Archive for the logo design Category

[#design] 600-Or-So Portland-in-2016 Bookmarks For Westercon 67

Posted in design, Graphic Design, logo design, PDX photos, SF, Westercon, Westercon 69 on June 13, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
The Wife™ had a little busytime project.

You see, we’re involved on the edge of a little group that’s trying to bring Westercon 69, in 2016, two years hence, to Portland. The bid will be voted on at Westercon 67, being held this next month in Salt Lake City, and we have been promoting.

And, by we, I mean a rather divers group of passionate individuals doing what they can, when they can, and making it count. The sun our planets revolve around is the inimitable Lea Rush; entropy fears her, scattered card decks stack themselves at her mere approach. I am essentially a graphic design support grunt at this point, and provide support to Meredith Cook when and as she needs it. The Wife™, she handles the office we’ve called “Mailroom”.

In case you ever needed to know
what more than 600 bookmarks
looked like, here you go.
How to Support
the Bid
(click to embiggen)

At this point, it is as such: a call came a day or so ago from Lea wondering how many bookmarks were left. We had started a stock of 5000; less than 2500 are left (we may have a handful or two left over before this is done, and this is no sin … we own lots of books which require marking), and the mission; send 600-or-so of them to Westercon 67’s ComCon. Mailroom snaps into action: The Wife™ counts out the required number, packages them up, and gets them ready to go.

They’re in a box, right now, ready to be shipped. Inspired by the example of those around us, the proper amount of energy is leveraged for the maximum effect. USPS Media Rate is our faithful friend, and Westercon 67 will have the bookmarks.

Which are sweet, by the way. Featuring the logo designed by Meredith with assistance by myself, they feature a picture of a night-time Portland skyline snapped by the ViviCam 3705, the Plastic Fantastic, back in 2009. ‘Tis a picture I’m most proud of, and I’m equally proud that it may help, in a small way, win a very significant moment in time for the fandom of the Rose City. This is the bookmark:

Like I said, sweet! The night-time scene has a little bit of Tron and Matrix-y stuff going on there. Great mood setting. The round patch is the offiical Portland In 2016 logo, done by Meredith with help from myself. This is the photo it was based on:

 And that was in January, 2009. Photos are forever …

And they make, I’ll say again, sweet bookmarks.

Presupport is still available. Clicky to embiggen the back of the bookmark, on the left above (there’s even a QR code for your enjoyment) for terms, or go to to find out more.

Yeah. This is something that should happen. 


[logo] What Obsessive/Compulsive Designers Obsess and Compulse On

Posted in Google, I Love Logo Design, logo design, logo redesign on May 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Google changed its corporate logo a few days back, it would seem.

No? Looks no different, you say?

Well, peep this, posers.

[design] Rose Valley Butter’s New Package Design

Posted in Advance Cascadia Fair, logo design, Made In Oregon, Oregon design, package design, rebranding, Willamette Valley on April 17, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
There’s lot of good local to be bought in the stores of Oregon. A lot of it is provided by producer-based coöperatives; Darigold is one, and Tillamook’s cheeses is another. There’s one that I find many people haven’t heard of perhaps: it’s the Farmers’ Cooperative Creamery, based in McMinnville, Wine Country’s capital city.

Their brand, which one can find in the dairy case as WinCo, is Rose Valley Butter. Here is how it, until recently, was packaged:

… and, as of about 2 weeks ago, here’s how we started seeing it:

Quite a change. Let’s give it a little look-see…

Old package, left: New Package, right.

The original illustration is the real star of the old package. The color yellow is perhaps expected but really makes it a cheerful, sunshiny thing. The choice of illustration does play a little havoc with the choices the typographer had to make and therefore affects the hierarchy a bit: you see the word BUTTER big and proud but the brand name, ROSE VALLEY, kind of takes a supporting role. Not ideal, but understandable.

I love that illustration, seriously. It’s charming and a little corny, but well-executed for all that. It fits the image of a country creamery. The arranging of the letters inside the scroll ORIGINAL almost give it a hand-layed-out feeling.

On the back panel of the package you’d find this charming bit of history:

This brand is the most Oregon thing you’ll look at today, seriously. Hits all the positive notes, family, local, purity … it doesn’t say sustainable, but it doesn’t have to. Passionate? You bet. The Wife™’s world would be complete if only they marketed an unsalted version.

Please do this, FCC. Make my The Wife™a happy woman. She’d buy that stuff so hard, man.

The new package is rather subdued, though. Here’s a close up look.

The new design is a more dialled-back, quiet presentation. The sunny yellow is gone, replaced with a rustic buff tone; the charming farmscape banished in favor of a simple illustration of a generic rose; the omission of rBGH (as well as a note which I understand is Federally mandated about boasting about omitting rBGH) are both much more prominent. All four panels of the box now look like this.

The hierarchical problem is well-solved here, however, the solution of putting the brand name in Chancery script does not satisfy. Each majuscule letter of ROSE VALLEY here is fine as a drop cap or some similar application on their own. With each individual glyph having such a broad-shouldered personality, though, they all want to be the star. The ultimate visual effect is uncomfortable, optically discordant. Not only is a proper kerning between the initial V and the A in VALLEY impossible, the swash on the top of the A suggests that it’s foolish to try (and an apt demonstration as to why headline type in this style is pretty much a bad idea).

The big improvement is the FCC logo there. I enjoy it. It’s a cool, simple logo, type with a graphic fillip, that is a bit rustic and proud of it. Letting the logo flag fly is definitely a positive development.

I’m reluctant to bag on a brand I genuinely like. But I’ve come to the definite conclusion that the new-look Rose Valley Butter package is kind of a step back. If the brand needed to be refreshed (and I’d debate that), I think they should have tried a few more ideas.

But we’re not going to quit you over this, FCC. Far from it. You have fans in this household.

But get on that unsalted butter, okay. We’re so there for that. 

[logo] JCPenney’s New Old Logo … Back To The Future

Posted in logo design, Logo Design Fail, rebranding, rebranding fail on January 15, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Forward, into the past … just quietly. Easy does it. Back away from the new-style logo change and marketing approach and nobody gets hurt. We’ll not talk about this again.

JCPenney is returning to its roots in Helvetica, it would seem. It will be recalled that, back in 2011, they spiffed up their logo to an all-miniscule version that I reviewed positively (and still like). Not long after, in 2012, they changed it to a strange-looking square with an empty middle that carried the JCP trigram in the corner like the union of the US flag. While I appreciated the boldness of the approach, I didn’t care too much for the design … I thought the 2011 redesign had nailed it.

In the time since, much has happened at the store once known as The Golden Rule. A new CEO was brought in, Ron Johnson, who had a ton of New Ideas™. Ironically, the same man who’d worked magic at the Apple Store and Target pancaked so hard that to say he merely ‘failed’ would be gilding the lily, kinda sorta.

Business schools, I’m sure,  are still trying to quantify the degree of fail hard that happened here. The new ‘stores within stores’, the ending of sales to favor uniformly low prices, all sorts of issues … they not only didn’t attract a new constituency, they apparently nearly completely alienated the old one.

So, monumentally, he’s out. And, it happens, a lot of the stuff that he tried to do died with him. Some, right away, some others, more slowly. Like the new graphical attitude. I did note, when he flamed out, a lot of that went pretty quickly. Some lingered. The website took a long time to change, but, when I heard that Penney’s is rejiggering its store constellation – losing some 33 stores nationwide out of about 1,100 and losing 2,000 employees … it occurred to me that I might take a look at the website.

And here’s what I found:

There’s the old look. Which wasn’t a really bad look, after all; the use of Helvetica and a very simple wordmark kerned hard and just-so proves at least one thing; Helvetica is a timeless font and, at least in the JCPenney context, rather a timeless look.

As Hurricane Ron Johnson impacted, Penney’s went from hubris through nemesis to catharsis in what must be record time for American business. Returning to its own past is a smart thing to do here … Penney’s may have had an image problem, as far as some might have said. But it wasn’t being accused of not working for it.

[liff] Books You Sometimes Find at Goodwill

Posted in art, design books, Goodwill, liff, logo design, thrift stores on January 2, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

A visit to a used-book section at a Goodwill store is the very definition of a roll-of-the-dice. The distilled quiet desperation of the normal life gives the cast-offs there a certain patina of needy humanity.

The biggest used-self-help-book stocks I’ve ever found is at a Goodwill store. To me, this is significant, but then I am a hard-core cynic.

Sometimes, though, you strike gold. One of the life’s lessons that periodically shopping the Goodwill will teach you is to always check every corner at least once. Because you never know …

Letterhead and Logo Design Volume 5, Letterhead and Logo Design Volume 8, and The Pocket Muse, a writing inspiration book, by Jessica Wood.

The Jessica Wood book is particularly adorable:

… and, inside Letterhead and Logo Design Volume 5, I find this little gem from a local Portland designer whose life I admire a great deal and, well, I’ll be honest, envy just a little:

Lesson: Check every corner! 

[logo] Lloyd Llogo: The Most Portlandest Of Malls Gets A New Graphic Llook

Posted in logo design, logo redesign, pdx, PDX Ephemera, PDX History, pdx legends on November 27, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2961.Portland’s Mall is re-imagining itself.

The Lloyd Center is pretty much the point of entry of the Mall into the culture of Oregon. Built in 1960, once opened, Oregon shopping joined the national scene in as much as the modern shopping mall is concerned.

It’s had its ups and downs; it went from a 100-store mall with an open courtyard to a completely-enclosed mall with two levels of shopping and one of offices. It’s really going strong, and considering how some malls have died, are dying, or have re-imagined their own selves into sere multi-acre parking lots surrounded by big boxes, that’s no small feat.

For many years, now, its logo looked like this:

… and this wasn’t too bad. The rose-as-an-O was very appropriate design, and I always thought the type was rather restrained and refined.

The center has undergone a change of ownership, and the new owners have deemed a logo refresh is in order. Delving back into its 60s-past, here’s what they came up with:

A report by KATU-Channel 2 relates that the new owners feel as though the design harkens back to the Center’s original ‘retro charm’. I can see this. The design would tessellate very nicely into one of those latticework dividers so popular in the hip, upscale pads of the 60s.

I must admit, it didn’t take off with me right away. I didn’t much care for the asymmetry, though once I pictured it as a wall texture, it clicked right there and then. It was a quirky inspiration, to be sure, that caused the designer to link three of the open circles with the L, leaving the one bolded into a C to stand outside, but after sifting the design in my head for a while, it works.

At least it does succeed in evoking a retro feel, and as far as that goes, it’s a success.