oops, that should read:
3) ...Reduce the mark's size by about 30%.

Sorry,
Randy

sean's picture

I like what Ly has done to it. I have been
looking at that bottom of that "L" and
something bothered me. I just could not
figure out how to fix it. I think Ly hit on
something there.

And I agree that the circle part is to heavy now.
As I said in an earlier post;

> Concerning the stokes that surround the
letters I think it is looking better, but now they
might be too heavy. I say cheat them and
make them technically lighter...
but
appear to be the same weight visually.

Looking forward to the next posting.

-smc

andrij's picture

nice work, Mitchell!
i like first one. sure, if you change font in

mitchell's picture

Ly, it looks as if your thoughts reached me before I even read the critique, I came here ready to post your suggestion :-)
bl3
It seems most of you agree that the encircling strokes are detract from the "BL". I think this latest version is better in that regard, even with the thick strokes.

Randy, I think I'm in agreement on the proportions and the reduction of styles. I know that Brian is quite pleased (settled) with Candida for the name (so am I, by itself at least) Though other fonts better match the mark. Well, he's actually quite pleased with it all, and I think he will more or less take my opinion on where to go with the mark. I'm definetly still trying to figure it all out though.

in case anyone's interested, a little history to show how I arrived here:

First came the wordmark because Brian and I had agreed that most important was his name and it should be able to stand alone. A mark would be great but just a name would be fine. What Brian was looking for was coming out of the advertisements in the magazine Elegant Bride and logotypes like Gucci, Armani, Donna Karan. Think the Luxury collection from Orange Italic. I showed a few faces and a few marks but no marks grabbed him, and the Candida mark was what he liked.

Then on the business cards and such, we needed to identify what he offered. So "photography" was added (but should not have to appear everyhere his logo does). Being there no monogram (third style) yet, the fashionable helvetica extended was chosen.

Then I was inspired by this excellent work and the work in

sean's picture

Great work Mitchell.

I am putting out a strong vote for 4.2A. This
is clearly my favorite. It has the strongest
negative vs. positive relationship. I also think
it will look better at small sizes than the others.
That top of the "L" has really been cleaned
up. Now, I would account for a bit of ink
trapping there to avoid plugging it up when
printing it.

As for earlier comments concerning ' the
unintentional letter "O" ...that detracts
attention from what should be the focus' ,
I would argue, particularly with the latest
changes you have made, that this is not true.
In reality the shape is a clear continuation of
the letter forms. In fact, I believe that it is the
thinner lines are guilty of distracting from the
letters. In this case they are really something
other than parts of the letter forms. They
are disconnected.

Hey, Mitchell that is a great link by the way. Thanks.

-smc


Miss Tiffany's picture

Mitchell:

I've not posted until now, but I like the simplicity of your post from Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 9:26 am, but with the changes in version 4.2A above. I think the double-line is a little too much visually. Very nice.

sham's picture

I really like 4.2A with the top of the B rising proud of the circle and making the encompasing swash - it doesn't say "O" to me at all anymore.

I also agree with Tiffany that the 4-01 9:26 is the prettiest design - it's elegant and efficient. But when I use off-focus and 180 degree view, it's just a "B". I think that design would work well in 2 colors.

What's great is that Brian likes it.

sean's picture

Excellent point Ly, Brian likes it -
he is the one that matters.

But I like it regardless of what Brian thinks.

-smc

designalchemy's picture

superb designs. Ole

jfp's picture

Here after my suggestion: put such thing in circle is too much, if its calligraphic, seems strange to have fine line for the vertical of the B.

An image is more clear to explain:
jfp proposal for LB

eomine's picture

beautiful sketch! ;)

sean's picture

nice.

-smc

Miss Tiffany's picture

Very nice.

mitchell's picture

Ohhhh. Nice.

I can see what you mean about such a thin vertical for the B. It was meant serve dually as double line vertical for both the B and L. Like the ones in Isadora, but I guess it's not pulling that off.

Though, I had think I was in agreement with Tiffany's suggestion about having a single vertical serving for both the B and L. Which I have a recent version of.

Thank you all very much for the help so far. I've not been around as I am swamped and had pretty much ran out of (paid) time for this logo and needed to finish it up. Of course, Jean has me inspired all over again. Maybe I can sneak some more stuff in before we have to call it final.

I'm also doing Brian's collateral and website. I'll keep you all posted.

Mitchell

Miss Tiffany's picture

I think that the double line problem has been solved. My original thought was the the thin line was creating a problem next to the thicker line. However, now that we've seen that a double line, of the same thickness, can be very nice with the added bonus of getting a hint of your original idea.

sean's picture

This might be a silly question but, Jean, are
you left handed? Your mark seems to me to
be drawn southpaw.

-smc

jfp's picture

Don't know what mean "southpaw." But not, I'm right handed.

I think I finally understood what you mean. Is because I used a brush rather than a calligraphic pen. When you do brush lettering, heavy parts are not modulated same way, and in this case, its usefull, because more close to "copperplate style" (when a job need to be done quickly in small size, here 5 minutes).

Mitchell: I think the double lines can be more lighter than in my attempt. 10/20% less to equilibrate more with normal heavy parts. no?

sean's picture

Jean,

mitchell's picture

>10/20% less to equilibrate more with normal heavy >parts. no?

yes, I've done that in some of my illustrator drawings.

Will I get slapped for admitting to owning no calligraphic tools? I did sketch before anything else but I have to draw in any stroke modulation which is a real pain compared to using the proper instrument. Which also means I'm just making the modulation up. I'll get some soon I promise.

>Obviously this person is in total control and
>understands the form of the letter to the point of >mastery.

and executed in 5 minutes, no less.

so, I'm obviously a bit nervous in posting my attempt at vertorizing Jean's version, especially as I have tweaked the form. I hope it's beauty is intact. While I can't say it took me five minutes, here is what I have so far

jean's version tweaked by mitchell

Let me know,
Mitchell

4k4k's picture

4.10 bettre than all was erarler
but i see some troubls with forms of inner & outer spaces

the part with spaces 8, 1, 2, 3, 10, 9, 4 is great.

but i do not understand bottom of space 2 in both variants. it should be harmonian with the pen move you use to make a monogramm. both bottoms i see now are bad (IMHO) beacouse it is do not work with space 5. aslo i see the problem in form of tail of "L" and how it is works with spaces 9 and 6. space 5 too parallel with space 4 and bottom tummy of "B".

than watch the places rounded with orange circles. it problem in them, because all monogramm is calligraphic all forms should be natural to pen form and pen movment.

i think it would be better if you connect "L" tail to "B", so it will be harmonious with space 2.

sorry for my english =(.

4k4k's picture

4.10 bettre than all was erarler
but i see some troubls with forms of inner & outer spaces

the part with spaces 8, 1, 2, 3, 10, 9, 4 is great.

but i do not understand bottom of space 2 in both variants. it should be harmonian with the pen move you use to make a monogramm. both bottoms i see now are bad (IMHO) beacouse it is do not work with space 5. aslo i see the problem in form of tail of "L" and how it is works with spaces 9 and 6. space 5 too parallel with space 4 and bottom tummy of "B".

than watch the places rounded with orange circles. it problem in them, because all monogramm is calligraphic all forms should be natural to pen form and pen movment.

i think it would be better if you connect "L" tail to "B", so it will be harmonious with space 2.

sorry for my english =(.

mitchell's picture

Thank you Vladimir, for the detailed critique. I'll be on vacation for the this next week, so you'll not be hearing from me. But it should give me a good rest to come back to this with fresh eyes. Hopefully I can make those trouble spots disappear.

Mitchell

sean's picture

Have fun Mitchell.

-smc

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