Rarely do students of branding and logo design get such a brilliant real life example of ‘what NOT to do’ in regards to logo design. [ AzAkers ]
CapitalOne, the folks who brought us that catchy, albeit overly-curoious tagline “What’s in your wallet?”, have unveiled their new & “improved” logo (as of January 30th). While it won’t win any design awards, the new logo is a boon for graphic design instructors, mentors and aspiring graphic artists alike, because rarely do students of branding and logo design get such a brilliant real life example of ‘what NOT to do’ in regards to logo design.
The original logo was an awkward marriage of a heavy, teal, sans serif “Capital” and a slim, italicized, light-gray “One”. For a bit more awkwardness the designer chose to drop the base for the “One” portion to align with the bottom of the tail of the lowercase “p” in “Capital”.
Apart from a few color changes, “Capital” and “One” are now the same shade of navy, the most noteworthy change to their logo comes in the form of a ‘swoosh’ and not just any swoosh mind you, a swoosh with a red to white graduated fill. Nice.
Underconsiderations’ Brand New review editorializes that “Nothing, in the year 2008, can justify the use of a swoosh. Much less a swoosh with gradients and bevels.”
“On The Seventh Day, while God Rested, Satan Invented the Swoosh“
A bad logo is bad enough, but to actively redesign to an even more fundamentally flawed design… it’s almost criminal – especially when it’s a high profile company/brand like CapitalOne. Was a professional designer actually paid to rebrand CapitalOne? Or did the VP of Marketing buy his pre-teen kid Adobe CS2 for Christmas? Things like this always bring up the question – “What does it mean to be a ‘professional designer’?”
Despite my mediocre talent and inexperience in the field, I’ve always had a love for logo’s and logo design. I even went to a local ‘art school’ where I was saddened to learn that many of my teachers would often have to ask me questions about industry standard editing software (PhotoShop, Illustrator etc). At the time I felt cheated, since I placed more value on technique & technical capacity than on experience & true design sense.
It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand the weight of my misconceptions. While I may have enjoyed a measure of technical prowess and even a dash of natural talent, my design sense has unfortunately been stunted and has suffered as I spent more time determining which combination of filters to apply than considering approriate use of negative space, color value, typography, focal point etc.
[singlepic=142,100,,,] Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) from the science fiction classic Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park movie) decries the folly of modern science when he states that scientists are “…so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” - It may be fair to say we have the same issue in the design industry these days – minus the Velociraptors.
With the proliferation of user friendly digital imaging software (PhotoShop, illustrator etc) anyone with a computer & time on their hands can make a logo, but it doesn’t mean everyone is a designer. How often do we see an image/logo that might use an interesting technique or effect, but fails to communicate a message or represent the brand effectively.
It seems to me that too many ‘designers’ wonder if they could, rather then if they really should.
What do you think?
- What makes a ‘professional logo designer’
- Are you a fan of the swoosh?
- Do wanna-be designers hurt the industries reputation?
- Has your design business been effected by spec work & amature designers playing pros?