Graphic Design Flashback

For no particularly good reason, I was trolling through the archive.org library of former incarnations of Scalzi.com when I found this former logo for the site, which I rather quite like:

This one’s from 2000 or so, just in case any of you think my penchant for procrastinatory Photoshoppery is somehow a new enthusiasm. From a design point of view this logo is not 100% baked (for example, one small problem: the lower limb of the “C” in “com” is not flush with the feet of the “o” or “m”), but I like the concept of the logo. There are days I wish I was actually more adept as a visual artist than I am (which is to say: not very), but I expect if I was any better, I spend all my time visually fiddling with the site, and never doing any actual writing. Which is, you know. Not what people come here for.

20 Comments on “Graphic Design Flashback”

  1. Based on my observations you get good at what you love most. We would all like to be renisance people but there simply isn’t enough time in a life for most of us to do this. I wish I could write and play guitar or piano. But for what ever reasons, I suspect it is passion for them or rather the lack of, I have never taken the time to learn to do them. I have a keyboard that collects dust. Ah but I can draw, throw pottery on a potters wheel and I can blow glass. All skills that many people wish they had. But they don’t invest the time to learn to do them. As for the C in com not lining up with the rest of the word, it is an illusion. I saved it and opened it in paint and the m is actually a pixel or two high and or the o is low. Who cares it looks pretty nice to me.

  2. I’m reading that as ComScalzi, which doesn’t make too much sense. It just doesn’t work that the second word should start to the left of the first.

    Visually striking, just confusing. If I were going to play with it, I’d have do something like sCalzi and use the one large C for both Scalzi and com. and fit a dot in there somewhere.

  3. Of course you know: Having your website’s logo include a green crescent will definitely qualify you for the no-fly list?

  4. Heh. I redesigned my site over the weekend, and one of the most jarring things was what to put where the logo should be. There was a huge, gaping space there for the… ooh, whole hours of web development… without so much as a vague suggestion of what should go in there.

    What typography would best represent ‘me’? What image from my collection of stock images could convey the necessary feel… that all important ‘je sais quois’ that would have everyone who came to the site in no doubt that they were looking at my website? What was the One True Font that would say everything I wanted, from professionalism to hopes and dreams, to making that personal connection in the hearts of new readers?

    What graphical style would speak to modern sensibilities, without being a mere dispensable shell of Web 2.0 Photoshop filters and yesterday’s traditions? Gradients? Drop shadows? Oooh. How about a nice post-modern smiley face, as part of a deep ironic joke?

    Then I realised I was overthinking it by a factor of five billion, and put in some joke headers instead. Much easier, especially around 3AM.

  5. Ditto Andrew

    It’s visually compelling, but when artistry adds confusion to the message it’s counterproductive. I know that people that value appearance over clarity will disagree with me, but that’s the crucial value differential. In my opinion, true genius is revealed in the ability to present complex or difficult messages in simple or easily understood presentations. Lawyers and CPAs, that can glass over their clients eyes in the first few minutes of a meeting, are a dime a dozen. The ones that can analyze the clients situation and translate it to the client in simple understandable terms has a well beaten path to their office door.

    (full disclosure: I’m not a Lawyer or CPA. I’m an IT professional (consultant). I’ve made presentations to management that have been as clear and explanatory as I was capable of producing and that were superbly successful in securing a contract. Those same presentation materials proved to be utterly worthless when I tried to brief the people that would end up actually using the software. One of the major reasons I find this site interesting is Scalzi’s comments on ‘writing for an audience’ and ‘writing for a character’.

  6. I remember that logo from when I made up that framed picture of “Whatever Past”, that I gave to you in Richmond last year. I rather liked that logo!

  7. And I have the “Whatever Past” collection over here on my bookshelf, actually. Thanks again, Christian.

  8. MarkHB @ 11:
    That’s pretty nice, has a “neon sign in a smoky lounge or bar” feel to it that I like. However, reading it left to right it still feels: “C Scalzi” (Is this Athena’s little brother he named after the redoubtable Mr. Stross?)

    Having the first letter of the second word to the left of and at the same height or above the first word just doesn’t work.

  9. Agree with the ComScalzi thoughts. I think it works just fine if the “om” are omitted. The way the crescent and the c in Scalzi interact is striking.

  10. It’s Scalzi.com Up All Night, the late night radio version.

    Oh, Procter & Gamble called, they’d like to hand off all their crazy “demonology” commentators to you. they said they’d offer them at a nice price.

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