The Art of Logo. Part I: Your Media. Fonts | WebReference

The Art of Logo. Part I: Your Media. Fonts


The only significant part that's now missing in our logo is the company's name.  To say the truth, it is rather unusual because typically textual part of the logo is given high priority and is designed at early stages when the main form is being chosen.  Often the form of letters in the company name, set in the chosen font, serves as the main graphic idea and defines the shape.

In our sample logo, however, I tried to separate graphic and text just for the purpose of this article's consistency.  (As you'll see we will have a chance to unite graphic and text later.)  Now the most natural place to put the title is below the graphic, thus employing one of the most common logo layouts (the second popular layout places the text, usually with bigger letters, to the right of the visual).  So let's select the Text tool in our drawing program, click to put the cursor on the canvas and type "company inc."

Why lowercase?  Simple: A mix of uppercase and lowercase would create an uneven "bounding box" for the text string, with the capitals breaking out of the top of the frame.  (Of course letters like "b" or "k" do this as well, but this is less likely to break the title's overall rectangular shape in our perception.)  That's why the requirement of simplicity in logos definitely favors either all-lowercase or all-uppercase styles, and not a mix of the two.

Now let's choose a font for the title. In the world of fonts, one may give plenty of advice---and still give none at all.  The common knowledge about serif fonts being "old-fashioned" and "easy to read" and sans serif fonts being "modern" is correct but it says nothing.  You almost never know which font will look best in your case until you try and see for yourself.  The other way of putting this is that much more than one font is able to create a harmonic collocation with other components of the logo, provided you choose the right size and proportions of letters.


Fig. 10  Company name is abstract, too
Probably the only definite advice I can give is to avoid trying to be too original and decorative.  Unusual script-like fonts may be way cool, but they require enormous amount of artistic skills and experience to inscribe them into a logo the right way.  I'd recommend that you choose one of the good old, time-proven typefaces such as Baskerville or Schoolbook.  To stress this point, in our sample logo I've even chosen to use Times although I won't really recommend it for logos, for the simple reason that it's so widely used on computers.  Anyway, in our case Times seems to do well (Fig. 10).  

  Two more things about fonts.  As the title in a logo is set in a relatively large size, you almost always will need to squeeze letters a bit from the sides because the default height/width ratio in most fonts is chosen with the usual 10 pt body text size in mind.  Another adjustment which is almost obligatory for logos is manual kerning intraword spaces (compare two versions on Fig. 11).  Just grab each letter in turn and move it to the left or to the right, often zooming out and observing that the visual density of letters is uniform.
Fig. 11  Find ten differences

Created: Jan. 19, 1997
Revised: Jan. 23, 1997