Logo-A-Gogo by Rian Hughes (book review).

I have to confess to not knowing who Rian Hughes is but looking at the people praising him prior to the introduction then I must have seen his work as indeed you have. After this book, you’re not likely to forget him. I thought more about my opening line after reading this book and figured he came into comicbooks as I was leaving so our paths never crossed.

Amongst Hughes’ illustrative work, he is also employed by a variety of firms to create logos, mostly the titles of comicbooks and corporate designs, but as shown here, this brief extended much further. Shop chains like ‘Forbidden Planet’ and others have been served by his logos. Every page has a story associated with it so don’t think this is a light read although it would have helped if the text was a few scales larger and the odd colour contrast been ironed out. A background of brown or red with black text is never a good choice for reading.

Something I hadn’t realised when I started reading this book was the number of times it would be pointing at comicbooks and/or graphic novels that I might want to take a second look at but hadn’t heard of before. Incidentally, Hughes designed Marvel’s current logo. I also didn’t realise that Hughes was responsible for the early 1990s ‘Doom Patrol’ logo for DC Comics.

I was wondering how I was going to read this book. I mean, this book is an enormous number of pages. The text slows things down so you don’t flick through the pages but as I kept on, I found it easier to digest all I was seeing by limiting myself to about 25-50 pages a day. If you want to read this book seriously, there really is no other way. Hughes mentions other logo designers out there from time to time so if you think you have ability in that direction, then this book is also a great education in the technique.

Hughes also shows various designs that were eventually never used but I presume he was paid for, so don’t think this is a world of success. Likewise, don’t think you can do one design and fall in love with it and expect your client to do likewise. Business doesn’t work that way and you’ll be expected to do multiple variations. Hughes also mentions that sometime companies use his work as a cheap way to work out an advertising campaign. There is also a secondary issue of various companies wanting other cheaper freelancers do design in his style than hire him. From an artistic pov, it does make sense to have designers come up with their own ideas than that but corporations don’t necessarily think along those lines.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I received this book but I am better for reading it. Understanding that a logo is more than an exotic font but a memorable image that sticks in the brain often means a lot more thought before putting things on paper on computer screen but the effect can be dazzling.

GF Willmetts

October 2018

(pub: Korero Press. 576 page illustrated indexed square hardback, Price: £34.99 (UK), $45.00 (US), $58.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-99333-742-0)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

One thought on “Logo-A-Gogo by Rian Hughes (book review).

  • A fascinating book – I was moved to look at the website (big mistake as there are books I need there… ) Thanks!


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