Posts Tagged ‘logos’

The 12th Man

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
12th Man Logo

The logo of the 12th Man Foundation, designed by Chris Silver Smith

The recent Super Bowl hoopla brought the Seahawks 12th Man to national attention, but I wonder how many realize that this fan support concept was founded by Texas A&M University? Most of my friends and acquaintances are unfamiliar with my past ties to the A&M organization and its iconography as well. Shortly after college, I worked for TAMU as a scientific illustrator, mapmaker and graphic designer. While in that capacity, I designed the 12th Man’s iconic logo.

If you’ve driven around the state of Texas for any length of time, chances are good that you’ve seen this logo on decals on the back windows of a great many vehicles. I think it’s probably the most widely visible thing I’ve ever designed.

So, how did the 12th Man itself come to be associated with the Seahawks, way up in Seattle, Washington? (more…)

Google’s Earth Art Logo

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Google Israel has a logo for celebrating Tu Bishvat. Barry Schwartz explains that the Tu Bishvat (פרוייקט ההר הירוק) holiday is known as the “New Year of the Trees”, and to observe it many people will plant new trees or donate trees in Israel. (The associated Google search for the logo goes to “Green Mountain Project” which is an online photo album allowing people to share past photos of Carmel, which suffered a fire that ruined the trees there.)

What’s particularly interesting to me is that this special logo is based on earth art which is accomplished by people planting crops and arranging earthworks to depict pictures or words:

Google Earth Art Logo

I’ve written about crop art and earth art a number of times before, and you can also see a number of examples, as viewed through Google Maps via my past article on Search Engine Land: 20 Awesome Images Found In Google Maps.

I’m just wondering if the artist that made this Google “Doodle” logo is familiar with earth art or crop art, or whether this was just coincidental use of the earth art motif. (more…)

Google’s Happy Birthday Logo

Monday, September 27th, 2010

One of Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings inspired Google’s 12th birthday logo – a birthday cake with one candle taking the place of their logo.

Google's 12th Birthday Logo by Wayne Thiebaud

I like the painting – it’s an example of a great colorist’s artwork. Thiebaud is known for paintings of cakes, and is considered a Pop Artist due to his subject matter. However, the heavy pigment intensity in his work shows a dedication to colorism — intensification of hues to provide a richly experiential moment in the viewing.

It’s a less whimsical logo treatment than we’ve often seen in the past, though Google is experimenting on multiple different styles for commemorative logos.

Have Google Logos Jumped The Shark? Father’s Day Logo Illegible

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Google’s special logos (“Doodles“) commemorating holidays and historical events have been successful at conveying a playful nature for the ever-growing corporation. As time has gone by, the special logo treatments have begun veering off from playful quirkiness and have perhaps actually crossed the line of legibility. The Father’s Day Google logo deployed today is perhaps the worst example of all:

Google Father's Day Logo

The neckties, intended to whimsically reference the letters spelling out “Google”, have become so abstracted that I think their resemblance to the letters in the name have utterly disappeared.

Graphic artists can certainly recognize and appreciate the rough symbolic shaping, but this sort of symbolic reference is really too vague for most of the public.

I’ve enjoyed watching Google play with their logo for years while dancing all over traditional corporate intellectual property law for how trademarks should be treated. I’ve long felt that Google was thumbing their nose at frustratingly conservative IP lawyers who anally force major corporate employees to follow logo use style guides mindlessly. After all, the name itself can be a trademark, regardless of graphic treatment, and trademark law certainly is flexible enough to allow some degree of logo variations. Google’s logo treatments have shown that temporary logo variations and nonstandard logo treatments can be effected without incurring risk of “losing control of the mark”.

The problem I see with today’s Father’s Day logo is that the humorous treatment has become way too subtle for its own good — the logo is illegible, and devoid of the website most reasonable individuals would be unable to see the company’s name in the treatment.

Have Google logos finally jumped the shark with this treatment? Has the joke worn thin?

The challenge for the Google logo artists has been continuing the thematic treatments without becoming a cliche. Recently, Google has experimented with enabling individuals to display custom background images on the homepage, and their “doodle” advertising the capability was so roundly criticized that they removed the feature. The background image treatment was so derivative of Bing’s changing homepage background images (which aped Ask.com’s earlier treatment) that many thought Google was trying to immitate the feature.

I think the takeway from this is that Google should stick with what is working for them and avoid straying too far from successful formulas. Today’s doodle logo lost the “Googleness” that made the concept so charming to begin with.

I expect they’ll continue displaying special logos, but they need to make them resemble the standard logo more closely or else the charm will be lost permanently.

New Yellow Pages Logo Wasted Effort

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The Yellow Pages Group in Canada has announced a new logo makeover:

YellowPages logo

I really hate to think about how much was likely spent on this! I think the new logo is such a continued representation of the legacy yellow pages that it was pointless to make a change to it at all. (more…)