Beautifully Briefed, Early April 2022: Eames Institute, Loony Backgrounds, and … Condor!

Three completely unrelated items for you this time, ranging from the serious and interesting through the loony and interesting to something of a whole different stripe.

The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity

Update 2, 25 Apr: Brand New discusses this logo, with the usual catchy title: The Fast and the Curious: Counterspace Drift

Eames Institute’s “curious” logo variations, discussed at Brand New

Update, 8 Apr: It’s Nice That has more: The Eames Institute launches with a curious, “Eamesian” identity, and a logo that observes

Original post: Practically everyone has heard of an Eames Chair:

A particularly awesome example of an Eames Chair (and ottoman).

What you might not realize is that the legacy Charles and Ray Eames left behind enriches our lives to this day. It’s a shame, then, that while their house is a mid-century masterpiece (and museum), much of their lives have remained behind closed doors.

For almost three decades, a barn-like building in Petaluma, California, contained remnants of one of the most iconic design legacies of the twentieth century. […] We created the Eames Institute because we want you to examine the archive of what you know—the collection of your experiences, understanding, memories, and questions—and connect to the provocations that call to you. We want you to tap into that same fount of relentless curiosity, and its power to shift your perception and open you to innovations and discoveries.

Now, however, there’s the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity. Awesome name aside, it introduces us to the more personal side of one of design’s strongest partnerships.

Items from the Charles and Ray Eames Institute.
Drawings from the Charles and Ray Eames Institute.

The website requires some interesting scrolling to get where you need, but the results are more than worth the time — and is one that earns (Eames?) its suggestion of satisfying infinite curiosity. Explore and enjoy. (Hat tip: ArchDaily, The Newly Launched Eames Institute Brings Insight into the Eameses’ Design Methodology.)

Loony Toons Backgrounds

Design You Trust: “Looney Tunes Without Looney Tunes: Existential, Surreal, And Creepy Backgrounds.” The post sends readers to an Instagram account, which I’m not going to link to, but the images themselves are fascinating:

Crossed wires, anyone?
Imagine who might run up to — or even get pushed off of — this cliff.
A nice, innocent factory. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Next time I treat myself to a Loony break, I’m going to make sure to spend some time looking beyond the action and appreciate the backgrounds. Nice.

Condor Airlines Rebrands

Most of you have probably never heard of Condor Airlines; they’re mainly a European thing, a “leisure” airline associated with Thomas Cook, formerly owned and run by Lufthansa. (Here’s some history.)

It doesn’t particularly matter. What does is the bravado exhibited by management. Before, a typical airline logo — dare I say, typically Germanic:

Condor’s OLD livery.

Then someone said yelled, “HEY. WE DO VACATIONS. LIKE BEACH TOWELS. LET’S DO STRIPES.” The result:

Condor’s NEW livery. Wow.

Armin Vit:

The new livery has zero fucks to give and just plasters every plane with thick vertical stripes that go against pretty much every single assumed tenet of what makes a good livery. It doesn’t look speedy, it doesn’t look nimble, it requires a lot of paint, and by all other standards it is just plain ugly and I love it.

Read more or see images at Condor, see the Brand New post, or even hear from the armchair pilots at Airliners.net. Now: anyone got a beach?

Cadillac and Mercedes Logos: New — or Not (Updated)

Cadillac and MB logos

NOTE: See my previous car logo redesign coverage regarding BMW, Mini, etc., and more recently, Volvo.

Update, 7 December, 2021: Brand New has, as usual, done a superlative job of discussing the new Cadillac logo. See their post here, remembering that they’re subscription now — possibly the best $20/year available.

Original post follows:

Cadillac has updated their logo, their first redesign since 2014. First, though, some history:

Cadillac logo history

The mid-century look, with the “crowned” logo, might be my favorite:

Photo by Jill Refer
Photo by Jill Reger

As seen in the last line above, the 2014 logo is a simplification of the 2000 logo, sans the “old-person” wreath, and I thought quite successful:

Fast-foreword (ahem) to 2021, and the monochromatic, flat-logo thing is in full swing. The latest “old-person” target is the Cadillac script, replaced with another trendy item, a custom “Cadillac Gothic” font.

Cadillac Dealer, 2021

Not only that, but there’s the new trend among luxury automobiles — mere cars aren’t good enough — of illuminated logos;

Cadillac illuminated logo

It’s Nice That has more on Mother Design’s new take on Cadillac.

Mercedes, on the other hand, has just celebrated the 100th anniversary of the three-pointed star. Then:

MB logo, historical

Now:

MB logo, now

When it’s done right….

On Volvo’s New Logo

Volvo Concept Rechage (2021) title image

The “Iron Mark” has been given a makeover, and the result is … interesting. First, as a reminder, here’s the logo as it appeared previously — no, the one previous to that:

2009 Volvo Iron Mark (on S80)
My mother’s 2010 Volvo S80

The blue has been associated with Volvo’s logo for a long while now, and it’s slowly been disappearing from the lineup (in favor of black in the same location). However, they’ve decided — they being both Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, two distinct entities (the latter including Volvo Trucks, the Volvo construction folks, Volvo Penta [marine], etc.) — to change to this new, more austere logo and word mark simultaneously. Aaaaaand:

2021 Volvo Iron Mark

Words fail me. Thankfully, there’s been plenty of coverage. See Brand New (subscription), CarScoops, and The Drive. What’s interesting — and largely gone under the radar — is that the logo debuted on a concept car back in June.

Volvo Concept Recharge (2021)

It’s part of a trend, too:

2021 car logo redos

See the previous coverage on Foreword. Can’t go, however, without a hat tip to Kristen Shaw at The Drive, who dug out this 1937 version — which, I’d argue, beats ’em all. Kudos.

Volvo logo (1937)

Beautifully Briefed: Icons and Typography, Mid-June, 2021

Three items for you here, starting off with the 2021 Logo Trend Report, from the Logo Lounge. From the Asterisk to Electric Tape, Quads, Chains, and more:

2021 Logo Trend Report

Bill Gardner discusses all fifteen different trends, with logos to back ’em up (naturally).

Next, “A Cabinet of Curiosities” from Hoefler & Co.

Printers once used the colorful term ‘nut fractions’ to denote vertically stacked numerators and denominators that fit into an en-space. (Compare the em-width ‘mutton fraction.’)

This is beautiful:

Dutch Curio, H&Co

A Dutch curio, representing the letters z-i-j.

Read all of the rest.

Lastly, these are amazing . . . and simple, the better form of “simply amazing.” Yeah:

111 Shadow

See the rest at This is Colossal.

Happy June!

Peace, Ken Garland

RIP Ken Garland

All of us recognize this symbol:

Peace!

Now, let’s take a moment to celebrate the creator: Ken Garland. Not your typical graphic designer, he reached out, embraced the 1960’s and ’70s, and never looked back.

I couldn’t remember where I’d heard his name until I realized he was in toy and game design, and likely mentioned in one of the toy books I’ve worked on over the years. But there’s so much more. Read more of his life story at Dezeen (“Graphic designer Ken Garland dies aged 92“) and It’s Nice That (“Adrian Shaughnessy on Ken Garland, a ‘disruptive and questioning spirit‘”).

On BMW’s New Logo (16 Updates, latest 3/20/21)

Original post, March 5th, 2020: After 23 years, BMW has updated its logo … but there’s a problem.

Let’s back up a little, as even the previous logo wasn’t perfect. Debuted in 1997, it followed the then-trendy “3D” look, complete with highlights. It was, however, clearly BMW — black background, blue-and-white roundel, chrome outline, lettering. This new one, however, loses the iconic black (for transparent) and chrome outline (for white):

BMW’s logo: 1997 (left) and 2020 (right)

It’s less representative and less clear in my opinion, but hey, I’m only a BMW owner, not any part of their marketing team.

Another problem: it debuted on the Concept i4. controversial all by itself.

Why not revert to the earlier, 1963 version? (Or update it with new type — but keep the black?) Transparency is fine in some cases, but I’m not sure that this isn’t a case of style over substance in the actual use cases (web site logo, app logo, etc. — more than just on the cars, I mean).

More from the alwaysexcellent Brand New.

Update: 3/11/20: “BMW speaks out on ‘misinterpretation’ of new logo.” (Think about the “Instagram-ability!! Gak.)

Update: 3/20/20: BMW explains. (Via BMWBlog.)

Update, 7/15/20: Copenhagen, Denmark-based Dim Newman takes a stab at an alternate solution. (I like it.)

Update, 7/27/20: Dezeen has a roundup of the six other companies that have made their logos “flat,” proving the “3D” look mentioned above is truly out of fashion:

Audi, Citroen, VW, Nissan, Mini, and Toyota, oh boy!

Update, 9/25/20: Vauxhall joins the trend:

Update, 11/27/20: The Ford update that never was:

Ford Almost Let a Graphic Design Legend Update Its Blue Oval Logo in 1966: Paul Rand, who designed iconic logos for IBM, Cummins, ABC and numerous other companies, designed a sleek logo for Ford that went unused.

Ford’s unused 1966 logo

Read more at The Drive.

Update, 12/2/20: Not enough? How ’bout Opel:

Opel’s new “Blitz” logo, circa 2020

“Opel Details All-New, Slimmer And More Modern ‘Blitz’ Logo,” at CarScoops.

Update, 12/30/20: Kia’s was previewed on a show car earlier in the year, but they’ve gone and made it official:

There were some changes along the way, if you compare what’s on the show car and what you see above — and not all for the better, as it almost gets smeared. Still, looking forward to seeing where one of the most dynamic car companies today goes with this.

Update, 1/8/21: GM. One word: GAK.

So bad I actually feel sorry for them. More here and here.

Update, 1/13/21: Brand New is actually much nicer to GM’s logo update than I expected. Diplomacy? You decide. (Brand New is a subscription now, BTW — the best $20/year available, IMHO.)

Update, 3/2/21: Peugeot has joined the fray. Not great, especially at smaller sizes, but at least not the GM train wreck — and, in many ways, better than the last couple of outline lions (this one seems to be based on the 1960 version):

Read about the lion’s history here, Peugeot’s press release “reaffirming its personality and character” here, or one of the regular site’s notes, including a potential move upmarket here or here.

Update, 3/4/21: Audi, while not redoing their iconic “4 rings” logo, has redone the branding around that logo:

Brand New has more (note: BN is now subscription-only — easily the best $20 that I’ve spent in a while).

Update, 3/6/21: Speaking of Brand New, they have a good deal more information regarding Peugeot. Good stuff!

Update, 3/10/21: Dezeen has more on Peugeot, as well. And CarScoops has the first pictures of the new 308 — the new logo premieres on this model update — and discusses that, on the grille, some of the car’s sensors appear behind the logo. Interesting. (I still preferred the lion on the grille, myself. Not that we get Peugeots in the United States, anyway….) Check it out.

Update, 3/10/21: CarScoops has some more on Nizzan — uh, Freudian slip there: Nissan and their new logo.

Okay, who’s gonna be next…?

Update, 3/13/21: Uh… Renault!

Not as big a change as Peugeot, and more successful, too: single color, retains history well, still instantly recognizable, works at small sizes. Nice. Details from Motor1 or CarScoops.

Update, 3/20/21: Brand New discusses the new Renault logo:

There is nothing wrong at all with it and I do like the approach to its construction but, ultimately, it’s like it’s missing some emotion or passion or, pardon my French, a Je ne sais quoi to make it special.

I agree that the 1972 version is superior. Let’s see how this one evolves.