Monday, February 14, 2011

Six Flags Logo Design Review

I was almost excited about this logo design, but alas, it was not meant to be. Let me explain. Six Flags is obviously supposed to be fun and cheery, so a logo that reflects that positive spirit is appropriate, and when I first reviewed it I had some points to make as to why there were some good design elements to this. What got me kind of encouraged was that I thought the designer actually implemented a consistent angular grid system in the midst of the "playfulness" of the mark. Specifically, it appeared as if the top edges of the green and purple flags were on the same angular plane to each other, as well as the cyan and pink---forming a nice relationship. However, upon close inspection when preparing this, and ruling up the angles, none of them matched. What could have brought this together as a more established design was if all the tops of the flags (and the bottom of the exclamation point) followed the same angle---providing some "method to the madness." A note worth taking is that grid systems employed in almost any setting can strengthen a design, even if at a glance the viewer can't detect it. Grids often play to the subconscious of your viewing experience, giving you the sense that something about it just feels right. This logo missed that opportunity. All the angles are haphazard, leaving it feeling more unrefined. Now, overall, the mark isn't awful, but the said points above are important in what could have pulled this together tighter. They were clever to repeat the flag pennant shape in the exclamation point and there is decent spacing between the base of each pole (considering they're planting 6 flags in there, it's not too busy in appearance). The 1-color translation actually does render a higher contrasting mark so that the flags are clearer (they blend in on the color version), so there is ok recognition in the 1-color application. I credit them also for restraining from using shadows and highlights to try to make them "pop" more (could have been excessively busy in appearance). When scaled, the large exclamation backdrop is what stands out the most, allowing some aspect of the mark to be clear at a small size. But the moral of the story: don't forget your grids.

R A T I N G S  (1-color version)
Scale: Bad, Fair, Good This is all in the context of the 1-color version, not rating the full color version.
- Recognizable: Good
- Scalable: Fair
- Use of Pos/Neg: Fair
- Form: Fair
- Craftsmanship: Bad
- Functional: Fair


  1. I think you have a great idea for a blog here, so i hope you dont mind a little constructive criticism, and yes i did read the FAQs.

    i think it would better suit your arguments to use an image that looks closer to one that is produced in common situations like faxing or copying a logo into black and white instead of recreating them. I say that because it is not a very good comparison when you are creating a different mark, especially since many companies have one-color logos but you may never find them. Another common situations with logos is affiliated companies many times will desaturate a logo but they will never recreate it. i found these two examples at the same size you are using in your posts.
    i strongly suggest you start using this type of real world situations as examples and you will find it will only strengthen your arguments.
    plus, less work for you ;)

  2. Thanks for the props on the blog idea, Jaime. And I appreciate you taking the time to provide some thoughts. I do agree that a logo should never be manipulated nor compromise it's integrity. And in a lot of cases, a grayscale (gray tones) version would work for today's output purposes, but in this blog I am going further than just a grayscale color conversion, and I am stripping the marks down to their bare, black and white, bone structure. As I mention, it's not always "official," but it's suggestive based on the elements presented in the full color version. This is done to make the point (by using some artistic license) to see if true graphic principles were possibly considered in the crafting of the design (aside from color). Can it hold its own without any color or aid from tones of gray. This is not an exact science, but rather a designer, making a judgement call, and then presenting an opinionated visual study of marks in their most raw form for others to consider. (Again, as I mention, if an official 1-color version is available...not a grayscale/gray tones version...then I will always use that.) Thanks for taking the time to analyze some of this.