Standards Manual is an independent publishing imprint founded in 2014 by designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth. The talented duo are also partners at design consultancy Order, and Jesse kindly took time to answer a few questions about their latest book release.Why did you decide to produce the Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (CGH) monograph?
CGH floated the idea when we were working on the EPA Manual reissue last year. We were a little in shock when they mentioned it, but of course we were immediately interested in publishing the title. We’ve been following their work since we were both in university.How involved were CGH in the production?
The team over at CGH were very involved, including weekly calls with Tom and Sagi up until the day it went to print. Their staff were instrumental in gathering the content and making sure we had everything we needed to get the story straight. They’ve produced an incredible amount of work over the past 60 years and we didn’t wan’t to misrepresent or exclude anything critical to the monograph.
Our design office, Order, handled the design of the book. Hamish and I led the design direction, and everyone in our office helped with the final production.
While the late Swiss type designer Adrian Frutiger (1928–2015) is best known for his renowned typefaces, notably Univers, Avenir, and Frutiger, many people are less familiar with the logos he designed. Here’s a brief look at a few of his symbols and monograms from the sixties and seventies.
I’ve added some quotes from Frutiger’s book, Signs and Symbols (1989), which can be viewed as a PDF via Monoskop. While the quotes weren’t specifically attributed to his logos, they do offer a glimpse into the thought behind the symbolic references and arrangements.
Centre International de Généralisation, Autoroute Rhone-Alpes, Philippe Lebaud.
“If the inner circle has approximately half the radius of the outer one, the main impression is of a wheel (naturally derived from the idea of a car wheel with tire). The inner circle is seen rather as a hole than as anything positive. When the same inner circle is shifted from the center there is a sudden change of view. The idea of the inside of a tube comes to mind, with perception of its entry and exit in perspective. It also reminds us of a cone seen from above. When the small circle touches the circumference of the large one it...
Mason began, “The trade mark, which in the spacious days before the invention of the corporate image could afford to live in a measure of ornamental luxury, has today become a sharply functional thing, a bright weapon for the attack on the overworked and often sluggish attention of the public. Not only must it serve as the focal point of corporate design programmes: it is often the only medium through which large sectors of the public identify a company and its products at all.
“The design of a trade mark thus becomes an undertaking of the most exacting acuity. Such a mark ‘should be distinctive, memorable, and reflect in some way, however abstractly, the nature of the product or service it represents. Furthermore, it should be practical and easily adapted to a variety of applications. It should be reproducible in one or two colours, in positive and reverse form, and in sizes as large as building signs and as small as, or smaller than, calling cards.’”
At the time the article was written, Paul Rand’s client presentations involved large, custom-made booklets of 20 to 40 pages, given to 25 to 100 top-ranking executives. “Characteristically, Rand avoids what he calls ‘sound, music and lights presentations.’ Believing that ‘graphic designers are really silent salesmen’, he thinks that trade marks should convince by their own impact and quality.”
Mark Spencer is a forensic botanist. In other words, he helps police with criminal cases where plant-based evidence can make a difference. His visual identity, designed by London-based Fieldwork Facility, needed to be intelligent, simple, and memorably executed, and part of the challenge was to avoid any insensitivity to the gravity of Mark’s work.
“In forensic botany the main tools at Mark’s disposal are his observational skills and his vast botanical knowledge,” said FF’s Robin Howie, who created the vectorised logo from his photograph of a leaf with good “eye” qualities.
When not working in forensics, Mark is a field botanist, public speaker, and TV presenter. To cater to his varied roles, the word “forensics” was omitted from the logo, leaving two phrases in the identity to hint at the different activities — “Plants Hold Secrets” used exclusively for the forensic assignments, with “Plants Tell Stories” used for Mark’s public-facing work.
Based in Emeryville, California, just across the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco, the American animation studio came to life in 1979 when George Lucas recruited Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology to head Lucasfilm’s Computer Division. Seven years later, in 1986, Steve Jobs bought the Computer Division from George Lucas, establishing the 40-person team as an independent company, Pixar.
The brand name is a made-up noun, like Kodak or Xerox, and was originally invented to name the Pixar Image Computer. Coincidentally, 1986 was also when Steve Jobs hired Paul Rand to design the NeXT logo.
One of the first projects Pixar completed was the short film “Luxo Jr.” It was John Lasseter’s official directorial debut, and became the first 3D computer animated film to be nominated for an Oscar, in the category of Best Short Film (Animated).
With that, “Luxo Jr.” became an integral part of the Pixar branding, serving as the mascot and appearing in Pixar’s production logo at the beginning and end of each film. You’ll likely know what happens if you’ve seen a Pixar film — Luxo Jr....
National Theatre, London, designed in 1974 by Ian Dennis while at FHK Henrion’s London studio. The slight tweak of the stencil to combine the N and T is a lovely visual trick that stood the test of time.
Canada Snowboard, designed in 2017 by Hulse & Durrell. So simple — turn the Canadian maple leaf upside down to form a snow-covered peak, and enclose it in a black diamond to represent “the most badass run on the mountain.”
Amnesty International, by the late Amnesty member and artist Diana Redhouse. Barbed wire for hopelessness, countered by the burning candle for hope. An ideal representation of what the brand is about.
Although the focus is on Cruz Novillo’s logos, he found recognition in a varied career as an artist, sculptor, graphic designer, publisher, and illustrator. Born José María Cruz Novillo in Cuenca, central Spain, in 1936, Cruz Novillo first studied law before, in 1957, beginning a career as a cartoonist at Clarín Advertising in Madrid.
Shortly after, he would begin to work in the field of industrial design at SEDI, years later promoting one of the first Spanish magazines that specialised in design, ‘Temas de Diseño’, whose editor was the architect Miguel Durán Lóriga. In 1963 he was selected to form part of the team of artists for the Pavilion of Spain at the world fair in New York. By 1965 he had reached the level of creative director and abandoned Clarín, opening his own design studio, where he created the corporate identities of many of Spain’s national institutions and companies.
His work is now so ubiquitous that it has become part of the fabric of visual culture in his native Spain. He was responsible for the identities of many public services including the post office (Correos), national police (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia), railway system (Renfe), and even the Peseta banknotes.
The client name, Felix Trolldenier, was unusual. What seemed to him like a disadvantage, seemed to the designers at Pacifica to give added value. They abbreviated the name and used typography as a figurative element, giving it personality and expression. “A logo that is reactive, moody and charismatic. From the use of motion capture technology, it was possible to replicate actual movements and link them to the typography used in the identity, approaching the performance of an actor to a character. In studio and through a set of high-resolution infrared cameras, we recorded and and incorporated in the logo a series of actual behaviours, impossible to replicate in any other way.”Gund
Moonpig logo, before and after.
Personalised gift and greetings card retailer Moonpig was launched in 2000 by Nick Jenkins, who later sold the company for £120 million. The Jetson-like “space pig” mascot had been in place since the beginning, but it’s now been replaced by a more contemporary wordmark and identity.
There’s a lot I like about the rebrand — the bespoke type design, the tone of voice, the snout icon, palette, even having a bit of fun with the logo launch.
“‘My 6 year old could have done a better job of your new logo.’ Have you seen our new Creative Director?”
“We worked extensively with British based type company F37 Foundry to create and develop a bespoke type family that would play a key role in Moonpig’s new brand identity. Both companies worked together...
Signs.com took 156 Americans between the ages of 20 and 70, and gave them half an hour to draw 10 well-known logos from memory, uncovering how accurately we can remember the features and colours of the symbols we’re surrounded by.
The remainder are on Branded in Memory, from Signs.com.
Aside from the fact that there surely must’ve been a few graphic designers among the 156 participants, you’ll hardly be surprised that the logos with the most accurate recreations...
Unsurprisingly, public responses were typical of a logo presented in isolation, and the Belfast Telegraph ran an equally typical tabloid-styled response.
Followed by this on the same day…
New Belfast logo: our graphic designer came up with these (for free) on his tea break. I’m not so sure of their “edgy and eclectic” nature (below).
A few days later, McCadden’s managing director Glenn Stewart said, unsurprisingly, it was disappointing that a single version of the logo was put into the public domain before a more informative launch could take place.
The design firm are billing around £45,000, with the fee including web work, brand guidelines, and a continuing advisory role over identity application — aspects that are often (conveniently) overlooked in media reports on new logos.
“I can genuinely tell you that in terms of how we would bill ourselves out, we have gone well over budget. We can’t charge for all the time we have spent on it.
“It’s not a big money spinner...
Semiotics is the study of signs and significations, and as graphic designers we create visual signs (dubbed in the book as “FireSigns”) that are meant to elicit a certain effect in the mind.
From the preface:
“A sign of fire: smoke over a tree line, a charred smell in the air, a glow over the meadow at night far from the city. But there is also this: a petroglyph scratched into a rock in New Mexico, a graphic emblem on a grill starter, a warning label on a fuel truck. Or metaphorically further: a website that excites you, a poster that enflames the imagination, and advertisement that really makes you want to buy that dress, a book whose typography and composition so ennoble its contents that you display it in your entryway. This kind of fire sign is a piece of graphic communication that stirs heat in your soul. That’s the kind of fire sign this book is about: something in a visual display that ignites memory, intellect, engagement. How does this happen?”
The author has spent 25 years among people from two professions — graphic design and semiology. Designers manipulate visual elements in order to prompt a response, and semioticians study how things are able to influence people. The books content is much broader than logos, and is heavily theoretical rather than practical,...
According to Pavel Zelenka, partner at Studio Marvil, the official name is nearly impossible to remember, even for native Czech speakers, so the designers aimed for a simple symbol that was easy to recall. It’s based on the letter Ž for Železniční (“railway” in English), and symbolises railway lines linked by a track switch.
“We wanted to use a high contrast colour scheme. Deep blue is traditionally associated with railways in Czechia, and orange was a rational choice because it is not used by companies operating on Czech railroads. Cyan was added to expand the palette for web, animation and corporate clothing.”
Typography from the Styrene Collection by Commercial Type.
The SŽDC train livery that’s being replaced.
The new identity is currently being rolled out on print collateral and train livery, but is yet to appear on the SŽDC website.
Fantastic work, and a mark to last a lifetime.
Circles that form a stylised bunch of grapes isn’t new, but when the name of the brand begins with a ‘w’, and when the aim is to balance the tradition associated with Rothschild wines with a more modern approach to the wine business, the grape-like monogram is an ideal fit.
Packaging was created for Château Lafite and Château Mouton Rothschild, with each bottle wrapped in distinctive vintage maps of the respective vineyards.
A set of A5 cards was also designed, for printing on thick cotton stock with the logo punched out so it can be read on both sides.
View more from the Paul Belford team.
A snippet’s transcribed below (edited slightly because I’ve never been great at speaking while thinking).How do you get higher-paying design clients?
“It comes down to trust. That’s not a new thing when clients get to a certain size — even the smallest clients are right to be cautious before hiring you. Any time you spend a hefty amount of money on something, before you receive what you’re paying for, you do your research on the seller. Design clients do the same. More so when they’re spending tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“Always expect your potential clients to see every detail there is about you online. They’re highly unlikely to see it all, but you’ve got to show that you’re a professional, and be consistent about it, for years.
“Growing my business has been a gradual thing, and if you happen to land a multinational in the first couple of years, you’re doing better than I did. It was about three years in when Yellow Pages emailed me out of the blue, so there was probably an element of luck in how they actually found my portfolio. The company’s brand manager paid an interest in the design posts I was publishing, and liked how I showed my sketches. I quoted them a single figure for the project, meaning their choice to hire me was either a yes or a no, but today when I send a quote I generally include three price options, so instead of...