Automagical Logo Design Critique 12

Jul 13, 2009 / Erik Peterson
Automagical Logo Design Critique Logo

Automagical Logo Design Critique

Jacob submitted this logo for his design portfolio and freelance work website. He left the following comment about the logo.

“Since the web design I do focuses on standards compliant and simple but beautiful designs, I want a logo that represents the kind of work I do. My design philosophy is ‘Less is more’ and I tend to stay away from flashy trends with too many elements. I'm hoping that this logo helps convey some of that. I choose black for that reason, although I may experiment with other color options. The top hat icon was chosen to represent how design can often be a ‘magical process’ (automagical, if you will) with inspiration coming from anywhere. I appreciate any feedback and thank you!”

The following critique is based on one designer’s opinion and experience. I always appreciate the readers thoughts as well. So, I’ll ask a question of two in the critique, please share your perspective in the comments at the end of this logo design critique.

Design Principals

To be honest, I looked at the logo several times before reading Jacob’s commentary and never once saw the top hat. What I did see was a bed (from above), but definitely not a top hat. It seems the context makes it tough to recognize the top hat (upside down and without dimension). Perhaps the name ‘automagical’ is somewhat at fault. The two words aren’t a natural fit and the word ‘auto’ stands out and leads the mind down a path of trying to relate the unrecognizable icon to the auto industry. For me, the top hat needs to be immediately recognizable in order to start making sense of what is being communicated with the mark. I wonder about the word ‘auto’ though, why did you choose to use it in conjunction with the word ‘magical’? You explained where ‘magical’ came from, but not ‘auto’. Is there a deeper meaning that can be conveyed in the logo? Don’t get me wrong, the less is more philosophy is a good one, but the viewer still needs to be able understand the mark and make some educated guesses about what the company may do.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

What did you see when you first saw this logo? Did you know what type of business the logo was for?

Functionality / Versatility

A one color logo in black is about as functional and versatile as you can get. It should work well across all mediums.

Does the Logo Work for the Audience?

As part of the creative community we get to take a bit more liberty with our business names, but you also have to weigh the consequences of an unintuitive name. I actually think that Jacob would be better off to remove the top hat from the mark if he chooses to keep the current name. It sticks to his less is more philosophy and may create less uncertainty over the interpretation of the mark.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

Do you think this logo works for Jacob’s audience?

Typography

I like your typeface choice, it’s modern and unique. The curves in serifs depict a friendly and approachable feel. However, the kerning needs work. Notice how close the ‘g’ and ‘i’ are with the large gap between the ‘i’ and ‘c’. Overall, great typeface choice just refine the kerning a bit and you’ll be all set.

Possible Improvements

Designing a logo for yourself or own business is one of the hardest logo designs you’ll ever work on. So what is the best way to improve the logo? Well I think have made some comments above that can certainly offer some direction. Here’s a list of actionable items.

  1. Consider removing the icon of the top hat completely. It may be creating more questions that answers for the viewer.
  2. If you decide to keep the top hat icon, improve it so it is immediately recognizable. Perhaps some dimension and turning it right side up could help.
  3. Adjust the kerning of the word ‘automagical’.
  4. Contemplate the business name. Is it really right for you and work? Does it work for your audience?

Overall, I think you have a good start on the logo design. And with some refinement you can definitely improve it. Please know that my intention in critiquing your work is not to hurt feelings, but to offer constructive feedback. I hope it was helpful. Best of luck, to you!

I appreciate and welcome your comments, and look forward to hearing from you soon. I purposely don’t cover every possible improvement that can be made to this logo, so go for it if you think I missed anything. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and appropriate.

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12 Comments so far. Keep 'em Coming.

#1

By Holly

07.13.2009 at 01:09 PM

Holly Profile Image

When I first daw the logo, right away I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, although when I read the word automagical I did think maybe it was a top hat, but as a viewer I still wasn’t completely sure if that’s what it was. Maybe ad bunny ears coming out of the top? or a magic wand coming to tap on the hat? and make the brim a bit longer. These are just suggestions. I disagree with Erik about turning the top hat the other way, when I think of a top hat in conjunction with a magician I think of it turned upside down so that he can pull something out. The word auto does make me think cars a bit, but I think if the mark is more obviously a top hat with maybe another element to tie it together, then we can handle “auto”. I do like the initial concept though. Just work it around a bit more

#2

By Sarah Camp

07.13.2009 at 01:10 PM

Sarah Camp Profile Image

In the web development industry the phrase “Automagically” is tossed around a lot. This is usually in place of the word “automatically” and used to explain something that the writer might not want to give away in detail to the reader. I think this is the phrase he was trying to use here, although it doesn’t make quite as much sense since there isn’t such a word as “automatical” for the word to parallel, which is why you think of automobiles first (in fact, there is a website called automagic.com which is for autos).

That being said, I saw the top hat before I saw anything else when I looked at the logo. However, I agree that it doesn’t really work. Just having the word would work out better.

Also, unless his audience is actually web developers / designers who know the term, I don’t think it would work. If he is trying to appeal to the common client, I don’t think they will get it, since the logo is out of context.

#3

By Steve Manatt

07.13.2009 at 01:11 PM

Steve Manatt Profile Image

I saw the tophat only after looking at the name of the company and associating the term “magic” with the logo.  That being said, I think it is clever and I personally like the “ah-ha” moment when I figure it out, but I know that isn’t ideal for a logo.

It might help if the text was above the logo, to one side and angled a bit like a magician’s baton. (if you use this idea - some credit please)  This might help get the name out there first and help with association.

At any rate - nice work and I wouldn’t change a thing!

#4

By Larkef

07.13.2009 at 01:18 PM

Larkef Profile Image

I did recognise the top hat right away. It looks really nice, however, it may be a tad too abstract. Also, it felt a bit huge and unbalancing next to the name.

Nice name and nice font. Perhaps bold would suit better with the black logo?

Good luck!

#5

By JohnnyRod

07.13.2009 at 02:48 PM

JohnnyRod Profile Image

I also recognized the top hat initially. I understood it being inverted to play on the magician’s hat idea.

However, I don’t feel the symbol and the name are integrated well. I don’t see the rationale for alignment (I understand its to x-height, but why?). To me they seem oddly placed in relation to one another.

Another issue I have, is the harsh, almost pixel-like rendering of the hat versus the light-hearted and playful typography. I understand they contrast in that regard, but contrast for contrast’s sake is not effective.

I do like the type choice, though. Simple, clean, not too serious… nice choice. I don’t mind the all-black either, but wouldn’t mind it if it had some color. Even perhaps bringing in a slightly lighter grey shade might help give it some depth.

I’d suggest rendering the top hat with those themes in mind. Add a bit more character to the hat, likely rounding the corners. Give it some life and interest, not whimsical but a little down that path. Lastly, take the new rendering and arrange it better with the type. Think how they relate to one another, and why.

#6

By Jacob

07.13.2009 at 04:30 PM

Jacob Profile Image

Thanks for the critique and suggestions. I agree, designing a logo for oneself is the most difficult design job. There are a lot of helpful comments here so thanks for those! I’ll keep playing with it.

#7

By Erik Peterson

07.13.2009 at 05:15 PM

Erik Peterson Profile Image

@holly you make a great point about the hat being upside-down and like the concept of bunny ears coming out the top. That would definitely help to communicate the concept of “magic” much more quickly.

@sarah thanks for further explaining “automagically” smile I appreciate your thoughts on the name also.

@johnnyRod good observation on the contrast issue, I agree.

@jacob let us know when you complete your revisions. I’d love the chance to show it to the readers.

#8

By Fbanczak

07.14.2009 at 01:23 PM

Fbanczak Profile Image

Jacob,
I agree with much of the comments above but my biggest concern is the name & context around your logo. I’m a graphic designer from NJ and though I don’t do web design, I know people who do and I’ve never heard the term “automagically.”

In fact, when I first looked at your logo, before reading the description, I took the top hat literally to mean that you were branding yourself as a magician or some sort of performer. I would never have thought web design unless someone told me. Because of that, I would feel like you need to incorporate something like a mouse or an arrow/click symbol in your logo rather than the top hat. Perhaps your logo should look like a hyperlink that says Automagical and have an arrow near it as if you were navigating to your web design site.

Overall, I really like the typography, it’s modern and clean which is exactly what I would expect for a web designer who is particular about designing simple and effective sites. It almost even looks like a cleaned-up, more modern Courier with less accentuated serifs. I would just work on the name or the icon to convey a sense of web design otherwise it may be lost on your audience.

#9

By freelance project

09.19.2009 at 09:39 AM

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I think many clients are cognizant of extra demands that they might occasionally place on you, especially if you already have a business relationship with them. In my experience, they are willing to increase compensation for jobs that need to be done quickly, or are outside the scope of what they normally ask for.

#10

By Pimps Out

03.03.2010 at 07:21 AM

Pimps Out Profile Image

In my experience, they are willing to increase compensation for jobs that need to be done quickly, or are outside the scope of what they normally ask for.

#11

By blogger

12.17.2010 at 03:53 PM

blogger Profile Image

I planned to do web design projects at my own. I need to interact with the customer & need to collect requirements from them and I will design web pages for them. Please help me to make it well.

#12

By Latisha

04.10.2011 at 05:25 PM

Latisha Profile Image

zMjfgc I’m not easily impressed. . . but that’s impressing me! smile


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