Thursday, December 16, 2010

Big-initial logo? Redesign it to work better. MBHB

Yesterday I discussed McDonnell Boehnen's red-bracket logo and ad design.  I mentioned that with rare exception, I'm philosophically opposed to all logos with large initials or marks that could potentially distract from the firm name. (Orrick's short name and beautifully balanced "O" is the only big-initial exception I can think of at the moment.)  That's personal preference, but I think you'll see my point if you see a direct comparison:

Here's the original logo.  
What grabs your attention?  Do you see the name?  With a glance, could you remember the firm name? If you looked away right now, could you find them online?

Below are two more versions of the same thing. They're the exact same width. They use the same components, just cut into pieces and rearranged, with changed proportions.

Look at all three simultaneously on your monitor. 
Do you see  any differences?  They make very different statements.

Of course, I do not pretend to know the firm's strategy or goals, this is just to show a couple variations.  Perhaps they are intending to try to brand the firm around the initials which they use as their website domain name.  Or maybe they have found that McDonnell is often mistaken for "McDonald," and that Boehnen can be challenging to spell.

Regardless, it's just an idea.  What do you think?


  1. It looks derivative of (RED), the HIV charity championed by Sting.

  2. Hey, you're right. Not much risk of confusion there though... ;-)

    I'm not actually ADVOCATING that they make the change, though, just trying to demonstrate how much more noticeable the firm's street name becomes when the elements are prioritized differently. I want firms to push back more when designers suggest things that, while attractive, might not achieve the firm's goals quite as much.

    In this case, I think the initials in the brackets are beautifully designed, but I wouldn't have selected that version because the firm's name doesn't "pop" quite enough for me.

    Thanks for your comment. Good point.