Please indulge a complete amateur

emsato's picture

Hi, I stumbled across this forum and find it fascinating, although I have absolutely no training in design/aesthetics. Can you please give me your criticism on a logo I'm playing around with for my new venture?

I looking for a logo that is clean and simple (many clients use English as a 2nd language), yet indicates achievement (particularly scholastic achievement).

Please be brutally honest, but dumb down any specialized vocabulary for this novice. In particular, are there any rules for character spacing and sizing? It seems I have a lot of problems in that area.

Thank you,


BTN Logo.jpg53.82 KB
riccard0's picture

Some random thoughts:
- always test first with black & white only;
- the type on Best-Test is too light compared with the surrounding strokes;
- with this kind of script, since you’ve a connected “st”, you may as well go all the way and connect “es” too.

Simplicious's picture

Before I start with the typography I'd suggest you to rework the star. It has some problems concerning consistency. Some of which are falling into the Gestalt Principles. Learn about them at This is a must-read in my eyes. Nevertheless I think that my dirty illustration shows the biggest problems.

Concerning typography ... did you draw the letters? If not, forget about sizing and concentrate on kerning (space between one and another character). In my opinion the characters themselves are to thin to be so close to each other. I think with a bolder font the connection between 's' and 't' and as a result the overall tightness of the two words might work better. Maybe you could also connect 'e' and 's' then.

The capital 'T' from Test looks like a small-cap 't' though it doesn't look like the other ones ... this kind of confusses me.

The dash between Best and Test looks like an en-dash which would be a mistake in this context so I'd suggest to make it shorter and look more like a typical hyphen.

Some personal taste at the end. For some reason I dislike the font in general. Maybe bolder and better kerned (maybe on the same baseline) would improve it and make it work for me but I would try another one ... but as I mentioned this is my personal taste. I do really like the font you've used for '.net' but you'd maybe try to get it a little tighter (especially the dot).

emsato's picture

Thank you both. This is is very helpful.

riccard0: What do you mean by "the type on Best-Test is too light compared with the surrounding strokes" -- which strokes are you referring to?

Simplicious: Thank you for the link for the star. Will definitely check it out and rework it. I did not draw the letters. The font is called "Unispace" -- I was looking for a modern style font. I did adjust the size/width of the "B" and "t" and the kerning just by my untrained eyeballs. Yes, the "t" is an enlarged version of a lowercase one. I wanted to emphasize the first letter without making it a capital letter. I guess it doesn't work well. Also thanks for the hyphen comment. I knew there is something wrong with it.

The ".net" font is called "Bauer," as in the skate manufacturer. I was trying to make it look modern overall, and wanted to space out the ".net" to better balance with the above "Best-test" -- perhaps this doesn't work well.

Thanks again you both for the quick responses.

Simplicious's picture

Did you increase the width of the 'B'? This would explain the awkward bowls in comparison to the bowls of e and s.

decrease instead of increase

emsato's picture

Hi Simplicious,

I don't understand what you mean by 'bowls' (Remember, I've no designer training. I tried to google a definition, but didn't see anything.) I actually decreased the width of the "B" (I think it was 70% of actual width).

Also, I read your article on Gestalt Principles. Very interesting, but I don't understand what it means I should do with the widths of the two stars. (I was just trying to make the shape more interesting/forward leaning.) Would a consistent width be better?

Simplicious's picture

The bowl as the negative space in between a character. I've highlighted them in the attachment of my last comment.

Regarding to the star. I know that it's forward-leaning but what I was talking about is that the inner star doesn't work because the edges don't suit each other.

The articles about Gestalt Principles weren't meant as a quick solution or tutorial but just as a start into understanding what you are doing and what this effects -> let's say for your future designs. But they also explain why the inner star is perceived the way it is perceived. Read through all five of them and then think about them having your star in mind. This can definitely help you designing a better one.

riccard0's picture

What do you mean by “the type on Best-Test is too light compared with the surrounding strokes” — which strokes are you referring to?

“Best-Test” should be the most prominent element of the logo, but the thickness of the star and the boldness of “.net” detract focus from it (it would be more even evident in b&w).
I concur with Simplicious on the fact that the font of “.net” is prettier than the one of “Best-Test”.

emsato's picture

I see what you both mean. Very helpful (and interesting to learn about this stuff).

I'll have to think about what to do with the star, but the font for "Best-test" (and spacing issues) could be a relatively easy fix. Any suggestions of a better font from either of you?

Simplicious's picture

Make the 'B' and the 'T' 100% in width. This would be my first step.

emsato's picture

Hi, I worked on changing the design with your advice in mind. However, every time I try to attach the new design, I get an error message: "Could not copy image. Error"

It is the same format (jpg) as my original attachment. Any ideas how I can fix this?

Simplicious's picture

Same thing happened to me yesterday. It took some hours and then it worked again. But you could possibly upload the image on some webspace and simply provide the link.

emsato's picture

Hi, I'm not sure if I'm correctly applying your advice, but here are some new logos:

(The upload feature is still not working for me.)

eliason's picture

(Also make sure there are no spaces in the filename.)

pers0n's picture

Make the star's horizontal lines straight and not angled, also its angles don't match the italics. If you use italics for "best-test" make sure it has the same angle as ".net". I would also right align the ".net" and dim it a bit

markleecarter's picture

I’m also a complete novice, but I just thought I’d give you my opinion of your updated logos.

I think that the third one works pretty well, but because of the fact that you have enlaged the b and t, they are now much thicker and so look a little bit too heavy to me. The hyphen should probably be a bit thicker and the lower right of the star seems a little too thick, the way that it flares out is leading my eye away from the logo.

Just my opinion but I think it’s definitely an improvement on the original!

designpuck's picture

Would it be wrong of me to suggest that emsato spend his valuable time with this start-up business focused on the core strategic challenges I'm sure he faces with his new venture?

...and let a good designer design a good design?

...rather than take so much time attempting to rescue a tepid visual mediocrity (from the cruelly high, reality-based bar of professional-level design standards)?

Amateur is rooted in a meaning for "love," and I'm not quite sure we're seeing a love of design and typography (apologies if this in fact a passion of emsato).

Is that too harsh a point of view?

emsato's picture


I do agree with you, but let me explain my circumstances a bit.

(1) I already submitted this logo to a "good designer" who came back with completely different images that I had in mind (in a bad way),

(2) this designer spent more time on the logo than the core design of the entire site, so I switched his focus to that.

Now that I'm waiting for the designers to finish their end, I am dipping my toes into the design pool with the logo. I don't pretend to be able to deliver a professional-level design. I just want to give something decent to the designer who will polish it, hopefully to a professional-level. I also want to know something about design so I have some criteria by which to evaluate it.

s0me0ne and Stam: thank you for your input. It's much better to hear from people interested in design than just friends and family who mean well, but don't give very constructive criticism.

designpuck's picture

I see...sometimes I forget how folks just getting their toes wet view branding and the communications/design industry.

May your (green) star shine brightly and good luck in your business endeavor!

pers0n's picture

emsato, I would probably try to contact someone that is on logopond to do the logo. And if you are on a budget, 99designs, although I'm sure that site is frowned up on here since its all about free specs.

designpuck's picture

either site I'm sure you can find someone with a strong aesthetic sense who is competent in copying visual trends of the day and adept at basic production software. Just don't pick a guy like this to help brand your venture, as you could quickly find yourself sued for copyright infringement...

hrant's picture

Don't draw the letters yourself - it's extremely hard
making them look right. Use the right font instead.


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