Playing around with Logotype

mheld's picture

Hey y'all,

I've been toying with some simple logos for my company and I can't really decide what I should end up using. The ones I'm looking at now are all here:

I'd love to have your opinions on which fonts you like, dislike, think I should add in to the grid.

If you were curious, the top four are in the Section family and the bottom one is FF Meta.


djnippa's picture

What does the company do?
A bit more info please.

These aspects make a difference to the logo.

mheld's picture

The company is a consulting firm that does R and D for robotics, media, and education.

Is there anything else that you'd like to know?

djnippa's picture

Consulting go thin. So C1 & D1 all the way.
If I had to choose I'd go for D1.

penn's picture

lol . . . 'consulting, go thin.' Didn't know there was a rulebook.

Incidentally, I'd go with D1 or D2.


Frode Bo Helland's picture

There's nothing unique about any of these. Doesn't make sense for a logo.

mheld's picture or is something that I was musing with... so it's not so plain.

Any thoughts?

djnippa's picture

@ pennANDink comment.
As a consultant you want to appear approachable and friendly.
Thinner fonts have a tendency to do this, there are a few exceptions though.

@ frode frank
Not the question he asked, your comment is so **** rude, what an arrogant twat you are. Your photo doesn't do anything either - why bother even putting one up?

anhng's picture

I think djnippa is right on "appear approachable and friendly" suggestion.
You can also thinking about your target audience, who will look at it, their age, culture, male or female. Then you'll know what to do.

But so far, the logotype might not represent your company well because some people might find it hard to associate with the logotype, and what is it speak to them.

my question for you. What do you want your logotype to speak to the viewer?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

djnippa: Forgive me if I come across rude. I don't intend to be. What I'm trying to say is that the main purpose of a logo is to create a recognizable mark for the client. Setting their name in a font might work in some cases. In mheld's logo there's no "zing" (IMO), nothing to catch my attention, nothing to remember.

I'm an amateur compared to the wizards on here, but I do offer my humble advice.

Is there anything wrong with my profile picture?

beejay's picture

typically, a client wants to distinguish themselves from the competitors...and using an off-the-shelf font (that anyone can buy), does not typically allow this.

This is the argument for custom logotypes vs. setting a word in a font.

This argument is espoused most notably by Doyald Young, who has made a career out of crafting beautiful hand-lettered logotypes.

BUT...there *are* times when you want a logo to be simple and invisible and this makes sense, too.

when you deal with clients, sometimes they want their work to do the talking, not the logo.

Marian Bantjes did a piece for SpeakUp years ago, where she analyzed the simple logos at various well-known design firms. (don't have a link handy.)

These people at the top often had simple logos set in a font.

if that's what the client wants...maybe that's the way to go.

paragraph's picture

so **** rude, what an arrogant twat you are

Funny that. I think that the above was by far the rudest comment in the last year here.

penn's picture

Logos and logotypes are rarely unique unto themselves. It's how they're employed in the company identity that makes them (and their company) unique.


timd's picture

On a basic like/dislike level I prefer C3 (with some kerning and possibly some work on the leg of the R). There might be some mileage in reducing the scale (to small cap perhaps or weight) of THE and GROUP. Of your second option I find the step to a different colour and size a little bouncy on the x-/cap heights.

I think I would prefer my R+D consulting to be represented by a solid and thorough typeface.

However, without scale or usage it really is a case of picking one that appeals. You really need to think how it is going to work on a business card, letterhead or van with addresses, phone numbers, emails, urls etc. And, as has been said, the main purpose of a logo or identity is to separate the company from the competition and to give it a complete “look”.


djnippa's picture

The question was which 'simple' logo do you prefer?
The answers were A,B,C & D 1 to 4.

@ Paragraph. Sometimes you have to lower oneself to get the message through. I bark at dogs, I meow at cats. It's called adapting your language to suit the occasion.

His comment was just plain rude and non constructive. It said nothing but negative abuse. He may have well have said "They are all shit". Which under the circumstance, and given little knowledge of the client is a bizarre and unsubstantiated statement.

....and so that in turn makes your comment, just a meaningless. but nevertheless just as provoking.
Please continue to support stupid comments, everyone loves a clown!

David Sudweeks's picture

As a general bit of advice, it works in your favor to give the benefit of the doubt when you don't know the person very well whose critique you find inexcusable. After you know them a bit, take their comment in context of all other comments you've read of theirs. For example, I know that Frode doesn't say mean things for the purpose of provoking or belittling, or for any other reason for that matter. Ask yourself in light of this knowledge what positive advice could he be offering. Believe it or not, it's there. In this specific case, if Frode is guilty of anything it's speaking clearly and to the point raised.

djnippa's picture

@ David Sudweeks.
I disagree. First impressions count.
I have no time to give cutting people the 'benefit of the doubt'.
If you're going to be critical of something, a least try to be constructive.
Frode, totally ignored the question, then followed it with a really low dig.

I take people at face value, I don't do research into their previous history, and then make a comment. Have you really got the time, interest or energy to do that? I didn't think so! So please don't suggest something to others, if you're not prepared to do it yourself.

If Frode is guilty of anything, it's reacting without thought. How can you defend someone who says it "doesn't make sense for a logo". In doing so, you're supporting the vicious attacking cut-throat negative comment as well.

nina's picture

"I have no time to give cutting people the ’benefit of the doubt’. […]
I take people at face value, I don’t do research into their previous history, and then make a comment. Have you really got the time, interest or energy to do that?"

One thing people constantly forget when they barge in and rant like this is that they're joining an existing community.

"vicious attacking cut-throat negative comment"

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Apart from what I've already said, I'm not really sure what else you're asking for.

Your photo doesn’t do anything either - why bother even putting one up?
What are you saying?

David Sudweeks's picture


Nippa, I think we're all with you that we don't find any value in base or destructive criticism. That said, you've got the wrong guy. Stick around and I think you'll find that his ideas serve the members of the community well, as we can only assume yours will.

anhng's picture

guys ....
be young and act professional please ... ;)

alexfjelldal's picture

>so **** rude, what an arrogant twat you are

i guess this makes ME a twat too, but i'll go for it:
the logos are all alike. They don't convey any meaning.

Choosing between them is impossible, as the only differences between them are variations in very similar typefaces and case.

A logo as anonymous as these can only be judged within a broader context. As frode (which i think looks really nice) said, it needs to be recognazible. If not, the visual language of which they are a part needs to be.

Now stop behaving like a child and show us some improvements please.



beejay's picture

Logos and logotypes are rarely unique unto themselves. It’s how they’re employed in the company identity that makes them (and their company) unique.

Well, there are dozens, even hundreds of logo designers who go beyond stock, go beyond fonts, and do something that *is* unique. Whether it's lettering or some other non-font solution.*

but the landscape is dominated by the THOUSANDS of logo designers who design nice stuff using stock art and readily available fonts and do work that fits into your description...rarely unique. Some of it's great, some of it is pedestrian, some is pure trash.

so unique logos are not common, but not rare unto themselves, either. To suggest that the way to make it unique is mostly in the way we employ it in the identity -- I can't buy that. Quite a lot of us make letters here. Maybe that might be an approach? (And apologies penn and ink if I've inferred incorrectly; i enjoy your work and I'm simply taking your comment as a starting point.)


Now, I'm not a designer by trade or by schooling, so when stumbled upon Typophile in 2001, I made logos the way the logo was made in this thread -- I set a word in a font I liked. If I was lucky, Kinko's would have some good fonts installed. ;)

I'd pick 5-10 fonts, set a word, and then see which one looked best.

Now I understand budgets, time, etc. and the fact that in 2009, fonts alone can make a logo designer look brilliant. (all the alternate characters and OT functionality = myriad choices).


In 2002, I happened up on this thread and we were all given a typographic ass kicking by Jay Wilkinson. I don't even have to re-read the thread to remember his name -- it's burnished on my brain.

I was naive about design and letterstuff, and Jay was pompous and arrogant, but he said some things that got me thinking.

His mention of Art Center also prodded me to make the drive to Pasadena and the Art Center bookstore, where I eventually picked up two Doyald Young books. As I've told Doyald several times, his books changed my perspective overnight. It was like the sky opened up.

Now there are reasons laid out in Doyald's books why using an existing font is a poor idea for a logotype -- the most obvious one being the fact that everyone has access to that same font, including competitors.

You don't have to agree with this. You don't have to agree with the rants of Jay Wilkinson. But if you are setting the company name in a bunch of different fonts, it would behoove you to *at least* look at this other perspective. It can only improve your work and give you more options when working with clients.

It's not difficult to draw letters or create them in illustrator with a little guidance and experience.

So another path exists. and maybe a wake-up call.

is doyald's website

anyone know what became of Jay Dub?

* just talking about logotypes; when you add an icon or graphic device, the ability to do something unique unto itself grows considerably.

theplatypus's picture

Is there a specific reason you are not consulting with a design agency on this? Are you in the marketing communications department? Clean unadultered typography is very safe, but the benefits of outsourcing to an agency or design firm is invaluable. They will study your company to find it's unique personality, down to the way you write copy if need be, so that when you strategically present yourself to the world, you can say, "This is who we are. This is what we do. This is what we believe." and be proud of it. There's a whole marketing strategy that can carry on this process that would benefit you, as well.
best regards,

penn's picture

First, thanks for the post of that thread (it's an interesting read once you sift through the internet egoism) and the referral to Doyald's books. They look like valuable reads.

Well, there are dozens, even hundreds of logo designers who go beyond stock, go beyond fonts, and do something that *is* unique. Whether it’s lettering or some other non-font solution.*

I agree with your sentiment about going beyond stock wholeheartedly. Still, doing custom letter work alone, while it will make the mark special and unique to the company, will not necessarily guarantee a unique market presence. What I wanted to call attention to, in my too brief response, is that a lot of times designers (or more often clients) want too much immediate identification for their company to come from the mark alone, while they ignore the role that aspects such as mark implementation, quality of printed materials, signage, etc. play in determining the quality of their identity. In short—a great mark is made by much more than the mark itself.

To suggest that the way to make it unique is mostly in the way we employ it in the identity — I can’t buy that.

You're right. I don't mean to say that a mark's uniqueness comes mostly from its implementation. You can't make a bad mark great just by choosing the right color and the right paper (or what have you). But obviously both need to work hand in hand with each other. Many just forget the second part's role in setting the tone of the organization (and by extension, its uniqueness in their mind).

In the end, I think we sit on the same side of the issue. But thank you for the wake-up call. The importance of the hand-made can never be stressed enough.


p.s. I know it's been posted in other threads here before, but I thought this might be valuable to those who haven't yet seen it: The Brand Gap

beejay's picture

Thanks for the post Penn. It was a 2:30 a.m. post and I figured I was reading too much into it. You're right about the implementation of the mark being important. Departing from Doyald's philosophy, I do see times when a mark should be fairly invisible. Especially if it's coupled with a strong graphic element.

there's a big picture that designer's need to examine, and I think that we are both on the same page there.

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