Fiedler Photography Identity

IanCrombie's picture

Hello fellow Typophiles

Below is an identity I created for a close friend and photographer. Inspired by the script identities of Leitz / Leica and other bygone camera manufacturers, I took the approach of combining a friendly script with mechanical germanic flair. As a photographer both relies on his personality and his technical skill to create images this dichotomy made sense to me.

I was wondering what sort of feedback you guys had? I have already combed it over a few times fixing some quirks that I had - especially with the d and r. This is what i ended on - but i feel like you guys could definitely help me find the best solution.

Also shown is a 'logo' - to be used as a watermark on his photographs. I originally had the F within a circle as it related to a cameras lens, but settled upon this shape as it was far more proprietary and memorable and fit with the quirky rigidity of the logotype.

Thank You

Higher Res Images are attached

Fiedler_01.jpg63.48 KB
Fiedler_Logo_01.jpg18.56 KB
Fiedler_5.jpg175.06 KB
penn's picture

I like this a lot. Great concept, great execution, great colors.

A few points of critique:

• The stem of the 'r' could be a bit taller, I think, as right now it gives the impression that the 'r' sits optically lower than the rest of the letters.

• The arm of the 'r' might suffer from the problem discussed here: and could do with similar tweaks

• [minor point] The crossbar of the 'F' seems like it's a triangle that is placed on top of the rectangular stem. Perhaps it could more organically come from the stem and mimic the shape of the top bar.

• [minor point] The top bar of the 'F' seems a tad heavy.

All in all, great job.


Jon Evenchen's picture

Hey there Ian, this is great stuff, I love it!

I'm not a pro by any means, but there are some things I would suggest tweaking...At larger sizes, I would make more of a connect between the top and bottom of the F, small sizes works great. And then the e between i and d is standing out to me a little, maybe tighten the spacing a little. It also seems way heavier on the left side, making it look like its leaning backward. Besides that I would tighten the spacing of the tagline, fitting it in between the first 'i' and the bottom of the last 'e' and maybe make it a notch bolder. What are you using there anyway? Knockout? Love the icon/watermark!

Good work!

IanCrombie's picture

Thanks for the feedback!

Below are some of the suggested changes - wondering what you thought of the r's

• Fixed the stem of the 'r' - good eye!
• The arm of the 'r' is still giving me a hard time - below are some ideas... thoughts?
• Made the top of the 'F' a bit thinner - does it need more?

• I agree with the relationship between the top of the F's stem and the F, especially if you look at the relationship between the crossbar of the f and the i.
• Agree with the fitting of 'photography' below.

Thanks again guys, its getting there. Just needs a bit more polishing for sure!

SebastianK's picture

I like the stem like in No. 2. I think it could be even higher, but that's probably my personal taste.

As for the arm, I'd cut it off with the same diagonal stroke as the stem (it's a broad nib pen, after all), but pull it up high enough. No. 3 is very close, but the round "armpit" doesn't really fit. Something like this (sorry, 60 seconds in GIMP)?

Oh well, just my 2¢ ...

penn's picture

I actually liked the 'photography' line like you had it before. In these last few it would be very small if you had to scale down the logotype.

As for the new 'r's their arms seem to be drooping low and off to the right too much. I hope you don't mind, but I did a quick 'r' for you — maybe it'll spark some ideas. Of these new 'r's, number 3 is my favorite.

Jon Evenchen's picture

Hey Ian, the relationship between the two elements(logo+tag) in your second post is not visually correct, penn is right, it will become too small to read if you need to scale it down. Have tighter spacing, then you can enlarge the tag, even make it bolder so that it will have a nice 'base'. Right now Fiedler is completely overpowering the tagline.

Your first r is the best, in my humble opinion. Its the most expressive, unique and stylish. The r in skosch's and penn's post are the most suited in style for the kind of type you've created.

Jon Evenchen's picture

Something like that maybe.

IanCrombie's picture

I love typophiles, you guys are great!

I liked direction 2 as well and i tried mucking around with it to see if i could get the r to have the same idiosyncrasies as the capitol f - no luck. Plus the client preferred option 3 (he works with me so he came over a few times during the day to add his feedback.) I really appreciate your quick sketch and it helped with these new directions. Especially option 1 where I altered the angle of the line coming out of the 'e' a bit so as to get the bar of the 'r' high enough quick enough. I'm not sure i like the negative shape it made though.

Thanks also for the sketch it informed my second iteration in this new study attached.

I just saw your comments as I started writing this - I think ill explore more of the relationship between the logo and the tag as i experiment with this identity moving forward into business cards, stationary, etc.

Attached are the studies based off your feedback. My favorite is number 2 - the strong diagonal of the e supports the bottom of the 'r' and the curve at the top is reflected in the curve of the bottom almost as if a broad nib pen were to make one fluid motion.

Thoughts guys? Thanks so much again! Do you want me to keep posting as I move into business cards and such? (Thats next for me.) I'm super stoked to make those - part of the deal with this identity was that i'd make it as long as we get the cards printed at Studio on Fire. Letterpress all the way!

IanCrombie's picture

I uploaded a high res version of this too!

penn's picture

Go with your gut on this one. Any of these most recent versions could work well.

I'd still stick with the tracked out version of the 'photography' line. It's a nice clean respite from the strong logotype of the name. I wouldn't try to squeeze it together at all. The eye is drawn to where it needs to be and slowly falls to 'photography' when it feels ready.

If you think it needs it, I might also draw up the top of the bowl of the 'd' as well. Just a touch to optically compensate for the height of the right side of the 'e'. (Similar issue that the 'r' had.)

Please do post any further progress you have with this project. I'd love to see how you develop the identity and use the secondary logo watermark.

I also like the way that you post lower res versions in the body of the post — makes it easier to track — then Higher res versions up above to examine closely. Just be sure to label them with a date or something so it's easy to know which high res attachments belong to which edits below.

Nice work so far.


chr.s's picture

If I may offer some thoughts on the type...

As penn says, I think any of the last few iterations are very close to being complete, although my eye tells me somewhere between examples 1 & 3. As well as raising the bowl of the 'd' I have a small issue with the stem of the 'r' - it seems to be leaning forward a touch, and could possibly do with being ever-so-slightly tapered in order to compensate. I know it may disrupt the precise vertical nature of the other letters, but I think a barely detectable adjustment may help the overall sturdiness.

Other than that, this is lovely work.

IanCrombie's picture

Thanks so much for the feedback guys - this is where is netted out.

• Optically adjusted the top of the d
• Sharped the corner of the 'r' and made the angle reflect that of the top bar of the 'F'

I'm quite happy with this little guy. You might not hear from me for a week or so - but hopefully I'll upload some business card layouts then.

L.'s picture

Hope I am not too late. Really cool type for "Fiedler", nicely retro. Since no one seems to be bothered by it, I have to say that loosely tracked Helvetica is really ruining it. Why not something more Fifties? Eurostile, for instance. It's squared enough to match the logo. Or why not Trade Gothic? Sturdy and born in the late Forties. I attach a couple of examples. Good luck, anyway

apankrat's picture

Before I read the description and see you mentioning Leica, I got a very medieval feel from the logo. Fit for a knights tournaments photographer :)

Seriously though, and for what it's worth, I don't think the very concept works. It has this stuck in the 60s look of an old refrigerator. The logo is beautifully executed, but the image it projects does not connect with current times, i.e. it looks outdated. Not everyone's a photographer, and not everyone has seen Leica lettering to make a connection.

IanCrombie's picture

Totally agree - I think the use of eurostile is actually quite a nice complement. I used Knockout as it takes visual ques from type before the time of helvetica - but after seeing your two mock ups I'm considering switching that up for sure.

I appreciate your opinion, but next time i would recommend you add some constructive criticism to support your thoughts. I of course disagree with you, but can see how some people may mistake the letters thick broad nib strokes as being "medieval" - attached are some images of type found on vintage cameras to help illuminate the sort of lettering that inspired this logotype.

My client and myself believe that the majority of photographer brands rely heavily on camera/film cliches and/or boring sans serifs that lack distinction. So what's wrong with making something a little pastiche to be more memorable?

Steven Acres's picture

I agree.

Just because technology is getting better doesn't mean the typography has to move to a more "contemporary" aesthetic. I love the logotype here.

penn's picture

Add a third agreement to that. You don't have to be a photographer to be able to appreciate the type for what it is . . . a nice logotype. It doesn't harm the brand if a person doesn't make the connection to old camera companies.

aluminum's picture

Late to the party but wanted to just chime in with a "looks great" comment.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Second that.

apankrat's picture

@IanCrombie - For me, a 30-something person, this particular typeface style is tied rather strongly to a specific time period from the early second half of the last century. From the lettering on my grandma's fridge to the labels on kitchen gadgets and cars from the era - I look at your logo and I see 1950s. That's the primary subjective vibe I get from the logo.

The constructive criticism part is that if you or your client care about the first impression the logo creates, then perhaps it looking like a 50 year old brand to some people is a point worth considering. Not saying my take on the logo is representative, nor am I saying that the logo is bad. I'm just pointing out that the interpretation of the logo might be ambiguous, and it may create some unintended associations and assumptions on viewer's part.

SebastianK's picture

... I look at your logo and I see 1950s.

Well, say it does. Then is that a bad thing? To me – regardless of the fact that I'm just 20 – the fridges, appliances and cameras from that time were and are a symbol of manufacturing quality. It's precisely because my grandma's fridge and blender are from a time when consumer products tended to be sturdier than today that I can still see them in her kitchen today. A camera back then was an investment. Look at Ian's pictures – the brands are engraved in the metal case. Engraved. Metal case. Compare that to plastic point-and-shoots. And my grandchildren won't get to admire my fridge, that's for sure ...

This logo will not be a rusty piece of lettering on a scrapped car, but probably – hopefully – appear in quality print on letters, portfolios, etc., where the context makes clear that this is an indication of quality, not antiquity. It will remind you of the good old days, with their good old cameras, and real love for photography (since films were really expensive, too).

Paired with quality work and state-of-the-art equipment, I think this will work very well.

Jeremiah's picture

The type for photography in your first mockups was much stronger than Luca's revision. I wouldn't dare touch it.

James.S.Welsh's picture

Crème de la crème, v. nice. And appropriate I must say. The icon is terrific. As for the "Photography" go with your gut. I liked the first version best. FWIW.

IanCrombie's picture

Thanks for the comments guys, I've actually put this guy on the back burner, as the business cards are not slated to be printed for a month or so. My client is super pleased though and I cannot thank you guys enough for the help refining this bad boy.

I've also quite enjoyed our debate over how type has associations. My opinion is that it is the designers job to leverage these qualities and use them to ignite those nostalgic feelings. It's important to intellectualize our typographic knowledge and harness it.

For that reason I agree with Luca's recommendation to use Eurostile, attached is a screengrab of the business card in progress - just the front - this is one of the more dull ideas (the diagonal lines complement the angles of the logotype) but it showcases the new type lockup. Eurostiles structure is a nice complement the the boxier structure of the logotype. (Btw - the lines would be blind embossed.)

Also when it comes to creating supplemental material - I feel that eurostile is more ownable and unique - and I've never designed with it before so it keeps things interesting. I find myself continually surprised by it - having once had some preconceived dislike of eurostile.

I've been busy with a new branding project that I'm super excited about - super strict brief (mid century modern, serifs, high ascenders, and needs to complement neutra face) My new client is an architect and is rather savvy - so she keeps me on my toes. I'll start a new thread on that soon.

Thanks again everyone!

Jeremiah's picture

It looks great either way man, really some quality work.

Jon Evenchen's picture

Hey Ian! It looks great! I think you solved the photography line issue wonderfully, eurostile looks great with that logotype, great contrast in sizes and overall just sweet!

L.'s picture

I am happy that my hint turned out useful, nice work!

Studio Becenti's picture

Hey there, I'm a little late in coming to the party, but I just joined this site. I absolutely love retro design, and I agree with what Sebastian says about retro design and its relevance in today's world. Excellent job on that logo!

evanbrog's picture

Just opened my latest Communication Arts mag and was quite happy to see your identity featured. Congratulations!

Trevor Baum's picture

Ian, looks wonderful!

How would you feel about setting the "PHOTOGRAPHY" on your business card in the same gold you use in the logotype (although maybe more of a milky, luminous gold would look stronger). That could add a bit more consistency between the color logo and the business card, and could create an elegant color combination. Keep up the good work.

penn's picture

Apparently the old logotype is being used on the site, however:

IanCrombie's picture

Thanks Evanbrog, super exciting! Its my first time being published. It's also actually my first time entering a piece to commarts. Well the agency I work for entered and paid for it so they got a nod. But hey whatever, I'm just happy to take up a square inch next to work and people that humble and inspire me.

Trevor, Great idea. I did this project freelance under the stipulation that I would design it for free so long as he would print the cards the way I wished. Letterpressed and now gold foil! WOO. Now I gotta go get on him to do that, and thanks penn for pointing out that i also have to get on his case about the logo on his website.

Also big thanks to everyone who helped out in this thread, I'd include you all in an acceptance speech! Well.... if i had to do one. Actually does any graphic design related award have acceptance speeches? Are we missing out? I feel jilted. :-)

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