Back in 2004, I was commissioned to design a logo for Toxocara, a Dutch death metal band (see logo below). It was one of the first major gigs I landed — “major” being relative here –, and the band members were enormously appreciative, handing over merchandise with every album release, which is why I hold the band in such high regard, even to this day. The band is now defunct, sadly — although their Facebook page recently showed some activity, so really, who knows?
Anyway. The logo was done entirely (save for one minor tweak) in an “old-school” fashion, i.e., with pen and paper, without too much thought behind it. This should be no surprise — it’s why it looks so rough.
Obviously some like it rough. The members of the band — and perhaps especially the driving force behind the band who had part of the logo tattooed on his arm — were clearly happy with how it turned out. Furthermore, an anecdote goes that Christophe Szpajdel, the “Lord of Logos” himself, once complimented the band on it. But me, I always felt I could do better.
Sadly though, my idea of better was far from what the members of the band thought of as better. Over the years this led to a series of uncommissioned redesigns (see below for an example), some of which were fine logos in their own right, others were blatant misfires. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of ever improving on my original design of the logo.
Fast forward to 2017. I’m now busy churning out logos for various projects and purposes; I recently got myself new drawing hardware; Toxocara’s Facebook page showing activity; one of the band’s key members had his birthday yesterday … The time seemed right for one more attempt. And this is what I came up with.
This time, I tried to stay as close to the original as possible, changing only those things that seemed “off” to me. Mind you, it’s still far from perfect. But at this point, it’s more of a proof of concept than anything else. Which brings me to the biggest change to the design, which is of course the skull in the top center of the logo. It’s not just a fun nod to Toxocara’s album AtmosFear, I was also curious to see if I could incorporate a painterly skull image in a logo design instead of “sporting” it too with figuratively drawn skull (see below for an example). I think it looks okay, good even. But what do I know?
So, uh, let me know which version you like best. Do you like the original logo or the redesign? And what kind of skull image do you think goes best with a logo design — a painterly one or one that is figuratively drawn? Or do you prefer your logos simple, clean and tight, without any graphics at all?