Wordmark watch

March 16th, 2010  |  Tags: , ,


I often pass a Savers department store on Madison’s west side. The Savers wordmark has always bothered me, but I haven’t thought carefully about why it has bothered me, because I’m usually driving and thus keeping my eyes on the road. I don’t really care for the aesthetic behind this kind of wordmark, but this weekend I realized what really bothers me is the execution. Specifically, it looks like this wordmark is based on a typeface designed to appear at much smaller sizes. Little details, like the tall “s” and “e” glyphs, could imperceptibly improve color in 9 pt body text but are unsubtle in a 500-pixel-wide logo (as above) and approach caricature in an 8-foot-high sign on the side of a store.


The two settings of “mixer” above are an example of the misused optical size phenomenon; both are set in Chaparral Pro at 168 pt, but the one on top is set in the version of Chaparral designed for captions and the one on bottom is set in the version of Chaparral designed for display use. At the same size, the caption version is almost a parody of the display version. These exaggerations wouldn’t be obvious in a footnote, but they are glaring at more than an inch and juxtaposed against the version designed for display sizes.

The problems with the Savers wordmark go beyond its execution, but it would be interesting to see how much it could be improved simply by starting from a more appropriate typeface.