logo for furniture designer

nvhladek's picture

I'm very early in my process, but I want to have some conversation to help get the juices flowing.

This is a logo for a cabinetmaker who does a wide range of high end pieces: humidors, large dining tables, custom desks, built-ins, kitchens, etc. His designs range from staid, traditional pieces, to art deco and ultra-modern. His process involves the collaboration with many shops, so he has dubbed his brand, "Whelan Artisans." He wants to give the idea of traditional craft that is also forward-looking and sustainable, and suggested two whales in a circle formation.

Here is my initial treatment. He liked Garamond, although I have my misgivings about it. Also, I modeled the animal after a blue whale, although I'm thinking a humpback might be more dramatic. I haven't invested a huge amount of time, but I would like some initial impressions. And don't be bashful about ripping into it. That's why I'm posting it - to be refined in the typophile fire.

- Nick

eeblet's picture

Will either the logomark or the logotype be added to the furniture? If so, how?

As is, the lack of line-weight changes in the whales bothers me - looks computer-y and decidedly unartisanal. However, if it's meant to be an outline for carving into wood, that's a different story.

The big W bothers me, especially with the logomark - the styles of the mark and the logotype seem way to different.

So... Whales? Whelan? Is that the connection?

Thanks for sharing your logo-in-process!

Ratbaggy's picture

yeah, can you explain the thought behind the whales?

I'm not seeing any relevant connection.

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Paul Ducco
Graphic Design

BigWave.'s picture

I too am wondering about the connection btw the whales and wood working. Where is the shop and what is it all about.

I feel you type choice seems to rigid. Maybe something with less contrast and more of a humanist feel.

Good luck; Im exited to see the process unfold

aluminum's picture

"sustainable"

I can see that equating to the whales. Even if not, two whales is certainly memorable. I like it.

I agree about the line weight. Could you try mixing the line weights? Maybe use two weights similar to the type.

I'd also like to see it sans 'artisans'. Seems unnecessary.

eliason's picture

I agree with all of the above comments (though I'd probably hang on to "artisans"). I do think the whales offer an elegant negative space between them that works well.
It's a bit hard for me to avoid reading the whale's mouth line as a goofy smile, which is incongruous.

nvhladek's picture

First off, thank you everyone for your very helpful comments.

@eeblet: Your advice for working with line weights is well taken. I started from a sketch, but midway through the digital process I did sense that humpback whales might be better and if this direction turned out to be garbage, I didn't want to have spent precious time fine-tuning lines for a direction I would ultimately abandon. Also, the whale : Whelan link is coincidental; should I steer the client away from what may possibly come across as a hackneyed phonemic association?

@Paul, BigWave: Basically, the client really likes whales, and he's kind of a crunchy, Grateful Dead type of guy. I think it suits his personality well, and since partly he's selling himself with this logo, I think it fits. His shop is in Northern California (about 2 hours north of San Francisco) and there is a considerable amount of whale-watching in the coastal part of the county, so I think the whales make sense geographically as well.

@ellason: Yeah, I notice the goofy smile, too. If you ask me, that's the problem with these damned porpoises; (to me, at least) they all look like that have a stupid grin. Again, another reason to try out a humpback whale, since they have less of a scoopy, smiley thing going on up front.

I'll return once I integrate and elaborate.

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Nick Hladek

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

Our school is called the Nantucket Whalers and with the whaling industry history here we see lots of whale logos, most commonly the tail coming out of waves. I like the fact that you aren't using a wood plane or other similar item for a wood worker's logo. I also like having two whales since you are talking about more than one person. I don't like the type choice. I think it is too stiff for an artisan, especially the W. I think the questions about how this will be used are important - wood cuts? letterpress?

Sharon

nvhladek's picture

@Sharon: I'm glad you like the whale direction. The client and I agreed that the tail coming out the water was not a direction we wanted to go. This logo primarily will be used on a website, and maybe later be developed into a business card, letterhead and a decal for the side of his van. And I'm looking into other type choices.

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Nick Hladek

Dan Weaver's picture

Don't you have a West Coast bank using a whale image? I would love to see something that your client could burn into every piece of the furniture. The furniture will out live all of us and the mark might be of value in the future. Antiques Road Show comes to mind.

eeblet's picture

Once line-weight changes are introduced (and yes, the logo burned into the wood would be awesome - it's what I thought you were getting at!), I like the logomark - not logically associated, but it doesn't matter. Distinctive and nice are more important. The logotype, however, has got to chance, *especially* for NorCal, I think. Something more humanist or even hippy-ish (just a tad - no Hobo) would make the whales more sensical.

I am excited to see what you come up with! Also, does this guy need web design from a semi-local? I'm moving in a week and would love to barter for furniture. ;)

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eeblet.com

nvhladek's picture

Quick question: when folks are saying "humanist" type, are they thinking more modern sans type, or traditional, Venetian serif? If they mean the latter, I agree; if they mean the former, I don't. The mark needs to communicate a sense of time-honored craft, which fits more with the Venetian-style humanist fonts, if you ask me. Any opinions?

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Nick Hladek

AndrewSipe's picture

Humanist is usually in reference to a looser, more natural, almost hand-drawn look to a font. Closely associated with humanist sans-serifs which are different than the rigid, mechanical forms of Geometric and Grotesque Sans-Serifs.

In this instance, they're probably referring to a font that has more personality, than the cold, mechanical face you've used. While the face you choose does retain at timely classical, almost regal style, it's not very personable.

eliason's picture

I was imagining a humanist serif, too.

nvhladek's picture

OK ... that helps clarify. I just didn't see it working with a humanist sans, but a humanist serif, for sure. I'm in the middle of working on another revision, which I hope to post by Monday.

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Nick Hladek

eeblet's picture

To clarify - I was thinking a gentler serif. Like Centaur, or something in that direction. This seems a bit to reminiscent of Restoration Hardware - I'd ditch the small caps and go friendlier. :)

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eeblet.com

nvhladek's picture

Here is what I came up with based on your advice and critiques. First, I redid the whales based on a humpback whale. I think they came out much stronger this time. Then I paired with humanist serifs and put them inside a bounding box to give a sense of what a wood imprint might look like.

Here are links to the:

The fonts in the logo and type images are Aphasia, Centaur, Albertus and Amanda for A, B, C, and D respectively.

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Nick Hladek

eeblet's picture

Heh, even though I recommended Centaur - I think for caps I prefer C & D.

The whales look better in some ways - but the top whale looks like he's grimacing, rather than smiling upside down. I think the facial features should be modified to be more like the original, just for the top guy.

Lookin' good!

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eeblet.com

AndrewSipe's picture

What if you did a mix of the 2 whales? If you notice it now looks like these new whales are frowning... what about a happy compromise?

As for the type, how bout considering a chiseled serif, like "B". It would help carry the woodworking theme slightly better than any other style. Just a thought.

eliason's picture

Kind of hard to tell which way is up with the new whales. I agree with eeblet - C or D letters are best; maybe I'd give C the edge because the "carved" look they have seems conceptually closer to woodworking to me than the "written" look of D.

nvhladek's picture

Well, thankfully, my sense was that C was the best choice for type, so I'll present that to the client.

About the whales, they're just a bunch of frowny or smiley type of guys, in my viewing. Check out this humpback whale which was the inspiration for the second revision. I wonder if the ridge above the eye contributes to the frown, however...

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Nick Hladek

nvhladek's picture

Also, I suspect the angle of the bottom fin detracts from the sense of vertical balance...

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Nick Hladek

eeblet's picture

I think the issue I'm having is in the line weights. The bumps, eye line thing, and mouth, all have far too much weight.... I'd personally take a brush and ink or a responsive pen (my favorite cheapo pen is the Pilot P77) and draw a few whales, noticing what weights look right. I'd also try freehand drawing method both whales to see what differences work in the upper & lower whale - the radial symmetry is unorganic, and looks odd.

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eeblet.com

francis bold's picture

I have an issue with the marriage of the 2, both symbol and typography. It would seem that the smooth curvaceous lines of the whales, mixed with the stern upright and sharp typography, present an uncomfortable match.

Perhaps one way of unifying the two would be to add some treatment to the crossbars of the 'H' and 'A' to bring some of them smooth abstract lines in to the typography to have more of a unity between the two.

That said, it certainly has the potential to be a good marque.

eeblet's picture

Luey, did you see Nick's revised type choices? I think he went with C.

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eeblet.com

francis bold's picture

oops no i never. I must slow down on that scroller!

timada's picture

They started using it already? I think I recognize the logo and I think I bought an office desk from them. This is funny! :)

Lex Kominek's picture

I'm confused - is that considered spam?

- Lex

nvhladek's picture

Yes, it's spam.

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Nick Hladek

Ken W's picture

the bottom text is too slim, make it bolder so it looks more like the main text. also whats up with the whales? is that necessary?

Ratbaggy's picture

Ken ... probably best to read a thread before posting eh.

;)

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Paul Ducco
Graphic Design Melbourne
Short Film Festival

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