Am I Being Overly Critical?

rampageraptor's picture

I've recently come across some excellent fonts and accordingly, am trying to build some sort of identity for myself, being a freelance graphic designer and all.

I fear I'm being too critical of my work, so I figured what better place to have people critique it then here.

What does everyone thing of this? Are the fonts too busy? I feel like the entire thing is rather dense, but like i said before, maybe it's just me.

Thanks guys!

Queneau's picture


I think the whole piece has a pretty vintage 1900's kind of feel to it, which is cool. Was this your intention? I think the calligraphy looks pretty good (although I get strong Coca-Cola feelings with it, but maybe that's just me). I think the word 'brand' is not in the right place, it feels like an afterthought to the calligraphy. I think you should try to integrate it more with the calligraphy. The 'designs...' texts could be moved a bit further away from the calligraphy. Give it a bit more air. And you might want to look into the colors a bit, as I feel they are not completely matching.

Good luck!


rampageraptor's picture

Great feedback, Queneau. Indeed, I was trying to go for more of a vintage look, and I agree it does have a little bit of a Coca-Cola feeling which I tried to avoid with the colors and skewing. I definitely agree with you on the placement of 'brand' and 'designs.' I think giving it more air, as you say, will help lighten it up a bit.


JuliusFernie's picture

is the word 'brand' even necessary?

really like the look though - what's coming soon?

nagfa's picture

Reminiscent of Kellogg's, Coca-Cola & Nike's swoosh.

Maybe, I'm being more overly critical? (Perhaps these brands have cowpoked our subsconscious too deep.)

Spread the elements, and let's see from there.


aluminum's picture

It's using vintage fonts but has a very non-vintage production level to it. I find that conflicting.

jonathanhughes's picture

There's a lot going on. I'd lose "brand" and "coming soon".

it definitely has a very old-timey look to it. If that's not the kind of work you're going to be pursuing or doing, yu might want to consider another approach.

For me, the treatments on the two fonts don't work well together. You name has a simple (green?) drop shadow behind it, and the rest has a very modern (or maybe more like 1990s) 3D feel to it. I think if you could give the same treatment to both of them, it would be a lot more cohesive.

The red in your name doesn't pop well on the black background. Maybe try brightening that up?

Alaskan's picture

I don't think you're being overly critical at all. It's unrefined.

The script looks like it's been squashed and stretched; frankly, VERY tortured. Skewing and distorting text is the mark of an amateur.

The contrast is uneven and the yellow-ish outline makes it worse. The angle of stress is inconsistent; most glaring in the arm on the K and the whole swash underneath. The perspective on the swash is totally out-of-sync with the lettering, making the wide left side look like it's reaching out directly at me, and the Kyle is a few feet behind it. Look at some videos on YouTube about how to write calligraphy, then pay close attention to natural the angle of stress and contrast.

The colors don't bother me, but the background gradient doesn't match the era. The green shadow is just odd.

I could go on, but I'm starting to feel mean. I hope I helped without hurting your feelings!

rampageraptor's picture

So I've made some of the modifications that you all suggested. I made the name redder and changed the green dropshadow to a regular one. I also spaced the words a little more.


rampageraptor's picture

@Alaskan, not at all! I appreciate any comments you may have!


MrKikkoman's picture

The contrast and spacing has definitely improved. I'm not sure if it's the colors or the "designs/web/print/identity" font, or both, but something feels off.

I'm immediately reminded of my vintage schwinn standing next to me right now..which is a good thing (similiar model

I would try doing this:

- lose the background gradient and make it a solid color. Try lighter neutral colors too.
- Get rid of the drop shadow.
- Try out some different fonts for the below. Lose the filters?

penn's picture

My one pet peeve with this is the 3D effect on the smaller type. Especially if you're thinking about putting this on business cards, it'll only end up looking cheap and fake. I like the subtlety of the phone number/e-mail address. Perhaps the smaller type would be better suited set in a similar color.

Other than that, I don't mind the slight gradient for the background (for the webpage). It's one of the touches that makes this new, and not just something that looks old.


Patrick Witmer's picture

Could be just me but I am reading your swoosh as a "y."

Kyle Leitchy


rampageraptor's picture

You know, I got this printed right before i posted on here to see what it would look like (don't worry, I didn't get more than 5 cards) and when I think about it, you're right, pennANDink; the 3d text does look a little cheap.

As for the gradient, I think i'll stick with it for precicely the reason you said: it makes it new instead of just run-of-the-mill vintage work.

I'll have a new version up soon.


spacecadetjoe's picture

looks super, especially the second draft.

totally ditch that bevel on "design", etc...

I like the gradient and i like how you had the contact info in the first draft

rampageraptor's picture

Thanks! Another draft coming later today!


rampageraptor's picture

Thanks! Another draft coming later today!


rampageraptor's picture

Here is it: the latest revision. I took the effects off the "Designs..." text completely like many of you recommended. Instead, I made them gray; some of you liked how subtle the information was when it was gray. It's also aligned to the right; it seems to fit a little better with the name.


Also, sorry about that extra post; the internet here is shifty and FF must have reposted wen i refreshed.


Alaskan's picture

Are you planning to fix any of the major problems with the script? It's a mess. Skewing it has destroyed any of the elegance it once had.

I can't believe any designer would use a logo that so glaringly trashes the #1 rule of quality typography; don't squash or stretch letters. The type designer labored over those curves for a reason. Just for the record, a typographer does not create an italic typeface with the skew filter.

rampageraptor's picture

The second image is 'unwarped' and has perspective applied to try to match the swash.


Alaskan's picture

I know my last comment was kinda harsh, so I wanted to show you a simple illustration of why skewing text looks so bad compared to professional lettering. This is done with the font Home Run.

If you wanted to make the perspective even more extreme, the best way to do that is by typing it out normally, then scaling down each letter one by one. Skewing is unnatural.

rampageraptor's picture

Oohh ok. Your example makes a lot more sense, alaskan. I was kinda like... "Ok so what now" haha and never considered actually scaling each letter. Thanks!


seventy7's picture

You've done an okay job toning down some of the Photoshop filter acrobatics, but I'm picking up on a lettering font shop feel:

Amateur typography aside (Alaskan has addressed that issue), what is it you want people to think when they see your personal identity?

I'm no type historian, but to me the typefaces are competing. One feels very 1900's Americana, almost baseball script; the other feels late 1800's French art nouveau. Which is why I get an overall lettering font shop feel.

rampageraptor's picture

For the information text, the fonts I am considering, given seventy7's suggestion of font clashing. These ones all seem fairly neutral. I think I'm leaning toward Adobe Caslon and ITC Goudy. Myriad Pro seems too modern.


JuliusFernie's picture

Caslon Pro has nice small cap glyphs which could be worth trying, although the Sans' provide a good contrast to your name

rampageraptor's picture

I agree. I'm having a hard time choosing haha.


Miss Tiffany's picture

I think it is a problem going with a secondary font which isn't period appropriate. Either you commit to the style and go whole hog or it ends up looking off.

rampageraptor's picture

Exactly which is why I think I'll land on Caslon for this one. In everything that I've researched the last few days in terms of vintage advertisements, it seems that there is one 'feature font' and the secondary font is some sort of roman serif something-or-other.


rampageraptor's picture

So here it is. Based on your feedback, I've settled on one of two final designs: one with all caps and one with small caps. I think I like the one with small caps the best.


rlynch's picture

It's reading Leitchy for me too. And 'brand' is all but illegible.


jonathanhughes's picture

My monitor is pretty well-calibrated, and I also can barely see "brand" (I think you should ditch it, anyway), and the text in grey is just slightly more visible. If the point of the site is to get clients, you want to make sure that 1: it's easy for them to contact you, and 2: that you don't turn away potential clients with questionable design choices (i.e. "if he can't make his own stuf legible, what's he going to do to mine?")


ishbog's picture

First off -- you're creating an identity for yourself, so what should you have in mind? Obviously, the client demographic. Your personal icon should be distinct, original, and really get the message across that you're a designer.

Right now, its cliche -- I cant count how many brands, shirts, logos, or products use the exact same styling, and that just works against you. You're not designing a cool t-shirt, you're trying to create a corporate (or personal) identity - remember that.

The color palette is definitely solid, but the skewing and style just make it look amateurish. You should consider going back to the drawing board (physical - not the computer) and just brainstorm. Drain a pen, it always helps.

Definitely on the right track with the classic typefaces for the description and contact info, though, it gives it a much more solid and professional feel.

btw 253 krew HOLLER.

dirtcastle's picture

I agree with a lot of the previous comments.

If you go with this style, definitely up the quality of the lettering (i.e., don't simply skew a font).

I would consider going back to the conceptual stage of your branding process. A specific mark or font is secondary to what you convey with your presentation as a whole.

At the top of the list of things to convey should -- in my opinion -- be technical proficiency. So I think it would be better to simply use a standard font like Helvetica with the right size and spacing. Of course, my immediate follow-up advice would be to, if possible, convey some personality (which might rule out Helvetica).

But proficiency should always come before originality. That is, if you want to make $$.

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