Logo Critique & Helpful Design Tips
Leslie Cabarga comments on Design Cafe Logo...
I've looked over the designs and have come up with my three faves. But it wouldn't be me if I didn't have some crits to offer with my comments. See, I'm the kind of guy who thinks about redesigning dentist drills as they excavate my mouth.
Letters form a coffee cup
Of all the submitted designs, I most like Number 2, the coffee cup, because it is simple and bold and especially because the letter "C" so effortlessly forms the cup handle. But here's how I'd bring this design to completion:
- I'd smooth out the slightly lumpy curves in the steam lines and stroke them a few points bolder so they don't drop out when the design is reduced;
- I'd go look at a few actual coffee mugs and refine the curving silhouette of the cup lengthening it a little, because it now seems a bit flat and squat;
- I'd tighten the spacing of "design" because a general rule is not to space-out lower case; and
- I'd add a little leading between design and CAFE, which will be possible if the height of the cup has been increased.
Slap-dash Design needs refinement
My 2nd runner up is Number 7. I like the cohesive "color" of this piece: All the lettering and the illustration relate well and are further pulled together by the oval-shaped device in the background. But here are my problems:
- The lettering of the word "design" is somewhat crude and inconsistent; the "s" is weak and heavier at the bottom.
- The "g" is nice the way it occupies the same lowercase x height, rather than dropping down, but it's curves are rough and the lower loop doesn't seem to overshoot the baseline, so it looks high to me;
- The script letterforms in the word "cafe" seem like they are victims of "Bezierrors" since they are not as smoothly drawn as the should be.
- Also, the letter widths are all different: the lower loop of "f" should be about the same width as that of the loop of "a".
Finally, the coffee cup is a little crude. Even when we intend a slap-dash casual effect to the strokes, they should still have a nice rhythm. In fact, one coud argue that there should be a similar style used in the script word "cafe" and the cup. Make both more slap-dash, or both tighter.
Letter "i" plays tricks
My 3rd runner up is number 12. I like the weights and color of the elements, and I like the concept of the pencil becoming the "i" in design. Now here are my suggestions:
- I'd raise the black box with "design" in it because it's getting too busy so close to "cafe";
- I'd shift one of the words left or right so the pencil can lean slightly straighter up;
- I'd change the coffee color because it's too orange to be capuccino and the color conflicts with the pink in my opinion;
- I'd go get a pencil and redraw it more accurately -- not more realistically; keep the stylization, just make the proportions more correct -- perhaps removing the inner thin black lines and just using the color to define the facets of the pencil shaft;
Although I like the oval background, I might change it to a skewed, rounded corner rectangle to sort of evoke the idea of a computer screen, because when we talk of design nowadays, we have to bring in the computer.
Relating to purpose
As for the rest, I was glad to see that virtually all of them attempted to include a concept relating to the logo's purpose, playing on the words "cafe" and/or "design" and this is just as it should be. As is the case in so many logo competitions like this one, I feel that almost any one of these designs would serve the purpose brilliantly -- with just some careful tweaking!
[Editor's Note: We certainly appreciate Leslie taking his time to share his comments! Actually he and I agreed on most of the points, and he even picked one of my choices as well! If you enjoyed this piece, you should also pick up on our interview with Leslie, Of Type & Lettering from September's Fall Fonts Festival. You can show your appreciation by clicking on any of the links below and pick up one of Leslie's books. Of course I highly recommend the "Logo, Font & Lettering Bible, but there are some other blockbusters in his list as well! Enjoy. Fred]
Leslie Cabarga has been a working illustrator and designer since 1970. He has authored over two dozen books on design, and as an illustrator he has drawn covers for Time Magazine, Newsweek, Fortune, and National Lampoon. He's designed several dozen fonts (www.flashfonts.com) and his latest books are the Logo, Font & Lettering Bible, Learn FontLab Fast, and The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations....
- The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations CD-Rom (CD-ROM - July 2002)
- The Designer's Guide to Global Color Combinations: 750 Color Formulas in CMYK and RGB from Around the World (Hardcover - October 1, 2001)
- The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations: 500+ Historic and Modern Color Formulas in Cmyk (Hardcover - March 1, 1999)
- Popular Advertising Cuts of the Twenties and Thirties (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)
- Ready-To-Use Trade Symbols and Motifs: 88 Different Copyright-Free Designs Printed One Side (Dover Clip-Art)
- Dynamic Black and White Illustrations (Hardcover / Paperback)
- Progressive German Graphics: 1900-1937
- Food Designs: 24 Black-And-White Pressure Sensitive Stickers (Dover Instant Art Stickers)
- 1,337 Spot Illustrations of the Twenties and Thirties (Dover Pictorial Archive) by Marcie Cabarga, Leslie Cabarga (Editor)
- Trademark Designs of the Twenties with Marcie Carbarga (Paperback)
- Borders (Borders Paperback)
- Ready-To-Use Menu and Restaurant Illustrations (Clip Art)
- Lively Advertising Cuts of the Twenties and Thirties : 1,102 Illustrations of Animals, Food and Dining, Children, etc. (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) by Leslie Cabarga (Editor), Marcie McKinnon (Editor)
- Advertising Spot Illustrations of the Twenties and Thirties: 1,593 Cuts (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)
- Art Deco Advertising to Clip or Copy
- The Fleischer Story
- 1,001 Advertising Cuts from the Twenties and Thirties (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)
- Crime and Puzzlement by Lawrence Treat, with Leslie Cabarga
- Zodiac Designs: 24 Black-And-White, with John Gowling