By on January 15, 2009

Of course, the next question is, will you? Companies pay millions for new logos, corporate identities and those terrific little sandwiches they serve inside the meeting rooms. Well, they used to, before the beancounters woke up from their profit-gorged torpor. So why would we ask you, our Best and Brightest, to design a logo for The Truth About Cars without paying for your mad design skills? We wouldn’t. Just not up front (our marketing budget is literally zero). We’ve entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with Car Tatts— they of the “it’s so not a bumper sticker” fame– to split the revenue from TTAC tatts. So we’ll cut our winning artist in on that deal (a buck a pop). We’ll also sneak their initials into the logo, which should please Mom no end. Car Tatts is looking for a car-oriented designer (no really) AND you get recognition and kudos from your peers. Now how much wouldn’t we pay? Anyway, the brief. The logo must be significantly better than our existing design (i.e. nothing) and win the approval of our readers (I’ll build a gallery for comment). Send a jpeg to [email protected] At this point, we’re talking single use; copyright remains with the artist until we sign a deal. The deadline is next Tuesday. Thanks.

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29 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Can You Design TTAC’s Logo?...”

  • avatar

    Ever seen that show, You Can’t Do That on Television? It was a picture of a guys giant forehead with the words stamped on it.

    How ’bout Bob Lutz’s head, with “TTAC” stamped on it?

  • avatar

    im an artist. ill try to put something together!

    what is the deadline?
    How many colors?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Great idea! I’m no artist and will not embarrass myself with an entry, but I sure look forward to seeing what the artists among us come up with.

  • avatar

    Man, I wish I remembered anything about that logo design book I read years back.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    I’ve always liked the TTAC anti-logo image. It’s a stripped-down, keepin’ it real, minimalist vibe. Can you dig it? Guess not.

  • avatar

    I took (and failed) graphic arts courses in an attempt to understand the people I was supporting. I’m game.

    Are there any physical restrictions (colour complexity, size, proportion?). Some guidelines to how it’ll be used (banner ads, stickers, T-Shirts, tatooed onto a booth babe’s naked torso) would at least allow us to get the format right.

  • avatar

    I agree with yournamehere : … need to know more about your expectations/limitations.

    Usage? (banner, splash add, etc.)
    etc., ect.

    damnit!, ninja’d by psarhjinian :

  • avatar

    I’ve always liked the TTAC anti-logo image. It’s a stripped-down, keepin’ it real, minimalist vibe. Can you dig it? Guess not.

    Hey, even Adbusters has a logo

  • avatar

    I agree with Johnny Canada, I like the anti-logo. I just saw a great documentary on the Helvetica font (what Microsoft calls Arial) and how it tied into the modernist movement in the 60’s and became the ubiquitous font for eveything.

    Clean, simple, elegant, the message is more important than a cool logo.

    (but if it is cool I’m in for a bumper sticker)

  • avatar

    Bumper stick compliant is all I got. Might be nice if it worked for other things: the site, rescue knife, beach towels, etc.

  • avatar


    Designing a 32×32 would be quite different from designing a 120×120.

  • avatar

    I agree with Johnny Canada, I like the anti-logo. I just saw a great documentary on the Helvetica font (what Microsoft calls Arial) and how it tied into the modernist movement in the 60’s and became the ubiquitous font for eveything.

    Side note: Arial and Helvetica are not the same font. Arial (like Geneva on the Mac) is just different enough to avoid lawsuits and licensing fees.

    Besides, font design reached it’s zenith with Chicago.

  • avatar

    I’ve actually done a bit of freelance logo work last year, and will definitely give this a shot.

    However, as my attempts at writing articles here have gone… unanswered, I might be doomed from the get-go! (Are my mails getting marked spam, Robert? :)

  • avatar

    ok no shwooshes! any of you!

  • avatar

    I’ll try my hand at it. I work as a web developer, and the amount of design work I get has shrunk, while the amount of programming work has ballooned. So I could use the practice. I’ve already got things swirling in my head for this…

  • avatar

    Lets help out Mercury while we’re at it, and just put a picture of Jill Wagner on it. At least we would all like looking at it!

  • avatar

    Back in the 80s when cars weighed half as much, and computers cost four times as much as they do now, I was actually a professional graphic designer. Technology ruined the field in many ways, making it accessible to anyone with a mouse. I got out of the business as everyone else was rushing in. I’m glad I did in many ways, but I still miss having a reliable, professional (read: PAID) outlet for my creative streak.

    One thing still hasn’t changed though: Everyone wants to rip off the guy with the hardest job, namely the creative process.

    Robert I would NEVER solicit you (or any of your writers) to write editorial content of my website for free, or some vague spec amount which is obviously “below market rate.”

    Would you even consider it? Not in a million years I bet.

    So please don’t insult others by asking the same of them. For a guy who goes on and on about branding you should be more aware than anyone that your corporate identity is a major portion of that brand, the next step from the concept itself as it must express wordlessly and instantly what you are all about. Your logo is as important as any other portion of your brand, if not more so. From there it is up to you to reinforce the brand in all of your subsequent actions.

    I’m not posting this as a “flame” so much as a plea for you to consider the consequences of your actions on the integrity of the site and your brand.

    I’m happy to provide commentary, opinion, and biased rants about Diesel on occasion, but actual un-paid work? I love you guys but I’m not crazy. If anyone contributes CONTENT to your site beyond commentary such as this, they deserve to be appropriately compensated for their work. It is called capitalism. Support it.

    with respect,

  • avatar

    How about a giant T, for Truth?

    Here it is: T

    Anything more snazzy will be billed @ $100/hour.

  • avatar

    I’m with Chuck on this one. As a graphic designer by trade, I’d pitch in and help but I’m already doing wedding stationary for a friend (at nearly no cost to her, as far as THAT industry is concerned).

    Oh, and @ wsn:
    Designing a 32×32 icon is and is not different than designing a 120×120 image. Its all about the tools. Vector art FTW.

    It’d probably be a good idea to flesh out your objective for the logo and your brand, Robert. Give it to your prospective designers in a concise form that leaves no ambiguity. Trying to design a logo with only a “maybe here, maybe there… who knows?” sorta line about where it will be used is extremely difficult.

  • avatar

    I agree with Johnny Canada, I like the anti-logo. I just saw a great documentary on the Helvetica font (what Microsoft calls Arial) and how it tied into the modernist movement in the 60’s and became the ubiquitous font for eveything.

    Just had to say I saw that documentary as well. I was just clicking through the channels and there it was. When I started watching I was like Oh my god, there’s type-font dorks out there as well…and I thought Trekkies were bad… Within five minutes I was hooked though. Amazing how ubiquitous that Helvetica font is. Never realized that Toyota’s logo and so many others used an identical type-face. Weird.

  • avatar

    CarnotCycle :

    Just had to say I saw that documentary as well….

    Yeah, it’s pretty mind blowing, you accept the default setting, and you never stop to think that it came from somewhere. Helvetica means something, all by itself, seperate from the words it conveys a message. You can interpret it as nihilistic or modernist, elegant or bland, it’s a Rorschach test for the viewer. I always liked it better than serif fonts, and even squabbled with our marketing guy about it on a brochure we did, but I didn’t know why….yeah, Weird.

  • avatar

    I didn’t notice fonts until I could use whichever one I chose as a computer user, then I got kinda fascinated. Some Camrys have Toyota and Camry on the back in different fonts. Why?

    For the logo, how about a big C with vertical TTA inside it? Helvetica font of course….

  • avatar

    The typeface differences in your example fincar1 come down to this:

    Toyota is a brand. Camry is a product within that brand. In the specific case of car makers where you have one (or several in some cases) brand names, those brand names are uniquely identified by the shapes/colors/etc of the brands logo. The car’s model name is a totally separate entity. Would it be acceptable to use the same typeface universally? Sure. Is it done in common practice, given the BRAND > Product hierarchy? Not usually.

    Thats how I perceive it, anyway. If somebody else has a more technical way to explain why, go for it.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    All I can think of is Rick Wagoner’s face Photoshopped onto Alfred E Neuman with the “What Me Worry ?” tagline above it, and TTAC below it.

    Either that, or the heads of the Big 3 as the Hear no evil/see no evil/speak no evil monkeys.

    How about the image of Ford, GM, and Chrysler logos going off a cliff ?.

  • avatar

    TTAC “you CAN handle the truth!”

  • avatar

    @Chuck and elloh7
    Couldn’t you consider this request as a way to give back to the site? As far as I can tell nobody is getting rich by running TTAC. It’s a labor of love.
    Perhaps you could write if off as a charitable donation?

  • avatar

    I’d be more than happy to help out, believe me. My issue is the time constraint more than anything else. Takes time to consider all the angles that need to be considered to come up with a genuinely good logo, not just something “generic web 2.0” as seems to float around alot these days.

    I sat around this evening trying to think of what I’d want a logo for this site to portray, and couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t cliché and overdone.

    Basically, what is truth? How do you relate that to automobiles / cars in a meaningful way that is instantly recognizable anywhere as belonging to TTAC? Thats a tough job for just a few days. I’ll be keeping an eye on this post and if anybody has a genuinely good idea but dosn’t have the software to work it up, I’ll take a stab and rendering something.

  • avatar

    Yeah, RF, I think this requires more consideration. If you look at your audience, we tend to be uncompromisingly critical, design-saavy, and passionate about what we love (cars, and I’d wager other things too). I could probably whip up a logo if I were given more time, and at least more incentive.

  • avatar


    I’ve done a couple of logos for embroidery customers but I’m kind of pressed for time these days (I’ll get you that piece later tonight or tomorrow – had an appointment at the ophthalmologist this afternoon and it was kinda hard to focus on the ‘puter screen until those dilation drops wore off). If you’re thinking about logo apparel, though, I’ll be happy to review the finalists and give you my opinion about which ones work well with embroidery. I see logos sometimes, like the Grand Prix Tours one, that were designed with embroidery in mind.

    Offhand, if you could incorporate a scales of justice into the T of Truth, that might be clever.

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