WHEN IN DOUBT, COPY
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"We Give Points for Accuracy"
Often, logo inspiration will result automatically from the first step,
immersion. But then there comes the point where we set to work
to design a logo in a wide range of styles to insure that nothing pos¬
sible has been overlooked. This is where the second step, creative
copying, comes in. Almost any source will do. Your local yellow
pages—though most of its contents will be junk—is brimming over
with inspiration. Other good sources are graphic design magazines
(especially the annual compendiums of the year's best) or any maga¬
zine with ads. Depending on your taste, old lettering books and type
catalogs are great sources for ideas...but they've gotta be old old. You
will depress everybody and become a walking anachronism if you copy
from "old" 1980s sources. Currently, 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s are
"in." The 1920s are out, and the 1930s have peaked.
Copying, or using "reference" material, should be done as an aid, not
a crutch. Try never to copy anything verbatim. Besides being plagia-
ristic, it's just dirty pool. But if we are truly focused upon finding solu¬
tions for our own logo problem, any color, border, picture, type effect
that we see in a magazine may be the key to that alchemical reaction
turning our design into gold. Sure, any one of us can create visual
ideas straight from our imaginations, at times, but I have often found
the results to be needlessly limiting: One becomes trapped in circular
thinking. Like when you're trying to figure out how to get away from
your wife, and again and again, all you can think of is poison, then
your friend suggests divorce and you suddenly realize you'd been
stuck in one mind-set and neglected other options.
More to the point, I may be sketching a series of logo comps, all of
them with a sans-serif lettering style. Then I look through a magazine
and realize I'd completely forgotten to try serif styles...or scripts.
Often, we use various reference materials and combine different ele¬
ments. As the saying goes, "S/he who copies from the most sources is
most original." To paraphrase an old saying, usually reserved for
describing another indoor sport, "The designer who says he doesn't
copy is either a liar or a fool." After all, that cool billboard you passed
the other day, or the commercial you saw on TV last night, are both in
your mind and may come out on your sketch pad tomorrow.
EXERCISE Open your yellow pages, or any magazine, to any random page containing ads.
Make a set of logo comps based on ideas you find on these pages. Adapt! Don't copy verbatim.
Left, I made this set of rough comps for a hypothetical logo and advertising design job based on the ads
in a 1952 yellow pages, opposite page. I don't particularly love the designs I came up with, but I did them
to prove my contention that virtually anything can be used as a copy source. Hey, here's a question: If you
were to select a sign shop from these yellow pages ads, whose ad would inspire more confidence, Adcraft
Studio or Cappy's Signs?
TlietnrlilE I! S-enHcB
MASTER SIGNTISTS SINCE 1911
729 11th ST. S.E.
• REAL ESTATE SIGNS
• SCREEN PROCESSING
• GOLD & SILVER LEAF
. OUTSIDE SIGNS
• SHOW CARDS
Serving WASHINGTON, MARYLAND & VIRGINIA
POSTERS • EXHIBITS
DISPLAYS • WINDOWS
CUT-OUT LETTERS • DESIGNS
ART FOR REPRODUCTION
FLUORESCENT • TRUCKS
GOLD & SILVER LEAF
\ 1010EYE J
} ST. N.W. f
S;.;: ..H/. ' 'Ц':':ѵ":р.
NO rrh 7-6655
COLD CATHODE LIGHTING
921 FLA. AVE NW • AFL UNION SHOP
ROGER N. WELLS - THOS. J. TINSLEY - JOHN E. BARR
AUTHORIZED SKY HOOK CRANE DEALER
ESTA BUSH ВО /322'
• GOLD & SILVER LEAF StÇHS S Lelfavif
• WINDOW LETTERING forбѵіГУ УеіІІ
• TRUCK LETTERING '
• OUTSIDE SIGNS
• REAL ESTATE
• OFFICE DOORS
924 D ST, N.W.
ENGRAVED SIGNS • METAL SIGNS BUILT AND ERECTED • TRUCK Li .,iNG
3 DIMENSIONAL PLASTIC FACE MARINE PLYWOOD LETTERS
HARD ENAMEL FINISH • 3 YEAR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE
OFFICE 4905 DEL RAY AV. BETKESDA, MD. FACTORY 4904 AUBURN AV.
ш AD« 4-3 2 47
GEORGE P. LOUIZES, Own.
636 NEW YORK AVE. N.W.
• SHOW CARDS • WINDOW LETTERING
• DISPLAYS • GOLD & SILVER LEAF
• OUTSIDE SIGNS • DESIGNS
• TRUCK LETTERING • EXHIBITS
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EVENINGS CALL Lincoln 3-4131