Logo Critique for Small Design Firm

Peter G.'s picture

You guys were so helpful with the last logo I worked on that I knew I had to get your input for this one as well. This time it's a logo for myself. I'm starting a small web design business to earn extra money for school.

The logo will accompany a new design for my website which I want to have a gardening theme. The idea is that I can help people "grow" their business with a well-designed website (sounds korny, I know, but it should be good when it all comes together).

So here are my two variations of the logo. Your thoughts and comments are much appreciated.

leaf-logos.gif8.48 KB
Miss Tiffany's picture

Could it somehow say business and grow at the same time? While I do think the concept is interesting enough to pursue I wonder if at the moment it is too literally a plant.

Peter G.'s picture

I'm not sure I'm following you Tiffany, can you explain?

Miss Tiffany's picture

A quick answer would be...and the wrong answer...instead of a leaf have a dollar bill in the shape of a leaf. Or a money tree. Or a ... what represents growth in business that can also be used to show growth in a garden?

Peter G.'s picture

I see what you mean. That's pretty smart, I wouldn't have thought of that. I'll give that some thought and see what I can come up with. If anyone has suggestions on how to merge the two ideas, I'm all ears.

LogoMotives's picture

I agree with Tiffany. The design looks as if it is for a landscape designer rather than graphic/web designer. The business/financial spin on the logo design will tie in much better to your message of helping businesses to "grow."

Jeff Fisher :: Engineer of Creative Identity
Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Author: Savvy Designer's Guide to Success from HOW Design Books

Dan Weaver's picture

Peter also remember weeds grow too. Nobody wants their business to go to the weeds. Also explore other options on your type. I think its too tight and I'm not fond of the all caps look. You might make it more accessible, friendlier.

ben millen's picture

I'm with dan -- it seems like your choice of type conflicts a bit with the growing theme, and to an extent even the business of web design. to my inexperienced eye, it feels heavy-handed and somewhat utilitarian.. (unfortunately i'm not sure of what i'd suggest to help it)

Miss Tiffany's picture

While I completely agree that the type -- in this instance -- seems heavy and perhaps clunky, I believe that the logo/illo should be solved before worrying about the typeface choice as the illo will, most likely, guide the type selection.

Peter G.'s picture

Ok guys, I'm at a standstill. I've been trying to connect growth with buisness and I keep coming up short. I think part of my problem may be that I'm too attached to that pretty little leaf. I think the key lies in what Tiffany asked before, "What represents growth in business that can also be used to show growth in a garden?" I'll keep working. And by the way, I'd like to say that your comments have been refreshingly insightful.

ebensorkin's picture

What about a tendril or something a bit funkier? Tendrils reach out & grab to help the plant grow.

ebensorkin's picture

Then you could have a logo type with more curves & flair like - Coquette


hrant's picture

Tendril. What a superb name for a [certain kind of] font.


ebensorkin's picture

A font I'd like to see.

Chris Rugen's picture

Is there a way to use a business graphic for growth and add a leaf to imply blossoming/growth, etc.? Integrate it into the graphic/symbol? The leaf would certainly be distinct in that setting, as long as you avoid your current gardener/landscaper thing.

As Tiffany suggested, a tree (long-term, strong growth) might be a good direction.

Peter G.'s picture

My problem isn't so much with coming up with an object to show growth. I can think of plenty (a blossoming branch, a root system, a tree trunk, a leaf, fruit, etc.); my problem is connecting that to business. What are some things that show business? All I can think of are those generic photos of people in business suits climbing stairs.

Eben, I like your tendril idea, but I'm not sure people would know what it was. They might mistake it for a vine or even a coil and then the metaphor is lost.

ebensorkin's picture

I think that you may be treating the logo a little to litteral a manner here. You probably shouldn't be creating some frankenstein hybrid of a kind of platonic ideas/icons of 'business' & of 'growth'. Like a tendril making a dollar sign... god forbid. That might be okay for a spot illustration in some ham handed business journal- but not a logo.

The purpose of your logo aught to be to:

1. Be Different I know I sound like an advert but it's true all the same. I1f your doesn't do this - especially as a designer - a basic tentpole is missing. Who are you competing with? Look at them & be different. Being yourself may well be enough.

2. Be memorable. This is different than being Different. Really. This is the graphic equivalent of a catchy song hook. You want something that you look at & you find yourself looking again. It's not a trick - it's a behaivior of the eye you want & then of the brain.

3. Be yourself. This is tricky & very subjective. You want to have a logo that you don't feel is false, a fake or feels like a sham. For instance, if you were a small neiborhood florist you might not want a chilly multinational corprate style logo. You would want something warmer, friendlier, and maybe more classic classy or fun.

4. Be fast. A logo that takes too long to communicate or be understood is a deadly logo. This is one of the reasons that a hybrid is out. It takes too long to understand & an impatient eye moves on. If the logo doesn't do it's basic job in the short time it takes to glance at it- it's not that great. I'm not saying it should be a pleasure too look at for longer - just that it needs communicate it's basic message very quickly.

It isn't key that an idea as such is imbeded in a logo. Especially for a service industry. Look at the most successful logos - Mercedes, Apple, DKNY - pick your own. You won't find an idea in almost any really successful logo. You will find they evoke a feeling in you. That feeling is enough. And a treatment of Type is often enough to create that feeling.

In terms of process I would make a list of words or phrases that describe the kind of assumptions that you want your logo to create in a viewer. Take stock of your target.
Make sure it's the target you really want.

Dan Weaver's picture

Peter, asking a web design business to grow business might be a little of an over promise, unless you are tied into marketing people and writers. I think the best you can do is offer website design as a tool to help grow a business. Even then you'd need statistics showing growth and percentages vs other kinds of sales promotion and marketing. I think I'd approach your web design business differently, something along the lines of "personal touch" or "one on one" design. Imply your designs aren't cookie cutters but solve a businesses particular problem. Just some thoughts

ebensorkin's picture

Good point.

Peter G.'s picture

Dan, that is a good point and I was thinking myself that to say my web designs can grow a business is a bit too ambitious. Although, I do offer eBay template design which really can contribute directly to more sales. That service is one I want to feature much more prominently with my new design. In any case, I really do want to set myself apart from other web design businesses by being personable. Being a one man show gives me some advantages over the competition, particularly that I can give more attention to my clients. That's something I do want to highlight on my new site and even in my logo. Perhaps it would be best to go for a wordmark rather than using some kind of symbol. What do you guys think?

ebensorkin's picture

It seems like a prudent way to go.

And the wordmark's style can be such that it's clear that it isn't a rubber stamp sort of operation. What flavor of anti-generic are you? Caligraphy or Hnadwritting might be one way to go. Personal & unique each time.

Peter G.'s picture

If I go the way of the wordmark it really is key that it stand out from the crowd. I'm thinking something friendly and personal yet still professional. Possibly a script, though a stylized sans-serif could work as well. One other requirement: it has to be cheap as this is all to earn money for school. Suggestions?

Here are some I like:
Chocolate: though too expensive.
Bello: still too expensive.
Koziupack: Similar to Chocolate above, and maybe a bit too fancy
ITC Forkbeard

ebensorkin's picture

You could also take an font you have & alter the letterforms. That's how the microsoft logo was made. It's a franklin gothic modified & with a bit cut out. That would be cheap. You could also work on a job & use some of the funds from that for the font later.... Having a logo in no way guarantees work. And taking your time wioth an identity is usually a good idea if you can swing it.

Dan Weaver's picture

Peter check out Font Diner. Last year Oscar Meyer used a Font Diner font for their summer campaign. Their fonts are display fonts and inexpensive. I think you could take one and modify it like Eben has suggested and you'd have a winner.

Peter G.'s picture

Thanks again guys for all the help.

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