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JasonPau's picture
26 pencils

Logo for the Digital Media Arts & Design department at my school

One of my projects this semester at college (Orange Coast College in southern California in case you are wondering) is to design a logo for our Digital Media Arts & Design department. The department is mostly graphic design related, but does include film/video. The logo will be used on a website, facebook group, occasional posters/flyers, and that's pretty much it. Obviously since it's a community college things aren't going to be super public or widely seen/known. There are about 50 of us students in this "competition", and each of us will be allowed to submit up to four logos.

The creative brief for this project was just that, brief. The only requirement really was that it include the letters DMAD (no "&", and definitely not the full name). There aren't any colors specified either, so we are pretty much free to choose whatever.

Anyway, after tons of sketching and roughs (both pencil sketches and digital roughs), this is what I've come up with. I had a couple other designs that might work as well, although they were going in totally different directions.

What I was going after here was something very simple, versatile, somewhat "abstract" (not going an objective/illustrative "let's see if I can work a mouse pointer into this design" route like some of the other students), partially inspired by various elements from design history, and avoiding trendy "Web 2.0" styles that wouldn't fit a quality design department.

The color green is just for testing purposes; in reality pretty much any color can be used, either for the logo itself, or for the background. It works well on white, colored/gray, and black backgrounds. I presented it here with several background/color variations for reference.

Anyway, all comments/critiques are welcomed. (If you want to see some of my other preliminary ideas let me know.)

Commenting on this Image will be automatically closed on December 19, 2012.

mara06's picture
2747 pencils

This has no character. There is no sense here of the energy involved in the school's visual arts disciplines.


JasonPau's picture
26 pencils

Thanks for the reply. I see what you mean about it not being very energetic. I do have some more energetic/artistic concepts that I could upload.

I just don't want to take things too far, and end up creating something that looks too "gimmicky" or artistic in a childish way. (The logos of other design related studios/organizations were partial inspiration for this logo.)

What I created was partially inspired Modernism/Swiss style, paying homage to one of the more important movements within design history. Lack of an imposed style or character is one of the characteristics (no pun intended) of Modernist designs. That of course does not mean they can't be beautiful or original though.

YoungZM's picture
915 pencils

Unfortunately Swiss style isn't all of design and it isn't considered abstract. It's very measured in each action so it adds a wholeness and is able to be ubiquitously used. If we want to look at the greatest modernist movement that influenced most art today look for the Bauhaus.

There's nothing wrong with it but it lacks personality or any sort of reflective thought to college and the experience of it. A community campus or not it deserves the reflective quality of what its giving you in turn. With that said, it follows the brief closely so if you're allowed 4 submissions keep it as one but I say break up the structure and add some life into it. It has to have DMAD, it didn't mention not being a combination mark.

Off the beaten path for rambling,
That's where I did my graphic design programme, the time I was there I learned a lot but that was held up by peers and faculty who cared and made it their business to see that you succeed. With that said, when I got curious and looked at the website mid-program I was mortified to see the website. It's part to the reason I left a year early and finished with a Production diploma and why I'm looking so carefully at where I step next. I feel I came out of the program with an acceptable strength yet the level of design shown to attract prospective students to the program is disappointing at best. Typography, layout, schema, jesus.

JasonPau's picture
26 pencils

Wow, thanks for taking the time to write out all that. ;-)

I guess calling it Swiss wasn't quite the right term...just plain Modernism would be more accurate in this case. And abstract probably wasn't the right term either; non-illustrative would describe it better.

I've seen about half of the fellow student's works (each student has about 5-10 digitalized concepts, each with several variations), and although many of them would probably be considered more energetic or "creative" than mine, many just look downright awful. I.e. they just scream "STUDENT WORK!" A few people did have some decent designs though. I may place in the top 10%, but it would be a challenge to come in first. (There are no second or third places.)

Anyway, I'll go ahead and keep this as one of the four. I'll upload some of the other designs I made though. Who knows, maybe some of them will turn out better (with a little work perhaps). Some of my other concepts do have symbols/marks + type; it isn't prohibited.

Btw, if you think your school website was bad, check out It's one of the worst I've ever seen. (Though I'm pretty sure it's intentional...or at least I hope so.)

EDIT: I wonder if I could play with the "white" space within the square...something very basic, but enough to give it just a tad more life/originality.

wgzn's picture
2120 pencils

JP. i really applaud your restraint and understanding of "gimmicky" and "STUDENT WORK"

i actually quite like your original design. the clean, no-frills thing is a nice change from most young work. and the first thng i thought when i saw it was a pantone chip - which is an appropriate connection.

the only thing about it is at thumbnail size i almost saw OMAQ before DMAD

i think with a couple of subtle tweaks, you could make this concept work. keep at it

JasonPau's picture
26 pencils

Thanks wgzn. I'll experiment with it a little more and see what I can come up with.

I didn't see OMAQ, but then again, I've been exposed to the term for quite a while now, and I'd probably still see DMAD even if it actually was spelled out OMAQ. It's too bad there isn't a mental "reset" button that resets our perception. I'll try some variations that hopefully increase legibility.

JasonPau's picture
26 pencils

Here is the version I ended up turning in. My design professor thought it was an improvement over the previous, but just now a fellow student told me he thought the new version isn't as "bold" of the original.

Out of curiosity, which version do you think works better? (If it is a significant improvement, my professor allows us to re-submit projects up until the end of the semester.)

Comment upload: 
YoungZM's picture
915 pencils

I feel it's an improvement. Ask your fellow classmate why s/he feels it's more bold. I don't feel it is because this one has heavier usage of shape and more defined letters, which contribute to why it stands out better than your original.

While critique and advice of your peers is pivotal it may be more helpful to caution on those who have experience to back up their rationals.

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