I kind of hate describing destinations as almost anything I can say is obvious. So, the Czech Republic: in Europe, pretty. This month, the Czech Tourist Authority (CTA), revealed the winner of a “tender” — the Europeans way of a) saying Request for Proposal or b) asking for spec work — issued in April to create a new marketing logo to promote the country. From a shortlist of six proposals that you can see here, the CTA along with “representatives of the Union of Graphic Design, partners and sponsor,” plus “representatives of the Ministry for Regional Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Czech Centres,” selected the work of Prague-based Marvil and awarded them a prize of CZK$ 2.5 million (US$ 119,000).
There is no easily quotable release or comment about the new logo, but the inspiration is clear: the Facebook “Like” button. Although it goes beyond that, in that on the internet simply writing “like” in a comment or a Tweet with it and a link implies much more than just liking something, it’s the equivalent of a 500-word essay on why we think something is great. Marvil has used the ending of Republic to turn it into Republike: an awkward word when you try to say it out loud. (It personally makes me laugh because it reminds me the way my good friend Mark Kingsley calls Amsterdam: Amster-damn!). On paper it looks clever; a fun visual/written pun that may be amusing for a single-use print ad but not necessarily a long-term brand identity. It also places a lot of emphasis on English-speaking visitors, despite the numerous translations presented. The execution is fairly decent, as it does manage to highlight the pun in a good way, with an underline to boot, as it if were a hyperlink. It also stands out from the usually ornate or landmark-esque destination logos, with a straightforward wordmark. But given the ebullient natural, architectural, and cultural beauty of the Czech Republic it feels like a disservice to present it in such a neutral and aseptic design.Read More →
Just launched in March — and, from what I understand, spun off Reproplan, a digital service bureau (a la FedEx Office) with 22 locations in Germany — PIGMENTPOL is a digital printing company with three locations across Germany providing small and large format printing, digital printing on specialty materials, fine art printing, textile printing, as well as all kinds of finishing. Their new identity was designed in collaboration between Dresden-based ATMO Design Studio and Berlin-based FELD. While the opening image above looks anything but interesting, the rest of the identity makes up for it.
The new identity system embodies a variety of perspectives, experiences and possibilities while maintaining a coherent appearance. The chosen hexagon serves as a central key element, from which the generated logos and backgrounds are derived.
FELD provided a custom software application for the creation of individual graphics to enable a flexible and individual appearance of the huge variety of PIGMENTPOL’s corporate media, including personalized stationery, shop interior and vehicles.
— FELD Project Description
In essence there is nothing new here: Gotham, hexagons, overlaid colors, a generative tool. We’ve seen all these before in one form or another yet this identity manages to bring them together in an energetic, explosive system that fits perfectly a digital printing business, one that can create one-off solutions and individualize each unit in a 500 print run. The result is, literally, dazzling with a vast array of colors, close-up crops of the hexagon, and the mini, snowflake-like hexagons at the intersection of all the diagonal axes. And even with that said, the applications have a certain restraint that makes it look grown up and sophisticated. Let the comparisons to City of Melbourne begin in three, two, one….
Many more images in this Flickr set.
Read More →
Gearing for its latest OS release — after a couple of lackluster and user panned versions in Windows Vista and Windows XP (and continued mockery from OS X users) — Microsoft has been slowly releasing previews and developer versions of Windows 8, a complete rethinking of one of the most frightening computer-using experiences. Based on Microsoft’s “Metro” design language, Windows 8 adopts the user interface currently in play on the Windows Phone OS. By the end of February, Microsoft will release a consumer preview (don’t call it Beta) of Windows 8 and its new logo was recently spotted. Update: This post has been revised with design credit to Pentagram partner Paula Scher and text from Sam Moreau, Principal Director of User Experience for Windows; scroll to the bottom.
You have to hand it to Microsoft for reigning in their design approach to something more simple and useful — and dare I say pleasant to look at. The Metro approach relies on the Segoe font family, originally designed by Steve Matteson for Agfa Monotype and later licensed by Microsoft, which has been deployed on most Microsoft materials in the last four or five years. It’s a fine font, but pretty it is not. It’s a kind of middle-of-the-road sans serif without any memorable attributes and with a very peculiar “Default” aesthetic to it. It works best as a user interface ingredient but as the typography on a logo, it’s extremely underwhelming — pair it with the worst rendition yet of the Windows window and you have a real loser. I’m not saying the previous Windows icons were good, but they had enough abstraction (and gradients and shadows and highlights) to at least look techie and Microsoft-ey, but this “minimal” approach looks like, well, a window. A window in a $ 400-a-month studio apartment rental with beige carpeting and plastic drapes. Moving away from the more flag-like icon seems like abandoning two decades of equity — crappy equity, but equity nonetheless.
Update 02/17/12 @9:53 am: Just got a note from a very unexpected source (on the design side) that this is indeed the wrong release logo and that the proper one should be launched next week. Stay tuned.
Update 02/17/12 @11:47 am: The Windows Team has just published a post on their blog with details on the new logo, designed by Pentagram partner Paula Scher.
1. We wanted the new logo to be both modern and classic by echoing the International Typographic Style (or Swiss design) that has been a great influence on our Metro style design philosophy. Using bold flat colors and clean lines and shapes, the new logo has the characteristics of way-finding design systems seen in airports and subways.
2. It was important that the new logo carries our Metro principle of being “Authentically Digital”. By that, we mean it does not try to emulate faux-industrial design characteristics such as materiality (glass, wood, plastic, etc.). It has motion — aligning with the fast and fluid style you’ll find throughout Windows 8.
3. Our final goal was for the new logo to be humble, yet confident. Welcoming you in with a slight tilt in perspective and when you change your color, the logo changes to reflect you. It is a “Personal” Computer after all.
— Sam Moreau, Principal Director of User Experience for Windows
My opinion now that this has come to light? Remains the same. Nicer blue, though.Read More →
Founded in 1922 by retired farmer�George J. Mecherle, State Farm originally specialized in auto insurance for farmers. The company has since expanded its services to provide multiple types of insurance, along with banking and financial assistance. Currently ranked 37 on�the Fortune 500 list with 65,000 employees, 17,800 agents and about 81 million policies and accounts in force, State Farm generated 63.2 billion in revenue in 2011. With large numbers and�witty ad campaigns as a springboard, State Farm turned to Chermayeff & Geismar to help update their brand for the 21st century.
“We certainly didn’t change it lightly,” said Pam El, marketing vice president at State Farm. “We believe that it’s clearer. It’s a little bit more contemporary; it’s a bit more user friendly.” […] “I’ve got 26 years here,” said Joe Strupek, State Farm’s assistant vice president of public affairs. “I’ve been looking at the same logo for 26 years, but the company has changed tremendously.”
— Pantagraph.com article
The familiar logo showcasing the company’s offerings of “auto, fire and life” will evolve to a simplified three oval design positioned adjacent to the State Farm wordmark. This is the first time the company has updated its logo in nearly 60 years. […] “In today’s digital and mobile world this simple and contemporary design makes for a bolder presence in the marketplace whether it’s through a billboard, television advertising, a sign outside an agent’s office, online or through one of our mobile web applications.”
— Press Release
As of January 1, State Farm rolled out a simplified tri-oval logo with an updated wordmark in a bespoke typeface. The update marks the company’s 90th anniversary. It is only the third update to the mark in the past 90�years and one that is both a bit hit and a bit miss.
The new mark’s main objective, besides being “sleeker, simpler,” is to make State Farm digitally friendly across all platforms. Just as the previous mark focused on being print friendly in the 1950s, the new mark is appropriately simplified for the digital and pixelated world. By removing the iconic “Auto, Life, Fire” from the tri-oval, readability has been clarified and can now be identified�by relying on the assumption that this is a mark that is nationally known and understood.
By removing the frame and the “State Farm Insurance” text, the new mark feels bolder and more “ownable” as a mark instead of a seal. However, by removing the frame, the tri-oval becomes a bit awkward in shape, feeling more like an icon for a chicken farm than insurance; a detail that I believe could have been solved if the outer rings of the tri-ovals remained linked as the old mark had.
The new typography is spot-on. The kerning and the way the letterforms fit together could not get much better. It does what it needs to do: complement the logo without interfering. The most notable change is the raised bowl of both two story “a”s, which saves the counterspace between the “T” and “F”. The new wordmark no longer sparks with large and awkward white space. For that, I’m a fan.
Overall, new mark feels awkward and out of place, possibly a bit rushed, but — and this is a big but — the final execution makes sense. For such a large brand that has been around for nearly a century, with clients ranging from teens to grandparents, State Farm needed to stay within a certain world of restraints which I believe they have done. Final words: no mountain-moving brand update here.Read More →
Established in 1993 as an expansion team of the Major League Baseball, the Florida Marlins, winners of two world series (1997 and 2003), have been renamed the Miami Marlins and will be moving into a fancy new stadium at the start of the 2012 season. Miami Marlins’ management had a hard time keeping the name, logo, and uniform change under wraps, with the logo being leaked as early as September and, stealing the thunder from a webcast conference unveiling the new look, a picture of the uniforms and a ticket brochure surfaced earlier in the week. This past Friday, the official unveiling took place at their new stadium.
Blue, red-orange and yellow are their primary colors, and the old “F” of the Florida Marlins has been replaced by an “M” with a fish figure attached to it, becoming the new logo. The colors were chosen to reflect trendy Miami. “We are the red-orange, of the breathtaking Miami sunsets and the citrus industry,” Loria said. “The blue of the sky and the sea. And the yellow of the beautiful Miami sunshine.” There are three jerseys — black, grey and red-orange. “Both home and road jerseys will be emblazoned with the name Miami, to symbolize this historic move and embrace our city,” Loria said. “We’re proud of who we are, and where our home is, and we want to remind the whole world every time we take the field.”
— Press Release
Aside from some superloosely tracked serif typography, the old logo wasn’t too bad, even if the marlin looked as if it had just been pulled from the sea, perhaps with a too realistic rendering and facial expression. The new one, by contrast, is a tacky, swooshy abstraction of a marlin jumping our of a faux Art Deco letter “M” that lacks the vibrancy of the Miami texture it so desperately is trying to capture. Underneath these two elements is some more typography that fails to capture a specific mood; the “M”s are a good start, but who dropped an anvil on top of the “A”? The M+Marlin lock-up is then used to spell out “Miami” on the uniforms and merchandise in a pretty terrible way, completely unbalanced and awkward, further showcasing how bad the wordmark is. To complete the logo package there is a “Marlins” version with the marlin jumping ship to the “i” amidst more poorly conceived sans serif typography. The only redeeming quality of this whole identity is, perhaps, the orange, which does feel Miami-ey. Oh, and also, it embroiders. Overall, a terrible identity from a city with such a rich visual landscape.
Read More →