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...