It’s graduation season at the Art Institutes again, and once again I was not disappointed at the showing in Miami. The graduating class at Miami International University of Art and Design seemed a little smaller this quarter compared to last, but the work was equally as good. Interior design was set up outside the hall and the extra space allowed for a little less congestion throughout portfolio review. Fashion Design, Accessory Design, and Fashion Merchandizing had a good showing with a wide variety of styles represented. Graphic Design showed sound composition and design aesthetics. Juan Lopez from the Graphics Department caught my eye with some interesting 3D work.
Visual Arts had only two graduates this quarter, but both were very strong. Alejandra Cicilia showed her diversity in photography. She had some fantastic photos of construction workers in front of the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, her fashion photography was well composed, and her nighttime photography has an amazing use of color. The work of Chantal Disler can be an event in itself. She takes watercolor, newsprint, and other mixed media and forms them into beautiful arrangements of harmony. Her branding seems to be set around birds in different forms and flight patterns. Her photography, drawings, and portraits all follow a free will aesthetic.
This quarter’s showing was very good. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale had their portfolio review today at the Broward County Convention Center. Unfortunately I was unable to attend both, but wish graduates from both schools the best of luck!
There are four “C’s” that you are told to look for when you pick out a diamond – Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat – but no one tells you what to look for when you decide (or design) what logo will represent you and your company to the world…until now.
The need to address this came to me today as I was trying to incorporate a client’s, shall we say underdeveloped, logo into a design. This logo is so bad it hurts my brain, but what can I do? I have to incorporate it into the prescribed design requested by the client. In order to ease my future pains, I present to you – clients and designers alike – a simple guide to the five “C’s” of logo design:
Color: The colors chosen for your logo can say a lot. Think about the feel that you are looking for in the logo design. If the look is “retro” maybe look at movie posters from that era. If you’re looking for something in a specific field, check out what colors other companies are using – to stand out use colors that contrast with your competitors. Colorcombos.com is also a great resource if you already have a color in mind and need some help with color harmonies.
Always design your logo with two color schemes in mind – full color & black and white. This applies for you web people, too. Yes, your company is online only, but one day you may need to photocopy something with your logo, or maybe decide to sponsor an event that requires you to dumb down the colors to only black and white. Do it at the beginning so you don’t frustrate yourself later on.
Clarity: Whether your logo is text based, graphics based, or a combination, you want your message heard, or read, with understanding. If your message is lost within itself no one will get it. This doesn’t mean you have to shy away from a complex logo if it is the right solution to your branding goals, just keep the focus on what your message will be. Have you seen the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Look at it closely and you can see that the logo shape actually forms “2012,” but don’t look to long or you might start convulsing. The metaphor is lost in the goat rodeo of color and shape.
Composition: Balance. Balance. Balance. Design 101 comes into play here. Your design does not need to be symmetrical, but it does need to be balanced. Think of a balance scale with weights on it. If you have a one-pound block on one side, and one 1/4 pound block, two1/8 pound blocks, a 1/2-pound block on the other side, it will have more pieces on one side, but still be balanced. The same is true for your design; juxtapose a large single element with a quantity of smaller elements to achieve aesthetic equality.
Compatibility: What is the final output for your logo? Logos get reproduced in arenas that we tend to forget about. Sure your company is solely web based, but one day you may want a sign, a t-shirt, giveaways, awards, billboards, vehicle wraps, or even corporate sponsorship with your prized logo on it. Think about the logo going on these items and ask yourself: What colors look good behind my logo? What color is horrible behind my logo? Should I have a vector logo instead of a raster logo? Hint: always choose vector unless there is a really good reason not to.
Content: What does your logo say – literally and metaphorically? There are some fantastic logos out there that are pure text, and there are some logos that a gorgeous by just being metaphoric. Some of the strongest logos choose to combine these elements. For example look at amazon.com’s logo. Simple text based logo with a yellow metaphoric swoosh. What does that swoosh mean? Well it might be smile, or is it an arrow pointing from a to z?
Now you are ready go forth and choose (or design) a competent logo. With every logo you look at, remember the five “C’s”: Color, Clarity, Composition, Compatibility, and Content. Good luck, and happy branding!
Roaming the aisles of Target over the last few months you may have noticed a “new” brand on the shelves. Target Corp is adding “up & up” to their list of exclusive brands, which already include Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Choxie, Sutton & Dodge, and Wine Cube. According to a May report by Nicole Maestri of Reuters this rebranding will affect the Target brand line used for sunscreen, tissues, diapers, and other household products.
Reuters also reports:
“According to a study commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, three out of 10 consumers said they are “buying more store brand products” compared with a year ago.”
The redesign has taken the old bulls-eye logo, normally seen in white or red, and morphed the entire brand to feature bright colors, a soft-edge arrow, and the new name, “Up & Up.” The newly repackaged products started hitting shelves in March. By the time the rebranding is complete, some time this autumn, it will include roughly 730 items across 40 product categories.
I think the rebrand will help Target Corp get market share. The old bulls-eye logo was a little anti-climactic for current packaging trends. This new branding vision adds a fresh look to the packaging and a more upbeat look to the brand. Let’s hope that the name is just reminiscent of the phrase “on the up and up” and not a foreshadowing for the pricing structure.
Pizza Hut has decided to rebrand to The Hut, add an in-house TV channel, and fight it’s junk food status. The reason for the change is partially an attempt to recapture the over 35 crowd, who does not frequent the restaurant like they did in the good, old, sticky-red-checkerboard-tablecloth-days. Pizza Hut is also trying to create “home meal replacement solutions,” and a healthier menu.
It is reported that the name change was prompted in order to connect with the mobile generation, we’ve seen this with Pepsi Co. changing Mountain Dew to Mtn DEW. We’re well on our way to the world exhibited in Mike Judge’s 2006 film, Idiocracy, where English has been dumbed-down to a almost Neanderthal level.
Many people have associated the new change with Jabba the Hutt, and the spoof Pizza the Hutt. The new logo keeps the iconic roof detail, which newer generations may not understand, as less of the Pizza Hut buildings actually carry this roofline. Personally, it reminds me of a bloated Spy vs Spy fedora.
We’ll have to see if Pizza Hut goes full force ahead with this new moniker, which is being tested throughout the country. Judging from the public outcry it might be another case study like the Tropicana debacle. If you want to see some of these comments check out echodemic.blogspot.com, and blasphemes.blogspot.com.
“Do the right thing in a recession
In a tough economy you may face some hard decisions when it comes to money and your relationships with family and friends. Our ethics experts weigh in on how to handle some particularly thorny dilemmas.”
This is not the title and intro of an article you would expect to have interesting, or even good, illustrations associated with it. Surprisingly enough the staff at Money Magazine have arranged for this and many other articles to have strong graphics and illustrations complementing their reports.
Toronto based illustrator Kagan McLeod created the illustrations for the “Do the right thing in a recession” article. I really enjoyed this set of graphics. Our protagonist remains the same identifiable character throughout the article. He is groomed and dressed in the same uniform – gray shirt and bluish-gray pants in various states of dress – throughout the article, while the antagonist(s) for each sub-article are displayed in monotone gradations.
The graphics are easy to digest as simple visuals, and they complement each storyline well. The content of the article is good, too. I look forward to the editors of Money Magazine continuing with the strong graphics, after all, illustrators need work, too.