if you’ve been following our blog over the past month, you’ll be familiar with the subject of this post. If not, let’s recap quickly. A little while back, we decided it was time for a face lift of The Logo Factory logo. Over the years it had been changed, modified, turned into 3D and generally abused to the point that our own brand has become “unfocused” (ironic for a logo design company). We’re planning a total head-to-toe retrofit of our website, and figured there’s no time like the present to develop a new look for ourselves. We started off with a rework of The Logo Factory house, and threw what I thought were some nifty fonts at it. That ended up with a design that was labeled “Crazy Earl’s Logo Emporium“.
I liked it, (still do) but according to comments on the blog, it wasn’t cutting it. Folks thought the house and the font work didn’t gel. A fair criticsm I suppose. Some, like David Airey, felt the tagline ‘Design Studio’ was a bit redundant (I tend to agree). Others felt that there was “too much going on”. There’s some validity to that, but I liked the visual chaos – the logo has a tattoo parlor, “Olde Tyme Sideshow” look to it that works well in visually representing our shop. Alas, our logo isn’t meant to please me, it’s meant to appeal to clients and with that in mind, we moved on to round two, adding a different, more industrial font work-up. Using Lubalin Bold as a starting point, I customized some of the letters and added a few cogs (an idea we developed in the first round). Once that was done, I tried various setups with the ‘house’ icon. Like so:
I really liked the font treatment, but it just didn’t work with the house. One has a simple woodcut style, the other an almost hardcore industrial vibe. They worked separately but the combination of the two was even less symbiotic than the earlier “Crazy Earl” treatment. Unfortunately, and as much as it pained me, the time had come for a “Sophie’s Choice” kind of decision. Do I lose the house or not?
I had to ask myself “Self, what’s more important to clients? Our house or the words The, Logo and Factory?” The answer, if I’m being honest, is simple – The Logo Factory. The TLF house has a wonderful back story, and while it might tug at the heart strings when people learn about it, does our house history really have any relevance for anyone seeing the logo in a vacuum? Or for the first time? No it doesn’t. At the end of the day, the single most important part of our logo is the company name itself. To boot, the house simply doesn’t work with this iteration, while the font work is extraordinarily solid. After much soul searching and as much as it pains me, the famous TLF house will have to go. Not completely – we’ll still use the house as a ‘bug’ and the occasional illustrative element, but in terms of our main corporate mark, the ubiquitous TLF house is a thing of the past. Some design decisions are difficult. This one, arguably the hardest design call I’ve ever had to make, is for the better of our new branding. I hope. Once the house is gone, we’re left with a very simple, yet effective, text treatment. In order to balance the logo slightly, we’ll expand the ‘Est. 1996′ strapline.
Works in black and white. Scalable to very small sizes. Benchmarks of a serviceable design. Let’s revisit the cog idea. Developed in round one, this concept always worked. It’s industrial, thematically sound with The Factory motif and painfully simple into the bargain.
Okay, so we’re settled. The Logo Factory‘s new logo is above. Simple customized version of Lubalin. The cog when it works. Text only when it doesn’t. Let’s take a side road for a moment or two. I’ve always been a fan of logo ‘eye candy’ so why don’t we turn the logo in an actual 3D cog? Like so.
As a standalone icon with a shadow, this works very well. It’s comfortable within its own space, and still has enough connection to the original flat vector version. I always liked the 3D version of our house, but it was always too far removed from the original source artwork to work really well. Tweaking 3D files like this is no small task by the way – high-resolution render time is about 28 minutes – so never attempt a 3D version of a logo unless you’re willing to spend an awful amount of time getting it just right (see large version here).
As with any logo version that’s a bitmap, we can only use this logo sparingly, and where reproduction permits. Presentation folders. Brochures. Perhaps on our new letterheads (see large version here). As we’re going bleed on the design, we have to use a larger press anyway – might as well go full color, a necessity for a graphic of this type. In order to keep the layout nice and clean, I’ve kept the type simple and avoided any visual flourishes save the gears on the bottom of the page. Those will make sense when we think about our simple second page layout.
As noted in our earlier posts, I’ve substituted Myriad Pro Condensed as our font of choice, replacing Fruitiger Condensed, a font we’ve used for over a decade. The letterhead second page design is simple. A full version of the logo in the gears at bottom.
Rather than go with a traditional business card, I decided to go with an over sized display card complete with die cut gear shape. It’s certainly something that’s a little different. The cog ‘teeth’ will allow us to tuck the cards into the usual spots – presentation folders for example – but the size has to be small enough to fit into a standard envelope.
As decided in the last round, we’re not going to personalize the cards at press time, but rather leave a blank spot where staff can write in names, appointments, etc. Gives the cards a personal touch, while saving on the print costs and logistics for multiple pre-personalized cards.
And there you have it. Unless there’s some pretty dramatic developments, I think that’s the final chapter of our stupidly exhaustive rebrand project, a new TLF logo and the beginnings of a design ‘direction’ that we can port to all our material. As for Crazy Earl’s Logo Emporium, I’m going to use that from time-to-time, just to keep our old icon in circulation. As weird as it sounds, I’m too emotionally invested in our house to give it up completely and I’m thinking that design would look lovely on the back of staff T-Shirts.
I know I’d wear one.
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- Dispatches from the design trenches – reworking The Factory logo
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- Designing a logo – the definitive guide