Subscribe to the Blog with or | Post Updated: January 6th, 2012 | 1st Posted: July 24, 2009
Posted by: Graham Smith in Categories: Brand Identity, helvetica, Logo Process, Portfolio
Many people know of my fascination for Helvetica, so using Helvetica for my own logo seemed quite a logical move.
The imjustcreative Logo
When I first started doing ideas for the imjustcreative logo redesign, plenty were done with Helvetica. Ultimately I felt a little conscious about doing my own logo in Helvetica, and although they looked neat, something stopped me from going all the way.
I should not have second guessed myself the first re-design, but I did. We all have the ability to learn from our mistakes. It's pretty hard to admit, that as a logo designer, that you created a pile of poo. But a pile of poo I did make.
You either dig in and refuse to accept you made a mistake, or you accept the shortcomings this time round, and admit it and do something about it.
Watching the Helvetica Documentary also gave me the extra confidence boost to use Helvetica for my own logo, and rather happy I am with it.
I shall just run-down through the minor adjustments I made to the typeface to make it more unique.
Default Helvetica Neue
This is the raw untarnished Helvetica Neue Heavy 85. Notice how open the default letter spacing is. A throwback to the good old days. Helvetica was designed to be set open, but this just looks wrong to me. I either like wide open spacing, or very tightly spaced. Not this middle ground.
This is more like it. Already it's looking totally different. Helvetica has such a varied personality and can be tinkered with more than any other typeface I know of. I adjusted kerning and tracking to suit my own needs. Every letter overlapping just a tiny bit. The exceptions being the straight letters, 'i', 'm' and 'j'. Here I decided to leave a narrow gap.
Now I see big ugly gaps between the dots on the 'i' and 'j'. Being wider than the 'i', 'm' and 'j' pairing. So now we need more tweaking.
Now a close-up. I have included some Illustrator guides to show you some of the default Helvetica styling that I don't like much. The dot on the 'i' reaches higher than the 't', and this is not on. Personal preference of course, but this has to change for my logo.
After my Helvetica bastardization. The blue indicates the original style, the black indicates the new, much improved Helvetica. Reduced the depth of the 'dot'. Reduced the height of the letter 't' and brought this to align with the 'dot'. This creates a more compact look.
Now some further refinements. The blue indicates the spacing changes I made. The distance between the 'i' and 'm' now matches the space between the verticals and the dot on the 'i'. I carried this refinement to the letters 'i, m, j and u'. Minor tweaks, but important for me.
Just look a the beautiful symmetry of white space between the top of the 'm and j' and the bottom of the 'j and u'. Sexy. It's details like this that make Helvetica the undisputed font of 'wise' designers.
Here you can see the overall changes, the blue being the original Helvetica, with the Black being my 'improved' version for my own use. All quite subtle, but to me important to achieve a more personal style.
I get the odd remark asking me why I don't have a separate logomark. It was a conscious decision from the start. One of the reasons is I wanted my own logo to reflect my passion for all things simple and typographic, but with attention to detail and subtleties. For me the logo works perfectly for my needs, it's recognizable, bold, clean and appropriate for it's intended use.
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