Being poked recently to view work created by Only Studio (thanks), I thought I’d share my quick take here…
This already has sparked a solid discussion on Under Consideration, so I’ll try not to repeat oohing and ahhing or saying how it looks kind of like 31 (sorry, once you see it, you can’t unsee it).
What I like about the implementation is the use of layers. The curves and sharp corners of the logo already creates a juxtaposition, but when applied over shapes like human bodies (even if they are of stone), the contrast is particularly striking. These layered examples (for the top row, only the left-most) are all full of hard/soft contrasts—hair in stone, the frame of featured images creates a hard edge while the bodies fill it with curves.
The layering technique is also applied to other details, such as dropcaps. This layering with “flat” shapes elegantly adds dimension and energy without the cheesiness of drop shadows (I’ve described before how the website of the Bauhaus Archiv uses very faint drop shadows on their flat shapes to create an engaging effect). It also makes you feel like you are exploring something tangible…your digital viewing experience feels more immersive.
The concept is meant as type wrapped around rollers. I like how movement can be implied when the “rollers” of letters are rotated in sequence. Somehow, this reminds me more of turning a typewriter scroll, but that may be because I’ve hung around typewriters more than large scale printers.
And this is the logo: two dots that symbolize the printing rollers.
I don’t love the two dots as a logo. It looks too much like a lowercase g (especially at a distance, which you can preview below), very much in the flavor of Pentagram’s redesign of tendergreens.
With the implementation in mostly black and white, this is a very bold, newsy, city slicker look. (Most printing-related companies, including Kinko’s and FedEx, like to showcase multiple bright colors.)
But, surprise! Despite its name, Printworks isn’t about printing today—it is a retired print factory turned into an artsy event space.
The boldness and tightly kerned all-caps Haettenschweiler-like text feels extremely athletic. Also somewhat like jazz or rap; there’s a quick beat here. This jazzy/rappy text implementation feels right for their fresh business purpose. But the minimal color use feels a bit too newsy and serious, and the logo and logotype roller-effect feel too printing-focused to me.
Similar in simplicity to the Nat Geo gold rectangle, this crisp little corner mimics the little viewfinder marks you see in a camera, which are sometimes bright, almost neon, red. Given only one corner, though, you are free to imagine the rest of the framed view—like you’re only seeing a slice out of the larger viewfinder window. It boldly frames text. The red is also like the red carpets of the film industry.
Used with white space or angular objects, the corner can easily look like a square placed beneath, creating an edgy, layered look (above, left and middle). Something about the “fully framed” implementation (above, right) feels a bit awkward in weight to me, like it’s neither heavy nor thin enough or there’s too much or too little empty space in the window. Maybe it’s that the red is so loud around the relatively quite white text, made further quiet by the empty space around it, that I feel uncomfortable looking at it. I’m not sure.
Also, I want to point out the splendidness of Only Studio’s logo. It’s “Only”—no frills, and with a nice round O to hint at ONE: