In Progress: Logo Design
~ 29 March 2006 ~
With a bit of luck and good fortune, I’ve found myself working alongside rockstar Jason Santa Maria on the revival of a newspaper more than 200 years old, the National Gazette.
First, a bit of background on the National Gazette:
The original newspaper from the 1790s was sponsored by Thomas Jefferson and ran semiweekly to fight back against the Federalist Party. The paper inadvertently helped create the modern political party by forming an infrastructure based off the paper’s circulation.
The rebirth of the National Gazette this time will be in website form and will attempt to take a more non-partisan voice to politics.
First up? The logo. Here’s a scan of the original paper:
Jason and I decided we’d each do our own take on a refreshed identity to give the team a couple of options for comparison. Of course, one approach would be to recreate the original logo with exact detail. Digitizing the original logo wouldn’t be overly challenging. But that approach presents two problems: 1) It doesn’t provide a full character set for creating sister logos down the road (which is likely), and 2) it doesn’t address the fact that the paper will be revived in a political, economic, and social climate much different than that of 200 years ago.
The most obvious choice for the initial draft was blackletter type. Now, I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of using blackletter typefaces, given most of my work is web-based. But this project undoubtedly warranted its use. After a lengthy search, I settled on Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch as a worthy candidate. It had a refined look that could appeal to a broad spectrum of political aficionados.
The logo set in Wilhelm:
I don’t know about you, but that ‘N’ bugged me from the start. Everything else was perfect. So off I went to rework the N. The patented formula used to redraw the N went something like this:
- Use the basic shape from the original Wilhelm ‘N’
- Combine with the lowercase ‘w’ character from Nat Vignette One to recreate some of the flowing lines in the original 18th century logo
- Toss in a bit of spit & polish
- Finesse until satisficed
Insert finished custom N, add a curl to the ‘l’ reminiscent of the original logo, drop in some shadowing, and thar she blows:
Almost done. I figured I go one step further and examine a few additional type options, given the target market of this rebirthed edition will be a younger demographic (college age or so). Worried a blackletter typeface might not appeal to all, I drafted a few versions using the custom N as a logo mark, with the text set in more contemporary typefaces: TV Nord Condensed, Kartago Regular, and Trajan Pro Bold:
Overall, I was pleased with both the blackletter and contemporary versions as being suitable updates for a logo of historical importance.
And that about sums things up. But enough about my logo. Head on over to Jason’s site to read about “Guzzy” and the exquisite work Jason did for his logo.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.
Authentic Boredom is the platitudinous web home of Cameron Moll, freelance new media designer, author, and speaker. More…
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