Wednesday, March 25, 2009
My Two Cents . . .
. . . on the symbol of Recovery.gov, the government website designed to let us know what's up with Obama's attempt to make sure we don't end up with just my two cents in the bank.
If you go to the website, it makes for a very small presence, so when shrunken down to its actual proportions, the visual language inherent in the logo becomes rather meaningless, like collective patriotic murmurs.
That being said, if blown to full proportions, it's really pretty clever. Combining icons of patriotism, ecology, growth, manufacturing, health care, it manages to incorporate some of the major vehicles that Obama intends to use to advance our country and pull us out of this mess.
My first reaction, though, was to the different colors. I wanted to like them, but just couldn't. I think a bi-color palette would have been better. Or even mono-chromatic. The simpler the better. And then I realized what my problem with it was.
It was breaking some of the very basic rules of design I had been taught in school. Now I am by no means a great graphic designer, but I do know that unless you have to, do not create arbitrary divisions. The more you fracture the visual field, the more work you create for the eye, and the less readable your image is at a glance. This is especially important with a logo (especially a small logo). So don't create divisions that don't need to be there.
The Recovery Logo not only creates harsh divisions with bold, white segments, but then has different colors and little icons in each section!
It seems to me that the logo is all concept (a great concept), but wanting in truly great design.
It is trying to communicate a lot in a small space, but maybe that is exactly the problem. Perhaps the designer should have tried to convey one simple idea. "Unified work" or "new ideas" or something.
I want to like this logo more, but it lacks the visual power this program deserves. It ultimately comes off kind of weak and . . . like perhaps the latest iteration of a Target private-label product. Which I love in a fabric softener, but not in the most ambitious economic program to come out of Washington in decades.
*Thanks, Shane for showing me this blog post about the new logo and got my wheels churning politically.