Archives for category: Logos

Just this week, Uber unveiled a global rebranding that not only strayed a bit from its recognizable logotype, but also introduced a rather detached set of app icons. Can’t say that we suffered from extreme design envy over the previous Uber logotype, but it was fine. While their new logotype seems like a step in the right direction (thicker letterforms and tighter composition for maximum readability), the highbrow concept behind the app icons and larger identity seems rather misguided, and will surely be lost on most. Yes, Uber’s official statement references “bits and atoms” (“The unique aspect of Uber is that we exist in the physical world. When you push a button on your phone, a car moves across the city and appears where you are. We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber. We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens.”) In theory, the thought process behind the concept, which is customized identities for specific markets that aim to draw colors and patterns from “art, architecture, tradition, old and new fashion, textiles, the environment”, is a thoughtful one. But from a branding perspective, it seems to dilute the impact of the Uber brand as a whole. And that doesn’t even address that larger concern that the icon itself is not identifiable in any way as Uber. Though we had issues with the previous icon employing a dissimilar “U” letterform from the Uber logotype, at least it was just that, a letter U. This icon, or rather set of icons – one for riders, another for divers – make no effort to resemble the new Uber logotype in any way. Why abandon the “U”? Our view is not the basis of some pretentious design theory, but simple human nature. In our estimation, the biggest stumble here was not hiring branding experts for the task. We are not knocking in-house designers… they are often immensely talented with an invaluable familiarity and investment in a given brand. But this was surely not a 12+ months-long task meant to be spearheaded by a non-designer CEO. There are experts in the field who do this sort of thing, we are among them. We hear the cry among our peers: “Help us help you!” Sure, the presentation of Uber’s new identity is slick, but the principals behind the design concept as a whole indicate a lack of design leadership. An unfortunate case of just looking pretty, but not meeting a brand’s true potential.

Visuals via Uber

 

 

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Bucking tradition, and just about every rule in a marketer’s playbook, global powerhouse brand Coca-Cola has taken a bold stance on topic du jour: equality and prejudice. In observation of the month of Ramadan in the Middle East, Coca-Cola has, for the first time in its storied 129 year history, stripped its cans of its iconic script logo in an effort to demonstrate a world without labels. Aptly titled “No Labels”, the campaign is sort of a social experiment to get into the minds of people regarding labels, preconceptions and stereotypes in general. Bearing nothing but its highly recognizable “dynamic ribbon” and the message “Labels are for cans not for people”, the limited-edition cans make a bold and beautiful statement. As designers, we are drawn to the visual simplicity juxtaposed with the powerful message. It’s actually rather telling of the current corporate branding landscape at large: businesses are opting to streamline their identities by making their logos simpler and flatter. Be sure to check out Coca-Cola’s masterful commercial to accompany the socially conscious campaign.

Via coca-colacompany.com

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Given the late breaking, historical news that a NASA probe, launched some nine and a half years ago, and traveling an astounding 3 billion miles, has finally reached Pluto just hours ago, we thought it fitting to showcase this series of custom astronomy logos by Berlin-based designer Jonas Söder. We love Söder’s style here, sort of giving a nod to sci-fi graphics of the 1950s, but with a modern twist. His use of texture is quite nice, with a clear typographical prowess, as demonstrated by his custom letterforms. Out of this world, indeed.

Via Behance

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So, we stumbled upon this viral video recently, and were in complete awe. You will be too, if you haven’t seen it already, guaranteed. It made us ponder the irony of being so taken with corporate logos carefully drawn by hand, even though that’s exactly how they were developed in the not so distant past. It’s no wonder this video has circulated so rapidly… we live and design in a time when doing things without the use of a computer is such a novelty. Armed with little more than some calligraphy pens, London-based Seb Lester, a trained graphic designer with a penchant for calligraphy, miraculously recreates distinct and recognizable complex letterforms with complete ease and surprising accuracy. Sit back snd marvel, as these logos seem to just emerge from his steady hand. We bow down to Lester and his tremendous talents.

Compilation video below, plus a few of our other favorites follow. Can you guess what’s about to materialize as he starts each logo?

Keep up with Lester and all of his hand drawn logos on his various social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter

Via seblester.com and Vimeo

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More doodling.

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Harry Potter

A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

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I doodle a lot.

A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

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Latest doodle

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News doodle

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Balancing work and family is an issue close to our hearts. The culture at Barbour fosters this balance brilliantly, so we listened intently when Amanda Altman of Rochester-based A3 Design took the stage at Create Upstate (see related posts here, here and here) last week. Her speech, entitled Mind My Own Business, explored the ins and outs of Altman’s experiences of not only running, but also refocusing and repositioning, a design studio with her husband, Alan. And all while juggling the demands of marriage and family. We were taken with Altman’s sincerity and candor on a subject that’s not often brought to the forefront. If her articulation was any indication, Altman could honestly have a second career as a life coach for creatives. If we had to choose a highlight, this frank pearl of wisdom pretty much sums it up: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life… bullshit!”

Altman made a smart choice to show “pretty pictures” of A3’s outstanding body of work while speaking (scroll down for a sampling). Needless to say, the Altmans seem to be balancing masterfully. Really well done.

Via a3-design.com

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Long-term, intricate, handmade projects are not what we’re accustomed to at Barbour. But when we see such undertakings, we have a certain appreciation for them all the more. A superb example is this absolutely remarkable piece by Beauty & the Beast, a still production house, specialized in Ad Photography, Craft, CGI and Post-Production in the Eastern European country of Moldova. The project, entitled I Will Maintain, was inspired by Russian illustrator Ivan Belikov’s personal work interpreting various coats of arms (an intriguing series worthy of a post all its own). The folks at Beauty & the Beast spent a laborious six months planning, designing and producing this fine interpretation of the Netherlands coat of arms. And they did a fantastic job documenting the process. It should be noted that the hundreds of individual pieces were not crafted with a laser cutter or any type of machinery, but by hand. The multi-level assembly is just astounding, adding depth to an already complex work of art. We are truly in awe.

More papercraft posts here and here and here.

Via beautyandthebeast.eu

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Call us tortured designers, but being exposed to really bad menu design in an otherwise decent establishment can be slightly agonizing. A business lunch with the Barbour crew inevitably ends up being a design critique of the menu (good or bad) upon the first few minutes of being seated. Yes, it’d probably make for a good SNL skit, but in all seriousness, menu design is an important detail that is sometimes missed. That is certainly not the case for this Italian restaurant, Ristorante Firenze, located near, of all places, Frankfurt, Germany. Stuttgart-based designer Sarah Le Donne is tremendously talented, and really shows her design chops with this branding package. We particularly love the typography and adept use of color. Le Donne explains: “After a small refresh of the existing logo, the task was to create a totally new concept and design for menu and wine cards, vouchers, brochures, business cards, letterheads and a website. The idea behind the identity was to lay the focus on the fresh products the restaurant is well known for. Also the classical Italian colors are reinterpreted in a modern way.” Really well done.

More restaurant-related design here and here and here.

Via sarahledonne.com

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Packaging is no easy feat. Most people take it for granted because we are inundated with it from every angle in so many consumer categories. And coming up with fresh and original packaging concepts in the beverage industry is particularly challenging. The market is flooded with craft breweries and boutique wineries — never mind the big boys with decidedly deep pockets — that it’s sometimes difficult to tell brands apart. But Oast House Brewers located in Ontario, Canada, not far from Niagara Falls (and less than 100 miles from our Rochester studio… road trip anyone?), has some terrifically unique packaging sure to draw attention. Canadian design firm Insite was up for a good challenge, and certainly succeed with flying colors. Their truly special design fits the bill for Oast House’s Farmhouse Ales collection by housing two 750ml bottles in a distinctive red barn structure, inspired by the brewery’s rural property. This is some of our favorite packaging, surely worthy of being a collectible item.

More packaging posts here and here and here.

Via Facebook and insitedesign.ca

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Australian-born, Boston-based designer Dan Fleming has a very keen sense of typography and form. In this series, Word Animals, Flemming pushes the boundaries of letterforms to achieve illustrative representations of animals using the letters in their names. Some certainly work better than others, but we love the series as a whole. Licensing the designs to a kids’ clothing company wouldn’t be a bad idea… seems like the perfect audience for these fun, thoughtful designs. Vaguely reminiscent of another set of animal illustrations (here).

Via danflemingdesign.com

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There’s no doubt that in our image-obsessed culture particular iconic brands still have a certain cachet to inspire art. And that is, at least in part, a good indicator that they are iconic. These portraits by German-based illustrator/Designer Andy Gellenberg are a perfect example. Gellenberg painstakingly created these portraits in the likeness of a few sports icons, LeBron, Tiger and P-Rod, entirely out of the ubiquitous Nike swoosh. His sense of color and tone really shines here, using such a specific form to create a larger, very recognizable image. Pretty amazing.

Via Behance

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