Detex Pest Control

squeeze's picture

I am beginning an identity project for a pest control company, DETEX, and I'm starting with the logo and color scheme. My wonderful client has repeatedly asked me for the Unocal logo ("Spirit of 76")

William Berkson's picture

The unusual shape and bugs are great.

Are the 'E's a bit too soft and pretty for the type of business?

You might consider something more aggressive and macho, like Font Bureau's Eagle.

squeeze's picture

Good suggestion. Eagle would probably be a good choice for this industry.

During my initial consultation with the client, we determined that the most important elements to the customer relationship are trust and reliability. Recognizing the need for boldness ("aggressive and macho") within industry applications and considering the look of reliability, I created the bold DETEX type. Also recognizing that most pest control is sold door-to-door during the day, I knew that the logo needed to be soft enough for a predominantly female market, hense, the soft "E's" and the gray (vs. Unocal blue) and orange (vs. the industry standard red) combination. I felt that this would help create warmth, rather than aggressive heat, and contribute to the trust factor.

I'm thinking that the space between the name and title on the bizcard needs to be decreased

hrant's picture

Scott, great analyses of the design problem.
But your bug needs to be much nastier.


gyodea's picture

Scott, I like the colors and the overall look!
Maybe you could use the orange element at the end of the word "Detex" to build the "E". I think the look should be more aggressive that way?

I don't think you should consider the female market as a market that want a softer look... that's just constructed ideas. The female market are not that easy. I think you could go more "macho".

The businesscards; are you showing the front and back of them in your preview, or is it just the front? Can you maybe show them with cuttingmarks?


lorenk's picture

i think it's great! much nicer than other pest control identities. i see tons of bad blue-collar business logos. good job.

two things though: maybe try making the two E's a little wider. they seem not as wide as the D for example. it makes the word DETEX look a little weaker, when it should be stronger.

also, the TM annoys me a little in its current location. i suggest moving it somewhere that isn't so noticeable. it sticks out because it's creating a tension with the corner and making you notice it. maybe move it down next to the L. i dont know. good job though.

William Berkson's picture

Your work is beautiful.

To me the only question is what suits the market.

Your analysis of the market is great, but ideally you would go on and test out more & less aggressive versions using the business's existing customers & see the reaction.

squeeze's picture

Thank you all for the excellent comments.

Hrant: You could be right about the bug. As I looked at competitors, there are a lot of really poorly illustrated pests incorporated into their logos

squeeze's picture

OK, here's something to chew on over the weekend

hrant's picture

> someone might even mistake the bug for a real one and try to brush it off of the page

The Fedra specimen booklet has a tiny fake ant in it, and every time I pick it up I have to stop myself from trying to brush it off. Very thin irregular but smooth lines have the same effect.


emor's picture

My wife and I like the blue. Gray is neutral, which doesn't work so well for a logo, IMO.

hawk's picture

just couple things:

1. ethics - client - he knows about that? i mean this post?

2. you ask the questions and give the answers. you didn't accept a word - what Hrant said. William... so i don't see the point.... or why to post?

3. and what about competitors??? that read this post???..... and they are......

cerulean's picture

You may want to kern the D in just a tad closer; it seems kind of detached from the rest of the word.

hdschellnack's picture

Gray and Orange are a good combination, although a bit overused -- your designers delight looks better than the reflex blue look, which of course is bolder but simply doesn't work as nice and will of course need a third colour in printing for the text, which shouldn't be blue.

I absolutely do not like the way E and T as well E and X are done in one shape, almost as ligatured. It looks too clever for its own good... I think a cleaner and simpler approach would be nicer and would probably have more longevity.

The business card is just great, the although I'm sure the before bug shouldn't be just a fly (no one calls pest control for that) and the after bug should maybe just be more of a kind of red smear :-). Of course though, the shape of the card and the fly are a perfect fit and maybe a cockroach on your bizcard isn't the best idea... :-D. Maybe the DETEX could be a bit smaller and the typeface for the name and tel# and so on isn't my cuppa, for that kinda business and that logo a sans serif would be a better fit.

squeeze's picture


I am sorry if my communication was misunderstood by you.

RE: Ethics - On projects where confidentiality is not a huge issue, I always tell my clients that I use outside critiques (usually friends and family in the design community). If you feel I need to be more specific, please explain why

petrol's picture

The 151 orange is a strong colour - as used by the Orange mobile phone company in Europe.. their rgb conversion is: R 255 G 89 B 0. Which represents the print colour well if your showing the client on screen.

Also a little kerning may be needed (though its hard to tell with a jpg) - P<E O<N

hrant's picture

Scott, I don't know if they're common enough (I mean as a houeshold problem) to deserve first dibs, but my impression (from having a hell of a time fighting them off, on two different continents) is that RATS are the most fearsome of pests.


cerulean's picture

Try flipping that EX ligature so that both joins are along the top. I think that would make it read faster, no longer leading the eye to wander up and down.

I just noticed that the S in PEST looks awfully wide. I know that's how it comes in Handel, but in that context and letterspacing, it's out of place.

Hrant, that is probably true, but as a symbol rats are problematic. Some people don't like to think about killing cute fuzzy animals, whereas everybody hates insects. Also, you can't fit a life-sized rat on a business card.

hrant's picture

> everybody hates insects.

I don't know about that, but you have a point about the fur.

> you can't fit a life-sized rat on a business card.

What about just its tail?

Sometimes the rat's tail will betray it: the rat is fast enough to clear its body from under the snapping bar, but the flailing tail gets caught. Except one time I ended up with just the tail in the trap: the bugger had chewed (tailputated?) itself free. Respect.


aluminum's picture

Few random comments:

The blue ain't bad...let the client have that one. The grey is nice, but tends to be 'the thing' to do these days. Not sure how timeless it will be (if that is an issue).

I like your t-shirt/hat mock-up. Perhaps just make those the corporate colors and let them use blue vs. grey depending on situation.'

I don't usually consider flies a pest. A bit annoying, but usually a sign that the mulch needs taking out rather than a need for an exterminator. As for insects-that-fit-on-a-bcard, I'd say the ant is a good idea. Or a termite.

The TM looks much better outside the orange field.

The logo-esque 'e' in PEST bothers me. Not sure why, but I read it as P EST. Maybe use a squarer 'e' in the tag line.

hrant's picture

I'm actually liking the client's color choice - and three is too many.

I'd close up the "ET" a bit, and open up the "X"-shape space.

I'm not sure about the italic. You already have an[other] angle in the paper's cut. Smallcaps instead?

And I'd use midpoints (but not huge bullets) instead of periods in the phone numbers.

> I LOVE the rat tail idea, but I think it might be a little morbid.

Well, you wouldn't show it cut - just coming out of the right edge - like it's hightailing it outa there or soemething. And/or that angled cut in the paper could be symbolic of a trap. You could even use differently curling tails for each employee.


aluminum's picture

I hate to do this to you, but I'm siding with the client too in terms of color. Grey is a hard sell to a client, IMHO, so you may want to save your energies for a different battle ;o)

The card is nice. Two nitpicks:
- no URL. I can't trust a company without a web site. ;o)
- dots in the phone number. Me no like. Seems 'trendy in art school but not really pratical in the real world' IMHO.

I like that ant. A lot! But I'm thinking the back of the card is too much/too obvious. I'd suggest just having the ant as-is on the front and not try to push the whole before/after concept. If you do keep the ant on the back, I think it needs to somehow look 'more dead'. Not sure how to go about that, though. Maybe a chalk outline? Headstone? Dunno...just thinking outloud...

beejay's picture

Scott, nice work.

I agree, the 'after' ant should be fixed. It doesn't look phased
at all by the sudden chemical attack.

Upside down with the legs up?

the casual script type on the back could be better. It stops ya.


William Berkson's picture

You might consider a sans, such as Frutiger (which is clean and soft like your design)
for the text of the name and number.
It may turn out more harmonious with the mark than an old style serif.

Tom Cannon's picture


I like the design. However, I would like to see a darker blue that doesn't have as much brightness. Because the orange is bright, I think a duller blue would make the orange and blue work better together. Your "e's" feel like they have too much curve. I also don't like the middle bars being different lengths than the outer bars.

The "E" connecting only at the bottom of the "X" seems odd because the top has the same relationship as the bottom, and they don't connect. (I hope that made sense) I don't see anything wrong with just joining the e and the t. Joining the "e" and "x" seems forced.

I think pest control could be a sans serif different than the title. I just used univers- I am sure you could find a better one. The orange arrow feels better with the same space between it and the "x" as the thickness of the font. I Hope this helps.


cerulean's picture

Yeah, a little more with the S.

On the back of the card, merely saying "This is the void where the ant was" doesn't really communicate the idea so well. If you can make the white ant look really dead (a dead insect, when not smooshed, is generally curled up with all its legs folded inward), you won't need to spell out "after" in words at all. I think that would be a good thing.

j_p_giese's picture

Hi Scott.

Not bad so far.

Nice card shape - corresponding with the logo.

But: the before/after thing (as is) does not at all work for me. Nobody can tell (without inspecting the card with a magnifier) which ant (or fly) is alive and which is killed. People might think: "Before: grey fly, after: white fly - cool, that's what I always wanted to spend my money for". :-)

And do away with that "see other side for 'before'" instruction. That sounds sort of silly. ,-)

Maybe the happy vermin/poisoned vermin idea would work if somehow differently done. But, actually, I'm not sure whether such a (tendentially nasty) illustration should be on a card. Maybe it should. I'm a bit undecided here. ,-)

I wouldn't make the job title lowercase only. I see no reason to do this.

I guess I don't prefer the grey over the customer's blue.
The grey might seem to be a bit more sophisticated, but IMO the dark blue suits the business well.
Hrant's right: three colors in the logo are too much.
Tom's colors are very strong. I think I like them.


aluminum's picture

I know we're entering the subjective world
of color preferences now, but while Tom's
colors are bold, they creep back into the
gas-station color pallete that scott was
trying to avoid. I think scott's blue/orange
combo is the strongest of the bunch. IMHO,
of course.

shreyas's picture

I tend to like the client's rather gentler blue.

The thing that bothers me about the EX-ligature is the angle that the upper arm of the X is cut at - if it ended vertically rather than horizontally, I think it might flow better. (Unfortunately this unbalances the top of the glyph and makes the orange arrow look forced).

I'll second the curled-up legs for the dead insect; the splat effect could be in poor taste.

The complaint regarding the shape of the logo Es: what if only the bottom arm had a corner with the stem? The stem can retain its bow-curve, but you can also reinforce the baseline and eliminate the instability that the ET ligature has.

lorenk's picture

did you ever try widening the two E's? if you did, post both ways, so we can see if one works better than the other.

squeeze's picture

Thank you all for the incredible critique. Unfortunately, I have become somewhat overloaded with work and will not have time to address each of your helpful comments, but let me assure you that I have used all of your postings to get this design to where it is now.

Due to a client response lull, I had some time away from this project. I hope that I remembered everything that I intended to do. Take a look and let me know if I'm still missing some things. I tried to apply a lot of changes to this revision this afternoon and I fear I may have even missed some of the positive adjustments I made on previous versions.

The colors are confirmed and due to budget constraints, I need to keep the cards down to 2/1. Because of this we now have a dark blue ant. I think it is small enough that it will still work. On the reverse side, I went with the ant on its back with its let up in the air. The tag line, "after DETEX", probably needs to be present for people who haven't followed this thread to get it.

Thanks again for all your help.


Detex Identity

marcox's picture

I was playing tourist in San Francisco this weekend and came across this door lock at Coit Tower. Didn't see any ants nearby, though...


hrant's picture

> Didn't see any ants nearby


BTW, does that say "PANIC HARDWARE"?!


marcox's picture

I believe the wide bars on exit doors are called "panic bars."

Does anyone else think this might be too close to Scott's proposed logo?

squeeze's picture

WOW! Thanks for the shot. That makes me want to return to my more rounded version.

Oh well, it wasn't done anyway. I still had some kerning to work out and I needed to extend the orange shape a little.


Tom Cannon's picture

I wouldn't worry about it Scott. The same comapny has changed their logo. As you can tell from the door it has been awhile since that logo was used.

squeeze's picture

Thanks for the research Tom. I guess now I can say I'm drawing from history.

markatos's picture

Scott, everything is looking good here. I wouldn't worry about that other detex logo, sometimes certain letters just come together in certain ways.

My only note is that I am not so sure on the type on the back of the card. HAving pest controller off to the right isn't sitting that well with me. Perhaps there needs to be a little more of a margin between the text on the left and the text on the right. I do see why you are shifting towards the right, but perhaps it needs to move over 20 pixels.

just a thought

squeeze's picture

Thank you Peter. Good suggestion, which I needed to hear. My amateur typographical eyes see these things, but I'm still not refined enough to know whether they work or not.

What if I scattered a few letters from "PEST CONTROLLER" as if they were crumbs that the ant is attracted to?

markatos's picture

I don't think you need to scatter the letters. IMHO I think they could just scoot over a touch.

dctroy's picture

Hi Scott
I really like your design, especially the use of the orange wedge shape, which is repeated in the shape of the card.

When I was growing up in Florida (I now live in Washington) there was this pest control company that had a cute mouse-like logo, and their vehicles were bright yellow VW Bugs with big three-dimensional mouse ears on the roof, a big mouse tail attached to the rear end, and three-dimensional whiskers attached to the front bumper. As a child it was fun to spot them in the sea of otherwise boring 70s-mobiles (ah, suburban sprawl).
I looked them up and they're still around (maybe you've heard of them -- people here in the Northeast haven't). I'm attaching a couple of jpegs. An example of rare humor in the pest control industry.

Their "mouse" logo became so familiar to people in that area that the company started doing ads with a sign-off of the mouse ears, whiskers and tail without the words Truly Nolen... sort of like what Target does now.

Good luck with your project.


image 1image 2

squeeze's picture

In case anyone's interested. The trucks turned out OK. I had a flashier design for the trucks that involved a lot more orange, but it was too expensive. So we went conservative, but it still makes a loud professional statement considering the small size of this pest control company (5 trucks).

Detex truck

BTW, the orange hose was just one of those luck of the Irish (I'm about an eighth Irish) coincidences.

hrant's picture

(Even the driver looks like he means business. :-)


Dan Weaver's picture

Scott, here in NYC if you say pest control you mean cockroaches. Try one of those suckers on your card.

timfm's picture

Scott -- sorry I missed the boat on this one!

andrew_baker's picture

Im loving the mouse car... If you hit the horn does it squeek?

tsprowl's picture

y'no what about having ant before and no ant after but a piece of text just pointing to nothing in the place that it was before.

also - I'm thinking that that ant is quite small - it is a relative size to your ants over there?

squeeze's picture

These cards have already printed, but thank you for the good ideas. Some of them may prove useful in future reprints.

Tanya, I think my Hawaiian heritage has shown through here. If you've ever been to Hawaii for any length of time, you have most likely encountered the tiny colonies of ants that are so small that they are capable of marching right into a jar of peanut butter

Miss Tiffany's picture

This is nice. I think I prefer the orange hat. Has anyone asked about the word spacing in between "pest" and "control"? Scott, I think you could fix this by lowering that line just a bit and then removing some of the word spacing. I agree with the remark about the TM as well. It does need to be less conspicuously placed.

Your work is consistently good. Nice analysis as well.

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