Art deco palm tree blob

bernard's picture

I designed this simple logo for a non profit organisation.
They wanted something informal, cheap to produce and 3D looking.
The palm tree is their symbol and they operate in an area littered
with art deco buildings.
The logo had to be scalable, keeping the same feel from a small
blotch of fax ink to a wall size banner.

I gave up on anything with gradients generated with 3D studio or
the likes and ended up doing the highlighs on the oily shapes manually.
I used dark green since it's a palm tree. It's already abstract
enough as it is. Just black and green to keep printing costs down.

The typeface is Willow from Tony Forster. It's from 1990 but it's
inspired from turn of the century arts and craft in Austria.
Not really art deco but everyone except folks here think it is.
I came across this font by mistake ramdomly browsing on MyFonts.
It was also cheap ($21) although it seems to have doubled in price
this past week.
I think it works in this context and the customer loved it but what
do I know? I'm really a novice here with most of my knowledge
acquired this past year online and browsing books at Borders.
I don't want to send something to the printer which will look
clich

bernard's picture

Just forgot to add the image

dan's picture

Bernard, I don't know what the first two blobs mean. I would work on the palm tree, it isn't graceful. It would be a great logo for a softball team. You also might look at the typeface Mostra, it was based on art deco designs unlike the face you are using here. The face you are using is more of an Art Nouveau era. It is a good start, I look forward to see your progress

squeeze's picture

The palm tree looks like a paw print to me. As Daniel said, "work on the palm tree". 3-D doesn't seem to go with your currently selected typeface either. One of them has to give.

Aloha!
Scott

hrant's picture

Maybe my lack of graphic design senstivity is getting me here, but I really like what you have so far! Yes, it doesn't look like a palm tree, and yes, it does remind of a paw print (a good association though), but most of all it's like a really friendly -and tasty- alien plant form. Something you would squeeze to get the most delicious juice! It's not 3D is a cheesy way - it just has a nice depth and blobby dimensionality.

I also like the A&C font (just a darker weight if possible) - but the Trade Gothic has got to go. I would lose the two smaller blobs too.

hhp

bernard's picture

I obviously need to redraw the paw print.. ugh I meant palm tree. Thanks for the feedback.

The customer wants the globular look. It's like an oil or water drop that is shown growing into a palm tree or person, but not a paw print. They are more interested in something esthetic and unique rather than something with obvious meaning.
I think I'll play around with uneven palms for my next attempt. I can't narrow the trunk otherwise it will look like a pot plant.

I did play around with quite a few classic art deco era typefaces but their clean geometric shapes don't work well with an amorphous logo IMHO.
The organic feel of turn of the century arts & craft or Art Nouveau (I never figured out the difference) seems to work better with oil slicks.
I really like Willow here. It's borderline too whimsical but the organisation helps the homeless and low income residents so it was important to make it friendly and non corporate looking. I'm almost ready to throw away the logo just to keep the typeface.

Scott: Could you please expand on why Willow doesn't go with a 3D shape? Surely you don't mean adding bevel or shadows. What are fonts that would fit the bill 3D wise?

Hrant: Willow has only one weight. I wouldn't make it heavier anyway since the lettering would then stand out too much with respect to the logo.
I had to darken the colour of the green for that same reason (using gray for the typeface wasn't an option to keep costs down).
What type would you recommend instead of Trade Gothic? Associating typefaces is one area where I need more experience. I'm at the very beginning of developing a feel for it. My background is in technology, not visual design.

Thanks all for you time.
New logo to follow in a few hours, that is if I can work through the F1 Grand Prix ruckus.

hrant's picture

> What type would you recommend instead of Trade Gothic?

Something wide. For some reason Egyptian 505 is coming to mind. But if you prefer a sans, maybe Franklin Gothic.

BTW, this is Kimi's year.

hhp

Hildebrant's picture

BTW, this is Kimi's year.

Ohh --- I heard that. :-) Sunday it all begins.

squeeze's picture

"Scott: Could you please expand on why Willow doesn't go with a 3D shape? Surely you don't mean adding bevel or shadows. What are fonts that would fit the bill 3D wise?"

I should've been more specific. I meant YOUR 3-D shape doesn't go with the font (IMO), not necessarily 3-D in general.

The letterforms remind me of Arts & Crafts architecture, or a Tiffany lamp, neither of which go with a liquified palm tree. I'm sure you could come up with a few good 2-D palm tree graphics that looked more like the letterforms

dan's picture

Bernard, try this thought: Instead of the Palm Tree, create a shape like an oval and knock out the Palm Tree image from the shape. Also try making the words Community Group smaller than Port Phillip. Another thought is create a circle, knock out the Palm Tree and surround the circle with the type. Just some thoughts

bernard's picture

Daniel:
Cutting out a tree from some oval shape is just how their current logo was done. Have a look at it here http://www.ppcg.org.au (top right corner) Yes, it's that pathetic. No wonder they like anything I'm doing so far (I'll freshen up their web site once the logo is figured out).

I also can't enlarge the Port Phillip text. They actually want to under-stress that name for political reason.

Scott:
I see what you mean and you're right on the money to put it in an architural context. Here's what MyFont says about that typeface.
"This fanciful, imaginative typeface is of the Viennese Secessionist style. The work of Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired this condensed sans serif style with its rough edges and selection of alternative and ligatured letters. Due to renewed interest in the arts and crafts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Willow will enjoy widespread promotional application. Designed by Tony Forster, one of Europe

aluminum's picture

I know the client wants 3D globs, but I Agree, it clashes with the art deco theme.

I picture a palm made of stained glass or geometric metal work.

I also hate to say it, but their current logo is quite nice, but just used inappropriately. Perhaps you use that with the new type treatment?

squeeze's picture

Daniel:

I didn't necessarily mean hard geometric shapes, but rather, architectural in the same sense as the typeforms are architectural. Anyway, it was just a thought. In reference to what you pulled off of "MyFont", if you haven't already done it, you might want to explore some of Mackintosh's work for inspiration on the graphic.

I actually agree with Darrel on two accounts: (1) a stained glass palm tree representation might look nice and (2) the old logo isn't as hidious as you made it out to be. To be honest, I think the combination of stained glass, with a slight variation of the old logo, and your new type might be a pretty worthwhile direction to explore. What I mean is

hrant's picture

The old logo is elegant, but it's also pretty boring.

Hey, what about using a close-up/detail of a palm tree frond/leaf?

hhp

bernard's picture

Ok, two new rough samples where I'm trying to fit the logo with the typeface. Conveniently, both long trunk and stumpy trunk palm trees cohexist here.


I tried to make the trunk less static and reworked the leaves. Oily look had to go
due to increased details.


Following a short virtual visit to Queen's Cross Church in Glasgow, I tried to fit everything inside a tall Art Nouveau-is/Lloyd's Wright rectangle. The tree changed specie to adapt. Weird, it reminds me of the Afrikakorp logo.

I'll now play with keeping the oily look and changing the typeface. Any suggestions on what would work with oil slicks?

Hrant: Miki just started testing again. 17000rpm is pretty noisy.

hrant's picture

I like the fat one - although it still doesn't say palm tree to me.

F1: My TV blew last night. Gotta get a new one real real soon...

hhp

squeeze's picture

I think Hrant's suggestion to try zooming in and cropping an individual palm frond is worth investigating.

bernard's picture

yes, I'm working on this one right now.

aluminum's picture

If you're for inspiration from Glasgow Google 'Mackintosh'.

Jon Hicks even offers a rather handsome free typeface based on his work:

http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk/downloads/fonts/

bernard's picture

I played a bit with the last one. The overall shapes seem to work although the palm tree needs more work still. I'm trying to keep the rough edge style.


Then, three more very rough samples, playing with the ideas thrown in. Do they look too much like marijuana plants?




hrant's picture

One tree is best - although the first still looks like a prehistoric species and not a palm.

Or try a detail of a jagged leaf.

hhp

bernard's picture

This one looks less like illegal drugs, and it fits the overall style even better. I'm probably a century late for originality though.

bernard's picture

Ok, one tree, off center and blown up slightly.
Wouldn't look bad at all with some cleanup.
It's still not a palm detail though. I think I'd like to keep the trunk (just an excuse to say that I can't draw a decent palm leave).

hrant's picture

But do tilt it, at least a bit - for one thing that'll fill the frame better. Unless it's a Carson palm tree.

hhp

bernard's picture

Palm trees are pretty straight around here, specially the very tall thin ones. I don't know its name but that's the one I'm trying to depict here.
I think I like the unfilled space in the logo.
It complements the typeface and makes it more interesting.

Hildebrant's picture

8c is definately the strongest concept. The reverse treatment is much better, IMO. If you like the border, perhaps ad a border ofset from the reverse treatment, the best of both worlds.
This may be a little too much, but worth a try.

Hildebrant.

bernard's picture

One more, Hrant's suggestion.


I've submitted the last few attempts to the organisation to see what they think. I provided both positive and negative (white on green) versions. Thanks for all the ideas.

dan's picture

Bernard my only opinions are you make community group as important as Port Phillip. I would make community group much smaller, on one line under Port Phillip to avoid the almost stair step effect of the type. The hole after group is disburbing.

On the plus side your trees are much better. Look at your first post compared to where you are now, its night and day.

bernard's picture

Yes, I liked the whole text on two lines better but I can't make "Port Phillip" larger than the rest. They want to understress that name for political reasons.

Here's another try, playing with the lettering.
It's not working for me.


I'll have to explore other forms to keep things under two lines, but first I'm still waiting to hear from them. I need to know which direction they want to go after I compiled a series with all of the suggestions you guys gave me.
Thanks again.

hrant's picture

With that much variance in size you're going to have to compensate the weights.

hhp

bernard's picture

The problem is that Willow only comes in one weight! The above was just a test. I'm going to play with the shape and position of the logo next and keep the text the same size in one, two or three lines.
BTW Hrant, as a font savant, what other typefaces do you think would work well with this style of logo? Beside something as clean as Neutraface (and just too expensive for my customer), I'm not too keen on the typical art deco fonts. Something more recent perhaps?

hrant's picture

Hey, idiot-savant to you, mister! ;-)
I always liked the Arts & Crafts lettering here (especially in the context of the palm tree), although I forget your rationale for it. The only thing one could complain about it is that it's too focused on Arts & Crafts (where the subject of the logo isn't). You could try something like Neuland, but that might be too much. Oh, I got it! Berthold's Block: http://www.bertholdtypes.com/bq_library/90004.html

hhp

bernard's picture

yes, Neuland is too much.
Block would have been ideal with the oily blobs but my customer prefers the latest logo versions. They also like the Willow typeface.

I was chatting with a Glasgow native last night and she was familiar with the Willow typeface from seeing similar lettering in jeweleries, galleries and some buildings. It certainly doesn't carry the same cultural baggage over here. I chose it simply for esthetic reason although its vague 1900 feel fits in too. The organisation helps low income people in rooming houses which often date from the beginning of the last century. Hum..sounds better than I thought. I may just use that one if I'm shoved against the wall to justify the typeface.

PS: ParaType sells a Bloc copycat for only $25.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Bernard --> I find the perspective drawing of the palm trees in version 8c more interesting. The perspective adds depth that is not seen in this latest version. As well, the weight of the reversed images works (for me) better than the others, it offers a nice contrast. The weight of the typeface conflict (for me) with the line weight of the drawing (looking at 9b). </font>

Miss Tiffany's picture

Option 11b --> Isn't the word GROUP the least important?

Option 10b --> Is the single tree as visually interesting/dynamic?

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