LearnCarsonified rebranding process: part 09


writes on September 9, 2007

By Elliot Jay Stocks

Sorry for the shortage in blog posts recently, everyone; let me get you up to speed with the development of our new identity.

The insigia examples went down a treat and I think we all learnt a lot about the elements we wanted to include and those we wanted to avoid. In essence, we wanted to avoid the old fashioned, coat-of-arms kind of look. At the same time, we wanted the logo to appear modern without looking like we’re trying to be futuristic.

With the team hungry to see something bold, I returned to Illustrator and picked out a few font options I thought it might be worth pursuing. After narrowing down the fonts, I did a quick bit of kerning on each one and printed out a few copies. I then headed down to the river for a bit of quiet time away from the computer and began to sketch over the print-outs…

Stage 1

First sketch of the day. Try and ignore the larger sweeping lines – I was trying to find a flow.

It’s all gone a bie 1920s. I like the way the N acts as a divider, but is it necessary? Trying to be decorative in an exuberant way. Don’t think it works. Hmmmm.

This Mucha-inspired flourish adds some classic cool without being too over the top. Its femininity is a nice contrast to the masculinity of the text. I like this one a lot, although it needs tidying up and I’d lose the swash from the top of the N. The main one – underneath the N – was designed to separate the ‘carson’ and ‘ified’ but actually I think it looks unbalanced and would benefit from being in the exact middle of the logo. Anyway, Mucha’s style is widely considered to be a ‘classic’ of art and design, so alluding to that with subtlety would certainly not be a bad thing.

I tried the flourish on the ‘Victor’ font, mirroring it for the top. I don’t think it works, though: it’s gone a bit tattoo-y.

Experimenting with an offset decoration in order to emphasise ‘carson’ over ‘ified’. The imbalance doesn’t work, though.

Once Illustrator-ified, I’m going to try masking from the curves to make the typemore interesting. It’ll look better than this!

Light bulb? Ideas? Nah.

Too cartoony, but I think we could use the completely hand-drawn approach in some circumstances. In fact, I’ve been thinking that we could always let the public ‘remix’ the logo when it’s completed so that we could have different versions of it on different pages of the site, similar to what MTV did. Could be cool.

I’m going to re-use this hatched background against other instances of the logo.

Stage 2

I photographed the sketches and started modifying them back on the Mac. The hand-drawn stuff was showing some promise but I wanted to balance that out with something bolder, so I started experimenting with a ‘painted’ background to the text, letting the type stand out more on its own. This, I think, is where the ideas started to get a lot stronger…

The Mucha-esque logo, now Illustrator-ified.

… and experimenting with a slanted ‘ified’.

Trying it without the flourishes and adding some watercolour-esque textures and colour.

Experimenting with a ‘brush’ effect. Although it’s obvious that it’s a digital (rather than a real) brush, I think the balance between the two worlds is a good one.

More clarity with space on either side.

The heavy, stroked text might be a bit surfer-y, so here’s Existence again, this time with some subtle ‘classic’ decoration to contrast the modernity of the font. So here we have modern (font), classic (flourish), and informal / hand-made (brush).

Changing the flourish to black adds another ‘colour’ and makes it less in-your-face.

Might as well try the decoration without any background. I like it (although ignore the messy execution for now – if people think this avenue is worth exploring, I’ll tidy up the flourish so that it flows with (and from?) the letters.

As we’re also after a simplified version (most likely for small print), something like this (although with a C reflecting the final font we choose) could work quite well.

An approximation of how this logo idea might look before colour is applied.

… and a pure black & white only (apart from the decoration) approximation.

What do you guys think of these one?


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6 Responses to “Carsonified rebranding process: part 09”

  1. I know I’m a bit late and I haven’t read ahead yet to see where you went but I just wanted to comment as I read through these.

    Under Stage 1 I really like the “wrought iron” look of the first sample. (Moreso without the thin lower-left and upper-right lines and their pointy counters.) It gives it an old-world and hand-crafted feel in contrast to the modern type.

    I also like the third one under Stage 1 which feels like a modern version of the “fifties car type” you had going with the first idea you were working on.

  2. Like the simple text logo (with alternate colour flourishes) on the painted background. This would give you your canvas, for the MTV-style changing logo. The logo remains constant and backgrounds change.

    Really like the combination of the painted and digital. I can almost see the logo hand-painted onto one of the Carsonified sites.

    On this subject I’m a big fan of logos such as MTV which allow a varied execution of a brand, as a designer it just gives you more opportunities to ‘play’ and explore ideas with less penalty – and the direction of these logos allow you ‘mess’ with the background whilst retaining the brand typography.

  3. Still too much “in your face”.

    The light bulb is an excellent idea, if done right. It’s simple, yet conveys a powerful message – after all, that’s what you want in a logo. I look at the lightbulb in the “O” and immediately go, “Ah. Innovative.”

    On the other hand, squiggles and stuff exude some form of “royalty” and high-and-mightiness, and doesn’t seem to tie in with what you guys do.

    Just a thought.

  4. I like the brush stroked background, particularly the pure black & white.

    The single C on the red strokes is powerful too.

  5. I honestly think the flourishes look a bit cheesy/cliche. Sort of “we couldn’t think of anything else to do to the text so we through in some squiggly lines.”

    I also think it adds an element of pompous/snobby class that really only exists in high end hotels.

    All that to say…I don’t really care of the flourishes. 🙂

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