I’ve got all these letters in the name. Another designer might pull their hair out, and someone else might opt for the acronym. I really don’t think an acronym is the right call here. Yes, it’s a lot of letters for a logo, but we’re not hoping to see the logo cast out of chrome and perched on the hood of a vehicle. It doesn’t need to be simple, really. First of all, there’s a NAME in the brand, and abbreviating a name that isn’t preferred to be abbreviated (i.e. I. M. Pei, or e. e. cummings) isn’t preferred at all. Second, there aren’t a ton of entomological societies out there, so any amount of guessing what the acronym stands for isn’t in the cards. Third, those who are a part of the Ephraim Baird Entomological Society are not going to be using it interchangeably enough to warrant a reduced titling system. They are more inclined to call it “The Baird” in a way you might call The Frick Collection just “The Frick.” All this is as opposed to how you would call the Museum of Modern Art the MoMA. It just doesn’t have the weight. And hey, if they ever get as important or popular as the MoMA, they can seriously rethink their branding then.
So maybe it’s The Baird, but the branding still needs to retain full disclosure by spelling out the name. It is a society, first and foremost; an outreaching collection of scientists and enthusiasts, and less of a physical place. It is about brotherhood in a shared interest, not about attracting a specific target base to a place for the purpose of appreciation. I continue to pick up ideas and surround myself in the images of these creatures, even picking up a few iPad apps that focus on education about insects, and taxonomy. What I’ve found is that macro photography is a stunning way to see these arthropods—and with its implications of intense and precise study, along with appreciation, I can definitely see that style coming through in any application of their branding like brochures, signage and the like.
I talked about how letters are like insects in my last post, and that got me thinking about how to use them in a way that communicated that without hitting the audience over the head with graphics of bug-like shapes in the forms of letters, like a caterpillar curled as an S. Since there are so many of them (letters) in this brand’s name, I would prefer to use that to my advantage actually. After a little experimentation, I came up with this idea:
The concept, if it isn’t clear, frames a portion of the letters, as if in appreciation or study. It draws your focus to an array of letters that indicate some kind of collection. I like the concept, but now I have to find the right typography—Avenir, a trusty go-to sans serif I start many projects with to allow a foundation of basic concepts before style, doesn’t have a particularly insectile feel to it. As all aspects of the design need to follow the concept, I feel like I need to find a font that matches the spirit of The Baird. I’ve been digging in samples for a while now—I’m looking for something distinct, but with the sophistication of a guild for scientists.
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I would like it to be subtle. After looking at tons of insects in their various matrices of framed collections, their repetitive sameness yet unique qualities are what begin to classify them. There’s an odd antenna here or a particularly long proboscis there. If only there was a typeface that could achieve a similar exaltation for the differences between each letter, but have enough unity to still see the logo as a collection of similar creatures.
Disturbance. There are a lot of beautiful faces out there, but Disturbance has a unique quality of acting different. Each letterform has a way of speaking above the class but not above the teacher. That P is some kind of mantis and that G is definitely some kind of horned beetle. Disturbance was designed for an entirely different purpose than for a brand like The Ephraim Baird Entomological Society, but with the concept in place I can’t think of a more fitting tactic to take its irregular and peculiar forms and put them on a display. Now, if only the spacing of the letters would become more fitting. Once I’ve tackled the polishing and refinements of the arrangement, I’m straight onto application and final thoughts.