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Basic logo concept help please

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  • Basic logo concept help please


    First let me confess I am not a graphic designer, but I have always found words, letters and logos very interesting. Its almost like I have an obsession with them. When I look at words, I always question there origins. When I look at company names I always try to think of logos that would be good, but thats just by way of introduction.

    I have a couple of basic questions I would like to ask.

    1. As a complete novice, and just using basic common sense, would I be right to suggest a good logo will work in black and white, or at least in two contrasting colours? That is basically what is going on in my head when I attempt to imagine logos to suit company names.

    2. This question isnt maybe so easy to ask, but, should a good logo also be able to exist without the need for shadows or a three dimensional aspect. I know that some logos just cant work as a flat 2D image, if for example an isometric view of a building shows different text on different walls of the building. But im talking more about logos which dont necessarily need to have a sense of perspective in order to convey the message. That question probably sounds a bit muddled so I will add an example image file, and maybe then the question will be more sensible.

    The image attached is one I quickly put together to represent a company my friend owns. I changed a few of the letters just to keep his company secret. His company works with sheet metal, it folds it, and it profile cuts it with a plasma CNC machine.

    The top part of the logo, "ace" has been made to look like pieces of metal which have been folded on his folding machine, and the bottom part "METALWORK" to look like sheet metal which has been profile cut using the plasma cutting machine, so thats why the letters have to have a stencil type appearance, that is, because the text has actually been cut out from a metal sheet.

    I think the idea is okay, but I feel it is lacking any real punch as a logo. I am now tempted to add some perspective to help the logo along, but this is where my question comes in. If the logo hasn't got the punch/impact I am looking for, as a 2D type image, is it right to try to jazz it up by adding perspective? I personally feel I am trying to dicky up something to give it impact, but am not happy doing that. I would prefer it had the impact without adding any decoration. Am I wrong to be thinking like that? I just know when I see a logo that I really like, it doesnt necessarily need to have drop shadows etc. I just feel inside, that to achieve impact without extras would be much more satisying to me. So to re-cap,

    1. Is it good to always try to work in two contrasting tones as a foundation, then as / when needs be, different variations of the foundations can be used.

    2. Is it good to try to make things have impact, without the need for "extras".

    3. Does the attached logo look presentable? I think it displays well the company, but seems to be lacking any real impact.

    4. Is there anywhere that a complete novice like me can find a basic checklist concerning logo design? i.e. A set of points that the logo must fulfil, to be even worth consideration as a logo. (For example black text on a black background with no outline is a big no no).

    Thanks in advance.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I'm kind of braindead right now from work, so I can't coherently answer all of your questions. Hopefully I'll have some brilliant insight later…

    However, I did want to say that I commend you for your approach to this project. I wish every designer (novice or otherwise) would think about these points when they are attempting to create a design.


    • #3
      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. It's not a bad start. If you're interested in creating your own letters then definitely look into learning typography as well. The thing that stands out most to me is that the letter "A" in ACE is not very recognizable as an "A". Letters have distinct characteristics that make them readable, even stylized letters need to adhere to the "rules" if they want to be taken seriously. Also, the concept you've come up with is fine, but it lacks pizzaz because you're thinking about how to represent the company literally (i.e. metal work) instead of figuratively (i.e. how to communicate the feeling that the logo will evoke in people).
      4. A few web resources to get you started:,, Check out the work of well known logo designers too, like Paul Rand.


      • #4
        Take a look at some stencil fonts. Your attachment points are uneven thicknesses and sorta non-standard for stencils. Usually the tabs are vertical so you don't get the distracting alignment issues you have there.

        Are the edges of the diagonals intentionally jaggy or did that happen when saving the image to post here? You're doing this in a vector program like Illustrator,right?

        Is the idea for the metal guy to cut and make his own signage? Lots of 3D possibilities there.

        I'm not too keen on the ACE. It's very airy and open. Not a lot of substance. Have you tried making it angular and more solid?


        • #5
          1. Is it good to always try to work in two contrasting tones as a foundation, then as / when needs be, different variations of the foundations can be used.
          All you need to do is to make sure your logo can work in black & white. You can design with color, but I think your approach actually makes it easier for you to decide on the design's quality. Keep doing what you're doing.

          2. Is it good to try to make things have impact, without the need for "extras".
          3. Does the attached logo look presentable? I think it displays well the company, but seems to be lacking any real impact.
          The design is flawed and I think you know it. Here are some issues:
          - The space below "ace" is too small.
          - There doesn't need to be a box around "metalwork".
          - The broken letterforms in "metalworks" makes the word harder to read.
          - I don't think two different fonts is working this time. Consider doing one font to unify the logo, since it is on two different lines.
          - Reconsider the font used for "Ace". I think the letter A is hard to recognize without reading the whole word first. Quick glance and I thought it was an N until I read it.
          - The lack of impact is a result of you using these very angular typefaces and the black box. In essence your logo seems to be very sturdy (imagine if you build this in 3D and each letter had weight). Think of ways make your design more asymmetrical, or consider adding an icon to to enforce the idea of metal.

          4. Is there anywhere that a complete novice like me can find a basic checklist concerning logo design? i.e. A set of points that the logo must fulfil, to be even worth consideration as a logo. (For example black text on a black background with no outline is a big no no).

          So far I think you have a good start.
          Broke or just cheap? Read my list of free open source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite software.


          • #6
            Thanks for your comments.
            I know it still isnt brilliant but I feel better about it already.
            Im just going through points one by one so there are still a few steps you have mentioned that I havent adressed yet.
            Regarding the "feeling" it should convey, I think that is a good point I hadnt considered. I am now thinking along the lines of conveying the message that this company can make working with heavy metal structures easy. If the customers can be made to feel they can handle big things easily, then maybe it shows that the business can make light work out of heavy work and inspire confidence. I dont want to show a 10 tonne structure being lifted with one little finger, but sort of try to convey that sort of message, that is, "big is no problem for us".
            I ditched my illegible "a" and did add some symmetry by flipping the "e" vertically and horizontally, so now the "a" and "e" are identical except one is inverted and mirrored. I think the METALWORK also looks much better with my hybrid font dumped and a standard one used. I will make some more changes, but thanks for getting me started. (P.S. As I said I have changed the company name slightly but I am happy to progress with this as a learning example, if you are willing to).
            The jaggy edges are just as a result of the jpeg compression.
            Regarding making the "ace" a bit heavier, I didn't want to make it too heavy as I was trying to show a metal folding operation and generally sheet metal isnt really very thick, but I will beef it up a bit to see how it looks....
            Attached Files


            • #7
              <Sign guy hates stroked letterforms like that. Urgh. They fill in strangely. Try placing white letters in front of a thick stroke instead. If you like it, expand the stroke into a shape. You should never leave stroked lines in a logo.

              I'm not convinced you should lose the black box either.


              • #8
                Do the rivets seem a bit too common?
                I purposely didnt rivet the top "ace" because it is meant to reprersent a piece of folded metal looking end on, which wouldnt have rivets in reality.

                The other pieces could be pieces that have been plasma cut, and are now riveted to a separate background.

                I still dont know if the image makes the customer feel anything.

                I thought about giving the whole image a scroll type affect to make it look like one big sheet of metal, but I think then it would be contradicting itself. What I mean is, "ace" is supposed to show folded pieces looking end on, folded pieces obviously have some depth, so the whole image cant suddenly become a sheet.

                Is it looking any better in your opinions?

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Too busy. Where is your heirarchy? All of your stroke weights are the same width.
                  It seems now you are tossing designs at us waiting for us to go Aha! That's it!

                  That doesn't happen. Mostly because someone here will always find something they don't like about anything.
                  Sit down for a bit and play around. As some would suggest, sketch up some ideas then go forward with the strongest one or two.


                  • #10
                    I am simply trying to implement suggestions as they appear, while keeping some of the original thinking, that is, trying to represent folded and profiled metal sheet. I had hoped to attempt to evolve the logo step by step, taking on board what others have commented and thereby learn something of the do's and don'ts. To throw it away and start again would seem to break that train of thought of the evolution. I know if something is naff then it deserves to be binned, but just for the sake of learning the evolution, once a basic design has been selected, I had hoped to use this example as the basic design that I want to evolve. I know someone might say, throwing it in the bin is part of the evolution, but I am trying to concentrate on the finalising part rather than the initiation.
                    Referring to the hierachy comment, would that be the stroke weights within each letter, within each word, or within the whole image? What I mean is, should the horizontal crossbar on the "t" be a lighter weight than the vertical part of the "t", or do you mean the letter "a" in "ace" should as a whole be heavier, than the letter "a" in "metalwork"? Thanks


                    • #11
                      Don't apply hierarchy to stroke widths. Apply it to the whole image.

                      If you apply all the changes suggested here, you will be here until doomsday.
                      You need to be able to seek your own direction in this, not wait for ours. There is something mildly insulting, just mildly at this point, about being asked to 'teach you' step by step in a process that can take years of professional development to hone.


                      • #12
                        Agreed, I believe it needs a rethink.

                        Sketch out numerous ideas first then try to evolve those into something rather than just making the text look metallic. Try a range of fonts or researching images relating to subject matter.


                        • #13
                          Sorry for any insults.
                          Thanks for everyones inputs.


                          • #14
                            I don't know that a text solution isn't the answer. The answer lies in it being legible for all the right reasons.


                            • #15
                              Im back after a rethink. The attached image is what I came up with. It is supposed to tell the customer that they will be receiving consistent, repeatable components, a very important factor, when the parts are part of a larger mechanical jigsaw puzzle. I think the idea is okay but it still doesn't have any impact. I just dont seem to have what it takes to get the impact im looking for. I know some professional might say, then dont try to do something your not capable of, but Im just hoping if I perservere long enough, and get some guidnace, it might get better eventually. If anyone finds this message insulting I can assure you thats not the intention.
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