Logo contest – client (and Drew’s) reactions

Picture 2 As you will recall, thanks to an offer from LogoInn, I was able to offer one lucky reader/company a free logo.  After accepting entries for about a week, we eventually selected Colfax Main Street as our winner.

We're going to go through the entire process here on the blog, so everyone can learn along.  Here's what's happened so far.

After taking the logos back to her committee, here's what Julia, our winner, had to say:

First, Drew, thank you for this opportunity.  There have been many comments on your blog about the logos and our comments echo many of them. 

However, at this time, none of the logos are acceptable to our group.  We do not like the gazebos, because they do not reflect the gazebo that is in our community.  If our gazebo cannot be used or some accurate reflection of it, we do not want to use a gazebo. 

We also do not like the water droplets because they do not reflect our Mineral Water Heritage.  Let’s stay away from any sort of water droplet or water feature it tells the wrong story. 

We also do not like the stick figures/people in the logos.  They would be better suited for a health oriented company.  

Some of the fonts are ok, but there is not a single font that reflects our request of “graceful, classic, possibly scripted, easy to read from a distance, and appears to have a casual elegance.” 

And here are my thoughts:

One of the dangers in logo design is trying to be too literal. (check out these logos and see how few of them are literal translations)  Just because Colfax has a gazebo…doesn't mean it should be in their logo or that the gazebo represented needs to look like the actual gazebo in the town.  (Here I disagree with Julia and the committee)  Even using one architectural element that is common to gazebos…could capture the flavor without having to be so realistic.

Also…I cannot imagine a gazebo logo that is going to work on a business card without occupying half the space.  Remember, logos need to work in one color and in all different sizes — especially very small.

In terms of the mineral water — people flocked to Colfax to enjoy the benefits of the mineral water…health and healing.  So the logos don't need to show the actual water…(although it could) but they could also connote healthy living.  (Which incidentally might be something Colfax could build on…a natural, healthy place to live outside of the stress of the city etc.)

I agree with the Colfax folks on the fonts.  On the plus side, they are all very readable.  But, they do not connote a gentle gracefulness — which is what we're looking for.

Next steps:

The LogoInn folks will read through the comments on this post and the one where we unveiled the logos and then come back with some questions for clarification before they take another shot at it.

So stay tuned!

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12 comments on “Logo contest – client (and Drew’s) reactions

  1. Mike Ward says:

    Drew, I think another danger of logo design, especially for one that will eventually represent a town, is not taking the time to actually visit there to get a better sense the place. I assume the designers have only the creative brief to work from. As such, I think they’ve done a pretty decent job.

    Meanwhile, it’s facinating to see Julia & Co. begin to back away from their original directions. They say in the brief “We would like to incorporate our mineral water heritage in our logo.” Then they respond to the first drafts with “Let’s stay away from any sort of water…it tells the wrong story.” So guys, what exactly IS the story?

    I actually think the gazebo idea has promise. A gazebo happens to communicate many of the differentiators they mention in the brief… historic preservation… small town charm and an easygoing lifestyle… a small quaint charming town… historic architecture of (its) buildings… casual, easy going, etc. With a mission of economic development, you’d think a component of this would be the conversion of historic structures into housing, i.e. “shelter.” It seems that a gazebo (originally designed as a shelter, as well as a meeting place) captures this pretty well.

    Will it fit on a business card? Hard to say, but I don’t think this should be a deal-breaker. The Colfax gazebo seems integral to the town’s life, history and identity. It’s distinctive. Maybe a better rendered version would do the trick.

  2. As a branding expert and helped hundreds of companies design logos, you are in a catch 22 here.

    Drew is absolutely correct, you need something that doesnt have so much detail. Too much detail is a wrecker of logos. It needs to be flexible to print small and in 1 color or many.

    The issue they are having now is conveyence. The town feels they are not being represented and these logos do not convey their message.

    The biggest issue from the designer side is information. This town is trying to convey everything about their town in their logo thinking it is going to make people “feel” the experience.

    Having been on the side of the designers… The meeting of minds needs to rehappen. Reset client expectations. The town can not be everything to everbody. So simplification is going to be needed.

    Pick one thing. If it is the water or the gazebo, but if the town is wanting a line drawing of the gazebo then the designers need to pair back expectations because that is not going to be good branding.

    So understanding expectations from both sides will be critical to the success of this.

    Chad Rothschild

  3. Julia H. Kern says:

    Chad, with regards to your comments about “pick something”. If it were up to me, I would pick the gazebo over the water. However, the feedback I did get from our Board, is that the gazebo needs to be reflective of the Colfax gazebo – possibly an outline, or piece of it. I also agree with Mike’s statements about the gazebo fitting on a business card, it doesn’t need to be a “deal-breaker”.

  4. Good marketing works.They would be better suited for a health oriented company.

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  7. I did like the entire process here on the blog, so everyone can learn along

  8. WOW, this’ll keep me busy for years. I’ve been subscribing to your RSS feed for months, but somehow I missed this great list.

  9. You may want to give a try to the logo boutique for the next contest!

  10. This is a pretty interesting post about logo design. We’ve often considered re-designing our logo but haven’t moved on it so far.

  11. vietcombank says:

    That is a great list, thanks!

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