Last week I posted on the NASA logo and suggested that it might be the most iconic logo of our time. In the comments, Design+Conquer begged to differ and reminded me of an equally perfect logo. The CN logo was designed by Allan Fleming and James Valkus for the Canadian National Railway in 1960. Being an American I’ve had limited exposure to the mark, but every time I’ve come across it (usually on trains passing through when I lived in Sacramento) I’ve always been stricken by it’s minimal perfection.
An original Graphics Standards Manual from 1976 when NASA transitioned to the “worm logo” (more info). Love the car graphics, was waiting for something on The Shuttle but then realized it was just a concept when this manual was written. Maybe it’s just an American thing, but is this not the most iconic logo ever?
Via Tim George
While it’s fresh I thought I’d write up the process behind the Firespotter Labs logo I designed. This was an incredibly fun logo to design and probably one of the quickest, at least when contrast to some of the luxurious multiple month (!) design explorations I’ve done in the past for school or other companies. That said, it was exceptionally challenging; it’s hard to take a step back and think objectively about the company you’re a part of.
Before this, I had already designed a couple logos for some of the products we’re working on now. I had to break out of the “consumer application” design mindset I had been entrenched in for a few months. For the mothership, we needed something that conveyed that we were a lab full of crazy people brewing up cool things, while simultaneously appearing to be trustworthy gentlefolk worthy of venture support.
Editor’s note – In answer to some of the questions in the comments: This contest is not for Gap. We are not affiliated with Gap. Gap has nothing to do with this contest. This is for fun, not Gap. Gap will not be using any of these logos. Gap will not be forcibly entering your home and removing belongings. This is not a secret conspiracy by Gap and the Freemasons to get you to design free logos. This is not crowd surfing. I bought some socks there one time like five years ago. Also, Gap has apparently been using the new Helvetica logo for nearly a year now, everyone just decided to notice and get super pissed off when they added a gradient square this week. If you submit a logo to this contest, you retain the rights to that logo.
OK so I get it, you don’t like the new logo. I don’t either. I want the little gradient square to fall into the gap and never come back. But I couldn’t help but think: what would I have done if Gap had come knocking and asked me for a new logo? How do you rebrand a company as ubiquitous as The Gap?
So rather than rant and rave, let’s fix this. We are a community of designers and I’m sure someone here can come up with something better. So here’s the contest:
Your Job: Design a new logo for the Gap. Assume a fairly open brief and think about where their brand is and where it’s going.
Timeframe: 1 week. Contest ends on Wednesday October 13th. Short yes, but this isn’t school, let’s work quick.
First Place: Your choice of giclee print from the ISO50 shop (size 24 x 36), a shirt of your choice (also from the shop), and a process feature article here on ISO50 (If you choose to, you can write a process piece on how you developed the winning design, which we’ll post here on the blog).
Two Runners Up: Two shirts of choice from the ISO50 shop.
Instructions: Email alex [@ symbol] iso50.com with the subject line “New Gap Logo” and attach your redesigned Gap logo. Please make sure your file is in JPEG or PNG format and clearly displays your logo. Size 450w x 250h pixels please. Center the logo, make it look nice. Limit two entries per person.
Due to the extremely high volume of submissions, entries may not be posted right away, but we’ll do our best to get them all up before the 12th!
Voting: Winners will be determined by a popular vote after the last submission date on a separate post.
Legal: All entries remain the sole property of the designer who created/submitted them.
All entries will be posted here after the jump
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I was hired about three months ago to design a logo and consult on the brand identity for Plancast, a local San Francisco start-up founded by Mark Hendrickson and Jay Marcyes. As you can probably guess from the name, Plancast a way to broadcast your upcoming plans to your friends; or as it’s often described, Foursquare for the future. The site is exceptionally easy and helpful, and I encourage you to check it out.
By the time I joined on Plancast was up and running, but they were without a logo or distinctive visuals. I began work in December and we agreed on the finished logo a few weeks ago. The project was easily the hardest I have ever completed — as well as the most fulfilling. I almost destroyed myself developing this logo and I am really excited to share the process with you here.
A little while ago, I wrote about my current class assignment to reinvigorate a brand that is “dead, dying or defunct”. As we are nearing the semester’s end next month, I thought it would be a good time to begin describing the process of this project. The final deliverable is a book, in which we describe the history of our chosen brand (and why it’s time for a update), outline the new identity guidelines (visual standards manuals, usage considerations etc), and show potential extensions (mock ups of storefronts, products, etc). For this process post I’ll describe my brand choice and eventual logo development.
(project permalink on my site)
When I wrote the first article, I was considering No Fear as my primary option. With such a versatile name, I figured I could take the brand in a number of different directions. However, as much fun as it would have been to revisit the dominant clothing of my middle school years (along with LA Lights), I was concerned that the project would not really extend anywhere beyond a basic brand overhaul (new logo, visuals, products, etc). I saw little opportunity for humor or much conceptual work, and I opted to move in a different direction.
I decided to rebrand Playboy — a brand that many might say is arguably not dead, dying or defunct. Like many magazines, they actually are “dying” (financially), but for my project I focused on the decay of the overall perception of the brand. The graph below displays how I feel the brand has progressed in a more abstract fashion. Basically, these days, I would say most people would be embarrassed to say they read Playboy. A baseless assumption perhaps, but when was the last time you saw someone reading Playboy in public?
To keep up with the increasing trashiness of the American Men’s magazine, Playboy has been forced to reposition itself as “one of the boys” as it were, and is now indistinguishable from the Maxim’s of the world. Rather than hold on to the sophisticated standards of their early years, Playboy has come to embrace its unfortunately crude place in the magazine world. This evolution (rather, devolution) is tragic and the original soul of the brand has been lost. Maybe not “dead, dying or defunct”, but Playboy has certainly lost something along the way. I saw an opportunity to bring some of the original classiness and sophistication back with a drastic repositioning…
In honor of the currently unfolding (ha) Fashion Week in NYC, I thought I’d post on some of the terrific typography at work in the fashion world. When I first got into design, I used to think the typeface for the Louis Vuitton logo was the epitome of graphic design. I remember writing everything in Futura Medium for a good month (even research papers, nothing was spared). These days, I still to pick up the occasional GQ or etc just for the ads — usually can pick up a few interesting things. There are always a number of logos that catch my eye, continue reading to see some of the marks that resonate most.
The mark for The Fashion Center (above) is perfectly simple. How brilliant to utilize the button holes to form the F! This is probably one of my favorite logos of all time. What it comes down to for me is that the 5th button hole is slightly smaller than the rest — this subtle scale shift makes the whole thing. Developed at Pentagram.
I’ve always loved official stamps and seals; as a kid I used my dad’s Civil Engineer’s certification stamp to make official looking paperwork and IDs for fun. I was looking for a way to add something like that to the upcoming Giclee line I’ve been working on but I rulled out rubber stamps as I wanted something a bit more subtle. So I recently started looking in to getting a paper embosser made with my signature logo. I was pretty surprised by how easy it was and how great the results are. The pictures don’t really do it justice, but you get the idea. The stamp can be embossed or debossed and it really adds a nice crafted touch to a project. It’s so fun I’ve started just embossing everything around the house; just cool to see the thing work.
The main cost is the press which runs about $200 (seems steep for what looks like a glorified stapler). The dies themselves — the circular part that hold the custom design — are included in this initial cost and are interchangeable. The only issue I’ve run into is with creasing at the edges. Depending on how you stamp it there will be moderate (first photo) to severe (second photo) creasing toward the edges. I am working with the vendor to fix this and depending on the technique I am able to minimize the effect. This may just be an artifact of this particular stamp as most are circular seal designs that fill the entire die, but I’m waiting until I can get it to be almost invisible. To be fair though, the flash is really exaggerating the effect in both shots, the creases really aren’t that noticeable in normal light.
Another fun — and far cheaper — alternative is rubber stamps (see third pic). I had a couple made by the same people and it’s been fun blasting those all over everything. But I was thinking the embosser in particular would be a really good buy for design students wanting to add a little extra something to their projects and also to mark their text books. It really has that old school real-world graphic design feel.
The unit pictured above is a heavy duty desk press from Made to Order Stamp and Seal out of New Mexico. We tried some local vendors initially, but the customer service of Made to Order was much better. They really work with you to determine the best option for your needs, and can turn around a custom job within a week. Highly recommended.