ACI Logo

nick's picture

I am working on a logo for ACI International, formerly called the American Concrete Institute before its scope became global. It is a large, committee-based, 100-year-old, conservative, knowledge-generating organization that makes decisions by consensus. This logo is of one of those decisions.

The consensus is that they want to keep the globe from their old logo and that they want to incorporate a "tagline" into the logo. Also, many folks on the marketing committee (and board) like the longitude and latitude lines on the globe. Some suggested just adding a "swish" to the old logo in order to create a sense of dynamism. The idea of "movement," therefore, seems important to them.

I've uploaded the original logo and two versions of the new logo I'd like to propose.

I used Frutiger Bold for the logotype, and I added slab serifs to the I's because they didn't seem substial enough. Please tell me if I've committed a typographic sin by doing so. I used Frutiger Extra Black Condensed for the tagline. One of my constraints is that I'm limited by the fonts I have on my machine, unless I can demonstrate a compelling need to buy a new one. Please let me know if you think Frutiger is overused for a logo and, if so, what recommendations you might have. I also have Meta on my computer; I thought about that as another okay choice.

As for the logomark, I've tried to incorporate some of the elements of the original globe, including the longitudinal and latitude lines. I thought that by having the blue-shaded part advancing past the midpoint, it maybe gave the impression of the dynamism they were looking for. Might be kind of contrived, though.

There's always the possibility that the committees will decide to keep the original logo (or a "very slightly tweaked" version of it), but I'd like to present them with the best alternative possible. Thanks for your input!

Old Logo
New logo version 1
New logo version 2

lorenk's picture

i definitely think what you have started is much better than the old logo. i dont like everything being lowercase in the old one. and the word international is the exact width of the globe, which i think looks wrong... the way you made the globe smaller than the words is way better.

but i feel like the type has nothing to do with the globe image. one small thing that bothers me is the square dot over the i . I wish it were round. also, i'm not a fan of the two capital I's next to eachother. i think you could play with that more. maybe "international" can be all lower-case.

also, one thing i don't like about the globe is that its not divided in half. the blue side gets a little more. this could be interpreted as the "ACI" side having more power than the "international" side, which is not the right idea. i know i'm looking deep into it, but that's just a concern i have. did u try dividing the globe in half? i'm not sure it would look better, but at least the globe would be cut in half.

emor's picture

I think dividing the globe in half would make it look more static than it already is. Maybe you could drop the background color of of the globe and stylize the lines - make them more dynamic, and less symmetrical. I like the typographic treatment, but I agree with loren that the I's next to each other might need some alternatives. The globe just feels too heavy.

andrew_baker's picture

Heh heh.. I like the tag line. I just picture a Plato-type character passing his concrete knowledge on to his pupils.

I think the type treatment is nice. Have you tried splitting the I's and making a half blue, half concrete color I? This might not work, but the double I could be improved upon i think.

Of your logo's, the tracking on #1's tag line I would tighten and the ACI International is too overpowering.

#2's setting is nice.


andrew_baker's picture

Also, I think the slabs are nice, they add the industrial feel that you are looking for.

"bland and?or heavy logo"? I guess it should be rather blocky and straightforward, guys.

I mean just read Nicks description.

"It is a large, committee-based, 100-year-old, conservative, knowledge-generating organization that makes decisions by consensus. This logo is of one of those decisions."

And for a Concrete Institute no less. I like the
conservative swing.


emor's picture

> "bland and?or heavy logo"? I guess it should be rather blocky and straightforward, guys.

I read words like "swish", "movement" and "dynamisim". Maybe I took it too literally. The globe as it is right now isn't dynamic. If a more conservative look is called for then I think the globe is just fine as is.

nick's picture

Hi Folks,

Thank you for the helpful input. I'm working on some revisions now, but won't be able to finish them until tomorrow.

Loren: I agree about the i dots. I'm changing that. As for the blue taking over the international side, I thought it might be a metaphor for ACI's concrete knowledge spreading around the world; I didn't think about other ways it could be interpreted.

Garf: I tend to agree that the globe seems to overpower the type. I'm trying to come up with some solutions, but am sort of stuck.

Andrew: You are correct. I was trying to achieve something heavy and solid, like concrete. My intuition is that if they choose a new logo, they will only be able to build consensus around a very conservative one.

I re-read my original post, and I think what I said about it needing to be dynamic was misleading. Adding the swoosh to the old logo was one solution offered up by a committee member. I'd like to present an alternative to that, in subtle ways, conveys movement. I was hoping that the blue advancing around the globe did that.

Thanks again for the help--I will post samples again as soon as possible.

capthaddock's picture

I really like #2. If you don't like two capital I's in a row, make "international" all lowercase. But I wouldn't change much, if anything.


gulliver's picture

If they want dynamism and modernism, but still
a sense of conservatism, why not consider
Storm Type Foundry's Farao Bold (or one of the
other weights) for the font?

Farao has the (concrete? :-) ) slab serifs for
the conservative approach, but a freshness and
geometry that might play well off the globe logo.
Farao also has elements similar to the typeface
used in the original logo (check the round forms,
especially in the "C").

Just a thought that hit me.


nick's picture

Here are some revised logos.

Version 3: ACI line is Frutiger Black Condensed

Version 3

Version 4: Same as above except changed the i dot to a circle and tried to make the globe less overpowering reducing the % of gray.

Version 4

Version 5: Same as above except I again modified the globe to make it less overpowering.

Version 5


taran80's picture

i like #4.. maybe blue color must be changed a lil' bit, to be not so usual..

somethin like this..

taran80's picture

i like #4.. maybe blue color must be changed a lil' bit, to be not so usual..

somethin like this..

andrew_baker's picture

I notice in #5 your globe shape starts breaking apart with all the added negative space. I would stick to the previous globe.

Dmitry, your cool blue design could be for Air Conditioning International, but I prefer Mr. Mason's palette of dark blue and concrete for a concrete institute.

Honestly, Nick, I didn't think your logo needed much work. The new condensed setting is a nice upgrade, but i think gradiating the globe in grayscale is a mistake. Besides, you lose the color to grayscale effect when its completely grayscale anyway. Have you worked with the logo in B/W? You might want to test it.


jfp's picture

because of its history, I think there is a problem between ACI and International, perhaps change size proportion between the twos or weights or move ACI to aci in bigger size? International win visually over ACI who is not good I think:

1. because ACI mean nothing, its an acronym
2. because ACI is small in surface compared to the rest
3. because of the colour contrast (on screen at least)

emor's picture

I like the revised type and the gray darker. Number 4 is a nice alternative - it subtly suggests revolution (movement). Dmitry's lighter grey tagline might work on number 4.

I agree with Andrew on number 5. Have you tried a treatment with the ACI over the globe as in the old one? A more modern treatment of the old idea might be nice. Or not.

andrew_baker's picture

I think by lightening the colors, you lessen the solidity and structure of the globe device and typesetting.

I think you have successfully updated the company logo. Lets face it, this isn't a highly evolving internet company.
I dont think it should be flashy.

taran80's picture

it should be freshy:-)

lorenk's picture

i dont think the globe should have three different grays. i like it better in just one blue and one gray. also, did u try making the horizontal line thru the globe not just a straight line? did u try making it wider in the middle and thinner at the sides? it looks a little awkward because it doesn't wrap around the globe, it just goes right across it 2-dimensionally. give it a shot; if its bad, i'm sorry.

nick's picture

Thanks for all of the input, everyone; your comments have been really helpful!

I didn't mention that using the dark blue is one of the parameters of the project.

Here's the latest, in 2 colors and 1:

Logo 6

I worked with the equator to widen the middle...wide enough?

I'm fairly content with this version.

As an alternative design, I do plan to experiment with ACI over the globe, similar to the original logo. I will post that if I come up with something I like. :-)

gulliver's picture

At risk of offending, this logo direction as it is
leaves me kind of cold, and I think I've figured
out why.

Here goes.

This logo design communicates nothing about
the client except to emphasize the international
aspect. The exact same logo could be used
to represent a news source, a map maker,
a travel agency, a bank, a university, a world
ministry, or a stock brokerage. It's bland and
meaningless, and the font choice is rather
sterile. (I love Frutiger, but in this context,
it adds nothing to an already largely
meaningless symbol.)

I understand that you are limited in terms
of having to incorporate the globe, the dark
blue color and the headline copy, but you should
at least strive to push the design to communicate
something about the nature of the client.
With all due respect, as it stands now,
the logo doesn't advance much knowledge
of any kind, concrete or otherwise.

I offer this opinion as constructively as possible.
I wish you well.


emor's picture

I have to say, I agree with David. In my first post I suggested stylizing the the globe, not so much to add dynamism but to make it less generic. The globe not only could be a "news source, a map maker, a travel agency, a bank, a university, a world ministry, or a stock brokerage", but a street sign as well.

I think putting the acronym over the globe will in the end be the best solution.

andrew_baker's picture

Wow, I guess all my prattle was illogical, because what Garf and Dmitry have been saying all along was just drilled into my head by David.

Sorry for the bad advice, Nick

nick's picture

David, no offense taken. I had the same thoughts myself. The globe is a generic symbol. And Frutiger is staid in this context, I think.

The nature of the project, though, is that of a logo update. They are hesitant to change the old one too much. Like I said, they are very conservative. And I'm afraid that anything other than a conservative solution would not make it through the consensus process.

Also, I'm not sure that uniqueness is really necessary for their needs. The logo isn't meant for the general public. The audience works in the field of concrete--researchers, professors, contractors, builders, architects, etc. The logo will almost always be seen in the context of concrete by people who already know what ACI means. What the logomark will do, hopefully, is reinforce ACI's international nature as they take the organization global.

Besides, I'm wondering how much a logo really needs to communicate, intrinsically, about the organization it represents. I wonder if the logo takes on meaning by virtue of the organization its associated with. Take the logos for GM (a generic blue rectangle with an underlined GM...could be anything) or Visteon (could be a telecom company or a business communications firm) or Cingular (could be a bank or a design firm). Through their associations the symbols acquire meaning.

In any case, I appreciate your feedback. I still have time to work on other versions, and creating the most meaningful logo I can is important to me.


cph's picture

I have to agree with David. After seeing more than one stylized, ribbed globe like this plastered on the side of the truck on my way home, I'd suggest ditching the globe all together, or at least coming up with something more modern. I saw one that was almost exactly like this, except the color shift was right down the middle instead of off center like yours. The longitude/latitude globe logo is so cliche. (It's like the father of the swoosh.)

hawk's picture


logo + globe (that can give you ideas)

1. epic international

2. world tours

3.terra firma consulting

4. downtown import service

5. commerce bank


David Hamuel

union's picture

i'd just make the globe smaller...

tsprowl's picture

knee jerk reaction: pan am

aluminum's picture

I agree with what you say, Nick. I don't think a logo has to express anything about the company 'out of the box'. As long as the logo is relatively unique and aesthetically pleasing, the company will give the logo meaning over time and through consistent use.

The problem here is that the logo isn't terribly unique.

That said, given the confines of design-by-committee-of-conservatives I think, when compared to the original, this is certainly a good improvement.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Apologies if I make any remarks which are redundant.

√ I think your letter-spacing is too tight for the ACI line. You might look at Adobe's Frutiger Condensed as an option.

√ While the addition of the slabs to frutiger are nice, for what they are, the negative shapes in your "world" imply a sharp serif. Maybe I'm crazy. Does anyone else see this? [edit] or no slabs at all.

√ I do like the assymetrical split in the world.

√ I can't say that I like/dislike #2 or #3, as I see this as two parts that can be moved around dependant upon use. Although, I think I do prefer #3. The full-justified setting of the two-lines of type doesn't necessarily work, for me, with the assymetrically placed world.

√ The square dotted 'i' doesn't bother me. ;^)

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