2 Logos for school

wolfattack's picture

Hey everyone.

Well, I just finished my first term at Art Center on Friday. Man, it was pretty grueling, they work the crap out of you.

I took Type 1 from Leah Hoffmitz who is an excellent type and logo designer. She does a lot of freelance work for Landor in San Francisco, and she drew both the FedEx and Banana Republic logo.

Anyway, we spent a good 4 or 5 weeks working on 2 logotypes; 1 corporate, 1 retail (or just smaller company). Just to let you know, these were not originally done on the computer by manipulating a typeface, they were both sketched and painted on tabloid paper in Plaka before more revisions, and then digitization. My corporate logo is for Nikon (camera company), the second is for a hat and clothing company called Brixton.

I've had about 4 weeks of feedback from my teacher, so I was just curious to hear what some of you guys had to say about the logotypes. Thanks!


Nikon.jpg369.31 KB
Brixton.jpg378.4 KB
penn's picture

I think I might like the Nikon logotype better without the dot over the 'i'. I think it would fit better with the simplicity you've got going with the rest of the characters.


litera's picture

Nikon definitely needs some kerning adjustments.
Otherwise both are pretty clean and straight forward.
Robert Koritnik

wolfattack's picture

cool, thanks for the feedback.

litera, why do you say the "nikon definitely needs some kerning adjustments", what letter spacing is problematic for you?

Lex Kominek's picture

'ko' looks a little tight.

- Lex

wolfattack's picture

while working on it, I mentioning to my teacher that I felt the 'ko' felt a little tight, be she assured me they were not. She would tell me its not a mathematical thing, like you can measure the space between letters to space them. She always told us "pretend you are filling the space between 2 letters up with sand, that amount should fit perfectly between all the letter spaces in the whole logotype.

Lex Kominek's picture

What I usually do is flip it upside-down (180 degrees) and kern that way. It still looks tight to me when it's upside-down.

- Lex

beejay's picture

this is definitely good work overall, congrats.

be she assured me they were not.

hmmm, interesting. Maybe my eyeballs are betraying me, but the k-o is indeed too tight.

as far as Brixton, it seems to have a few issues:

• the triangular mass on the t feels too heavy.

• the x feels upside down (low-waisted)

• hard to tell at low rez, but I think your overshoots might be a little exaggerated? can't tell for sure.

lastly, not trying to be a stick in the mud, but here's an interview with the person who drew the Fed Ex logo for Landor, Lindon Leader.



wolfattack's picture

thanks for the input back, i appreciate everything you said Beejay.

To clarify about the FedEx logo, she did not come up with the concept and design, she drew the logo, and has flat files full of sketches and drawings to prove. Funny though how she was mentioned at the beginning of that link as being "typography professor leah hoffmitz".

I like what you did with the t, but I am unsure about whether or not I like the x the original or flipped way. Maybe i have just been looking at it too much lately.

Overall though, I feel like I did an okay job for my first term type 1 class. It was really awesome drawing and painting type from scratch. We also painted 3 "Hamburge"s in different styles, which really helped how I look at type.

drduckling's picture

The "rixton" part should be bolder to balance with the B
And of course : yes, flip the x !

Chris Keegan's picture

The "ko" is a bit tight to me, but I think beejay added too much space. We're talking hair-width adjustments, so it's going to be slightly subjective.

beejay's picture

apologies if my post implied that Leah had not contributed to the Fed Ex logo. But saying she 'drew' the Fed Ex logo probably wasn't accurate either.

out of curiosity, I emailed Lindon Leader and he was kind enough to reply so...

Leah Hoffmitz' contribution will now be burnished into the record.


Once I had the general concept of the logo conceived, including the hidden
arrow, I engaged Leah--one of the best type designers anywhere--to advise on
the reconstruction of the letterforms to best accommodate the arrow, which
she did admirably. However, because I had asked Leah to work with Futura
Bold, I was still not satisfied with the distinctively smaller Futura
x-height, the very tall ascender of the lower-case "d" or the relatively
even Futura strokes. It was then that I decided to explore the possibility
of marrying Futura Bold with Univers 65. The result is what you see today.
Leah is indeed to be credited with an important contribution to the success
of the FedEx identity program.

beejay's picture

We’re talking hair-width adjustments, so it’s going to be slightly subjective.

the nudge unit was...pixels. :D But hopefully i dramatized the point.

William Berkson's picture

Yeah, the ko is too tight. And the stuff about sand between the letters is a helpful idea, but can't be taken too seriously either. If you try it with very well kerned type, you will see that it's not really true. It does need to be visually even in color, but nobody has a complete formula, though some out there are pretty good.

When you have difficulty spacing something, I think it is often a problem with the letters themselves. I suspect your o or k may be too wide compared to the n, and that is giving you problems.

For me the black letter with the wood-cut look characters don't work together.

litera's picture

Beejay's kerning over nikon logo is more like it. Sand/water between letters is the way majority teaches kerning. Also upside down reading helps, because you're not disturbed by the meaning of letters but rather look at shapes.

As you pointed out yourself: it's not geometry and calculation. It's visual balance. And Beejay's version is balanced. Pixel too wide or not, it's better.

I'm not commenting on Brixton because my mind today is not at its best for such sophisticated lettering.
Robert Koritnik

gerald's picture

i also immediately thought the 'ko' was too tight

gerald's picture

also, i prefer beejay's "flipped-x" version. it makes the word read smoother from left to right, where as the original version kind of abruptly stops at the x

gerald's picture

also, although everyone has a different method for kerning, here is mine

stare at the word without intentionally focusing on any one letter or its surrounding white space (kind of like what you do with those old magic eye posters). keep adjusting until no one letter comes to focus (if the word isn't kerned well, the offending letter will often come to focus no matter how hard you try not to focus on it.

it sounds complicated but it's the method that's always worked best for me

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