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Seth Taylor Graphic Design

Observations about the logos of highest valued companies

This April Apple’s company valuation passed the $600 billion mark. There are only 5 other company’s to reach that same value. Here’s a few commonalities of their logos.

Simplicity reigns supreme.

  • All of them employ a strong super-simplistic-easy-to-remember logo
  • 4 of the 6 use a single color for their primary logo
  • 3 use red; 3 use blue.
  • 3 of the 6 use a clean typographic ligature.
  • All of the 6 have simplistic customized fonts. Even Apple a customized version of the ubiquitous Myriad.
  • All of them have gone through revisions that greatly simplified the logo. This helps logos to be easier to reproduce and apply to products.
  • 4 use a sans-serif font. One uses a script.
  • 3 use a shape and then repeat it at least 4 times
    • Microsoft with one block repeated in various colors
    • GE with the tear shape rotated and repeated
    • Cisco with varying and repeating vertical lines
  • All of them make legibility and readability absolutely obvious
  • None of them use dimensionality – shadows, layers or foreshortening.

highest value logos

If you can’t find the perfect font, sculpt it

For a recent logo development project, a beloved client loved a particular sketch. After culling through thousands of fonts in the database memory it became clear that a custom typeface would be the only way to proceed. So the lettering sketches began.

Frequently when crafting the perfect logo it makes sense to start with a pre-existing font and then alter a few of the letterforms to make sure all the letterforms flow together nicely. Conversely, the following font is completely built from scratch starting with a single line being drawn in Illustrator and incrementally building and manipulating the curves.

For those who’ve embarked on custom font development, you know it can be a joyous discovery of voluptuous curves and intersections. However, as Christian Robertson said, “the ‘s’ is the most difficult letter to design in the [english/latin] alphabet.” I agree — there were a few profanities released during the building of this set. Here’s a few tips to sculpting an ‘s’ of steel.

› Make sure that the upper and lower counterspaces aren’t equal.
The bottom is frequently slightly larger than the top
› The diagonal curve will likely be thicker than the rest of your strokes
› Don’t be afraid to start over several times
› The terminals determine a significant amount of the attitude of the font

custom type design

FYI – This font will not be for sale as it is a proprietary font built for a client (unless they choose to make it available) If you’re looking for similar well-crafted fonts, you should consider: Silas Dilworth’s Breuer or Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ Forza.


Designers don’t let friends use Avant Garde (font)

As Brian Memmott used to say, “If you’re ever tempted to use Avant Garde, use Futura”

Ok kids, time for another tweak. The e was corrected as well as the kerning, but for this post we’ll focus on the s. Notice that the s is about half the width of the d which makes the s feel too dense in compared to the pacing of the rest of the letters. To correct this, don’t use horizontal character stretching. Stretching the glyph to be wider produces too much weight in the horizontal widths/bowls of the s.

type touch-up

Occasionally, I get my hands on some anchor points that need a better foundation. Such was the case for a recent client project. The guilty font was none other than Quicksand. It’s a trendy free font right now. The main problem with the font is the lack of optical balancing in the letter forms. I’ve included an enlarged view of the previous form (pink) and the optically adjusted form (blue). Whenever you have an arm or bowl of a letter meet a vertical stem, it’s tasteful to have some tapering in the connecting area so the font doesn’t feel too clunky. Especially at small sizes, the font will tend to look muddy or heavy.

You can see the full update here.

Psychotique web design

My responsibilities were logo creation, product design, photography, website design, interaction, and managing the shopping cart coding and some training.


Reducing Adobe Illustrator bloated files

Since Illustrator CS3 was launched I noticed a dramatic file size increase, even in small logo documents. I found a work-around to make logo files be under 100k instead of around a minimum of 900k.

Open, not place, a jpg in Illustrator. Once it’s opened, delete the jpg from the work area. Then paste in whatever vector you want. Then save the document with an appropriate name. Ta dah! Smaller file size. From what I can tell, the file size is so much smaller because opening a jpg doesn’t load all the bloated swatches, symbols, brushes, etc into the base document.

Gears and Cogs logo design

This is a proposed logo design for a network Flash developer experts in Utah County.

Instead of clubbing people over the head with an ubiquitous illustration of the actual tines of a gear, these letter forms reference the workings of a motor with pulleys, belts and gears.

When creating strong logo systems, it’s important simplify instead of cramming or illustrating a concept into a logo. Example: Nike does not have shoes or sporting equipment in their logo. They do, however, communicate speed and motion.