Salon HQ Logo Design Critique 28

Jul 30, 2009 / Erik Peterson
Salon HQ Logo Design Critique Logo

Salon HQ Logo Design Critique

Zoran submitted this logo for Salon HQ and left the following comment.

“Salon HQ is a new, worlds first, patented business building tool for aspirational Hair & Beauty businesses. It provides benchmarking and business comparison analytics for Hair salons and Beauty spas. Should be appropriately professional and original, but still slightly cool and a bit edgy.”

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 Principles

I like the boldness of the Salon HQ logo. The combination of red and grey evoke feelings of action and authority. I don’t understand the reason for ‘HQ’ running vertically and find it visually distracting. It also creates a somewhat playful appearance which isn’t appropriate for the logo. Is there a specific reason for the vertical text that I’m missing? There is something about the outlined grey text that triggers the image of a scissor icon in my mind. I know it’s not there, but I keep looking for it. Have you considered incorporating the the โ€œHQโ€ into the handle of a scissors? It seems an obvious solution, but it may interesting if done right. Lastly, I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I can see a head and body represented by the letters ‘HQ’. If it is intentional, the ‘why’ behind it is lost to me. Zoran, I’d love to hear a little more about your thought process on this mark.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

What’s your overall impression of the mark?

Functionality / Versatility

This mark will reproduce well. It’s actually 3 colors, but I’m not sure that’s necessary. The contrast between the two greys is minimal at best and tends to look more like an error than something done on purpose. Why not just make the tagline the grey as the letters for โ€œHQ’?

Does the Logo Work for the Audience?

The salon HQ logo has a modern and professional tone to it. I don’t get the ‘edgy’ feel that Zoran spoke of in his commentary. Nevertheless, I think the tone is appropriate, but pushing the playful side a little too much. Zoran, did you explore any concepts that portrayed elements of benchmarking or analytics?


As I mentioned before, I like the boldness of the mark and typography however, the tight kerning of the word ‘salon’ creates some awkward negative space that should be resolved. Redrawing the ‘s’ and ‘a’ to fit better with one another will solve the problem. When reworking the letters you may want to allow for a larger gap where the top of the ‘s’ and ‘a’ meet.

Salon HQ Typography

The choice to place ‘HQ’ vertically along with the typeface selection creates a playful feeling that doesn’t fit the business and messaging Zoran described. Perhaps, choosing a different typeface and rotating the letters will remedy the playful appearance.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

Do you have any strong opinions about the treatment of ‘HQ’ within the mark? Any particular direction you think Zoran should explore?

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. Resolve the awkward whitespace between the ‘s’ and ‘a’.
  2. Explore some other typefaces and placement for the ‘HQ’ part of the mark.
  3. Consider removing the 3rd color (on the tagline) and using the same grey as in ‘HQ’.

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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28 Comments so far. Keep 'em Coming.


By ngmcs8203

07.30.2009 at 04:52 PM

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Wasn’t there a movie with Adam Sandler where he was a stylist and named Zoran. Just a coincidence?

Logo: I think that the HQ needs to be redone. I was confused as well as to why it was there and looking like a stick figure. The overall logo is underwhelming to me.


By Fbanczak

07.30.2009 at 05:39 PM

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I feel like not enough time has been spent designing this logo. The spacing of Salon is bothersome to the eye and HQ as it’s presented reminds me of the symbol Prince uses. The red & gray is a nice palette but should be left to two colors. I think I had to read the tag-line a few times to begin to understand the vagueness. It would probably be better understood to say something more pointed and direct like “Beauty Industry Business Development & Consultation.” Overall the logo needs a little more time, creativity, and specificity to get it to meet your company’s needs.


By Derek Li

07.31.2009 at 01:26 AM

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I see what you’re saying about the vertical spacing. I get that it’s supposed to be a person, but I don’t think the allusion is necessary.  The little HQ/person character says more organic/hippie store than sophisticated salon.

And I definitely agree on the kerning.  Some of the letterforms are crashing together, but you weren’t able to do that with the ‘a’ and the ‘l’.  I just don’t think this typeface will work as is in the way you want to set it.  I saw the same thing as Erik did regarding the awkward white space between ‘s’ and ‘a’.  It’s a good example of the lack of symmetry that the typeface has, and perhaps a more geometric typeface is the place to start.


By ewadowsky

07.31.2009 at 02:33 AM

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My main comment about the logo is the HQ…usually, before I look at the name of the company the logo is being designed for, I look at the logo itself; I do so to make sure that I see if the logo itself tells me exactly what the company is. 

Upon first looking at the logo, I thought two things; firstly, I actually thought that the vertically typed ‘HQ’ was you cleverly using the letters ‘I’ and ‘Q’, as in ‘IQ’ flipped around to form a image of a body.  So that alone was a problem to me..

Also, the HQ has too much of a…curve…to it I guess.  It looks more appealing to a child than to a potential business person.

I think overall, you have a good start, but maybe just simplify it; turn the HQ to fit with ‘salon’...maybe just put them right next to each other and change the weight between the two words


By Dan Long

07.31.2009 at 09:44 PM

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I agree with you about the little whitespace between the S and the A. It is a little uncomfortable to look at. If you want the kerning so close together, I really would suggest using a font where the S and the A look more appealing right next to each other.

What does HQ stand for? Does it mean headquarters? If it means headquarters, then I really think you should use the whole word. I would suggest writing it beneath “salon” and leaving it in gray.

The tagline really should give the viewer information about what your business does, and it doesn’t.


By James Kurtz III

10.23.2009 at 01:04 PM

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Fix the space between the a and the l, it’s just a little sliver of white and it interrupts the solid form unnecessarily. Also, the HQ is not working at all. Delete it and start over. It looks like it was tacked on as an afterthought and is completely illegible.


By Swim Spas

01.25.2010 at 03:54 PM

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it mean headquarters? If it means headquarters, then I really think you should use the whole word. I would suggest writing it beneath “salon” and leaving it in gray.


By Healthy Aging

06.16.2010 at 06:10 PM

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I thought the HQ was like a standing person O_o


By Corey

01.04.2011 at 07:19 PM

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How has NOBODY mentioned the fact that there are too many typefaces??  Also, I do not agree with red being a good choice.  We are talking salons here, and with the application of red on that bold typeface it ends up making the logo look too powerful, and too “corporate-like”.  There is nothing serene about that combination of red and that typeface, nothing that makes one know it is “spa related”.


By Iflexion company

04.08.2011 at 09:20 AM

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Good review! As for me i think that combination of red and grey is great for this logo!


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