Logo Design Critique! many to choose from

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by OCBC, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. OCBC macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey everyone, this is my first post at macrumors.com, but i've been reading for a little bit.

    My school, Oberlin College, is hosting a logo design contest for the new technology store. It used to be called the Oberlin Computer Store but is changing its name to the Oberlin Technology Store. They seem pretty attached to an acronym based logo using OTS, so that's where I started. Anyhow, I've come up with five or so designs that I would like y'all to critique.

    I'm really new at illustrator, but I have fairly extensive photoshop experience. I have my preferences within these, and I also know that none of them are perfect, but I would greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions on where to head next.

    The power cord logo is supposed to evoke the shape of our library with a path leading to it.

    Attached Files:

  2. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    I like where the first one is going, but it's way too busy with the colored balls, the full name and then the acronym.

    None of them scream "technology" to me except maybe the last one, where you tried to do the plug thing, but I think the lettering is most difficult to read on that one.

    I would drop the colored ball thing all together, and try to run with the lettering on the first design. I like the idea of a plug, but it can be a lot cleaner than it was implemented on the last one.

    Simple is always best for logos!


    Hope this helps - I don't think I'm being hard, right?
  3. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Pretty, but waaaaaay too busy!

    Less, as they (somewhat confusingly) say, is definitely more.


  4. OCBC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey Unspeaked,
    thanks for your insights. Oh, the first one doesn't include the acronym, just the left half of the post. there are five separate designs. the png's got all lumped together my bad for not making a border.

    you're not being too hard at all. I was worried they were too busy as well. When I was conceptualizing this project I wasn't focusing too much on their technology side, I was trying more to communicate a sense of movement, youth, sustainability, and maybe expertise.

    In what way could the power cord be implemented more cleanly? Take the text out, or move it to the side? or change the actual cord/text shape? i'm not too good yet with bezier curves so that thing took me forever. Submissions are due on friday as well.

  5. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    Only 2 of them tell me what the company does. The top most of these I really do not like the lower case "i" mixed with the uppercase.

    I would rotate the thing on the left so the curvature matched that of the "O". Perhaps tone it down a little.

    It is the one I like the most.

    When reading these comments bear in mind that I have no idea what I am talking about and couldn't do better myself.
  6. Mydel macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2006
    Sometimes here mostly there
    I like first one most, but toooo many colors. Just try to keep it simple.
  7. OCBC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    hmm, well, it seems as if there might be a concensus...

    thanks so much for the advice. I'll try to run with the first one, tone it down and see what i can do with more text based designs. But now i've got to print a photo final project, something I'm actually pretty good at. design is too hard. I can still use any and all comments and suggestions though, so thanks in advance.

  8. 7engine macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    wind bag designer here...

    Well you have some pretty colorful logos here. Maybe a little too candy wrapper-ish. Unfortunately, I don't see the options you have shown really working well at all. They suffer from too much going on, impossible color construction, and lack of thought. Even though its somewhat a mess, the power chord that's forming the text is the only one that seems to be trying to be a design concept and not just a splooge of shapes. Maybe you would benefit from going at it with a little more research first. Think of Illustrator as a fancy pencil and not as a point and click design-all machine. I almost always find its best to "design" a logo before banging away on the computer. Especially if you're is new to this kind of project. (and even if you're not, I still do)

    That's why I would suggest starting on paper with a pencil. First, write down a list of words that OTS relates to. Like technology, computers, electronic components, students, school, etc. Then flip through magazines that may feature some of the products that are sold in your store. Get a feeling for what logos look like in that "world". Start sketching. Even if it makes no sense, draw and think and draw some more. Then go to the computer only after you've really done your design homework.

    FIRST design the logo in black and white. If it doesn't work in B/W then it'll be a bitch to work with down the road. Think of how it may be used on non-color applications like receipts, photo copies, one-color coupons etc. A multiple color logo could be expensive to screen print on uniforms for instance as well. And keep the logo somewhat simple. Think about how the OTS logo will re-produce or how it will hold up when printed. Design your logo so that it works well at very small sizes.

    The best logos in time are the clean, smart and simple ones. Think of the Apple logo itself. See how well it works without being over-engineered? See how well it works in every application? In any color or non-color situation? It even works without the text "Apple" with it. Make the OTS logo "ownable" meaning fresh, unique and unmistakable.

    for some at-your-fingertips inspiration check out:

    I like visiting brand design shop sites like:

    go to Borders or Barnes and Nobles and check out the design section, and not just the computer design mags.

    Keep at it, and start on paper!
  9. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Nice logo concepts but they are way too busy to be effective brandings.

    You BRAND a logo not DESIGN it, the brand is the first thing a person usually has to do with an organisation and you need to brand something that is effective and gets the right message across.

    Less is more when it comes to logo design, 2 colours, 1 or 2 fonts and a stylised image branding will always work.

    Check out:

    And remember when you are branding a logo you need to ask yourself what are you trying to say and how will it be interpreted?
  10. 7engine macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    hmm, "BRAND a logo"? Well, I'd say a logo is one component of a brand or an experience but I guess words and phrases are used slightly different in different markets. I like that logopond site you suggested. But be careful Sean, some "best of" logo sites are more about quantity than quality.
  11. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    From my expertise, it's part of an organisations image (logo, colour, style, font, etc) hence you are branding rather than designing. If you are establishing a look it's branding not designing as such even through branding and designing tend to cross over.
  12. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    well, this is more about semantics :) , but you do not brand a logo, you design it. you do not brand a letterhead, you design it. you brand a company, a product or an organization; a logo is a part of what makes that brand, a letterhead is a part, so is a typeface, so is a storefront sign, so is the nametag of the janitor, so is how the cash register reciept looks.

    but none of these ARE the brand. a brand is what people think of intuitively and emotionally when they think of your company; and they think this based on what you give them in terms of logos, colors, shapes, sizes, smells, tastes, sounds, and everything inbetween. a good example of a very strong brand is if i show you a candyapple red square with a white swooshie thru it, most people will think "coke" and will think "cold" "refreshing" "sweet" etc... that red + white swoosh (a part of their logo and packaging design) makes me have a personal, gut feeling about their product (based on the taste of the soda, how their commercials look, what their vending machines look like, the smell of a coke with a burger, etc..) that gives me a well constructed, connotative feeling about "coke" and why i want one.

    you guys should really read "the brand gap" which is the best explanation of all this stuff i have found; here is an excerpt:

  13. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    Nice to see an Oberlin person on here. I'm an Oberlin alum, graduated in '98 from the music conservatory. I actually got my start in my current career as a web designer/developer working on the school website as a student. Where is this new technology store going to be located?
    Anyway, I like your logo designs but as others have said it makes me think more of a candy store than a technology store. You'll want something simple but striking so it's easily recognizable.
    Keep up the good work!
  14. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Nice link, I also like the site Brand Channel, from my expertise logo design falls under branding. There have been very few project where I've just created a logo for a company, usually I create a look for a logo and from there it flows on to company font, writing style, font style, colour, brand architecture, stationary, branding focus, etc...

    Brand evokes an emotional response and most people's first interaction with a company does come from them see the logo and therefore the creation of a logo I feel falls under branding (I know this is a huge grey area Designers will say design while Branding Officers will say branding).
  15. OCBC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    Thanks again everyone for your help. I just got done printing my photo project, but hopefully i'll have time to work on the logo tomorrow. 7engine, the disappointing thing is that that is exactly the process i used, writing out word associations, and sketching ideas in black and white. i guess i just got carried away with illustrator. design is definitely something i want to keep trying and in any case this has been an instructive exercise.

    Hey Stampyhead, that's awesome to hear you went to Oberlin, we seem to pop up everywhere. They totally renovated the first floor, added a cafe, and put in 50 or so 24" imacs. The computer store is moving to the space that the reserve room was in.

  16. 7engine macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    Sounds like we have a bunch of professional design nerds on this thread including myself. I'm glad we came in and spelled out exactly what branding is. I didn't want to get all lectury about it. And yes, it is somewhat semantics but when it comes down to it, you create a brand and you could also say you design a brand. When we begin a branding process, we start with talking to the client and reviewing where they are now, how they're perceived and where they want to be. We then generally move into mood boards as well as tags all wrapped up with a brand statement. From this process we get a feeling of color, photographic styles, general graphic look and feel etc. Then we may move into ad comps, or logo concepts, or any variety of vehicles to show the client, and ourselves, where we're going with the brand. Where it makes sense, we also think about everything from the flowers in the clients lobby to the music playing in their stores, to the uniforms on their backs etc. Yep, even smell can be part of a brand! Sort of an experiential marketing device. So we give the brand a face and a voice. And yes, often, the logo is one of the first pieces designed in the process.

    I think Sean doesn't need to go so full-throttle with this project and he's (she's?) off to a good start. Sean, I was generalizing how one goes about designing a logo and if you did start on paper, in B/W then good work. I hope you share with us your progression.
  17. Cloudane macrumors 68000


    Aug 6, 2007
    Sweet Apple Acres
    Top-left is the best of those, IMO, as it states what the company does. The acronym on its own is too vague, and the last/bottom one is too big and random and doesn't make any sense to outsiders who won't know what the path to your library looks like.

    I also agree with those who say the coloured balls thing is great looking, but doesn't get the correct image across... for a technology store you want a graphic which is more tech-related. That's where the last idea is getting a little closer.

    (This is from the view of a web designer, not a dedicated graphics designer)
  18. 7engine macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007

    Yea, stick with spelling the name out. Someday, just OTS may work for on-campus use only.
  19. lofight macrumors 68000


    Jun 16, 2007
  20. JasonElise1983 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2003
    Between a rock and a midget
    well, my opinion is that you should stay as far away as possible from the "orb 3D vomit" that is floating around your design. It just doesn't seem to have a purpose. Also, more sophisticated color choices would go along way. You are basically using Primary/secondary colors pretty straight forward. Try playing with this...and maybe in stead of using every color under the rainbow, maybe a colorscheme. Complimentary is a good place to start, but you can also go monochromatic...mono + accent....etc.... I would just play with that. Also try to think about what it is you are saying. What does floating 3D orbs say about the the place? Anyway, even if you can't go conceptual with it...simplify..simplify..SIMPLIFY!

  21. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The primary purpose of a logo is to communicate to the reader, so a useful test is to ask "what is this communicating?"

    The message received by the reader will be based partially on what is spelled out (or not) in the logo, and partially on the associations the reader makes based on their cultural experiences, biases, and expectations.

    For example, a 'hallowe'en' typefont with drips of 'blood' will suggest 'Cliche Horror Movie Poster' to many people because they have seen this used in that context so many times.

    The spheres in your draft logos to me makes an association with biology, or chemistry, (or maybe sports), given the background of the University setting. I don't really associate spheres with technology.

    When you have the budget for (and a decades-long campaign for) branding, you can get away with an acronym (IBM) or abstract symbol (Apple or Nike) without supporting text. But how long was it before Apple dropped the "apple" text from their logo? I remember it still in use in 1987

    In your case, I think you have to spell it out, and make any graphics more literal.
  22. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I think we sure do, I'm a branding nerd...

    But from a development POV most designs are rejected first and developed from a few good concepts. Good concepts can always be developed into something awesome, bad ones can't.

    OCBC, I think you have some very good starts that can be developed into something great, it just takes time.

    The best advise I can give is to make sure you know what the logo is supposed to say and how it will be interpreted.
  23. 7engine macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
  24. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Or Comic Sans :cool:
  25. OCBC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    the submissions

    So I didn't have time to totally rethink a design, but I did a little reorganizing and I like what I have better than before anyway.

    I submitted five designs for the contest, and here they are.

    I kept one with the rainbow balls, figured they might like them. I did use a swoosh in one of them, but it was a swoosh with a purpose, to look like a monitor stand ;) i got rid of the rainbow in the rest and went with a color scheme based on the school's main color, maroon. I made the mouse in illustrator using gradient meshes, i'm not sure that i like it as a logo design as it seemed a little hard to read but i was pretty proud that i was able to do that. the triangular arrangement of the circles is based on the layout of computer desks in the library, and i ended up liking it as a shape. i thought it provided a sense of movement and progression. anyway, thanks so much for all your help and i'll keep you posted on the results. Whether or not i win, it's been a definite learning experience. A lot more goes into this than I ever imagined before.


    Attached Files:

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