Friday, May 4, 2012

Havens Construction Logo Design Review



FÖDA Studio's webite says: "A strong masculine extrusion of a simple letter form. The stacked forms of the letter “H” allow this small company to look like a much bigger player, as the identity references a number of established gestures that suggest construction, assembly, stacking or lamination. When paired with the WordMark, a key-like form emerges, symbolizing the end of the process."

Sturdy and inviting. There is quite a sophisticated graphic illusion found in this logo mark: the layered H's seem to display not only the capital form of the letter, but I also see the lowercase form in some of the connections. Is that bad to have two different forms of the letter possibly be seen by viewers? Not at all. The dominant image presented is definitely the capital H, and the lowercase is secondary (whether it was intentional or not). So wether you see either form of the letter, it's still always an H, and not some other hidden letter that might cause confusion. The execution of the design is done by true craftsman---those who are sensitive to how every detail can make the mark better. There is nothing superfluous that tries to enhance it, as the form itself is very attractive and memorable. Part of what brings appeal is the consistent use of paralleled repetition of lines and angles. Repetition is a powerful graphic tool to grab someone's attention, and this design uses it in a very intelligent way to create depth around the stacking concept. The design looks sturdy in that all those verticals present it as upright, and if you were to go through with a straight edge, you would find all kinds of grid systems applied to pull all the elements together. Lastly, one of the major stars here is the use of positive and negative space. The contrast you get looks bold, but not heavy. And it invites the viewers eye to move in and out of the form. Leveraging the Gestalt principles, there is much that a person's mind needs to complete on it's own, which adds to it's interest. When scaled, the mark holds it visual integrity very well and remains recognizable. In particular, those repeating parallel lines create a sort of pattern that is distinct and will create retention.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Examples of Cool Twitter Avatars - The Power of Design

I didn't join Twitter until last summer, but as my list of people I follow grows, so does the abundance of varying Twitter avatars in my feed. I'll be honest, there are some I pay attention to more than others because of who they are and my interest in what they post. But then there are days where I just want to skim the long list of tweets, and that's when the what comes into play. When I say what, I mean what it is that will catch my eye (even for the slightest moment) to make me possibly pay attention and see what's being said.

That's where the value of design comes into play. Above are some examples of some of the icons that have really caught my attention. Obviously, I'm a designer, so the people I follow are mostly designers, hence, there's bound to be a larger abundance of cool/good icons in my list (though some are pretty bland). For most other people on Twitter, they're following non-designers. The difference I see is that a well designed icon has that grabbing power over many other icons. The primary gap is between an icon and a photo of a person when scanning. I scroll through my list, and a person's face placed in a square at such a small size can be really difficult to distinguish. And there's a lot of them (especially for non-designer feeds). Normal photos just look like stock; even a relatively cool illustration that just fits neatly in the square icon frame can look generic and unidentifiable. (Now don't get me all wrong, there really are some nice photos of faces out there that have great composition and interest.)

I think the ones that have that potential stopping power the most are based largely on design that is simple and has contrast. Simple in that I can actually read or distinguish what the icon is (whether the person is using a logo or some other graphic). Contrast in that it has a shape, or balance of space, or form that makes it interesting and causes it to "pop." In the icons here, I think you can see that some of the primary elements making up these eye-catching designs leverage a letter or two, a number, have a lot of white space, are cut out in a unique shape, or just rely fully on a flood of the person's branded color. So, should you use a logo over a photo? Not always, because sometimes it seems someone just slaps their logo into the small pixel area and it becomes quite illegible. Again, the simple logos translate best. A nice option, if you want to use your logo, is to crop it in an interesting way or just pull out a single, identifying element.

There are enough Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber photos out there for all the fans, that a bland photo for your own Twitter avatar can make you just another face in the crowd. Scroll quickly through your own feed and see which icons catch your attention. Consider the little implications that the power of good design and thoughtful application can play in each and every scenario, including Twitter.

Twitter icons belong to the following (listed from left to right, top to bottom): @agiopen @CreativeReview @edenspiekermann @hofstededesign @hsyee @hyperakt @idApostle @itsnicethat @jessicahische @johnmaeda @lplayground @movingbrands @OK_RM @saffronbc @sagmeisterinc @SVA_News @the_partners @thedailyheller @thefoxisblack @TwoTimesElliott @vincefrost @vonster @WolffOlins @YoungJerks

Adam Ladd of Ladd Design