E4 - Please critique

drive_by's picture

Hello, everyone. This is my fist posting to the forum. I've been reading this forum for a few weeks and have learned quite a bit from your critiques. Thanks!

I am currently designing a logo for a progressive non-profit, for their new leadership-development program. they have already settled on the name, which refers to this resource network (of 4 parts)... unfortunately i couldn't talk them out of using "matrix" since that word has been killed.

I am soliciting any feedback that you may offer, the more brutally honest the better. On this forum I have watched some pretty mediocre designs begin to sing after the valuable critiques provided by all of you.

I'd love to hear which direction(s) have the most potential, and any ideas with integrating the "matrix." Thanks in advance.

Some different avenues I've been exploring...

Dan Weaver's picture

Benjamin, Could you explain what the E stands for. The non-profit probably knows but I don't, and why a Matrix. A little more explaination will help. Do you have to use E or can you use a full word? Can you spell out 4? Are these the set colors or experiments? How are you going to use the logo, on-line, print?

squeeze's picture

From what little I know about this, and what you have presented, I like the direction of the last concept. The intersecting shapes have some strong potential, but it's very important to keep them legible. Let's see more exploration on that shape. The italicized "matrix" needs to go. If their market is corporate (especially execs), then "matrix" is an excellent word. The suits love to use matrix. I'll be watching.

hrant's picture

I have this inkling that there's a truly sublime solution for this waiting to be discovered... In the meantime, I think your rightmost one has the most potential: leadership is about being strong, inventive but also humane, so a semi-organic thing with a two firmly interlocking parts feels right. And if you make it angular* the idea of "matrix" might carry through, even though it's not a grid or something.

* What about making one part angular (probably the "4") and the other soft?

And Scott is right about dumping that affected italic "matrix". Your other ones are better.


aluminum's picture

how about something like this:

M 4 T R I X

squeeze's picture

Good idea, Darrel. Definitely worth exploring, Benjamin.

drive_by's picture

good morning guys (PST time, that is). i really appreciate your input. right now i'm putting some rough stuff together to reflect some of your suggestions.

dragnim's picture

playing about, although I dont think it needs much more, i think its a great logo.

squeeze's picture

Try rotating clockwise a little, but not too much

drive_by's picture

Great questions. They certainly are important to the design, but I've shared all that I am allowed to at this point. And yes, for clarity I feel that I need to stick with the numeral four. This logo will be used in print but primarily on the web and DVD.

Thanks Hrant and Scott. After some development yesterday, here is where I am.

Here's what some rotation looks like.


Darrel, I'll have to try your idea.

Thoughts anyone?

hrant's picture

The top three don't work for me: I can't see the "e" very much, and the "4" is being warped too much. The rightmost one on the top is smart and tight, but I think too cold - plus it reminds of Enron a bit...

As for the bottom row, it has a strong charm: it's both organic and rigid - very Picasso.
If you could just make the "e" more prominent - maybe by making the middle bar a bit longer.


dlabrosse's picture

I really like Mike's leftmost suggestion. It helps keep the whole thing tied together.

drive_by's picture

thanks mike and dominique. i'll experiment with your suggestions next. (my initial thought is that it makes it too busy.)

here's an exploration of darrel's idea:

I think it's working alright, but it doesn't have the same pull on me as the interlocking shapes.

squeeze's picture

I think your perception is serving you well. So far, the interlocking shapes offer the strongest solution. Heck! Hrant is comparing your work to a cubist master

drive_by's picture

Scott, thanks for the encouragement. And Hrant's comparison to rand undeserved, but hey...I'll take it.

I LOVE what your rotated version looks like Scott. I 'mo have to use that.

I spent a little while pushing the one that most people have been commenting about. as i add more complicated eliments I beging to like it less and less.

Any reactions to the middle one that i widened?

hrant's picture

I actually like that new curvy one (rightmost) - if you could just fix the join at the top-right.
The angular ones are still more charming though, and maybe more matrixy.


dreamawakener's picture

i'm liking the middle one right now. i like the angles, and it seems like both the e and the 4 are clear. i also thought scott's suggestion was really good, with the rotation.

squeeze's picture

Stick to your guns with the intersecting shapes. Joseph is right about "some" of them getting too playful, but Hrant made5{a classic style (cubist) and I tend to agree. As long as you keep the applications/layouts somewhat conservative (i.e. color, supporting graphic elements, etc.), I believe the direction will be accepted within the intended forum.


aluminum's picture

Unless someone knew that this logo was specifically
for E4, I'm not sure if they'd pick out the 'e' on
first glance.

markatos's picture

darrel, I would have to agree with.

I also like Hrant's aforementioned fav. I think that has some good potential. i would try having the bottom curve of the C angle upward slightly, and have the left arm of the 4 follow the same trajectory. that would make that mark a little more serious. maybe matrix off to the right.

the stuff on the 21st of november:
I think it should be explored some more. try cutting off some of the E by the 4. as if the 4 is up front. this would help diffuse the read I am getting, "metrix, or even meatrix"

obviously we all know why I am seeing meatrix ;) but I am....

dragnim's picture

just to pick up on the point about people not noticing that the logo says e4, i dont really think this is a problem. I think that the shapes are such a strong form that even if people dont notice at first its a strong enough image to stick in peoples heads. Then when they notice that its an e and a four they will go 'oooo!' Quite afew TV companies in UK have logos like this and I dont think they suffer for it.
Perhaps you could even say e4 matrix under the logo or employ the idea above (see below). What I'm really tryin to say is that I hope you dont back away from this design becuase of an(imho) unjustified thought that people might not see what it says. I think its a great deign (Scotts rotation has really put the icing on the cake).

squeeze's picture


Good problem solving, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that some of the points made are "unjustified". You can't really use TV companies to justify your approach

dragnim's picture

Scott, the 'unjustified' part of my post refered to my opinion that you can tell that the logo is an e and a 4. The part about TV companies was just stating that I've seen some that use logos that you dont realize what they are for a while and thats ok, sorta trying to give Benjamin some confidence in what is a fantastic design.
re: the pixel font, I've not got the font that Benjamin's using to go under the logo so just used soem pixel font to show him what I ment.

drive_by's picture

I appreciate the discussion about the legibility of the interlocking characters. I am open to debate, but feel that it is fairly legible as is, and and it would only become more memorable if someone uses a little effort to make sense of it.

That being said, e4 will be promoted primarily through word of mouth or personal interaction, which I believe allows for a little more obscurity in the design.

Mike, thanks for your ideas. I'm convinced that adding the "E" above the "M4trix" only complicates things and I don't think i'll be heading down that road.

I have been experimenting with this very thing and am pleased by the addition of "E4" to the text. but, maybe it's redundant...

I'd love comments about a few specific things:

-My placement of "matrix" in the promary usage, which I've offset slightly right to accomodate for the heavy e.

-How to use this logo at smaller sizes. (ditch the logotype?, move it to the right as shown?...)

squeeze's picture

In this instance, Tiffany, I agree completely regarding the icon/title relationship. I believe there are cases when the positioning needs to hold to strict "guidelines" and there are cases that allow for more flexibility

aluminum's picture

I think Mike's solution is perfect. Leave the
mark, but add 'e4' to the name. This ensures
people read it correctly and still gives you a
memorable mark that you don't have to compromise for debatable legibility reasons.

As for placement, I would side with the argument that you should provide a handful of variations. Give them some flexibility, but don't let them go nuts.

If you leave it with the full 'E 4 M A T R I X' spelled out, what if you made the '4' in that green as well (and not bold 'e4')?

drive_by's picture

you have all helped me incredibly. what do you think?

darrel, i like your most recent idea better in concept than in practice. i think the all black "e4MATRIX" works better.

scott, thanks for the help with the "E" to "e." genius.

squeeze's picture

I do like that, but you may need to mess with a couple of small details still.

1 Line up the right side vertical of the "e", probably on the shorter (less wide) side.

2 Now the "e" needs to be nudged left a little because the new vertical bar closed some open space.

3 Try losing the "ear?/spur?" (the intersecting extension of the crossbar - I really need to learn the typolingo) of the "4".

Looks fabulous!

aluminum's picture

I probably agree with the 'in concept' bit. If you
had a darker green it might work, but it just
doesn't do it for me in the light green.

The lowercase 'e' is looking a bit odd to me...it
seems to be the odd item out. I think it's fine
if you leave it uppercase and it is arguably more
readable. But that's just my opinion, of course.

darkestofwings's picture

I'd like to put my vote in for the text of the upper right idea posted on the 25th - 10:36 am. I do like the bold e4 and I agree from other comments that a lowercase e follows the logo better. (But I also like the closed-top 4 which doesn't follow the logo.) Whatever the two incarnations of e4 become in symbol and text, I'd suggest that they should resemble each others' typeface.

I realize with the top e it looks like the decision has been made for angular but my mind thinks round for lowercase e and square for uppercase. Here's my suggestion for an idea that may have been decided against long ago. Nevertheless, I think the e can be made round and more legible as lowercase without being playful. I'd make it a little more circular than what I did here:

(Wow, Ben, this is truly a chance to stand on the shoulders of giants! What a great resource. btw, check out Steve Schmidt "Young Life Area Director's" philly marathon time: http://www.doitsports.com/newresults3/search-2-gruplus-tabled.tcl)

darkestofwings's picture

Here's a more closed-top four and rounder e approach, it's more organic (which, as a future participant in the program, I predict it will be quite amorphous as it mutates across the globe), but maybe too juvenile? A brush-by-mouse attempt...

as I started to play with this, it reminded me of the shape and color of the nVIDIA graphics card's swirly logo, see www.nvidia.com beware the butterfly girl!

darkestofwings's picture

sorry, I'm getting a server error when I try to post and can't delete this

hrant's picture

Dave, in your attempt it looks like the diagonal of the "4" is going through the eye of the "e". I think that extra depth is great. Maybe the lower terminal of the "e" needs to eat into the h-bar of the "4" then.


Joe Pemberton's picture

Some of these are getting very playful. That's not wrong, as long as it's appropriate to the organization. Just be careful. The more playful the less timeless it can become. (If timelessness is a requirement, which is usually should be.)

I like the stuff you posted at 1:20 on the 21st. They are more understated and less tricky. Not trying too hard to be clever, if you get my meaning.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'm sure someone will disagree with me, but I have to say there are no rules about placement. You should leave it open and call it situation dependant. For instance, You could even use the logo and the wordtype in two different places. With the letterhead, another for instance, the logo could be off to the side toward the top and the wordtype could be used with the address somehow. If you believe they should be used together, I would probably opt for one of those without the E4 ... or ... where the two E4s aren't right next to each other. I'm guilty of not following this entire thread, but I enjoy this solution. Edgy, clever ... without being cute or over-the-top. I love the acid green too. (or that is how my monitor shows it to me anyway)

Syndicate content Syndicate content