After over a decade of blogging, I’ve decided to design a logo for the magazine. Better late than never, n’est pas? And, let me tell you, it’s not as easy as you think.
Creating a mood
I’ve gone through dozens of design ideas, most best left unseen. I sat down and rethought what image I wanted to convey at first glance. That took a lot of reflection. For years I’ve avoided using a coffee motif, because I thought it was too cliched, but after looking through the site and slogan ‘espresso fueled ramblings’ I realised I was wrong. A carefully picked espresso graphic would enhance a logo.
Colours, colours, colours
Oh boy, this one is a difficult one. I’ve been struggling with a colour palette for the site for a long time. I’ve gone through dozens and still can’t seem to settle on one that tweaks my visual cortex. I gravitate to earth tones, and tend to be over reliant on them. I’m still experimenting so expect the logo colours and basic colour layout on this site to change over time.
I discarded my first try at using espresso colours. They ended up being bland looking and muted. So I’ve settled, temporarily, on a basic black background/white font design. This tends to pop a bit more on the screen.
Fonts and layout
This was a tough one. Far more difficult than the rest. Choosing the right font makes or breaks a design. I’m not a professional graphic artist. At best, I can be described as an enthusiastic amateur. This process has increased my admiration for people who design as a living. You can’t slap any old font down and say “Oh done!”.
I tried about 20 different ones – serif and sans. I have a preference for San serif fonts because I like the overall simplicity many display. I fired up Adobe Spark because it helps novice designers with basic ideas and played around with ideas. One font and layout caught my eye – Bebas Neue by Ryoichi Tsunekawa. I really like his fonts. They have a linear, geometric feel.
Now that I had a typeface, what was I supposed to do with it? Once again Spark came to my rescue. They had a basic layout idea that worked well, but only if I used a lot of ‘white space’. The liberal use of bold and regular drew in my eye, along with the satisfying spacing between letters.
Putting the logo together
So I had the graphic, the font and the basic layout. It was time to potter around with it. Before I show the finished version, here’s one of the earlier incarnations I made:
I really like the drip down effect, but overall? It just didn’t work. The logo isn’t readable if it’s shrunk down and it just isn’t right. I’m going to go back at it later to see if I can correct the readability issues, but for now, it’s on the back shelf.
And here is what I opted for:
Ticks all the boxes: simplicity, spacing, balanced and clean. It shrinks and expands beautifully. Best of all, it works with banners like this:
Hmm, yes, I do gravitate towards the darker images, don’t I.
This last one is an idea I’m working on for the vlog. The straight black and white logo plays well with colours so it has potential. Though, I think the espresso graphic in the previous image works better so that’s the one I’ll keep using.
And there we have it. My first logo for Bitter Grounds. Like all things, it will change as I become more confident in designing, but for now, I’m quite happy with it.
The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has a new logo and some folks are a bit peeved.
Let’s start with the fun stuff – TPL’s logo.
Activate Something Great – TPL’s new logo and slogan
If you pay attention to Toronto’s Twitterati, the new logo is a bit controversial. Or so goes the claim. The bulk of the controversy seemed to stem from a single BlogTo article1. There really isn’t anything controversial about the logo. To some it’s a bit bland or they preferred the more artistic eye appeal of the previous one. That’s fair criticism but hardly controversial.
Ok, the slogan is trite, like something that came from caffeine deprived people trapped in an endless meeting, desperate to escape. But I understand the point. The TPL (Toronto Public Library) is trying to move the library into a 21st century feel, beyond the idea it’s just books. The TPL is a community hub and here are a few fast facts2:
• 972,213 million library members and 17.5 million visits
• 100 branches across the GTA
• One of the world’s busiest libraries
• Over 7 million digital loans to date and climbing rapidly
• When I looked up the stats yesterday, there were over 6,300 active digital loans and 2 million active holds
• Extensive computer training/usage available
• digital hubs allowing for 3d printing
• recording studios
• new comer services
• archives both digital and inhouse
You can find out more here https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/about-the-library/
So, yes, it was time to update the slogan and logo to meet a more millennial feel. Here’s the old one:
Toronto Public Library’s logo from 1998 to 2019
There’s nothing wrong it, but the new logo has a modern clean, simple font, easy to read, no frills appeal. It also looks good in all sizes because of the uncluttered design. I’m a big fan of uncluttered. The new tpl design looks good on a small smart phone screen and blown up for building signage.
Here’s the logo from 1978 for comparison. It’s interesting to see how the art of logo design changes over the years. This would make a good case study of how logo preferences morph. Tastes change over time, including typography and logo styling. And colour. Thankfully. That brown was a dreadful choice. Just saying.
TPL is 209 years old. Beginning in 1810 as a private subscription library, becoming a free public library in 1883, it’s had several makeovers.1
According to the design team, Trajectory, they wanted a “new identity” that “recognizes our roots while looking to the future”. No issues with that logic. However, the rest of what they wrote is a finely tuned bit of bafflegab:
It’s grounded in the written word
It’s a promise, a connector, an advocate
It connects the breadth of TPL’s offerings with ever-changing needs of our city’s people and communities
It’s flexible and adaptable to showcase the incredible range of programs, services, ideas and information we have today… and what’s to come.3
It’s a nice logo. Let’s leave it at that.
I do agree with their assessment of the new font:
The typography is accessible and welcoming, and our colours have been refreshed with a welcoming and cheerful new spin on “Toronto blue,” along with a complementary palette of supporting colours that reflect the energy and vibrancy of our city, our people, and our library.3
Now the bad. Or maybe just plain bizarre – a little abuse
Trajectory, the company behind the redesign, issued a video and press release detailing the logic behind the new design. Here’s a bit from it:
Our multi-pronged, immersive, and experiential design process was structured to be future-focused and anticipate emerging customer service opportunities.3
Fucking hell, it’s like an episode of Dilbert. Why didn’t they simply say “we field tested the design extensively and are excited about the response”. Or better still “we think we have a kick ass design Library users are going to love”.
The logo is a good fit. Not in the least controversial. Tastes will vary but that’s one of the great problems with any design – you can’t please everyone. The slogan is a bit of a miss, and a tad trite, but I can ignore it. So, what do you think of the redesign?
I sat for at least 5 min, chin on hand, pondering an ad that popped up on my Facebook page. I cocked my head a few times and thought “dear, oh dear, oh dear, where was their proof reader?”
I’m having a mini debate with myself whether the choice of font was deliberate or just unfortunate and someone didn’t spot the obvious. I had to read the product writeup to find out the name is Ripple not Nipple. My brain simply couldn’t process the first letter as “r”. And, to be brutally honest the font makes the product a little off putting. Not quite sure I want a bottle of nipples sitting in my fridge.