Critique a small design shop's logo, please.

RedMonolith's picture

Hey, all. I'm looking for a logo critique from some of the smartest type nerds on the planet, so if you could indulge me, I'd really appreciate it. The themes I'm trying to convey are stability, dependability, precision, and harmony. I've reached that point where everything looks the same to me, and I don't really have anyone else to bounce this off of right now. Thanks!

RedMonolith's picture

Well, I can't attach anything for some reason, so the file is here:

EDIT: voting is over :)

Lex Kominek's picture

What's the significance of the name?

I think C works best, but they all remind me of the PRODUCT(RED) campaign.

- Lex

RedMonolith's picture

Lex - I'm very analytical and rational. I love grids, I love simple geometric shapes, and I love the 1:4:9 proportions of the Clarke monolith, so combining that with print's most interesting (to me) and second most important (to me) color was a no-brainer.

I chose DIN because of its visual similarity to the 4:9 ratio and modified the letterforms slightly to emphasize that. That the word "MONOLITH" fits perfectly inside the shape while retaining the 1:4:9 proportions is, I confess, a happy coincidence.

voiceof's picture

Have you tried rotating the text 90 and placing it in the box. I know a name in a box isn't the most novel idea but I think with this name it would make sense.

Craig Hughes's picture

Aha, a fellow Space Odyssey freak!
A, because the treatment makes it feel more solid and freestanding than the others. Feels more like a massive structure.
C, because it seems like it would be easier to apply across various media.

D feels like it's hanging rather than standing. B doesn't really do anything for me.

andy reddout's picture

hi,

i saw your post and had a few thoughts. first, i love the name of the shop, very cool. but with the logo, it seems very "see and say". the name is red monolith, so show me a red monolith. i think there are some other ideas and metaphors out there that may be more pleasing. how can you say HUGE without showing me two things? maybe you cannot. how about a looming shadow. an ant's eye view. 3-dimensional going WAY up. maybe more exaggerated so we can get the idea of monolith. monolith is HUGE, not just big.

ok, i am done rambling. i hope this helps?

RedMonolith's picture

Thanks to everyone for their critiques. It's pretty funny how often I tell people to not be quite so literal in their design work but when it comes to my own identity I go and do just that! Thanks, Andy - it is certainly worth considering and I will do some more sketches tonight. Thankfully there's no rush on this, so I can take the time to do it right. I'm still interested in what everyone else has to say, of course.

timd's picture

D seems more monolithic to me, however there are some ugly issues with the tops of the ‘ED’ and outsides of ‘R’, ‘M’ and ‘H’, particularly the tops though, maybe you could compensate by enlarging the type out of the monolith, leaving just enough to read it.

Tim

James Arboghast's picture

A, but with the text on the right side of the monolith, left-aligned/ragged right---like B but with the text set as two lines.

Then place a tiny white human figure inside (in front of?) the monolith to give a sense of gigantic scale.

DIN is an okay choice of font but there exists another type that was designed with exactly this sort of subject in mind---its capitals are meant to evoke monolithic or monumental structures on a vast scale. At least that was what I had in mind when I designed Rhodealian. Rhodie's N and M are explicitly architectural, looking just like tall buildings in silhouette.

...how can you say HUGE without showing me two things?

Hard to do. To demonstrate the size of a thing it's easier, more effective to show two objects.

j a m e s

Lex Kominek's picture

I just thought of something - get rid of the type altogether. Just use a big red rectangle as your logo.

- Lex

James Arboghast's picture

Lex, that approach is sometimes used by large companies and corporations with a marketing budget large enough to establish their name and identity with mult-media, typically supplementing a non-descript image with the use of sound, for example, by speaking the company's name aloud in radio and television ads. Even so most examples still include an acronym with the visual element.

For a small design shop a graphic logo with no text at all, not even an acronym, might be too obscure. Keeping it simple generally produces good design, but given how minimal this one is, getting rid of the text altogether would make it reductive, and for clients, incomprehensible.

j a m e s

Ex Libris's picture

You mentioned DIN as the typeface, but the pdf Properties says Helvetica Neue. Might want to double check this.

timd's picture

>Helvetica Neue
That’ll be ABC and D.

Tim

sim's picture

C and D my choice. May be increase the size of the type and place it on more line if it's too wide.
May be like this:
RED
MON
OLI
TH

Koppa's picture

B of course. This is what you're after, and everything else is just unnecessary stylishness. B is no style and all style all at the same time.

Koppa's picture

Thought I'd give it another look before lunch, and that must mean I like it, because otherwise I'd have forgotten about it by now. Upon revisiting it, my initial thoughts are confirmed, B...almost as is. You're going to have to loosen up MONO because there is so much white space within LITH. Aside from paying closer attention to letterspacing, I think B rules. As for the comments regarding "how do you show huge without showing two objects" and "try stacking the lines," B illustrates the huge scale with the big rectangle vs. small type perfectly, and stacking the type would screw that up. Don't overthink or overdesign this one. It's too perfect. B!

Robert Trogman's picture

You have two conflicting elements. Tie them together.

Jan Middendorp's picture

When Stefan Sagmeister was asked to do an identity for his brother's clothing shop BLUE, he did everything in orange. Worked beautifully. How about green for the rectangle?

RedMonolith's picture

James - I like Rhodealian a lot (and it's a bargain). I'll take a closer look at it.

Lex & Koppa - My first thought was "just the rectangle; do the simple strong shape you're always begging everyone else to try." And then I chickened out at the last minute, just like everyone else does. :) But I have to say that while it's nice to have a one color logo, the text inside the monolith cheapens it a little bit, gives it a weak footing. I really wanted to go with the one-color and stick with it, but after taking a few days off I have to say that I'm not so fond of the text inside and that Koppa's arguments are very persuasive.

Sim - I had done a lot of sketches where the object was built using the type, with "RED" as the front face and "MONOLITH" as the side, all put together at an extreme angle, but I just couldn't make it work.

Robert - could you be more specific?

Robert Trogman's picture

For some reason I can't attach a jpeg, png or pdf. file to show you what I mean.

James Arboghast's picture

Red, cheers I'm glad you like Rhodaelian. Koppa's rationale about the large rectangle next to the small type illustrating huge scale is true in a general sense. Some observers, however, may reason that if the type is only a few inches high the rectangle, while much taller, must be only a few feet tall and hardly giant-scale. Depends on reproduction size and how philosophical you want to be about this. Adding an element of readily-recognized size, such as a human figure, would make the scale of things indisputable, but that's an intellectual conceit and there's a lot to be said for keeping things simple. It was just a passing thought.

Robert, do you have the Flash 9 plugin installed? It's essential for the
Insert image link to appear below the text entry box when posting at Typophile.

j a m e s

RedMonolith's picture

Passing thought or not, James, I thought it was pretty interesting visually. I adjusted the type a bit more as well, but I don't know how those differences are going to show up in this scale.

RedMonolith's picture

The only thing that might irritate me about this is that technically, the figure is leaning on the edge of the shape. So here's one more take on it and then I have to make a decision by the weekend or I'm just going to make myself nuts. :)

litera's picture

The bigger problem that I see with this one is the size and detail of the figure. Think of your business cards. How big should the logo be on them to notice the person.

What is always HUGE in terms of size? Because your "red monolith" isn't huge per-se... So you have to do this with some additional symbol.

I find it nice, but as I said, there's application problems.

RedMonolith's picture

Litera - I'd planned on having a slightly different treatment for the business cards, with one side solid spot red and custom cut to keep the 4:9 ratio and the second side with the name only. With the new treatments there would obviously be some changes to accommodate the figure in small-scale reproduction. I'm a prepress/production guy from the start so I have thought about the absolute minimum sizes I can get away with, but it's always good to be reminded.

aluminum's picture

I think your latter idea with the person leaning could work provided the red part isn't part of the logo, but just another element...a side bar in your stationery, a margin on your web site, etc.

James Arboghast's picture

Righty-ho then. Now that I can see how it looks, the human figure adds another dimension ;^) It gives me the impression there's a real intelligence at work behind the monolith, and that was what the Monolith was all about in Kubrik's film and Clark's book. It was a teaching machine that supercharged the apes and made them evolve.

You're right Red, it does make an interesting visual. I'm more drawn into the piece now because the human figure gives it relevance.

j a m e s

jameshanington's picture

Your logo has a very boutique feel to it. The human figure is great. However you have to work out just how much this little person fits into your brand. Will he work on business cards, on your site and in your marketing materials? I'm often frustrated when brands or a logo changes through different collateral. That being said, the little guy gives a whole different feeling to the logo in each representation. Go with your gut.

I find many design shops and even large ad firms take a far too simplistic approach to their own brand (think DRAFTFCB). You're showing the fun and creativity behind your work. That's something I really like to see when looking for suppliers, especially in design.

James

RedMonolith's picture

Apparently editing a comment changes the timestamp/position on the page. That's bad. Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you for your advice and help - I took all of your very smart opinions and suggestions into consideration and I owe you guys a lot. Thanks!

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