Michael Austin Designs Logo Design Critique Logo

Michael Austin Designs Logo Design Critique

Mike submitted this logo redesign for his design company. He had the following to say about his new logo,

“This is my revision to my previous logo. I wanted to add more of an an artistic flair to the design. My initials are used to create mountain bringing a strong presence to the logo. The mountains are drawn with a paint brush effect. The font I used is BigNoodleTitling,this font is “firm”, but not overbearing to the overall logo.”

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 or two in the critique, please share your perspective in the comments at the end of this logo design critique.

Design Principals

The redesigned logo for Mike’s company is certainly an improvement over the old. The old logo felt disjointed and amateur, while the redesign feels more current and balanced. The repetition created by the alternating colors of the logo creates balance, although the red really brings ‘Austin’ to the foreground. Have you tried ‘Michael Austin’ as one color and the remaining elements in an alternate color in order to give your name a more unified look? You could also consider deemphasizing the word ‘design’ even further to bring out your name.

Functionality / Versatility

The logo is functional and versatile. It is clear that Mike has thought through how to use his new mark on both light and dark backgrounds. This mark will also work in one color and should scale well.

Does the Logo Work for the Audience?

The new logo feels very much like an outdoors company. The North Face and REI are the first two that come to mind. This is a little troubling since your company is doing design. Maybe you live in a mountainous area and this makes sense for you company, but with the details I have, the logo doesn’t communicate design well. Meaning, with a quick glance your logo could look like some kind of outdoors company as opposed to a design company.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

What was your impression when you first saw the logo? What kind of company did you think the logo represented?


Incorporating your initials into a shape representing a mountain is unique, but I am lost as to the ‘why’ a mountain (see #3 in 10 Mistakes Designers Can Make When Designing Logos). It took me a while to see that the mountain was made up of your initials. Actually, I didn’t see it until I read your description the second time. If you stick with this idea I would suggest reworking the graphic to make a stronger reference to your initials in the mountain graphic. You could start by creating a small separation between the ‘m’ and ‘a’.


The typeface selection is modern and clean and compliments the mountain graphic appropriately. However the inconsistent letterspacing is bothersome. The word ‘design’ being the most problematic while the word ‘Michael’ looks good. I understand your were trying to create a ‘block’ of type where each line matched a certain width. Perhaps, you could consider making the letterspacing consistent in each word and the working out something else to create the ‘block’ look (i.e., maybe ornaments, or a containing shape).

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

Do you have any suggestions on how Mike could improve the typography in his logo?

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. Experiment with the color choices within the logo. Try making your name all one color and the remaining elements another.
  2. Revise the mountain ‘MA’ monogram to more clearly show your initials. Currently, it looks more like a mountain than your initials.
  3. Is the outdoors feel that your logo creates appropriate for your company and your audience? If not, consider tweaking the design to more clearly communicate the message you want to send.
  4. Adjust the letterspacing of ‘Michael Austin Design’ to make it more consistent.

Overall, I think you have a good start on the logo design. You have made some big improvements when compared to your previous logo. With some refinement you can definitely improve this version too. 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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We enjoy your comments

20 Comments so far. Keep 'em Coming.


By Julie Cajigas

05.11.2009 at 12:37 PM

Julie Cajigas Profile Image

I liked the logo and didn’t mind the “mountains.” Without reading anything, I was able to surmise that Michael owned a design firm, just by virtue of the logo consisting of his name and the word design predominantly (indeed exclusively) in the type.

To me mountains conjure the idea of strength, stability, ruggedness and climbing to the peak - “reaching the top.” I think if these kinds of words describe your firm or your work, the mark can really work for you. Is there a tagline that you can addend to the logo in some uses that brings these characteristics to light?

“Climbing to Creative Heights”
“Helping our Clients Scale The Creative Landscape”
“Reaching the Peak of Visual Communications”
“The Pinnacle of Creative Communications”

(you know, stuff like that wink )

If it can become a part of your branding overall, it will make sense and become more memorable to your clients.

I think there are a few options to help the mark make more sense with the typography:

1. Consider aligning the M and A of your name in a position where they echo the shapes in the mountain mark. Right now it’s hard to make a connection between the mark and the initials because the alignment doesn’t allow our eyes to make a shape relationship. (Of course changing that will change your typography significantly - which might have the added benefit of fixing the spacing issue).

2. Consider a similar font that makes a more direct relationship between the mountain shapes and the type. The M relates well, but the rounded A doesn’t.

3. Another way to help us make the relationship between your initials and the mark would be to bar the A in the mountains. A little unexpected, but it might produce a visually interesting result. I’d consider giving it a shot.

4. The spacing doesn’t bother me as much as it does the poster, but I think it’s especially problematic because it’s not that far from aligning. The last four letters almost align with the text above. I would definitely work on it. Too bad your business name isn’t “Michael Austin Design.” That would be much easier to space wink.

All in all, I agree that this is a strong concept and if you stuck with it as-is, would be a pretty good logo. I do think you can play a little bit more with the mark/type relationship to get some even better results.

Sorry for the long winded critique! smile


By Tim Schmidt

05.11.2009 at 05:48 PM

Tim Schmidt Profile Image

Hey Michael-

At first glance, I like it. Very strong and recognizable. But it struck me right away as an “outdoor adventure” company. That’s not a bad thing, but if you’re in New York City (vs. Denver) it might not feel appropriate or comfortable to your client base.

I agree with Julie C. on selecting a different font that uses sharp angles for the “M” and “A”. And maybe do something handwritten with the word “designs”.

Also, very nit-picky here, I feel the mountains need to lean ever-so-slightly to the right. Just a slight skew. It feels “left heavy”.

Good luck!


By Michael austin

05.12.2009 at 07:46 PM

Michael austin Profile Image

Thanks everyone for taking the time to help
me out with my logo. I took everything said here
and redesigned my logo. I does look like an outdoorish

This is what I came up with.


By Tim Schmidt

05.13.2009 at 01:50 AM

Tim Schmidt Profile Image

I like it alot. Strong, contemporary, and cool. You have a great new symbol (the intersecting M and A) that you can do alot with by itself. Nice work.


By Julie Cajigas

05.20.2009 at 02:04 AM

Julie Cajigas Profile Image

I like the new logo a lot - the only thing I miss is the organic look of the M & A in the original. Can you recapture the organic feeling to offset the very clean geometric look of the type and the line on the outside?

Otherwise, I think the redesign is generally a lot stronger than the original.



By Alejandro Diaz

05.27.2009 at 03:19 PM

Alejandro Diaz Profile Image

Love the inmprovement you made to the previously submitted logo. The M & A wordmark looked a little dated, from early 1990s.
Regarding your latest entry, good color choice. I like the constructivist feeling you added to it. It is always a good thing to see some graphic design history background in a designer’s work. The only thing I would take care of would be the consistency in stroke weights for each letter. I think it’d be great to see the same stroke weight on letters H, A, E, L, T so they won’t look like they had been stretched arbitrarily.

Saludos from Guadalajara, Mexico!!


By organizein

06.02.2014 at 01:40 AM

organizein Profile Image

For recognition of any company, is logo becomes a crucial visual advert in order to permeate through the brains of your customer and register your brand in it. And when it comes to a logo of a company which designs logos, the artistic approach becomes complex. This new logo do looks good.


By Ely

04.25.2020 at 03:33 PM

Ely Profile Image

The redesigned logo is awesome Michael. Nowadays, you can design this kind of logo easily. You don’t need to learn how to use computer without Keyboard in Windows 10 using onscreen keyboard. All you need is Canva.


By Mike

05.07.2020 at 05:48 PM

Mike Profile Image

Love this logo, great job!!!
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05.31.2021 at 06:58 AM

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Revise the mountain ‘MA’ monogram to more clearly show your initials. Currently, it looks more like a mountain than your initials. Oracle 1z0-819 Exam


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