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What I did (not do) to the Onion logo

As art director for The Onion, Inc. for over 6 years, I was afforded an endless ocean of things to build, adjust, nudge, assemble and create from scratch. Several oceans worth, actually. But one thing I always resisted changing (beyond a few subtle tweaks) was the Onion logo.

Now, please don't see this as some sort of selfless, designery-show-of-intergrity snowjob. I mean, it's partly that. But I also didn't want to be the person who walked in and screwed up a perfectly working, established and beloved thing just to put another notch on my portfolio bedpost.

It felt wiser to embrace its honest-to-goodness, pretty freakin' hardcore, ahem, brand equity™ and build on that instead. I think the end result feels more cohesive and doesn't abandon any of the logo's pre-existing finer qualities.

That said, here's what the Onion logo looked like when I arrived (mouseover to remove the lines):

My assessments and solutions

• I felt like all the elements were too far from each other so I tightend up the space between them.

• I also felt that the Onion bulb was too small in relation to the type, so I made it a bit more dominant, with its top and bottom extending past the type's cap height and baseline.

• Lastly, I made the Onion bulb a little darker (Pantone 349).

And here are those modest changes put into effect (mouseover to remove the lines):

Why I think the Onion logo works

It's very simple and goofy. The bulb is done in a clean, iconic way that's not overly stylized so it doesn't feel dated. The typeface, while also simple, is thick, chunky and silly and together they provide a nice contrast to the serious presentation of the content they represent.

Recent Onion publication, Our Front Pages, is a great way to track the evolution of the logo.



© 2012 rick martin design, nyc