Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video A logo makeover: Part one, part of Graphic Design Tips & Tricks Weekly.
- Hi, everyone, John McWade. Viewer John Robinson of Butteredlime Photographics sent his logo asking for feedback and what intrigued me was not his design, but his name, Butteredlime, it's like, what's that? There's a story behind it. Apparently it involved a party when he was a student, that's as far as he'd go, but what I like about it is that it's unusual and it's intriguing. He has a graphic on the left.
It's an ambiguous image in an odd shape. Next to it are two long lines of type that are very plain and all of it has been worked into one big thing. What I'd like to do is leave this as intact as I can and instead of a different concept, show him how to get more out of what he's done, improve the type, improve the graphic, improve their interaction. We'll do the type this time, graphic next time. The typeface he's chosen is ITC Avant Garde. Avant Garde is unusual in that it's made almost entirely of perfectly straight lines and perfectly round circles.
It's been an influential typeface. It was designed in the 1960s by Herb Lubalin. If there's a typography hall of fame, Mr. Lubalin will be a charter member. It was designed, though, not as a typeface, but as the nameplate on the 1968 magazine Avant Garde. I'd like to look at this for a minute because it's instructive. One, it's totally cool. All uppercase, sharp angles, and what I really want you to see is how tightly it's set.
All of the characters are interacting in some way. The A-V-A are in each other's space. The N helps create the T. The G and A share a crossbar that's the same height as the center bar of the R. And the R-D-E are letters that have no natural connection but do here because they overlap. The space between the lines is as tight as the space between the letters and even that red and yellow number one interacts with the name.
This setting was so popular that the decision was made to expand the style into a full alphabet, including lowercase and release it as a complete typeface called Avant Garde. Because it's all circles and straight lines, it can be pretty hard to read. That's because all the letters basically look alike, so Avant Garde always works best in small amounts, in short settings like the original, and it's best if you use it big. It makes terrible text, terrible, one of the hardest to read typefaces in text.
Butteredlime Photographics, is way long. Butteredlime in lowercase, Photographics in upper, this is not ideal for Avant Garde. The words are separated by color alone. These are nice butter and lime colors. The yellow's a little intense, not much difference in color value, though. Generally, if you're using only color to separate things, you want more contrast, but it's okay. It's very plain, though, and that's because it's just been typed.
This is the default spacing, like book type, and it doesn't take advantage of Avant Garde's, I'll call it unique superpower, and that's the interaction of those perfect circles and straight lines. So let's reset it. I'm gonna make it slightly boulder, Avant Garde Medium instead of Avant Garde Book, mainly to match that Avant Garde nameplate. Once you've typed it normally, you then get really tight. The Ts are overlapping, the E-D is overlapping, there's a sliver of space between some of the other characters.
This is why it needs to be big but now it's getting some shape and some intensity. Drop Lime to the next line, and look for logical points of alignment. There isn't always one, but there is here, fairly common with Avant Garde because of all those straight lines. And tighten the line so the line spacing is the same as the letter spacing. In this case, to do that, I had to rid of the dot over the I, which works. We can leave the colors like this. Because we're in two different lines, we don't have to, so I'm coloring this with a little butter and lime gradient.
And I like this, it tones down that yellow and it makes the two words feel like one thing. Now just add Photographics, also in lowercase. It's weight is extra light for contrast. And colored gray so it recedes and the name remains primary. And there ya go! That's how you set Avant Garde. Just a few characters, make 'em big, make 'em super tight, both the characters and the lines, you want everyone rubbing elbows, interacting, working together, and that's your design for today.
We'll do the logo next time. See ya then.
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