email-meltdown-photo

An email server meltdown derails our humble studio for most of the week, a bunch of new logos get rolled out, Google explains why they changed theirs a year ago and some random design bits & pieces.

snippets-note-left-SMWe’re no strangers to the internet thing, having been online for a bit (here’s a bit of our history if you’re into such things.) We’ve had servers melt down before, software updates blow up our WordPress installs, boxes go offline at the worst possible times. We’ve never had an email server nose dive before, and it is only now that we fully appreciate how reliant our studio is on the ability to actually send emails. In a Keystone Cops style cascade of errors and cock ups, our email server went down late Monday night, early Tuesday morning and we’d spend the better part of three days trying to unstick things.

A comedy of errors.

For those of you who are zero interested in this sort of thing, scroll down for the newsy bits, for those who are, here’s what happened: We run a Canadian version of our site – a much smaller & less active version of this one – on a different host than here. All the email from there gets sent to the email sever here where it gets forwarded to various accounts, including Gmail (so that canadian-logo-twitter-redstaffers can check email on smartphones & other gizmos when not at the shop.) It’s a rickety system but it works, and has for over a decade. Anyhoo, on Monday/Tuesday spammers from China started probing our Canadian site, without success, for an open relay through which they could send their mail. This is a really scummy practice that spammers partake in – it leaves the compromised server holding the bag for the spam run – and it happens a lot. Unless your relays are locked down, which ours are. After five failed login attempts, the probing IP is blocked from communicating with our server and a notice – called a “fail2ban” – is sent to their ISP telling them they’ve a bad Internet citizen on their network. A notice is also sent to Funkenhammer – the system administrator of the Canadian site – informing him of the failed probe and the subsequent block. Pretty standard stuff you would’ve thought. Here’s where and why it went awry:

That “fail2ban” notification went to our system admin account there. It was forwarded to our main email server here. Once it arrives, it’s put in the actual email folder, and forwarded on to a Gmail account. Late Monday, early Tuesday, these spammers started hammering our Canadian host hard. A lot of “fail2ban” notices got sent, every one of them going through the circuitous route to get to its final destination. Trouble is, all those notices were forwarded through our host’s mail relay server, and the uptick in mail was auto-flagged as spam. It started sending reject notices back to our system email account, which tried to route them once again through the relay, which had blocked us for spamming. An infinite loop of rejecting, sending, rejecting again.

Our poor email server went home to mama.

These kind of things happen, and it isn’t the fixing that takes a long time, it’s the figuring out that does. Factor in our top level web host who isn’t particularly keen to give technical support to an account that just recently got flagged as a spammer by their relay and voila – you got yourself three days of sleuthing, yelling at hapless tech support guys and general mayhem while clients are trying to figure out why our studio has gone radio silent. We can’t contact them, they can’t contact us, our site contact forms don’t work, etc, etc, etc. Probably obvious by now, but it has been a very bad week. Nevertheless, and because we’re design warriors (as if), here’s the weekly wrap-up..

For those that skipped the drama up top..

Here’s the brass tacks version of how our week began. We’re still putting out multiple fires today.

The American Football League Women’s branding.

The AFL rolled out their new logo for the upcoming 2017 season. Not bad at all.

Lovely logo.

There are logos that are lovely. There are case studies that are awesome. This is both of those things.

In the never-ending war against dick logos..

We finally have the hero we deserve. For $25 these guys will tell you if your logo looks like junk or not. Not trash junk, Johnson junk.

Whataburger has a beef with Wonder Woman.

Not her specifically, just her triple W logo. Which they think is the same. Which it kinda is.

It kinda does, yes.

Thanks for asking. We haz this contest infographic that we’ll now shamelessly plug.

Yet another dick logo.

These guys probably should’ve ponied up the $25 to get those other guys to figure out if their logo looks like a Johnson.

Logos. Shaken, not stirred.

The 007 logo is one of those logos that never gets old. There’s been a few slight mods over the years. Here’s what they looked like..

Thou shalt not..

Steal a punk band’s logo and put it on a tacky, dedazzled leather jacket without their permission. Fuck the man amirite?

This is true..

Paul Rand’s always goof for a logo quote or two.

Thanks for the mention guys!

It’s awesome and all, but what the hell did you do to our logo? Perhaps a little trip to our logos & file resolution tutorial is in order.

Tho shalt not knock-off other designers.

Terrific piece on how large brands help themselves to designers’ work, and the uphill battle you face when getting them to stop. Everyone remembers the boat logo right?

Evil logo.

Speaking of 007 (yes, we just were,) the North American hockey team logo is a bit SPECTREish, yes. Blofeld approves.

An exhibit of failed logos.

Logos are becoming part of the political conversation more and more. Look for our upcoming think piece on “The Weaponization of Logos” in the not too distant future.

Speaking of logo exhibits..

This one is very sweet.

The accessibility logo gets a rebrand.

Proposal stage only at the moment..

A gentle reminder for media wonks writing about logos.

Your article is pretty much worthless unless it has a picture of the new design. Pics or GTFO.

This folks, is how it’s done.

Readily accessible brand assets for people to use when they’re trying to write nice stuff about you.

Vancouver International Film Festival.

Vancouver joins film festival cities getting a brand workover.

About that Google logo change..

That a lot of people (except every designer) barely even noticed. We did tho..

Somebody really loves NBA team logos.

And has a lot of time on their hands.

If you don’t listen to the masters..

How you gonna get any good at this logo design business. This is worth a looksee..

Damn robots or something.

They don’t specifically mention logo designers per se, so yay, I guess.

Some more newish logos.

Quite a few new logos and brand rollouts this week. Some were good, some not so much, and one was really, really expensive.

Squabbling logos.

When logos collide, only one can be victorious.

Craftsmanship Extraordinaire.

Nothing much to say about this, except LOOK AT THIS LOGO!!!

Not going say we told you so…

But we most certainly told you so.

Yes. Yes it is.

A delightful design.

Three days of exhausting madness later..

We were able to announce this:


And with that, we’ll close up the week. We’re off to the pub for a few well deserved pints. Before or after we get caught up on our backlog of projects is currently under debate.