1. Conclusions; Coca-Cola Analysis | 11.14.2012

    As discovered in the latest blog post, it seems that simple graphic solutions that work both small & large are more effective than complicated logo designs that try to combine to many elements. Theses logos seem to become less clear in their communication & even hard to interpret at times. Keeping logo designs simple & graphic in nature also ensures that they can be accurately implemented in the many different formats that brands require by today’s standards, including screen, print, 3d signage, projection, etc. Whereas, if the logo becomes complicated, it will likely not read as well across all of the formats it needs to exist in. 

    Further, research also supports the idea or preference for a distinct graphic logo solution. The book, “Designing Brand Identity,” by Alina Wheeler demonstrates this idea. In this book, she breaks down the “sequence of cognition,” the way the brain recognizes and interprets visual marks. Through her research, it has been determined that the brain interprets the visual structure of marks in the following order, shapes, color, & form. 

    First, the brain records “distinct” shapes of a mark. This means that a distinct simple graphic shape is easier for the brain to record & recognize (Wheeler 50). A logo that does not have real boundaries to define a distinct shape will be more difficult for humans to remember/process. This often happens in logos that incorporate gradients or other effects, as the effects can distract or completely eliminate distinctive shapes.

    Second, the brain records the “distinct” color of a mark. Wheeler discusses how distinctive colors are crucial to a brand because they build both brand awareness & differentiation from other companies (Wheeler 50). The key word in this concept once again is “distinct.” If a company chooses too many colors for its brand, then its brand colors become less distinct, as they are changing too often. Too many colors can confuse people and make the brand less successful in its communication objectives. This problem was occurring in one of the Coca-Cola logo variations, as the scheme changed from a bold red & white to red, white, black, grey, & yellow with different shades & tints. 

    Lastly, the brain records the form of the mark. At this point the brain is interpreting the language & content behind the shape & color. This is also when people interpret the lettering & read the mark (Wheeler 50). The brain takes the longest to record/recognize the “form” because it is an accumulation of interpreting everything that the logo is communicating. So once again, this demonstrates that the less complicated the entire mark is, the faster our brains can both record & recognize a given brand identity.

    Works Cited

    Wheeler, Alina. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Print.

  2. Analysis of Coca-Cola Logo | 11.1.2012

    Coca-Cola is one of the most iconic & recognizable brands in the world, making it a good case study for determining what design techniques make a logo successful. In the previous post, the variations of the Coca-Cola logo were displayed & discussed. Now it is important to analyze the different variations to determine what works & what does not in terms of communicating a brand identity. Specifically, this analysis will attempt to answer the question, What design techniques make a logo timeless? 

    This analysis will focus on a selected few variations of the Coca-Cola logo that illustrate the extremes between more successful variations and less successful variations, allowing the contrasts to be communicated as clearly as possible.

    To begin, this post will look at some of the logo variations that have been placed in the category of being timeless & more successful in their designs, as well as the reasons why these logos are placed in this category.

    1887-1890, 1891-1941 (there were some variations in the beginning because reproduction was not standardized at first)



    The key factors that allow these logos to be grouped into the “more successful logos” category are the length of time that these logos were in use before being altered, the similarity between these logos, & the repetition of this style of variation throughout the years. The first two logos in this category were both used for a relatively long period of time before being modified. The third logo has not been used for as long of a period of time, but only because it was just recently implemented a few years ago. This demonstrates that generally the company & consumers were/are content with this design. Further, the fact that theses logos are so similar speaks to the fact that the design is working well as a brand identity. Finally, since this similar design keeps reappearing throughout Coca-Cola’s history demonstrates that it is working in the many different time periods since the beginning of Coca-Cola’s creation in the late 1800s.

    Before analyzing the design of these logos, it is important to define the second group of logos that have shown to be less effective. This will allow for comparison & contrast between the two groups. 




    The key factors that allow these logos to be grouped into the “less successful logos” category are the opposite of the reasons mentioned for the first group. These logos were all implemented for a short period of time, the longest being four years. The first two logos in this category were not even implemented for a full year because they were received so poorly. Additionally, these logos all contain design elements that do not reappear throughout Coca-Cola’s history. This alludes to the fact that something was not working as well in these designs.

    Now that there are two distinct groups, their differences can be explored to determine which design methods work best to create a timeless logo. This post will first explore the elements that contribute to create a successful & timeless logo.

    The first group of logos all feature stylized logotype with the words, Coca-Cola, written in Spencerian script. This was a particularly popular style of writing back when the logo was first designed. Even so, this logotype has appeared throughout Coca-Cola’s history & is even being used today. Many people today are unfamiliar with Spencerian script, possibly allowing the script to work even more so as a unique element of the brand. Other than this stylization of typography these logos are all straight forward & simple. The more successful logos are composed of a two color scheme palette. The two colors also have a significant amount of contrast allowing the words to be easily read. This is not the case with all of the logos in the “less successful” group. This contrast along with the fact that the shapes clearly emulate/reference handwritten script, make the logo easy to recognize & read at both small & large sizes. Overall, the logos in this first group are simple in their design & do not try to communicate anything more than what they absolutely need to.

    Examining the second group of logos, it is apparent that many of the design techniques used to create the successful logos are lacking. For example, the logo designed in 1890, is composed of shapes that are not as easily recognizable, making the work Coca-Cola more difficult to read. Unlike the type treatments in the successful logos, this logo combines both curvy shapes as well as flat geometric shapes, making it more difficult to read. This type is no longer building on the principle of handwritten lettering or any other common form of lettering, making it something that viewers are forced to experience & learn how to interpret. This diminishes from the logo’s readability. The “Coke” logo demonstrates a logo that strays too far from the original brand identity. It’s disconnect from the original design & identity, causes the brand to lose the meaning & brand recognition that Coca-Cola’s more traditional logos embodied. For this reason, this “new Coke” project failed hard & lasted for less than a year. 

    Finally, the last logo in the second group has many aspects that are causing it to be less successful even though it has the Spencerian script logotype. This logo is oversaturated with effects & unnecessary graphic elements. These elements clutter the logo & fail to unify in a meaningful way. For example, there are two different treatments of bubbles in this logo.  There is a realistic bubble texture & a graphic bubble treatment within the “Dynamic Ribbon Device.” These two styles do not integrate together well & worse, they distract from the distinctive logotype. Not only are these effects distracting from the logotype, the effects are also making it much more difficult to read. The “Dynamic Ribbon Device” on a whole is distracting from the logotype. This version of the ribbon element has been elaborated into three waves all containing different treatments. If these different treatments are not enough distraction, the whole element is quite a bit larger as well. The other drastic change in this logo is the introduction of new colors & shades. The logo contains the Coca-Cola red, shades of the red, white, grey, black, & yellow. This is a large jump for a brand that has typically been characterized by its simple, yet bold red & white color scheme. The black, grey, & shades of red cause the logo to become a bit muddy & make the logo feel blurry. These colors diminish the impact of the standard Coca-cola red. Further, the introduction of a sliver of yellow feels off brand.

    Overall, it seems that simple graphic solutions that work both small & large work more effectively than overcomplicated logo designs that try to combine to many elements. Theses logos seem to become less clear in their communication & even harder to interpret at times.

  3. Coca-Cola Corporate Identity | 10.14.2012

    The next few blog posts will examine the Coca-Cola identity. First, it is important to put the initial development of the logo & company into context. 

    Jacob's Pharmacy

    It was 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia when a pharmacist, John Pemberton, created a product that would leave a significant impact on history, eventually becoming one of the most iconic brands in the world. Through experimentation with mixtures, Pemberton concocted the first batch of a sweet carbonated, caramel colored drink. He then offered samples of the drink to customers at Jacobs’ Pharmacy, all of whom agreed that the beverage was delicious ("Coca-Cola History: Coca-Cola Heritage Timeline", 2011).  With positive reception to the drink, Jacobs’ Pharmacy put the beverage on sale for 5¢ a glass at its soda fountain. 

    The drink was initially sold as a patent medicine. At the time, people believed that carbonated drinks provided health benefits. Pemberton actually advertised Coca-Cola as a cure for many illnesses & nervous affections, including sicknesses head-aches & hysteria (Watters, 1978, p. 14-15).

    Before John Pemberton could enjoy the success of Coca-Cola, he passed away in 1888. This opened the door to an Atlanta businessman named Asa Griggs Candler. Candler obtained control of Coca-Cola for $2,300 & became the first president of the company ("Coca-Cola History: Coca-Cola Heritage Timeline", 2011).

    Early Coca-Cola Logo

    Even so, it was Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, who actually brought the product to life by giving it an identity. Robinson suggested naming the product after two of its key ingredients, the cocoa leaf & kola nut. He also insisted that that “kola” be spelled with a “c” instead of a “k,” as he thought it would look better in advertising. Hence, Robinson named the product Coca-Cola (Watters, 1978, p. 6). He also designed the first official logo in his own Spencerian script style penmanship, an ornamental cursive style of penmanship that was most popular from the period of 1850 -1925 (Robinson, 2001). To this day, the logo is still featured in Spencerian script, though the logotype has gone through some modifications over the years ("Coca-Cola History: Coca-Cola Heritage Timeline", 2011).

    If that was not enough, Robinson also thought up the first slogan for Coca-Cola, “Delicious. Refreshing” (Watters, 1978, p. 6) These valuable contributions of the trademark, the logo, & the first slogan set the personality & tone for the Coca-Cola brand, which is still apparent over a century later (Watters, 1978, p. 15).

    Digging deeper into the Coca-Cola corporate identity, shows that the logo has actually gone through multiple changes, some were subtle & a few were more significant.


    The name, Coca-Cola, is first displayed in a slab-serif typeface. This treatment appeared in an advertisement in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. This is even before Frank Robinson perfects the Spencerian Scripted logotype (Armin, 2009).


    Frank Robinson designs the Coca-Cola logo in Spencerian script penmanship. The image above displays one of the first Coca-Cola labels ("Coca-Cola History: Coca-Cola Heritage Timeline", 2011).

    1887-1890, 1891-1941

    The Coca-Cola logo is refined & the words “trade mark” are placed inside the tail of the first “C.” Throughout this time reproduction of the logo is not standard & there are many variations (Armin, 2009).


    The logo is completely changed to a different stylized font. It only stayed this way for one year before returning to its previous version ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.).


    The words, “trade mark” are removed & the design of the logo is refined, especially the tail in the first “C” ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.). The curves in this updated Spencerian script are more fluid & elegant.


    The logotype is featured in white inside of a red “fishtail” shape ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.).


    The logo is designed with the Coca‑Cola script being underlined with an iconic white wave, known as the “Dynamic Ribbon Device” ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.). Lippincott Mercer designed this wave to reference the contour of the iconic Coca-Cola bottle (Armin, 2009). It is still used in Coca-Cola’s branding to this day.


    The Coca-Cola Company introduces a new product, “New Coke”, a reformulated beverage. With the new name, a different type treatment is implemented & designed by Landor Associates. This new product is not received positively by the public & it is short lived (Armin, 2009).


    The Spencerian script Coca-Cola logotype is integrated with the wave. Part of the loop in the “l” in “Cola” is taken away in this variation. This logo was designed by Landor Associates with the intentions of integrating the nickname for the product, “Coke,” with the distinctive style of the Coca-Cola logotype & the iconic wave (Gallagher, 2009).


    The logo’s white wave is elaborated into 3 shapes. One wave shape even introduces a yellow to the brand. This logo also features floating bubbles, giving a dimensionality to the logo. The word “classic” is included to signify a departure from the failed “New Coke” & a return to the original formula ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.).


    The logo design is simplified. Once again, only one white wave is used. The shape of the wave is refined & integrated more subtly as not to distract from the Spencerian script logotype ("The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB", n.d.).


    The logo is simplified further with the removal of the red square & the wave. The word “classic” is no longer used, as enough time has passed since the “New Coke” failure. It is no longer necessary to distinguish that it is the original Coca-Cola formula (Armin, 2009).



    Armin (2009, August 5). Brand New: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, Revised Edition.UnderConsideration LLC. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/coca-cola_vs_pepsi_revised_edition.php

    Coca-Cola History: Coca-Cola Heritage Timeline. (2011). The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://heritage.coca-cola.com/

    Gallagher, B. (2009). Landor Associates. Coca-Cola; Refreshing an iconic visual identity. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://landor.com/#!/about/history/coca-cola/

    History of Coca-Cola: Our History, Coca-Cola Fun Facts, & More. (2012). The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/ourheritage.html

    The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo | Coca‑Cola Logo Font : 125 - Coca-Cola GB. (n.d.).Home of Coca‑Cola UK : Diet Coke : Coke Zero - Coca-Cola GB. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/125/history-of-coca-cola-logo.html

    Watters, P. (1978). Coca Cola: An Illustrated History. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company Inc.

    History of Coca-Cola: Our History, Coca-Cola Fun Facts, & More. (2012). The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/ourheritage.html

    Robinson, M. (2001). Homeschool Christian.com :: Developing Spencerian Penmanship at Home. Homeschool Christian.com :: Home Page. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://www.homeschoolchristian.com/allabout/interviews/interviewspencerian.php

  4. Analysis of Frans Wildenhain Exhibit | 9.29.2012

    The following image depicts part of the Wildenhain Exhibit at RIT’s Bevier Gallery. The exhibit features many sculpted forms. One area (see below) that is particularly interesting contains many similar forms of pedestal-like structures bolstering pot-like structures.  These pot-like structures have bulbous bases and become more narrow as they ascend.

    While the repetition and variation in the proportions of these sculptures is interesting in itself, this analysis will focus more on the “absences” in the exhibit & how this exhibit affects me as a viewer. 

    A few absences that standout are the “missing” pot-like form from the “platform” closest to the viewer in the photograph & the empty spaces between the sculptures. The closest sculpture provides some visual interest & contrast from the other forms. It stands out from the other forms, as it appears to be missing a form that the surrounding pieces all have. The fact that all the surrounding pieces have this pot-like form is what creates the apparent absence in the sculpted piece closest to the viewer. The seemingly random spacing between all the unique pieces causes this exhibit to feel more natural & visually interesting. Whereas if the elements all had similar absences between them the exhibit would be much less interesting & a bit mechanical.

    Some biases that influence the way I view & interpret this exhibit stem from my background and knowledge. Some of my biases are coming from similarities between this exhibit and my knowledge of tribal cultures. This bias stems from a few cues in the exhibit. First, the sculptures are reminiscent of pots, which are often used in tribal cultures. The variation in proportions among the sculptures is reminiscent of the handmade quality of many tribal items. The organization of the structures is reminiscent of a tribal shrine. Lastly, the fact that one of the pot-like structures seems to be absent seems to reference the idea of ruins, as ruins degrade overtime. So an interpretation of the absence could be that the pot-like structure was once there but has been destroyed over the course of time. These preconceived notions are affecting the way I view and interpret the exhibit and relate it to tribal/primal cultures.

  5. Lester Beall Poster Analysis | 9.21.2012

    One of the most iconic American posters, designed by Lester Beall, is held in RIT’s archives. It is a relatively simple design, combining graphic blocks of color, a greyscale piece of photography, and a few typographic treatments to communicate a powerful message. The success of Beall’s poster stems from his conscious & deliberate composition to create underlying messages & symbolism. His poster communicates clearly & quickly to the public audience.

    This poster is part of a series that Beall designed for the “Rural Electrification Administration,” a public improvement project for rural areas implemented by President Roosevelt to revive the economy. Most of this information is communicated through the imagery in the poster. The graphic/illustrative blocks of color in the background symbolize American patriotism. These blocks of color are arranged in a way to reference the American flag, red & white alternating stripes of color and one larger more square blue block of color.

    The foreground of the poster, two children leaning up against a fence, references “rural areas.” For example, the boy is wearing a casual pocketed collar shirt, with the sleeves rolled up and the top few buttons undone, a common outfit worn when doing manual labor in rural areas or farms. Further, the type of wooden fence depicted communicates a farm. It is has a worn texture and is created with large beams of wood for function, rather then for cosmetics. It is unlike a white picket fence for instance, which could be found around a nice house.

    The imagery of the children smiling & looking forward is also used to communicate the bright future & the improvement of the economy. The smiles on the children faces signify happiness, the direction in which they are looking signifies the future & the upward angle of the fence signifies the improvement of the economy. All of these ideas are echoing each other; every aspect of the photo is providing an upward & forward (to the right) directionality. This angle is typically used to represent the increase in something, in this case the economy & span of time. The use of youth looking forward further references the future, as youth are often thought of as the future because they are the up and coming working class. The smiles on their faces indicate that the future is of the economy is positive, as smiles indicate that they are happy.

    Lastly, the typography communicates the project that the poster is designed for. It is crucial because the poster is being viewed out of its time period & many of the references in the imagery can only be made because the text signifies what the poster is for.

    The fact that the main message of this poster is communicated through imagery signifies that the poster was designed for a broad audience including both illiterate people and  literate people.

  6. Burton Kramer Painting Analysis | 9.14.2012

    The following image is a photograph of a painting by graphic designer, Burton Kramer, exhibited at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Vignelli Center. Using the elements & principles of design to analyze the painting, it is apparent that there is a sense of structure & organization.

    The main building blocks for this painting are geometric shapes & varying line weights. The painting also uses an interesting color palette with a value shift in a few of the colors, including blue & gray. The red colored shape is where the viewers eye is initially drawn. This occurs partly because warm colors tend to feel closer to the viewer, whereas cool colors tend to recede. The massive scale of this shape also helps to make this area of the painting stand out. The use of space in this image is also something to take into account. The image initially appears quite flat. When analyzed further the light gray seems to slightly recede, allowing the brighter colors and darker grays to pop forward somewhat.This coupled with the overlapping of shapes and lines creates a sense of space in the image. The space feels as if the different elements are layered right on top of each other.

    The organization of the design elements create a few different principles of design as well. The painting has as sense of approximate symmetry. The overall balance in the painting feels pretty symmetrical, as there are elements of similar weight arranged on either side of the fulcrum line. The way the lines and the geometric shapes are arranged creates a sense of rhythm in the painting. They are all arranged to create a series of strong verticals, creating an interesting horizontal rhythm throughout the entire painting. The painting has a sense of unity as well. Since the painting is balanced and similar design elements and repetitions are carried throughout the entire piece, the painting acts as one cohesive whole.

  7. Visual Communication Analysis #1 | 9.8.2012

    X-rays are an interesting way of visualizing the human body, the bones in particular, for scientific & medical study. The way that X-rays display volumes of many different overlapping bone structures requires a specific method of interpreting to fully understand the image. X-rays capture volumes of bone structures mainly by highlighting the edges of each structure. This can be seen in the X-ray of the jaw above.

    Some initial impressions that come from viewing this X-ray include, worry that there is a broken bone, trying to find a break, thoughts of pain from breaking a bone, thoughts that this may be a dental record, &/or wondering if this person has had braces or needs braces.

    Since X-rays are generally used for medical use, they have an apparent context. X-rays are typically taken by medical professionals, such as surgeons. They are initially used in places like hospitals or orthodontic offices. X-rays are created so medical professionals can take a closer look at bone structures beneath human skin & muscle tissue. This X-ray focuses on the human jaw. The X-ray also provides some additional information, including the name of the subject, Scott Howard, the date taken, 11/17/2009, & other information relevant to medical professionals. The photograph of this X-ray being held up against a window suggests that the X-ray has been taken from its original setting.

  8. My Creative Roots | 7.22.2012

    This is a creative throwback post and features a few of my art pieces from high school. Creativity has been in my core since before I can even remember. I always wanted to draw & do crafts as a child. In elementary & middle school, I was taking studio art lessons outside of the classroom. In high school, I was all about art classes and even started getting into graphic design classes. This passion ultimately pushed me to pursue design & interaction design in college & grad school. I have always known the career path I wanted and have never thought about straying from it. There is nothing more satisfying then executing solid creative work!

    "Childhood Memories" | Colored Pencil

    "Figure" | Pencil

    "Flower" | Oil Pastel

    "Self-Reflection" | Pencil

    "Self-Portrait" | Oil Pastel

    "Staircase" | Pencil

  9. Sodus Bay Photography | 7.10.2012

    A sneak peek at some of the creative photography I took while on Sodus Bay. A full creative project is in the works.

  10. SAVIK Identity | 6.25.2012

    Recently I was tasked with designing a new brand identity for an industrial snow plow brand. The identity is inspired by Inuit culture. The word “Savik” means “snow knife” in the inuit language. I uploaded a few of the final logo options that were presented to the client.