logo design critique

jer-man's picture

We are in the middle of a re-branding campaign and I have designed several logos...the one that has been chosen is by my opinion a very bad choice. I would like to have them ranked by other designers to help me in determining if I'm right or not...thanks in advance

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engelhardt's picture

It would be helpful to know a little more about the company, what they do, etc.

jer-man's picture

sorry about that...just a little detail I didn't mention.
Dialogic Communications...we are a reverse 911 system software developer. Our software enables public safety, military, etc to automate callouts, via pre-set scenarios, geographical areas, etc. Basically enables the user to contact many people via all devices...phone, cell, email, mobile devices primarily for emergencies, i.e. gas leaks, boil water alerts, missing persons etc

Dan Weaver's picture

Everything you've posted so far is forced. Why do you need a logo? Why not just use type tastefully and describe your business. I'm asking you to review your business plan. Are you retail or a concern that deals with corporations? Ask hard questions about your business before deciding you need a new logo/idenity. The looks you have posted look like design for design sake. They are not focused on a sound marketing plan.

jer-man's picture

Dan,
Thanks for your comments...very good point. Hey, "forced" is an understatement! My boss and there boss wants it...I've fought the fight and lost. I just want help ranking what they are considering. To be able to make the best pick or at least something to build on from what we have to choose from. I'm saying if you had to put them in order first to last, how would you?

engelhardt's picture

Well... If this is your current logo, I can see why they might feel inclined to redesign. That mark is a little dated (seems "early Internet start-up" to me... must be the swoosh).

I do tend to agree with Dan that these options seem somewhat forced and/or arbitrary. However, I understand you're at a point where you can only go forward. So here are my thoughts:

I like the concept behind C and D -- the chain of communication. However, it took me a while to figure that out... it's not immediately obvious in either one.

Also, in the marks which use 'DCC', but don't include the text for "Corporation" I get confused by what the second 'C' is for.

I don't really understand the meaning of the marks in A, E and F.

B frankly has a 1980s feel to me. It also bugs me that the text is trying to be justified, but isn't (due to the italics?).

The condensed typefaces in several of them could be problematic at small sizes/on the Web.

Just some random thoughts... sorry, it's not really a "ranking."

jupiterboy's picture

A,B, E most workable.

D,C,F not really.

Agree B is dated, and a little rough. Agree that without the corporation text I'm left confused about the second C. I like the type in A. It would stand up to a fax, and that's something.

Dan Weaver's picture

You really need your boss to see these postings and make him think. He's the leader and needs to use his anylical knowledge to make a decision about how your company wants to position itself in the new markets.(this is harsh) If not he's a fool.

biffy's picture

Which were your bosses first pick?
What background do they have: CEO=paperworkers, technicals, art-appreciators, etc. etc.?

Chris Keegan's picture

A good rule of thumb is, don't ever show a design you wouldn't want your client to pick.. But we've all been there. The best way to talk someone out of a "bad" design that they've latched onto is to give them a better alternative, and a well thought out explanation, after that, it's out of your hands. I think if you could tell us which one they've picked, and which one you prefer, it might be a bit easier to critique...

Norbert Florendo's picture

This is a hard statement to tell a boss, but I have tactfully mentioned to higher-ups that personal favorites are less important than how it is perceived from the outside.

I've had one boss tell me that he wanted to show my design to his wife before "he decides." Honest truth.

If any of your competitors are branded well, yours will look pretty chintzy.

Rebranding shouldn't be taken lightly and SHOULDN'T be based SOLEY on the logo. Because once they have decided, they are stuck with it for quite a while.

Look at the reactions the new Quark logo stirred.

Honestly, I don't think any of those logos would do the company any good. But I also know how it feels when the "captains of industry" won't listen to the lowely worker. :-(

jer-man's picture

Wow! I just found this site today...great stuff!

I had sent the same graphic to several design buddies to get some outside feedback. I heard exactly what I wanted to from them but my boss just thought the opinions were biased.

Now a little background on my situation... I was ask on a Wednesday afternoon to create a new logo by Friday.

My boss had gone to a trade show and someone told him that

"oh, your Dialogic... I didn't know who DCC was. I've heard of your product but know the company as dialogic."

That prompted the whole new identity issues...

Now that was several weeks ago and there's a long story go along with how we got to where we are today. I was given the new requirements..."let's emphasize DIALOGIC and minimize the DCC.

I took on the challenge anyway, expressing my concerns knowing that the time frame was ridiculous.

I submitted some very rough ideas by Friday as ask...but my boss didn't have time to review. (Put off until Monday) I show up Monday morning and my boss and the VP of Marketing pull me in the conference room to tell me they have outsourced the job to someone who specializes in branding. Hey, I'm cool with that (didn't like the circumstances but the heat was off me). Hey fresh ideas... a group that specializes in this area (I'm kinda the Jack-of-all-trades, design, web, flash, multimedia...ok at all but not great at any).

A week and a half later...the new ideas are presented. Initially they didn't like anything...they went back and forth for another week to make suggested changes by my bosses. (I'm not involved in the process at all at this point)

Several days after that I was pulled back into the project...I was told to try to come up with something, we we're at a dead end. So here I go again...this is where the "forcing is an understatement" comes in. So at this point you can imagine my frustration... I'm reaching for anything and everything. That would explain the real lack of meaning to my designs.

I am impressed that several of you could see the fact that they were "forced".

Now here's the deal with the logo comps I provided...they have decided to go with "D" as the new logo. I'm not particularly attached to any but think several have some potential with refinement. I'm having a very difficult time accepting this choice. They are set on this chain thing...linking and all that. Although there is a concept behind it, I don't think the logo works. Am I just too attached to the project or can somebody back me up on this design?

Thanks guys!

jer-man's picture

oh yeah, my bosses background
VP of marketing...marketing major
Director of Creative Services...writer

Norbert Florendo's picture

“oh, your Dialogic… I didn’t know who DCC was. I’ve heard of your product but know the company as dialogic.”

The reason your boss wanted to rebrand was because the name "Dialogic" is known but no one associates DCC with company.
They might like the chain concept, but it still doesn't utilize the strength of the company's brand, which apparently is the name and not the logo.

If their name is their best asset, they should capitalize on it, and not subordinate it by placing it under a confusing image/monogram.

If one calls by phone and is greeted by "Hello, Dialogic..." and not "Hello, DCC..." then that is also part of the branding strategy.
Use the name and forget creating a "mark" as the focus of the logo.
Dan Weaver made a similar suggestion above and I agree.

The BEST thing your company can do is to strengthen the NAME brand and forget any graphic/icon on the logo.

cerulean's picture

After reading the background, I'm not sure why you're still making "DCC" logos when the stated problem is that you will only be recognized as Dialogic. It's a shame that you probably can't dissuade your employer from the chain idea, but see if you can apply it tastefully to a full wordmark "DIALOGIC".

alchion's picture

I agree with most comments, the logo concepts shown are somewhat forced, but still a step up from the dish of DCC identity currently in use. What your firm needs is branding with
the implementation of narrative design (narrative design is essentially story telling). Tell a story of how the company was founded, what drives it, who drives it, how it's services are improving customers lives, profits, etc..the visual elements will fall in place once this is established. Hire a consultant to get you through this phase if required. It may well be a wordmark that will ends up being the visual identity that becomes the final solution, but the proper solution should not be guess work.

All implementation aside here is my critique on a purely aesthetic basis-
A. feels a bit CSA retro, it is legible and may well imply a connection of some sort by the honeycomb hex shaped grid connecting the DCC. I like this.
B. simply sucks, unbalanced, heavy handed, poor proportions, dated-delete asap
C. hard to read, at first I was seeing slanted "s" shapes, concept is not bad, just requires a
some more work.
D. looks like a lot of mid 90's electronica music labels, concept is nice with the links between the letters which works best with the D-C but not quite as well with the second C-C link
E. again the honeycomb/ hex concept. would recommend a very neutral typeface for dialogic communications, and decrease space between logo and type as well as make type slightly smaller
F.most people will see the DC as an X and wonder what the second C is. it is cool looking but will not work.

there is an obviously fascination with horizontal flipping of C glyphs. this sometimes works but I think traditional options should be further explored.

Dan Weaver's picture

Another problem with a ABC type of mark is how much support will go behind the mark. International Business Machines spent millions to get consumers to recognize IBM and it was justified because consumers (even corporate ones) didn't associate their main product (computers) with machines. My feeling is if it isn't broke don't fix it. If its slightly flawed tweek it. My guess is you need just a tweek and to make a major overhaul without a major expense (signage, redoing the website, stationary and ads to introduce the mark) is probably way beyond any budget conciderations. I would suggest a study about how much it would cost to change your idenity and a budget and a time period to implement it. I think upon review your company will think twice about what someone comments at a trade fair.

ashleyo's picture

argh! i'll chime in my two cents. firstly dan makes some perfect points i reckon! you're in a dang-frustrating position! marketing and the like saying one thing but doing another. a pretty logo or icon isn't going to help if it isn't implemented correctly in the bigger scheme of things. personally, if i had to pick i like the C option. but i'd drop the last so it's just DC and focus on a wordmark for dialogic. it's a helluva catchier than dialogic communications corporation or DCC. that sounds so eighties and is such a mouthful. maybe i've seen that DC looking logo before?

johnnygriswold's picture

I personally like "A" a lot (except for the fact that the design element at the top is shifted a bit too far to the right)

Ratbaggy's picture

they're not overly adventurous.

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Solid Creative - Communication Design, Melbourne

cachaca's picture

i like "c" and "e", maybe "c" a little bit more. but in my mind could be a more color contrast...

hughfire's picture

I want to echo the sentiments of those who have said that you should ditch the whole DCC concept. The only reason people go to acronyms is in the case of confusing or misleading long names. If Dialogic (which sounds a heck of alot better and more tech-advanced than DCC) is not a specific trademark threat - I would stick with that in a heartbeat. If you must have a mark (and believe me I know some clients are funny about that - they want a "mark") then freeing yourself from the millstone of DCC hung around your neck is a plus. Any mark would need to be super clean and simple - although I think a nice word mark would do fine. I do agree also that the design must flow organizally from a sound idea of a marketing plan and a brand. Also please get the word corporation out of your logo. It only belongs on tax forms and legal documents.

I also have to mention that it is rather unfair to ask you to do this in a matter of days - enough time must be given to ruminate on what the mark has to convey. If not you end up ust decorating the word.

One final thought that we have all learned the hard way. The best place to kill a logo you don't like is on your desktop. Only take in the ones you can stand behind 100% save the others (if you must) as a backup. I have found one trick that helps (although some may say it is a little heavy handed). When I work on marks for a new client I may take a few marks with me on single boards, but the only one I flesh out (ie throw on a stationery set, use in a fake ad, put on a shirt - whatever) is the one I think is the absolute strongest - the others are not shown unless I fear I may be losing them. What I find is that when a company sees it fully realized before them they feel they are purchasing a brand. If you do then show the single logos, most people will not be able to imagine how it would work with the brand and they will usually say "these are ok - but I like THIS (indicating the total brand) its kind of like adding marbles to a bowl of veggie soup in a way, but in another way it just shows your level of confidence in which logo is best suited for the job.

Again - that may seem a bit tricksy for some, but it has kept me from having to brand ugly. I have also MANY times been in the position where the real client is the wife. Just wait till you have to design a logo to match the office's interior decor. Happens ALL the time in dentistry and similar professional clients.

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