Design house logo - comments please

jwagar's picture

We're launching a new design house specializing in graphic design, website design, digital photography, and video solutions. All three of us have a background in film.

Why or how we came up with the name is anyone's guess, but we like it.

This is the logo idea we're playing with most:

Comments would be appreciated!


P.S. My apologies for the hyperlink - Typophile seems to be having issues with attachments.

Dav's picture

Image not visible / not been posted.?
( Or am I the only one not seeing it, maybe.? )

Maybe you could provide an additional link to the logo.?

bah's picture

I think the "S" needs fixing.


Dan Weaver's picture

Wow an old fashion (retro) company. Well thats what I get when looking at that lampshade. Hardly a contempory multimedia look. The type is just boring and needs work on the kerning. Thoughts on fixes: first use a contempory lamp. Show only part of it and leave something to the imagination or make the lamp interact with the name. Investigate other more contempory and interesting type faces. Now my biggest complaint solve the logos look in black and white, then explore colors. Colors distract from basic faults.

Dav's picture

Just in case you are lookin' for a 'clean' version of 'Neo Retro' ( Fill ), you may want to consider 'Sackers Gothic'.?

jwagar's picture

Thanks everyone for your comments - we check the site often to see what you all have to say.

I think that perhaps our design idea is being misinterpreted - yes, we were going for a 'retro' feel, because we felt it was warm and approachable. We thought the 'organic' quality, established through the colour scheme, the imperfect lettering and the irregular box, helped convey the message "we're a small company, personable and human."

We completely understand your thoughts on the lettering. Perhaps we SHOULD go for Sackers Gothic. I'll post a revision to the logo shortly.

Chris Rugen's picture

Jay, I think the responses here are a good indication that the logo is a bit flat without context. The design above would probably benefit from the context of a website or stationary, but it really should be able to stand alone. The type isn't working as you probably want it to (I think it's not going far enough, personally, if you want to go for organic and human with the hand-drawn feel).

I like the idea of the mark (the lamp, the light, the cut-paper feel, the lampshade being an external cover for a lightbulb which = inspiration/ideas), but the execution seems a bit off. First of all, that lampshade's ornament screams 'grandma lamp' to me. There's just no way around it. Though, I'm guessing a non-ornamental design looks a bit plain. Not sure what to tell you. Perhaps the addition of a hanging chain if you simplify the shade? Also, the lampshade clashes with the structure of sans. The two seem fundamentally dischordant, and the contrast isn't clicking for me. The lampshade's ornament wants Mrs. Eaves-esque warmth and friendly serifs, and the type wants an Ikea lamp.

Not sure how to make it work, but if you do, I think it'll be great. Perhaps take a look at Apple's iLife logo, which strikes some similar visual chords. (The green made me think of it.)

timd's picture

You could actually linocut or collage the logo to give yourselves the full organic/hands-on quality, though the light should go up as well as down. As Chris noted the concept of hidden/discovered light could work, though you could improve on it, the lamp stand and base look too modern to work with the shade. Alternatively you could develop a praxinoscope look
for the retro feel in a kind of Brazil, Heath-Robinson, Edwardian/Victorian way.

Dan Weaver's picture

Did you look at using a lamp that you'd find at a graphic arts store. They tend to be flexible and focused, good attributes for a multimedia company.

jwagar's picture

Thanks everyone for your great comments. We've taken quite a few into consideration and I don't know how many revisions we've had of this logo, but it's been quite a few.

We'd love to hear what you think on our revisions:

Hopefully we're still on the right track. #3 is a new direction we kinda liked.

Forrest L Norvell's picture

#3 doesn't do it for me at all. It screams "late 90s web design firm", and having spent several years toiling in the salt mines for one of those, I don't like to be reminded of it. I kind of dig the ominous penumbra around the lamp, but the lettering and that brownish-red... they kinda make me think of failed dotcoms, as well as making me twitch.

I actually prefer the original to your revisions, and here's why: it totally evokes your group's background in film, because it reminds me of Saul Bass's classic title designs from the 1950s and 1960s. The rough feel of the Neo Retro, the layout of the elements, the idea of the lamp, they all work for me. I agree with those who say the lampshade is too frowsy for what you're trying to do, but that's my only real problem with the design. It looks retro without being too ironic.

If I had to choose one of the revisions, I'd go with the type from #1 with the layout and icon from #2.

jwagar's picture

What a fantastic response, Forrest - thank you so much.

It's hysterical that you mentioned Saul Bass, who has produced some of my favourite film titles of all time (#1 "being North by Northwest"). Perhaps I was subconsciously inspired by the enormous poster for "Vertigo" hanging above my desk.

Here is a marriage of the original and the revision, and we love it so much so far:

Let us know what you (and all of you, please) think.


Forrest L Norvell's picture

Nice. I'm not sure how that's going to fit on a business card with the other text and whatnot that needs to go with it, but I like the colors and font and shapes together. I'd try comping up some variations of that to see how they look all tiny -- my concern is that the current layout will eat up a lot of space. Aside from that, though, I think it looks great!

timd's picture

I agree with Forrest's comment about the icon that you have used (although I repeat my reservation that the light should go up as well as down). The step from shade to light looks too much to me it implies too great a thickness to the shade. The lettering with its repeats of letter shapes looks a bit contrived, each letter should be subtly different, also the L is a bit thin in the vertical.

aluminum's picture

I think #3 is the best thus far. With the others, the type just isn't working IMHO. Doesn't seem integrated with the iconography. It's a challenge, there's a fine line between 'organic/folksy/impulsive' and just plain 'sloppy'. (Not that yours is sloppy, just pointing out the hazard of walking that line...)

Dan Weaver's picture

I think you need to rethink the concept. Think about your business and clients, do they want to be associated with sloppy graphics and old ideas? Do you use "film", I doubt it. You can look retro and contempory at the same time. Your look as it stands looks sloppy (type and kerning), and old the kind of lamp you are using.

Try going away from the computer get a pencil and paper and draw concepts. The corner you are painting your company into is too limiting. It might work for a while but in the long run you will regret it.

Now this is just my opinion, but my mother noted: "Its all a matter of taste and your taste stinks"

jwagar's picture

Daniel Weaver,

Thank you for replying to my post.

It's a shame you don't like the concept, we think it works pretty well. Perhaps our work stands up as a little sloppy compared to your extremely starched-white-collar portfolio, but that's how we like it. Our company is casual but dedicated, and as important as a corporate image is, our personalities and networking capabilities are attracting clients a month before we actually launch and we will keep them coming back.

While we appreciate your opinion and everyone is entitled to their own, you came off really very harshly in your last post. While tone is an extremely difficult thing to convey over the Internet, common courtesy would have steered you away from such harsh vocabulary. This forum is a critique, not a platform for slander. Many of us are new at this and just learning the ropes (as you might have guessed by the fact this logo is for a new graphic design firm and I'm a new member to Typophile).

As my own mother noted: "If you do not have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." Add in 'or constructive' next to 'nice' and you have something there.

fontobsession's picture

An honest blunt critique is the best learning tool..I've learned to not take anything personally because in the end it's all business and delivering the best design to communicate the message properly. Retro, Indie type fonts may be your best resource.The lampshade needs to be very simple. The original lampshade displays a very feminine feel. In the new logos 1.d and p fit well between the lines and is the best font choice so far. 2. the d and p don't fit well.3. the box isn't needed and the shadow won't reduce too well in B/W and faxes. I would experiment with a 50's retro look with colours which are less saturated like a mint green and pastal yellow..with a scroll type frame or stylized scroll type lamp illustration. I really like the name and I think the right funky script(but different than the one in proof 3, because it's too cartoony.)will result in the approachable,friendly and unique company. Good Luck!

aheep's picture

I think you should keep working with the logo and type. I like the last revision the best. The font isn't completely crisp and is "artsy" and painted looking, but if you're not trying to get bank or insurance or corporate type clients, but more homegrown "organic" stuff, then that's fine. But I think there's a really fantastic logo only a few more redesigns away.

P.S. I have a very similar lamp in my living room and I bought it this year, so I don't think it's an old style.

tomnix's picture

Really like the concept and I like drawing no. 2 best. Maybe if you want a casual, ('quirky' even) style you use a jaunty angle for the box surrounding the lampshade. I prefer hand-lettering over type; it shows a bit more effort has gone into the design and makes it look more personal. Have a look at House Industries' work - very immediate and attention-getting. And it shows that you can have a stylish clean look along with personality at the same time.

Fredrik's picture

I tend to agree with Mr. Weaver's opinion that the basic concept does not work. To me, there is too many things going on here, with the lampshade, the light, the framing, the stroke on the frame, the type's relation to the style of the drawing, and so on.
What about focusing on the lampshade only? Use that first very 40's looking lampshade as a shape, a silhouette, which gets its explanation from the company name.

BartvanderGriendt's picture

Hey there, Jay,

You reply to Dan that it’s a shame he doesn’t like the concept, because you think it works pretty well. I think you shouldn't put up your logo here for critique if you can't stand people being critical. Of course there is the issue of bluntness, but you are way better off with a blunt and just critique than a friendly but hazy one.

Having said that - I think the basic concept of the logo is very nice. I agree with others that it needs working on, though. You may like the concept, but it is your customers that must do the liking, and I think you can assist them better than you do now.

The lamp icon can be a strong image. In the latest version it is getting there, but graphically it is still quite busy. What can you throw away without losing the overall feel? Do you really need a box around the image? Can the lamp be bigger, smaller, simpler, richer, etc?

A design teacher of mine once gave me a nice method to develop an image. Take a big sheet of paper and divide in lots of squares. Force yourself to draw the image again and again until you have filled the paper. Try all kinds of variations, everything you can think of, and don't be critical. The fun starts when you are out of ideas but still have to go on to fill the page. That's when the obvious solutions dry out and the creative ones appear. You may be surprised with what you can come up with. Sounds like a lot of work? Might be, but your logo is worth it.

My work is a game. A very serious game [M.C. Escher]

mystic's picture

Jwagar, It seems to me that you like people who give you praise but don't like Dan Weaver's comments who actually are pretty much on the mark. Dan has helped me with logos in the past back in December and he had all kinds of awesome advice. I think you should at least pay attention to what he's saying, try out a few things and just see where it goes.

jwagar's picture

You're probably right.

I really did take the comments too personally, and for that, Dan, I apologize.

We have however, continued to expand upon the idea and come up with a logo we're pretty pleased with.

Dan Weaver's picture

Jwagar, now that you have your idenity established you might look at having a tagline that focuses on your core business. As your client list grows you could loose the tagline, but it might help as a start up business.

BartvanderGriendt's picture

The slightly muted colors are a good choice, I think. They fit the retro-like illustration. May I ask why you chose an all capital typographic treatment?

My work is a game. A very serious game [M.C. Escher]

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