New logo advice and critique

KC's picture

This is a new logo design I developed (without formal design experience).
I hope this is the right forum to post this.

This logo is for a new website for professional freelance English teachers who want to work in companies teaching business English (in Europe). I want the logo to have a professional feeling but to also have a Teachers touch. "Teachers touch" means some hand written style font. I want the logo to be both the symbol and the website name (one variation outside of this is also presented). I am having a lot of difficulty with choosing a font because the name of the site is so long, ProfessionalEnglishTeachers.com . The logo colors represent the colors from the flags of several English speaking countries (sorry Ireland). The logo symbol has 3 elements: the letters "PEt", a teacher in front of a desk/podium with arms stretched upward, and a hint of the euro symbol. I would like to get feedback on fonts to use and perhaps positioning, borders, 3D effects, ect.

Any critic on the symbol would be appreciated, love it, hate it, rate it.

Please rate it 1 to 10 with:
10 being memorable, clever, intersting, an absolute keeper,
5 being just ok, nothing special, keep trying.
1 being hire a designer because you suck ;)

KC's picture

Sharon, That seems too easy, too plain even lacking. There is not art, mo mark, or do I see it wrong? I dig art. I never thought of type as art until I found this forum.

kattttor's picture

avoid the clip art.

aluminum's picture

If you must go with a symbol, maybe step back and brainstorm some more. Think less 'business person' and more abstract 'language, europe, education, communication'.

KC's picture

aluminum, abstract is abstract. I guess that is why I started out with the less abstract letters and formed something abstractish (new word I think I just invented) although not "unique" with them. Last night I went back to my three letters and tried some more. The result is below. I have tried to brainstorm these things, education, communication, language but not yet Europe. I see icons like apples, books, lips and maybe letters like Üäöß. Perhaps just the letter Ö with a tie or no tie. Tell me what you folks think of the latest PET abstractions. I like them but that may only be because I did them. I will brace myself for being shot down :)

I did this of course without a pencil nvhladek, it develops and morphs when I use the machine. It feels more like a brainstorm than when I sketch. Perhaps it looks too much like a brainstorm too. Do these have more promise as compared to any of the others. I will ask my designer to refine one or two.

I am braced ;) Lets call them:
X ------------------------ Y ----------------------------- Z

j_polo9's picture

much more interesting than stick figures. Is that supposed to be a tie on the bottom of the P? Keep brainstorming and sketching! If you come up with a few dozen more ideas like your last three and hopefully you will get something that is exactly what your looking for.

KC's picture

Yes j.polo, that is a "want to be tie" It is the icon of business that is squeezed in there. Does it come off ok?

Lex Kominek's picture

It looks like you're trying to convey way too many concepts in a single logo:

1. The initials PET
2. An apple for the teacher
3. A tie to represent business people
4. A smiley face

Boil this down to one concept, or two maximum. What is the single most important idea you need the logo to get across?

- Lex

rax's picture

Maybe going back to "how English bridges the gap, gets you there" wouldn't be such a bad idea. It's a nice concept to start and you can focus on that to make a few sketches.

--
There must be some way out of here...

KC's picture

You are right Lex, those elements are all there. Plus a podium :) I am not sure if you want me to think about that question or answer it. I think it is an important question.

I want what EileenB wrote in another thread.

"If your target market is affluent clientele, having a professional logo is crucial to your success. The affluent are impressed by elegance and class and distrustful of anything less.

You want your brand to be something they brag about to their friends, right? You want your cards to be on refrigerators, right? Then, it’s all about appearances. Your logo has to get their attention and fit into their world."

When I read that and look at my work I fall way short of "Professional" but maybe someone might hang it on the fridge. Big firm logos do not end up on the fridge usually.

My logo needs to be professional and memorable. I could live with just text as Sharon Van Lieu suggests and that would be professional but I think that is as exciting as skim milk. It is like a lawyers shield. The last logo up there, Z, has all those layers of information and it becomes more interesting to me that way. The initials PET are not relevant nor is a smiley face. The apple is only an American symbol for teachers (at least it does not mean teacher in Germany). The tie may be the best element in the bunch and it is sexist you could argue.

The logo must convey the singe idea "Quality" to my customers(teachers) and their customers (companies).

Quality.

Thanks for that question Lex, it made me think.

-Ken

aluminum's picture

I wasn't referring so much to abstract imagery as much as considering an abstract concept.

So 'communication' could be represented by an actual literal image of some sorts...book, etc.

The problem with the acronym approach is that it spells PET, which has way too much meaning a literal word.

"I think that is as exciting as skim milk"

Logos don't have to be exciting. That's what your overall marketing and branding is for.

Take SONY. Boring logo. But all their branding is often quite memorable (or, at least, 'exciting' in some form)

David Ford's picture

Mate, its actually really interesting to see where this has gone from from your first ideas (last time i looked at this thread it was the preacher vs teacher thing). I think you've probably learned a hell of a lot and are maybe bit fed up (and confused?) by the subjectivity of the whole process.

I think you're too focused and blinkered on this logo. You need to think of your brand as an entity. Where is your customer going to see your logo? Will it ever be in isolation? A logo is rarely seen in that context and i certainly wouldn't try and convey 'professional' or 'quality' through any sort of imagery in isolation. You can't staple a tie to your logo and say "we're professional....look...a tie!" (actually, to me that imagery has violent undertones - look at the reservoir dogs branding).

How do you convey 'professional and 'quality'? Through your brand - its the way you answer your phone, how you invoice clients, the design of your logo, how you word an advertisement, the quality of your print, the coffee you serve, the course materials you hand out, the way you dress..etc etc

There seem to be quite a few suggestions for a typographic solution which you haven't really thought much off - its the easiest thing in the world to look at a text logo in isolation and say 'its boring' but i feel that you have to look at the bigger picture. For example look at the o2 logo - when do you ever see that on its own? It always has strong supporting imagery such as the bubbles or blue gradients which hold it all together and create interest. Seriously do some text explorations. You need to get out of microsoft word and into a notebook and pencil. Look at your brand - NOT just tne logo, look at graphical devices and imagery to be used in conjuction with your logo.

If you are able to, please take another look at the name - its horrible. 'Professional English Teachers' is like 'A can of beige paint' (compare www.books.com to www.amazon.com) if you aren't able to make changes to the name at least get rid of the dot com - use the url as a tagline or something instead. YOU WILL STUGGLE TO CONVEY PROFESSIONAL OR QUALITY IF THE NAME OF YOUR COMPANY ENDS IN DOT COM.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts on taking another look at how you are getting on. I'm not in the best of moods as Ian Bell has just got out for 199 vs South Africa in the cricket, so apologies if i sound overly critical. Best of luck!

KC's picture

David, your first post and your pile of yellow paint which, reminds me of poop, left me with a distorted perception of you. I want to thank you for writing another post here. You make a lot of sense and your examples are clear. This process it a full dunk baptism in all things marketing. Normally I am the pocket protector in the basement developing the medical devices for you and your parents. Branding, logos, corporate image and so on is delivered to me in a box of business cards and the printer is full too. It is fascinating to me how deep all this marketing stuff goes. I sure know when I see something that looks unprofessional to me. However, creating “professional” from nothing is as challenging as creating a machine to drill holes in your head. Kudos to you all who share in these threads.

I know O2, it lives in my phone, cell and this dsl connection. I like them (Deutsche Telecom, T-mobile, is a company without scruples, beware! but that is something for another thread) My mark will never be alone. I am entering a niche market and there is only a small budget making it all happen.

No one has ever said the name is horrible. Long, not so good to write, ect. The name was my choice. It must not be so. However, short names are hard to get or expensive. New words like, gurg8.com are not easy to remember. I think this can of beige paint is easy to remember. Why is .com neither quality not professional?

I never understood cricket. Strange sport to me. Thanks for all your input, heeps!

David Ford's picture

Maybe 'horrible' is too harsh - i guess what i mean is 'it could be better'. I've worked on branding projects with some pretty ordinary named companies in the past and the results have been successful. If the name is settled, thats absolutely fine, stick with it and do what you can to make it work. If you have the opportunity to look at alternatives, now is the time to do so. Research language acadamies, private training companies, professional training companies eg chef schools, medical, IT, flying etc.

'Dot com' to me implies 'dot gone' it has a sense of the temporary, the start up, the guy running a business from his garage with a 'get big quick' weak business plan. It means all your business is done online. If I was to do business with a 'professional' dot com company i would expect to do ALL that business online. I would expect to have a personal login, take my lessons, pay for my lessons, take tests, get my lesson materials, find teaching jobs, discuss things with other teachers/students etc. ALL ONLINE (sorry, i'm guessing at what it is you actually do). If 'dotcom' is your business model, I would expect you to have a web 2.0 type brand - i would expect you to be innovative, simple, cashed-up, easy to use, cool, a thought leader.

You are 100% correct - creating 'professional' and 'quality' from nothing is very difficult as it is about so much more than a mark. You say you have a small budget which makes the task very difficult. You have to think seriously about a brand strategy, advertising, collateral, give-aways, web site etc. You need to be so focused and tight with your money - everything needs a purpose - cost/benefit.

You need to start somewhere and a logo is fine, but always think of it as within the context of your brand - thus a logo is never on its own. Like someone else said, look at supporting imagery that conveys the abstract concepts of your business. Combine it with your logo. Create mood boards, mission statements, taglines, core-concepts.

I'm not trying to make the whole thing sound daunting and i admire you for getting off your arse and doing something you see a niche market in.

I've taken Monday off work to watch the final (5th!) day of the cricket with some mates from work - i'm pretty sure the game will be a draw after the last 2 days of play but we are very much looking forward to it nonetheless!

j_polo9's picture

I just realized if your going for a professional and elegant look why not just use the initials pet as if a personal monogram? See:

http://typophile.com/node/47193

KC's picture

J-polo, That could work if it was abstract enough. I mean, it can not read as pet, the one on your lap. I will consider it.

David,
The business model for PET is in plain terms an online classified ad. A yellow pages for teachers in a niche market. These teachers are already advertising in the local papers or another online classified or they are not advertising but working for a school which finds them the client and they earn an hourly rate for when they work (same work just less pay because they did not find the client). I want to exploit the power of the internet by offering unlimited text, pictures, video and so on. This can not be offered by print media at any price. It is not an original concept but nether is another taco stand in Los Angeles and a new one is born every day. Therefore, I want to do it better than the others out there and that starts with a great looking store front (logo, web site and brand). We will offer the best tasting tacos, I mean teachers :) You get the point.

I would like to hear from anyone reading this thread what you think of the name ProfessionalEnglishTeachers.

Rank it based on:
Easy to remember
Describes the product
Interesting
length
add your own thought

I have to keep in mind that a name like amazon.com is only known by anyone as a book seller because they spent 10s or 100s of millions of dollars to make that so and they have a world wide market. For me the market is the human resources departments of non English speaking countries and English speaking expats in the EU. I will not have 1000's of unique visitors per day on my site. It would be great but I think that that is beyond the actual needs of the English services market. So many visitors would be the result of interesting content on the site and not the direct need of companies looking for teachers. I have ideas to generate traffic for exposure sake but this will not necessarily be selling the core product here, English language services.

litera's picture

Out of those cliparts I did kindda like A1, even though it was calling for changes and refinement.

But. It is true. It did have a mark that didn't have any special meaning except seeing professionals.

But I've got a different idea. What is one of the most memorable English sign anyone can think of? The Union Jack. Maybe you could incorporate this into the professional people there and get a professional English mark... No teachers though yet... But someone may come up with something else that will also add that.

Initials (as suggested by previous poster) to my opinion work with professional services that are named with surnames (lawyers, fashion, architects etc.) I don't think they are good for organisations. Not as completely clean initials.

I still think that direction proposed by vintagesignman in #2 is the best. Of course without the additional web address in black.

And to rate your name:
To me ProfessionalEnglishTeachers sounds like an organisation that is used for connecting teachers to exchange experience, ideas and organise conferences where they share teaching strategies that are emerging. That's what Professional English Teachers sounds to me. I always think of it this way even though I've just read it's more or less a completely different thing. That's why I was also always going with vitage's design idea. Looks as public organisation.

If your business is more or less online, your logo should be completely different. first of all, web address CAN'T be www.professionalenglishteachers.com. It's ridiculously long and complicated. www.pet.com is wrong because it has a different meaning. But if your business is mainly online your name should consist of about 5 to 7 letters. And it's going to be memorable as a web address.
___________
Robert Koritnik

David Ford's picture

The name reminds me of some sort of 'Professional Litigation Lawyers' or 'Professional Software Testers' social group on facebook that meets up once a month at waxy o'connors in Leicester Square...please remember to bring your name tag.

What about something like 'staffroom' 'the staffroom' 'junction' 'blackboard' 'schooltie' 'mediaroom' 'english101' 'apple'...i don't know, just some rough ideas, but i honestly think theres a thousand more aspirational names than 'professional english teachers'

marz's picture

The name describes the product to a "T", but it seems quite long. It's a mouthful. Imagine barely being able to peak English and having to read through those long words. From the marketing/name recognition standpoint, I think it would serve you well to go with something catchier.

I like David's 'English101', it's brief, to the point and has alot of potential for a fun logo/logotype with the numbers.

Another random idea....spell the name purposely wrong: 'Lurn Inglesh'....or something like that. It catches attention; is easy to remember; and it has humor, which would give your service an edge in the industry. Maybe this particular example wouldn't work, but if you can find something that incorporates humor, a play-on-words, SOMETHING that will catch the target market's attention (and stick in their mind), this will greatly help you to differentiate your service from all the others.

rax's picture

like the worldwide known speak magazine. I still think there's way too much overthinking 'concept wise' at the time KC is sitting and making sketches. Boil it down to one or two, start from that and see where it takes you.

It would be wise, you'll probably come up with new ideas and you'll have a better understanding from where all this guys are talking you from.

--
There must be some way out of here...

KC's picture

This is a side line from logos but may be of interest to some of you looking for domain names now or in the future. The most common and valuable names are with .com. Simply because that is the first thing people think of and internet browsers will default to .com if you do not write it in the address.

My experience says that if a single word exists in the dictionary someone has bought this domain and is using or selling it (mostly selling). If it is a single word like "English" they want $100,000 or more (when it is for sale) if it is the word "inutile" is might cost $200. Two word names are the same, many that make sense and are short words are expensive. Businessenglish is "parked" which means not in use and probably (for sale). Three word names are easier to get because they are long: boardroomenglish is available. It is a nice name and says english and business. If a name has a "-" it is less desirable and therefore cheaper. business-english is also parked. If the name has a number like 1englsih.com it is less desirable and in this case taken as is english101. However businessenglish101.com is available. I am not sure if Europeans will understand the 101 reference. I doubt it. But that is my gathered experience about domain names in the last several months.

If you start to spell words wrong then there are lots more short words available. They are harder to remember and are therefore less desireble.

bizenglish101 is available
bizenglish is not
bizzenglish is available
etcte is availabe.... englsih trainers,coaches,translators ect. (you can build initials this way but combos with 4 or less letters are hard to find unless you use numbers too.)

This is a great site to look up .com, .net, and .orgs because it is as fast as you can type

http://www.brandgopher.com/

Try it out, it can be fun.

KC's picture

FYI businessenglish . com is $35,000. for the next 5 days. That is a real price quote I recieved today.

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