What is this specific logo treatment?

Futuremotion's picture

I've seen this specific type of shading treatment on a vast number of logos that I've run across and I love it.

For clarification purposes, does this specific type of shading have a formal name or technique associated with it?

I've always figured that this kind of effect could be done roughly with an algorithm or black and white conversion plugin and then fine tuned, rather than entirely hand drawn--but I've never run across anything that splits shades of gray into black bars of varying thickness like this.

Might any of you kind folks here on Typophile have any recommendations on how to consistently produce this effect?


oldnick's picture

I have always heard it referred to as a line screen effect. Many years ago, Andromeda offered various filter packs for Photoshop, some of which generated effects like these automatically, but I suspect that numbers 3 and five above were done entirely by hand...

JamesM's picture

Oldnick's suggestion of "line screen" sounds right, although these logos have been tweaked way beyond what you'd get with an automated screen technique that you'd apply to a photo or whatever. I'm sure all of those examples were hand constructed.

It's a style that was very popular once, but to me the technique now looks dated. I remember doing similar things back in the 90s.

earthache's picture

This line screen stuff may be useful everytime you work in the area of '80 and '90 popular graphics - the amiga and commodor, early years of electro, 8bit etc.

Futuremotion's picture

Ah! Thanks all of you for the suggestions and input.

Earthach: I love Retro graphics and tech logos, it's one of the main reasons why I'm aiming to replicate this specific technique. :)

I think I may have found a really solid way to do it using blends and very precisely sized patterns in illustrator. I'll post a small how-to if this ends up working out well and you guys are interested at all.

cerulean's picture

When it was most popular, the name for it that I remember was "piano rule", because it looks kind of like the black keys on a piano where the lines get thicker.

Futuremotion's picture

Patterns work out quite well, specifically 60 degree diagonals (matches isometric / axonometric marks much better) at varying line widths. Much better than trying to finesse everything by hand, can also easily preview at varying widths on the fly, etc.

Transform pattern at small increments to line up the bars > expand > clean up.

Instant retro logo!

JamesM's picture

> I'll post a small how-to if this ends up working
> out well and you guys are interested at all.

Yes, I'd like to see it.

kaigradert's picture

The technique is called Xylography or Woodcut (German "Holzstich").

It's an old technique in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed. There are different variations that involve different patterns and techniques. You can read more about it here:

:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylographic
:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodblock_printing

It's actually a cool technique if applied properly. Unfortunately this style got a bad wrap in the late 90s when it was widely used and abused through numerous Photoshop filters :-) Hope this helps.

dirtcastle's picture

Look at all that contrast!... what's not to love!

For me, this treatment will never go out of style... even if it is a bit dated.

cuttlefish's picture

The great advantage of this woodcut or piano-keys or whatever you want to call it style is that it allows you to use shading and dimension in a logo design and potentially still have it come through a fax recognizably, which is a tough order for multicolor and even gray tone logos.

dirtcastle's picture

...or a stencil.

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