Heavy Metal Typography

Jared Benson's picture

A friend of mine has asked to design the logo for his new band, "Gutterbäll" - His only criteria is that the logo should look "very heavy metal."

I certainly have some ideas of how to proceed, but before I post some examples, I wanted to open it up for discussion. What typographic treatments lend themselves for effective heavy metal-ness?

Feel free to post examples, or throw out ideas. And Yes, they have an umlaut over the "a", just for kicks.

jb

Miss Tiffany's picture

One thing comes instantly to mind. (the obvious first, right?)-- Headbanger's Ball -- The "gnarliest" black letter you can find -- and less rotunda-schwabacher shapes more textura-fraktur -- the more mediaeval the better. or on second thought what about more of an "einsturzende neubauten" approach?

are they heavy metal ala WASP/Judas Priest, Poison/Ratt, Motley Crue/Can't think of one, Black Sabbath (60s 70s)/Blue Oyster Cult/Led Zeppelin? Seems to me the Speed Metal bands were always a little more "evil" in their "look" while heavy metal bands seemed to have their tongues more in their cheeks. I might look at the early seventies stuff -- Zep, BOC, Black Sabbath

Miss Tiffany's picture

http://labyrinth.georgetown.edu/ Great resource for looking into manuscripts (etc.)

Diner's picture

Nothing says Heavy Duty like Spinal Tap!

Stuart :D

Miss Tiffany's picture

yah! turn it up to 11!

gulliver's picture

*** SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT ***

For your consideration, here's "Gutterbäll" as set in Hefeweizen.... :)

GutterbällHefeweizen.jpg

Miss Tiffany's picture

David == What about taking the 'tt' and creating a special ligature in the lowercase? == I like the lowest one, although what about 'tweaking' the cap A with the umlaut?

porky's picture

Gutterball sounds like an cross between Guttermouth and Butterball, so that'll be an oven-ready pre-basted punk band? :)

Diner's picture

Forget the 'tt' ligature, create a dagger + dagger ligature! Don't forget to use the umlat u like Motley Crüe

Totally Kick Ass!

kraftie's picture

>> Gutterball sounds like an cross between Guttermouth and Butterball, so that'll be an oven-ready pre-basted punk band?


AHAHAHAHA!!

gulliver's picture

Fun ideas, all....

Apologies that this is so late. I tried some ligature experiments:

GutterbällHefeweizen.jpg

beejay's picture

David - I like the third one down in the left column. :)

Jared - are you going to show us any prelims?

Here is Gutterball set in Hrant's Brutaal.

gutter.jpg

hrant's picture

Hey, nice triple-umlaut! (And it even goes with the three finger holes on the ball.)

hhp

pogono's picture

being swedish, its always fun too see that our too often forgotten lettors å, ä, and ö is still considered heavy metal. the letter å is pronounced similar too the a in ball. with an ä its more like "gutterbell".

hrant's picture

Like a tinkerbell who hits rock bottom? ;-)
Anyway, how do you pronounce the "a" with *three* dots?

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Ooh Yeah. I like the one BJ posted! -- David what if the dagger part of the daggers (so eloquent) were made to look more like crucifixes?

fonthausen's picture

BJ, I just have seen The Lord of the Ring part 1 again on big screen. Hrants type combined with 3 dots gives a similar impression as the type used in the film. (Which is not bad, by the way, even after reading the 5 times....)

Jacques

gulliver's picture

I like the one BJ posted too! (Nice font, Hrant -- fun to see it used like this!)

Tiffany: I had the thought about the crucifixes as well. On BJ's look, what if the bowling ball was made to look like a skull?

(Metal projects can be fun, no? :D )

David "Nigel" Thometz

hrant's picture

> fun to see it used like this!

Fun to see it used, period. :-)

hhp

beejay's picture

I didn't do nuthin'. Hrant's font was like a scrubbing bubble.

Hrant, what were you thinking, seriously, when you were making Brutaal?

Jared, does the band have a website, some downloadable music...what have you come up with? The Gutterball fan club wants some news, eh?

bj

Jared Benson's picture

to my knowledge, not yet. They're just starting out. They have half a dozen songs, and I've seen them play, but I don't think they've made any recordings yet... I'll ask.

I still need to post the version I'm working on, which is set in Fette Fraktur, if I recall correctly...

hrant's picture

> what were you thinking, seriously, when you were making Brutaal?

Well, the name came first, with no idea what the font would look like... Then I made a trip to Bangkok (friggin' amazing place - that song is totally true - except it was four nights) and saw shapes I had never seen before*, I mean not in real life - interestingly I'd actually been drawing abtrast sketches with shapes like that since childhood, usually on restaurant napkins and stuff (you know those restaurants that have tablecloths made of paper with crayons for kids to draw with? I go crazy with the red).

* (840K) http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/wat.jpg

Anyway, shapes like the ngao (those spiky things at the edges of roofs), but certainly the atmosphere of Siam (to use a now-politically-incorrect term) inspired me immesurably. Take a boat on the big, filthy Chao Praya, and you'll feel the "cockroach crawling up your spine" - to use an Armenian expression. It all feels *real*, unlike so much in the West these days. Anyway.

BTW, in my Daam Entity, Brutaal is the original concept, but Cristaal was actually made into a font first, and then Domination Available (a name taken directly from an ad I saw in Thailand) was the lurid climax, so to speak.

hhp

jay_wilkinson's picture

you guys seriously need to stop using typefaces as trademarks. it doesn't work that way. you really should be drawing your own type for some, imagine this, uniqueness. it's really quite pathetic, i mean, these guys are paying you right? even if they aren't you should have enough respect for your craft to know better. you should all be ashamed.

freehand_guru's picture

non of those hold a candle to
"Squealer"

larabiefonts

freehand_guru's picture

"you guys seriously need to stop using typefaces as trademarks. it doesn't work that way. you really should be drawing your own type for some, imagine this, uniqueness. it's really quite pathetic, i mean, these guys are paying you right? even if they aren't you should have enough respect for your craft to know better. you should all be ashamed."

Whoa mr. high and mighty has spoken---so, this means that you invent all of your logos from scratch including the type treatment? if so, i'm still not impressed.

jay_wilkinson's picture

nad x, yeah that's exactly what i mean. and if you want to talk high and mighty, it's incorrect to refer to them as logos. they are in fact trademarks. logo is a low brow reference to logotype. meaning a purely typographic solution which most marks are not. so step off.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Semantics!!!!

freehand_guru's picture

jay-I have seen the light and i do agree with you, I guess i differ a little bit in that with so many typefaces out there -i don't find it neccasary to create your own face for every logo-when in fact sometimes u come upon the perfect font for the perfect "trademark" take for instance "Nike"--pretty basic type treatment but it does seem to stand the test of time

peace

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'd like to clarify something. Even if only for myself. It isn't that I wholly disagree with you, Jay, concerning your opinion on type and logos (marks). From where I sit, as a designer, it would be best to always keep in mind the originality ,or lack thereof, of a logo I might design. However, it would do my boss no favor to spend more time than has been allotted per logo. So, if the client's budget is roomy enough for new type, then I would be nuts not to go that route. However, only IF the project necessitated it.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I said:
From where I sit, as a designer, it would be best to always keep in mind the originality ,or lack thereof, of a logo I might design.

I meant:
From where I sit, as a designer, it would be best to always keep in mind the need for originality as it pertains to the logo I might be designing.

And by this I meant... If the mark is going to have visual prominance and set the tone for the brand, I don't see the reason to design new type as there are so many amazing fonts already available.

jay_wilkinson's picture

tiffany, budget is most certainly an important issue here but more important is the integrity of the client and designer. the fact is that with experience, custom display type and letterforms are really not that hard to produce. it takes a little while to become accustom to it but it is not very difficult. as a matter of fact, i just finished up a trademark for a client and it took no more then 20 minutes for one mark. trust me, i've taught many students these same skills. it's just a new way of working and seeing typography. you need to remove yourself from the computer for a few rounds. after a few revisions by hand, you can then move to the computer. the trick really is producing a couple of unique letterform directions that speak to the client and then focus your time on the pictographic elements. this is really no different then how you would approach a trademark while using a text face. the difference is the time you would spend putzing around your type collection is spent producing letterforms that do a better job of describing your client in the long run. this is only one of many reasons why you should use custom letterforms. another is the fact that you can work out all the strange and interesting relationships between individual letters more fluidly. a text face can't do this as well. it's letter combinations (except ligatures) are utilitarian. they need to work well with all other letters in the alphabet. the fact is that they don't always do such a great job of this. custom letterforms work in and around each other accenting and stressing or pairing and differentiating with fluid ease. this is why most of the best marks in design were produced in an era where designers could not be lazy. their only option was to produce trademarks by hand. in most cases if you could not do this you had trouble even pursuing a career in design. the computer has really not made this any easier. it has only illustrated the point that a text face is not a display face.

nad x, i'm glad you agree. but the fact is that even with so many text faces to choose from, a text face is still not a display face. realistically though, most people producing and using type are not very type literate and many of the cheesy "typefaces" out there, are in actuality display faces. if you have trouble producing your own type, many of these faces can work with some proper optical adjustments. these sorts of faces can also provide great inspiration. although i would never purchase a "typeface" from t-26, they do in fact have many creative ideas in regard to unique or interesting letterforms. my suggestion is to use these as creative inspiration but not as a final design for a client. as far as the nike mark is concerned don't give it to much credit. the spacings between the "n" "i" and "k" are way to small. that said, the fact is that this mark was most likely done in the way i have described. the version you are speaking of was designed prior to the computer revolution. just because a mark looks simple does not mean it's execution was simple. masterful works usually only look simple.

as a last note (i think i already mentioned this) the use of the word logo is incorrect. logo is short for logotype. a logotype is a word mark. most trademarks are not just word marks. the correct term is trademark with the appropriate abbreviation being mark. this is more then just semantics. it's like calling a bicycle a car. though both are forms of transportation a car is very different from a bicycle.

sorry for the long post...

steve_p's picture

>>the correct term is trademark
>>this is more then just semantics

Yes, you're right this is more than just semantics
No, you're wrong, the correct term is not always 'trademark'

Its possible that Gutterb

hrant's picture

jay, it's not the length, it's the lack of breaks. At least use some pilcrows.

hhp

jay_wilkinson's picture

steve, yes, it is more then just semantic but it is clearly you that are incorrect on the trademark terminology issue. not unless you can give us all another applicable example or replacement for the word trademark. the only other word i can think of that might be relevant is masthead. this might also help fool your client into believing that their mark is something more then it is.

if i understand your last argument i think you might be getting a little over zealous. long ago i used to listen to punk rock and heavy metal and i fondly remember wanting to believe that there was some high and lofty artistic value to the music because of it's pseudo elitism (the more obscure it is the cooler it is). i'm not debating this issue and quite frankly i don't really see what it has to do with the terminology of logo vs. trademark. the fact still remains that logo is incorrect usage. but from the stance you are taking the word logo implies as much corporate "bullsh*t" as does trademark. so, take your pick, incorrect "corporate sludge" or correct "corporate sludge".

jay_wilkinson's picture

sorry hrant, sometimes i just get verbal diarrhea. especially on this type of issue.

fonthausen's picture

Even if one is using a prefabricated font to 'design' a letterhead, logo(type) or even a trademark, he or she should should take that xtra half an hour to balance it out (wheight, spacing, letterforms etc.).
The interactivity between the small amount of characters in a logotype is very different that between characters in a text.

--jacques
PS. it is only 30 minutes, max. 60!

steve_p's picture

>> [blah blah blah] pseudo elitism [blah blah blah]
>>frankly i don't really see what it has to do with the terminology of logo vs. trademark

Oh, Jay, I just can't be bothered
I was going to write a reply here, but I've just remembered who you are, and that there's no point.
(How did I remember who you are? Because you completely misunderstood what I was saying - maybe you do it on purpose)


jay_wilkinson's picture

steve, are you kidding me? i understood and responded directly to what you said. maybe you're just not expressing your ideas very well. let me quote you then if it makes things easier for you to follow.

you said > No, you're wrong, the correct term is not always 'trademark'

i responded with > it is clearly you that are incorrect on the trademark terminology issue. not unless you can give us all another applicable example or replacement for the word trademark. the only other word i can think of that might be relevant is masthead.

you said > Gutterb

steve_p's picture

Allright Jay, just for you...
1. My point restated clearly for you:
The first five letters of the word trademark make up a word all of their own. T-R-A-D-E
This is not a coincidence.
The word trade appears in the word trademark to signify that the mark exists in a context related to trade.
In many countries, you can even register your trademark, so that no-one else can use it to trade with.
Music, in common with many activities where an identifying symbol may be appropriate, is not always related to trade.
Therefore, trademark is not always the correct term for an identifying symbol, especially in cases where (as in this thread) the symbol is not being designed for an organisation primarily concerned with trade, or a purpose primarily concerned with trade.


2.Where you did not respond directly (or otherwise) to what I said:
>>not unless you can give us all another applicable example or replacement for the word trademark.
I pointed out the error in your directive that the correct term is 'trademark' - I said that this wasn't always the case.
In what way does that place upon me the obligation to come up with a term that will be correct in all situations? Jay, just use terms where they are appropriate, and if one doesn't exist, try stringing a few words together to get your meaning over.

>>you might be getting a little over zealous. long ago i used to listen to punk rock and heavy metal and i fondly remember wanting to believe that there was some high and lofty artistic value to the music because of it's pseudo elitism (the more obscure it is the cooler it is).

Maybe you were talking to someone else here, can't work out what it has to do with me.

>> you said > Gutterb

jay_wilkinson's picture

steve,

1. as a matter of fact, music labels, bands etc. offer a product that could be classified under trade. so the term trademark still holds here. almost everything that you can legally trademark has a trademark.

2. trademark is in fact correct. so my question still holds. if it is not a trademark then what is it? it's sure as hell not always a logotype. though the argument could be made that most bands do in fact use logotypes or word marks.

3. i took you statement > "Gutterb

jay's picture

Having thought long and hard on this, I really think the umlaut should go over the u.

vwcruisn's picture

cmon doesnt everyone have anything better to do then argue over the usage of "logo" and "trademark." Im not saying there isnt a differenct.. but is it really this important? We understand what is meant by either in relation to this post..

vwcruisn's picture

cmon doesnt everyone have anything better to do then argue over the usage of "logo" and "trademark." Im not saying there isnt a differenct.. but is it really this important? We understand what is meant by either in relation to this post..

beejay's picture

Jay No. 1, the lowercase d-jay --

Your siren song compels me to throw myself
at the rocks, the ones right below your pedestal.


Steve is not incorrect in his Gutterball/they construction.

Some stylebooks make an exception to the standard its/their
construction for entities such as sports teams
and bands...etc...etc.

The Lakers make their debut. (they)
Los Angeles makes its debut. (its)

Coldplay make their debut. (they)
The band makes its debut. (its)


At the LA Times, you'd write, "Coldplay makes its debut."
But...this construction would be changed at Spin, Rolling Stone
and Sports Illustrated, among others. They treat
bands/teams as they.


bj



jay_wilkinson's picture

jason, you're right. it's not that big of a deal. it's nothing more than a simple fact. i just find it hard to believe that people would dispute it.

beejay's picture

Reading that again with fresh eyes...

"makes its debut" is just gobbledygook for "debuts."

but the other point I forgot to make (but who cares anyway) is....

The only G'ball logos/trademarks in this thread came from myself and David.
We were using fonts that had never
been used for anything, fonts that are not even for sale.
Twas simply an exercise in fun.

Did you begin reading at the beginning of the thread?

Did you expect the D.Young treatment from two people
with no involvement other than being fellow Typophiles?

The typeface-as-trademarks argument that you learned at
Art Center is super, but you picked the wrong thread to make
your point and nobody wants to bogged down with absolutes.

C'mon jay. This is a logo for a friend in a garage band, not identity
for the next Metallica tour.

Again, it's Jared's friend who's in the band and Jared
simply opened the thread for ideas.

Finally, a question: Is using a completely original font (a font not even for sale)
that happens to work well for an assignment any different
than making a font from scratch once the assignment comes in?

That's what happened here...very pathetic indeed.

your/you

beejay's picture

good fix! Me too. :-)

jay_wilkinson's picture

bj, are you kidding me... i'm amazed that you would pose such a ridiculous question. but to answer, i think you're completely missing the point. no typeface can account for every individual letter pairing possible. this alone should be enough to answer your question but i will go further. because it is really much larger than this.

it really is less crucial that the type is unique in its letterforms (though important, this is only a side benefit). there are plenty of custom or hand done trademarks that use mundane faces like helvetica for instance. because they are done by hand means they are done with a keen sense of artistry, with emphasis placed on the letter pairings found in the word. the time spent crafting each letterform in it's relation to other letterforms pushes these marks into a realm that no type set text face can match. the importance of doing marks by hand goes beyond originality and into craft. it's the fine crafting of each letterform into a piece of display type.

this craft is also about not being lazy. typographers of the past knew many things that we are losing today due to ignorance and computer convenience. the more you discard your craft and treat it idly the more standards of excellence we lose, and the bigger the onslaught of ignorant graphic design hacks we create. if creating a trademark is as simple as turning on my computer and typing out something in a text face, than everyone with a computer and one hundred free typefaces is a graphic designer. all you are doing is making this paradigm more and more acceptable.

you may think i'm an idealist but we should all be maintaining these standards. their implementation helps guarantee that we all have jobs.

beejay's picture

I'm not disagreeing with you -- you are the so-called Expert --
just pointing out the
things I pointed out, which you overlook because
mea culpa is not in your vocab.

I'm not a trademark designer nor a logo designer
nor have I taken a single graphic design class
but jay, this stuff goes without saying. Of course
you don't just roll a font out of the box. Of course
you look at letter pairings, positive/negative space, ligatures,
color and weight, among a host of other things.
Of course you ought to sketch stuff out, but
not in the gutterball instance, for us onlookers.
We didn't set craft or artistry back and we weren't being
lazy. We were having
fun with a few fonts that have never seen the light
of day.

There's nothing wrong with being an idealist, but it's
the arrogant manner in which you spread your recycled
gospel that is so grating. Humility is a wonderful thing.
Do they teach that up on the hill?

bj

I love Art Center, btw. I've been there three times.
You won't find a better guy than Art Center
grad Jeff Soto. He has more humility than anyone
I know.

www.jeffsoto.com

steve_p's picture

You see Jay (W), that's why I didn't want to answer
You've done it again and the good people trying to find a mark for a band are again bogged down with this issue which is irrelevant. A degree of wandering from the topic is one thing but this is getting silly.

As briefly as possible:
Trademark is not always the correct term, esp. when trade is not the primary purpose.
In cases where trademark is not the correct term, logo may or may not be the correct term.
>>webster is progressive
Yes and Oxford about as staid as they come, but both accept that logo is not restricted only to type. Oxford even goes so far as to suggest that logo isn't always an abbreviation of logotype, but can be an abreviation of logogram etc.

BJ >>Steve is not incorrect in his Gutterball/they construction.
BJ, I don't think Jay(W) has that in mind as the error.
I think that's too subtle - he just hasn't read the words properly, or he hasn't grasped the idea of saying 'this may be the case BUT I don't think so'. He's a serial misinterpreter, I think he uses miscomprehension as rant fuel or something

OK, that's enough.
Jay(W), answer this however you like, you tempted me into a reply before, I already wish I had gone with my instincts and ignored you.

Now, having used up lots of this thread on nothing, I'm going to give some more thought to the original question - 'What typographic treatments lend themselves for effective heavy metal-ness?'

hawk's picture

"if creating a trademark is......a graphic designer."

ahhhh, at last. well done jay. well done jay.

people - study with Doylad Young. then you're going to understand what is a typeface...logo... trademark. BUT - FIRST STUDY HOW TO DRAW. BY HAND. WITH PEN. PENCIL.

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