new cpdl logo design?

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spartlan
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new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 21 Oct 2014 01:42

This post is related to a recent post in the new members forum. In that post I offered to volunteer at CPDL and several members responded with ideas for what needs to be done, including improving the Main page's visual appearance. Discussions about site changes belong here, not there (new members forum), so I'm posting here.

The point about improving visual appearance got me thinking about the CPDL logo design.

The logo is the most important visual element of the cpdl main page. An optimal design might feature elements unique to CPDL and elements in common with Wikipedia and IMSLP: CDPL has a technical connection to Wikipedia (same MediaWiki engine & Vector skin) and IMSLP's music mission is similar -- orchestral instead of choral.

This weekend I played around with these ideas and came up with the attached .gif as a logo concept test. I would love to get feedback on this design.

To help with discussion, here's what I did and why:

The globe spins because the current CPDL log has a spinning globe. I noted that Wikipedia has a static, non-spinning globe image in its logo. Is it important for CPDL's globe to spin?

The .gif is grayscale, not color, like the Wikipedia and IMSLP logos. Grayscale is easier to work with if simple/elegant designs are desired -- color adds complexity in figuring out which colors look good together and on a myriad of technical platforms. Grayscale is also easier on the eye deciphering the design message of a small logo, and to some users grayscale may appear more professional/sophisticated.

The staff is wrapped around the globe because it seemed like a good way to convey the "music around the world" idea.

It would be easy to add a couple notes and lyrics, perhaps the start of a Soprano line, suggesting choral music, but not if the globe needs to spin.

The size of the attached .gif is slightly larger than the current CPDL logo -- it's the exact same size as the current Wikipedia logo.

The font style, sizing and spacing of the text can be changed. I used Times Roman because it's the typical font used for lyrics.

The vertical/horizontal staff position can be changed.

Thanks.

-Susan
Attachments
cpdltestlogo.gif
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choralia
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby choralia » 21 Oct 2014 08:16

spartlan wrote:Is it important for CPDL's globe to spin?

I'm not versed at all in design matters. However, if it is required that it spins, I guess it should spin in the opposite direction (I'm referring to the prototype you uploaded to the test server) in order to represent the actual rotation of Earth around its axis.

Max

CHGiffen
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby CHGiffen » 21 Oct 2014 16:04

Some history: CPDL was launched in late 1998, about two years before Wikipedia was born (Jan. 15, 2001). I don't know when the CPDL logo, designed by founder, Raf Ornes, became part of the site, but it was certainly on the website long before the (non-wiki) site was ported to the current ChoralWiki in 2005. CPDL became a collaborative venture in 2008, transitioning to a nonprofit charitable organization by May of 2010.

I like the idea of a redesign that still incorporates a globe, since CPDL has a worldwide appeal. Your design concept is quite nice, too, Susan. A few points, from my own perspective (since you asked, and since I've had my hands in such matters in the past):

1. A spinning globe is nice but not necessary, and Max is right, the direction is backwards from the actual rotation of the earth.

2. The use of Times Roman as a font is actually a poor choice (even for lyrics in music). It does not render well on screen and has a "newspaper" look and feel that is somewhat cramped. It's unfortunate that it is the default font for some of the major music engraving programs. Better choices include Palatino Linotype or Garamond. Also, italics in the logo text seem, well, tilted and seem less legible than normal typeface.

3. To my own eye, the spacing between staff lines seems a little too large, given that the overall width of the staff is relatively short, wrapped around the globe as it is (which is something I like very much). Also, the staff seems to be positioned rather high on the globe (basically covering the northern hemisphere). It appears as if the bottom staff line is at the equator. While a narrower staff might cover less of the northern hemisphere, I think that perhaps having the equator be delineated by the second line (G on the staff) would create a more aesthetic appearance.

4. Text content and placement is tricky for a logo such as this, and generally less is more. Maybe just "CPDL" would be better than "CPDL.org" (the alternative "www.CPDL.org" would put CPDL in the middle and might look better than "CPDL.org" but seems superfluous and would probably be too cramped). Depending upon how the staff on the globe is positioned, it might be possible to have "CPDL" on the globe itself (if you can do the wrapped effect with text), presumably somewhere in the southern hemisphere. But in this case the bottom line of the staff should probably be back at the equator or somewhat above (maybe make the second line coincide with the Tropic of Cancer?), to allow the "CPDL" placement with its upper extent closer to the equator. The phrase "Free Choral Sheet Music" is also not etched in stone, and an alternative might be "Public Domain Choral Music" or "Free Choral Music" (the latter perhaps better, because not all the free music at CPDL is public domain music). I think that "sheet music" is understood when just "music" is used in the logo.

5. Element(s) other than a (treble) clef probably aren't really necessary, although a key-signature of B-flat might be nice. I don't think additional notes or a time signature are necessary, and any notes would almost require some corresponding text underlay that would just clutter up the logo.

6. If the globe does not spin (or if it only spins once rather than continuously), what longitude should be central? Should both the American and European/African continents all appear? Wikipedia solves this problem by not having continents appear at all, choosing instead to have the globe appear as mostly assembled puzzle pieces that use glyphs related to the letter "w" (or the sound "wi"), but I'm not at all sure we want a globe that has various musical glyphs, such as clefs, notes, accidentals, etc.

These are just a few thoughts, and some discussion would be useful before coming to a decision. Thanks, Susan, for initiating such an interesting idea to update our CPDL logo. :)
Charles H. Giffen
President of CPDL and
Manager of ChoralWiki
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Early Choral Music? Zephyrus (I sang 12 seasons 1992-2004 with this group).

spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 21 Oct 2014 16:27

Hi, I just saw Chuck's note and will send an update soon incorporating these ideas. For fun though, here's another quick version with the globe spinning in the correct direction and notes and lyrics added.

I can make the lyrics stronger.

What do you think?

I tend to agree with Chuck that notes and lyrics make it look busy. I will try the B flat signature, move staff lines closer together, font changes etc. I did try making CPDL fit on the staff -- as the globe spins it isn't visible for most of the rotation, which looked kind of odd, but I'll upload a test .gif with that option so you can see how it looks.

As for globe start position and positions during rotation, I'm struggling a bit with Photoshop 3D skills. There's an implied axis so changing the start position really changes the visual experience of rotating continents/oceans. Unfortunately, I have to "merge" the staff into the flat earth image before it is wrapped around the globe which means that if we want to preserve a horizontal staff appearance with any globe tilt I'll have to figure out how to tilt the staff before the merge so that it appears horizontal after the 3D wrap. It will take some tinkering. For now, while we review other changes, I won't tilt the globe in x and y at all, just use the z rotation of -360. Actually, I used -390 in the attached .gif. For some reason this rotated the start position slightly to the West.
Attachments
cpdltestlogo2.gif
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spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 21 Oct 2014 17:58

Here's a new one incorporating Chuck's ideas.

I can make the staff lines smoother but to do so I have to use a Photoshop "blur" brush after merging the lines with the flat earth image to blend the pixels into the earth image (like an anti-aliasing effect). The lines are lightened, 70% fill & 70% transparency, because this helps with smoothly blending the line pixels with the earth background on merge & 3D rendering. If I make the lines fully black they are too jagged at small sizes after the 3D wrap. I can play with reducing transparency to see how black I can make them.

I see that I forgot to change the Free Choral Sheet Music text -- will do for next mock up.

All comments are welcome and appreciated.
Attachments
cpdltestlogo3.gif
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spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 22 Oct 2014 00:40

Here is an updated .gif with staff lines slightly blacker. As you can see they are jagged even after I applied the Photoshop blur tool. I need a little bit more transparency on the lines so that when I blur there are more pixel values available (from the map showing through) for smooth blurring.

Photoshop 3D rendering settings has a "unit trace" option which produced a lighter globe with better details. Is the globe too light now? I had lightened the map image quite a bit because the default 3D rendering setting tends to darken. I can try starting with a darker map and "unit trace" rendering if this globe is too light.
Attachments
cpdltestlogo4.gif
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CHGiffen
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby CHGiffen » 22 Oct 2014 01:01

Hi Susan,

The latest logo looks best so far. I do think that now the staff height is a little too small and the staff lines perhaps a little too fine. Maybe a 50% increase would improve things. I'm not sure about he placement of "CPDL" on the staff, though. I think I would opt for it being either above or below the staff (probably above, if you keep the center line of the staff as the equator or lower the staff even further). The lighter globe definitely looks better. You really do nice work!! :)
Charles H. Giffen
President of CPDL and
Manager of ChoralWiki
User pageTalk pageComposer page

Early Choral Music? Zephyrus (I sang 12 seasons 1992-2004 with this group).

vaarky
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby vaarky » 22 Oct 2014 06:43

(Cheering Susan from here, too.)

spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 22 Oct 2014 21:20

Thank you Chuck and Vaarky. Here is a .gif with the lines spaced a bit further apart and slightly thicker. The placement of the staff is with the note "g" on the equator.

The staff lines took two passes of smoothing (blur tool) to minimize jagged lines.

As the "CPDL" text position moves further away from the equator there seems to be more distortion in 3D rendering -- more jagged edges. I tried fixing this with the PS "sharpen" tool but it only made the text look worse. My exact type steps for "CPDL" are 1) Palatino Linotype 36 pt Bold, 2) Anti-alias strong, 3) rasterize type, 4) merge with grayscale map, 5) create 3D shape. I tried all of the other anti-alias settings: none, sharp, smooth & crisp but strong looks best.

I think "CPDL" could be shifted slightly to the East so that it appears more centered.

Thoughts?
Attachments
cpdltestlogo8.gif
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spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 22 Oct 2014 21:50

And here is a version with staff line "b" on the equator & CPDL shifted slightly to the right.

In this one, "Free Choral Music" uses strong anti-aliasing. In the previous version it was sharp. I think I like sharp better.
Attachments
cpdltestlogo9.gif
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CHGiffen
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby CHGiffen » 22 Oct 2014 23:30

Hi Susan,

It definitely looks more balanced with "CPDL" shifted slightly eastward the way you did it in your latest version (it's an optical effect that it looks more centered with the shift, even though it actually isn't centered, because of the presence of the treble clef). And I agree that "Free Choral Music" looks better with sharp rather than strong anti-aliasing. Except for that, I think you have a winner with version 9! Thanks so much. :)
Charles H. Giffen
President of CPDL and
Manager of ChoralWiki
User pageTalk pageComposer page

Early Choral Music? Zephyrus (I sang 12 seasons 1992-2004 with this group).

spartlan
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby spartlan » 23 Oct 2014 00:13

Great! Here is Free Choral Music with sharp anti-aliasing. I'll work with Max on figuring out the logistics of uploading it -- it is slightly larger than the current logo.
Attachments
CPDLgrayscaleTest10.gif
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CHGiffen
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby CHGiffen » 23 Oct 2014 14:49

I see Max must have already helped you upload it as File:Toplogo1.gif, with the old logo as FIle:Toplogo2.gif. As Manager of the ChoralWiki, I'm ready for Susan's new design (Toplogo1.gif) to be installed as a replacement now, at least on a trial basis, unless there are objections to the contrary. Many thanks, once again. The new logo is splendid.
Charles H. Giffen
President of CPDL and
Manager of ChoralWiki
User pageTalk pageComposer page

Early Choral Music? Zephyrus (I sang 12 seasons 1992-2004 with this group).

choralia
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby choralia » 24 Oct 2014 18:43

The new logo is online. We had to work a little bit on it in order to reduce the file size, as it was relatively large with respect to the rest of the page and most of the time required to load the main page was due to it. It should be OK now.

We will also have to change the one here on the forums, as well as the 200 x 200 pixel version used as a thumbnail when CPDL pages are linked to Facebook or other social networks.

Max

vaarky
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Re: new cpdl logo design?

Postby vaarky » 24 Oct 2014 19:10

Looks great! Thanks, everyone, and especially to Susan for her contribution!


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