In the process of establishing a new look and feel for Star Waggons, we created a “look book” that served two purposes. Firstly, it contained our detailed analysis of the existing identity, including our thoughts on its origin, historical value, and efficacy. Secondly, the look book established our goals for the redesign, both verbally and through a scrapbook-style spread full of inspirational design materials.
The Star Waggons logo deserved particular attention. We devoted a page of the look book to the Star Waggons logo, which was designed originally in the late 1970s in emulation of the Star Wars wordmark. Since then, it had been painted on every Star Waggons movie trailer, and it was on every piece of their collateral from business cards to t-shirts and hats. But its execution, from a typographical standpoint, was sloppy, especially in the vector PDF form that I was given. My assumption had been that logo had probably degraded over time, after having been copied by hand over and over and eventually one of these copies was traced into Illustrator when it made sense to digitize it.
The whole “point” of the existing logo, as it were, was to emulate the deep perspective used in the opening of every Star Wars film. Unfortunately, in Star Waggons’ logo, lines which should have been parallel were askew, and the overall stroke weight and proportion of the letters was completely inconsistent. At the same time, the logo was extremely recognizable and popular under its own power; it made little sense to try to establish an entirely new brand theme when elements of the existing one had never been put to their full potential. The last thing the Star Waggons team wanted to do was to lose their logo—it’s quite dear to them. So our mission was clear: we had to give the logo a sensitive makeover, retaining its best features and refining away its worst.
We found inspiration for our task in the revered typographer Ed Benguiat’s rework of the original New York Times logo. Here is an excerpt from the Star Waggons look book, proposing our new direction:
A perfect example of this type of restoration is Ed Benguiat’s work for The New York Times in the 1970s. As an accomplished typographer, Benguiat recognized the value of The New York Times’ original logotype and was loathe to modify it beyond recognition. Instead, his version includes very subtle tweaks that increase the quality of the logo while respecting its original design. The end result is staggering; it feels as though Benguiat’s version is how the logo always was and how it always should have been. With some careful and respectful revision, we can achieve the same result with Star Waggons’ logo.
And so once we were given approval to move forward, we created the new logo design. It maintains the spirit of the original, but is cleaner, better proportioned, and more rhythmic by leaps and bounds. After delivering the redesigned wordmark, the client told us exactly what we had hoped: it felt to them as though the logo should have always looked this way.