I was recently commissioned by a best selling author to design a logo for their publishing imprint 'No Way Back Press’. They were a big fan of my logo work and in the absence of a detailed written brief we discussed how great the Penguin logo was and this classic identity became the benchmark.
After considering the name 'No Way Back Press' it occurred to me that the words Back Press might not be a good combination. Could it sound like something an Osteopath might use? I suggested No Way Back Publishing instead but unfortunately Press was already registered. Grrrr. Going forward we agreed the word Press should be smaller or separated from the word Back. A simple, common sense solution.
As usual I started with some basic sketches on my notepad. Often I’m sketching in between other jobs, as ideas pop into my head, which can happen at any time of the day. My sketches are embryonic and often they only make sense to me. It’s a great way to get ideas down quickly and edit what might work and what doesn’t.
The two concepts which worked best were then rendered in illustrator and put into a presentation with my rationale and examples of the logo in situ.
Client feedback was initially super encouraging.
'I have to say with regards route one, it’s clever and it looks sharp. Dare I say it’s quirky and ‘modern’. I think the serif font is perfect. On page 8, which shows the logo against a white background and black background, it looks great. Clean, fresh’
And then came the but.
'The backwards K is distracting, can you turn the K around? I’m a fan of less is more’.
Normally I’m happy to acquiesce or find a middle ground but on this occasion I felt this identity was so strong it was worth defending. I wrote a polite and non-ranty email pointing out that the reversed K makes it eye-catching which is attractive on the spine of a book and if we change the K around then it becomes quite plain and less thoughtful. I then went on to say this identity gives your imprint a sophisticated distinction. The backward K could also work as an instantly recognisable icon on it’s own.
To illustrate this I sent a couple of examples within a revised presentation.
I asked if anybody else had seen the designs and what did they think. The client replied that two people thought it was cool, clever, eye-catching and a third thought it might be a typographic error.
Sadly, that was enough to kill it and the final logo was the words typed out in a simple sans serif font.
I should add that there are many instances where type only logos are absolutely right but with such an evocative name it felt like a missed opportunity. It's also worth noting there was no fall out over this, the client really appreciated me fighting my corner and ultimately he's delighted with the final logo.
So all's well that ends well. Nobody died. Well, except my logo!
Footnote. Route 2 was dismissed as too literal an interpretation of the business name and American audiences might be confused by the sign. I didn't think it was worth pointing out that I'd referenced a US sign in the design. You've got to pick your battles and all that.