Feedback welcome on this logo and font combination

Jean Louis's picture

Hi,

I am new to this forum and would like to ask your opinion on the readability and possible webfont combinations for this logo (attached below).

My client is a yacht charter company, aiming for a contemporary yet timeless and elegant brand ID. The name is rather long and unusual, but they insist it has to be one word, not "xxxx Yachts". There's a story behind that.

I've selected Brandon Grotesque with enough kerning, aiming for a clean effect without feeling "clinical". In a small enough size, the logo gets the effect of Savoy hotels (http://bit.ly/1AglwCH), clean and refined. But, since we'd like to avoid lower case and different font weights, first readers may wrongly put emphasis on the "AYA", instead of on the "E". Is that how you perceive it?

Regarding the website fonts, I was somehow hoping to use Univers, which I love particularly on this website: http://bit.ly/1pklIZd. However, if proceeding with Brandon Grotesque, I'd possibly use the same font for the main menu and headings, and keep the body text neutral with Univers or Arial.

AttachmentSize
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hrant's picture

Why so generic?

hhp

JamesM's picture

Assuming you want to stick with the basic design you have, I'd suggest looking for a subtle way to make it more readable. Maybe make the M and Y a bit larger, or bolder, or a slight space between words, or one word in serif and one in sans, or whatever.

Long logos like that are occasionally awkward when they must fit in a narrow space (a small web ad, for instance) because the the type becomes very small. Make a postage-stamp size print and see what happens.

And asking us if it's readable isn't a real test since you tell us it contains "yachts". Show it to a bunch of people (individually) without any explanation at all and ask them to read it.

Jean Louis's picture

Good question hrant. The logo should be clean and timeless, not trendy. I think of the B&O or D&G logos, for instance, very simple and still memorable. You're right, that's the challenge.

Yes, JamesM, the length may indeed be a problem, on social media as well. Something to keep in mind. I'll have to turn this around, in order to break the monotony and make it readable. How do people get to a simple logo like Dior, that works so brilliantly? Back to the drawing board!

Thank you both,

hrant's picture

To me what's trendy is trying to be timeless. :-) I don't think it's possible. The B&O logo is not generic. The D&G logo is not memorable. Most significantly, I don't believe visually expressing what a company is makes a logo trendy; it just makes it good design. And you can even do this just with letterforms.

hhp

JamesM's picture

Keep in mind that a logo is important but is just one piece of the puzzle. It's the total look of your marketing that will create impressions with the public — your stationery, advertising, brochures, website, etc.

> what's trendy is trying to be timeless.

Hrant maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but trendy and timeless are very different.

Trendy is conforming to current fads & styles; a look that's fashionable now but will look outdated soon. Trendy is used a lot in marketing, and sometimes in logos if the company is willing to update their logo periodically.

Timeless is a look (generally very simple, for example the "Dior" logo) that's not trendy but will have style and be usable for many years.

hrant's picture

Trendy and timeless are opposed. What I meant was that designers today (actually since Modernism became entrenched) are obsessed with creating timeless work. Which I see as a damaging illusion, and a disservice to everybody involved. This doesn't mean a logo should look like it was made during a certain time; but it should help the client convey itself. And I don't think generic is timeless.

hhp

JamesM's picture

A logo that conveys the product or service can be a good idea, but ultimately a logo doesn't stand on its own, its part of a total marketing effort.

Some of the most-recognized logos in the world bear no resemblance to the products they represent (McDonalds arches, Disney signature, Apple, Col. Sanders, Playboy rabbit, NBC peacock, PC Window's flag, and many others). I'm not saying that these are the best logos, but their success is undeniable.

hrant's picture

I certainly agree that a logo is only one piece of the puzzle (although a big one). But I think many logos inherit the success of the product or service, without contributing to it.

hhp

JamesM's picture

Yes that happens sometimes. A logo can help symbolize a company, but it's really their products and services that determines success.

Jean Louis's picture

Interesting discussion... I agree the urge to be timeless can be considered trendy. Most of us would enjoy conceiving something that will last for generations. To me, though, timeless design (if unique) is a great quality. Something generic could maybe be timeless, but timeless isn't per se generic (in the sense of bland).
Timeless boils down to essence, stripping the design of whatever is pure ornament. Like Farnsworth House or a 250GTO.

There's some subjectivity here. If you'd wear a tailored suit by Caraceni, some would say you look like a boring business guy. Others, who look past the ubiquitous grey or navy blue colour, and notice the quality of the cut and fabric, would bet you fly private.

I agree, JamesM, that a great logo shouldn't necessarily express the product it represents. It should give it a stronger identity though. And, it's a fact, hrant, that some logos surf the success of the product. I find this very interesting. It's like wearing jeans, T-shirt and a 3-day stubble, like you don't care, but the world is hanging on your every word. Consider the logo of OMA (http://www.oma.eu/). These guys are a global architecture firm, building high-rise from NYC to Hong Kong. Their logo is "just" plain arial. I like that sense of understatement. Or Herzog & de Meuron, they don't even bother about a logo!

So, then, what are remarkable and timeless logos in your opinion?

hrant's picture

Farnsworth House or a 250GTO

I simply wouldn't use "timeless" to describe those deservedly memorable things. (I'm nitpicking on terms because I believe they're powerful.) And the OMA logo is exactly what I would classify as a Modernist disaster.

hhp

JamesM's picture

> Most of us would enjoy conceiving something
> that will last for generations.

True, but most graphic design is ephemeral (has a short life).

One of my college design professors used to show a waste basket and say that's where most of your work will end up because graphic designers create things to serve a particular purpose in a particular time.

Brochures are read and discarded. Logos are changed. Very different from a fine art painter who would be horrified if one of his paintings is thrown away.

Of course there are graphic design items that are admired for many years, but a logo from the 1970s may be admired today but probably isn't still usable in its original form. Any logo you create today will be changed eventually. If you want your work to last generations, be an artist not a graphic designer.

hrant's picture

Well expressed, and reflects on the danger of too much artistry in design.

hhp

Jean Louis's picture

I am trying to post a new comment, but the "insert image" function doesn't seem to work. Any ideas?

Jean Louis's picture

This is one of the directions I am exploring:

I'm using the crossbarless "A's" for both simplifying the logo and as subtle upward arrows. The client likes the double meaning in Mera, referring to the name of the owner but also close to the German word "mehr", meaning more. It's part of their brand to focus on unique yachts, making a difference, rather than simply aiming for the largest or most profitable projects. Yachts with more added-value (in terms of authenticity, identity) as a vision.

The problem is that this still looks random to me. Both "A's" are close, yet part of different words. The "Y" seems lost, and so far doesn't align with the second "A".

However, I think there is an opportunity in the sequence A-Y-A to get a consistent overall impression, while not compromising readability.

What do you think? Throw the crossbarless story away, and move in another direction?

donshottype's picture

Hi Jean Louis. In thread http://typophile.com/node/118544 you asked me to comment on this. I take it you mean the lettering overlapping the prow of a sailboat.
A yacht can come in many sizes and shapes from the huge J.P. Morgan classic to a 30 foot sloop. The sloop contains a design idea in the shape of the mainsail, which is essentially a right angled triangle, with a vertical, a horizontal and a diagonal. The vertical and diagonal make an crossbarless _A_ in a shape that is evocative of a sloop's sail. Just one possible way of thinking out of the box.
Don

Jean Louis's picture

Don, thanks for your comment and suggestion. I thought about that "A" before, though not as a reference to a sail. Then I remembered the Google Glass logo, and sort of dropped the idea. I just wanted to avoid the logo looking like it's tapping into a tech-trend. But I guess I'll reconsider. Actually, the current shape reminds me too much of an emoticon like this ^_^.

riccard0's picture

Have you considered a delta-shaped |A| instead?

donshottype's picture

Delta shape works for me, whether symmetrical or in right angled variant.
Could try both and see how they look in use.
Don

Major Major's picture

Jean Louis, in your other thread I wrote "I think if the crossbar is going to be removed it should be done for a valid reason, and not because the designer didn't have any better ideas." Looking at the version above, my impression is that you didn't have any better ideas. Ironic that you've tried to evoke the notion of "mehr" by removing elements. However, only the A has been modified; the rest are unchanged. Therefore, the modified A feels arbitrary. If you intend to simplify, you should probably simplify all the letters as much as possible. That might mean using a different typeface.

The larger problem, I think, is that you're trying to substitute simplicity for a solid concept. You seem to be designing backward, holding up letterforms and asking "What does this make you think of?" Figure out what concept you want to communicate, be it "mehr" or "prow" or "mainsail" or whatever, and then design a logo that illustrates it.

Jean Louis's picture

@all: Thank you for your comments and suggestions!

Reconsidering: If the concept was to communicate "sailing yachts" or "mainsail", then yes, the crossbarless "A" or delta could have been a solution. However, I must say Captain Howdy has a point: As of now, the "A's"still look random.

While yachts are Mera's business, their identity isn't just about yachts (sail or motor). They believe "luxury" (if the word still has a meaning today), be it a car, a house or a yacht, should be authentic, unique and memorable. It should reflect individuality, instead of the "old-world" pompous status symbols. As James Goldstein once said: "People ask me all the time, "how big is your house"? As though that's the criterion for making it special." This is quite common in yachting as well, were people seem obsessed with the top10 largest yachts. The client, however, believes in substance above size. For them it's "Mera", instead of just "mega". They are very candid about this.

So, the logo concept is: Authentic, contemporary, clean, (bold yet) subtle, innovative, effortless. I like the idea of using a font that can be used on the website and communication material as well, for more overall consistency. For that reason, I started exploring possibilities with Brandon-Gotham-Proxima. These are clean, open, welcoming, and still professional. Ideally I wouldn't customize the font too much, and let it "speak for itself". But let's be honest, unless you are a brand like, say, Bang & Olufsen (uses Frutiger), where the name alone already triggers emotion, it's a quest to get to "that" font that says it all..

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