The Center Is a Little Off Center


It is hard to think of an organization that would need good design services more than an arts center. After all, we expect that anyone involved in art would have an aesthetically beautiful visual identity. In addition, arts organizations can come in a variety of flavors. A logo design shows your community exactly what you are all about: your style, your professionalism and more.

The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, New Jersey is a nonprofit that is upgrading to a more professional image. We could not find images of the old logo, which make me wonder if they actually had one. Indeed, many smaller, local associations often go without a professional logo, which we hope is not the case.

The new logo design features the name of the organization written in tall, thin lettering, with the word ‘Center’ in bold. This refers to the nickname; locals call it ‘The Center’, a much more memorable name. In addition, there is an image of a large letter C. This letter is used in a variety of colors throughout the organization’s website, and even with great artwork as fill. In fact, The Center put out a call recently on their blog for local artwork to use in the logo as well, which is a fun way to involve the community in this community organization.

We like the versatility of the logo design, especially the way that different elements can be incorporated into the image. The font is appropriate for the genre, as is the C image. However, the C does not work well with the writing; in fact, they feel like parts of two different logos. Both are good on their own, but the roundness of the letter simply does not match the stick-thin writing.

One way that this could have been changed in the logo design process would have been to make the C a little taller and thinner, more of an oval than a circle. This could have been drawn as boldly as the current image to make it just as versatile without creating a logo that clashes with itself. We wonder if a circle was used because it ties into the concept of a center (note that the negative space in the middle of the image is perfectly centered) but there are other ways of communicating this idea. For example, the name or its abbreviation could have been placed in the center of the image.

There are a few alignment issues with the letters as well; the bottom row lines up evenly with the top at the right, but is a little off at the left. These are minor and easy to fix, which makes us wonder why they were not.

This may sound nitpicky; these are small issues, after all, that the average viewer will not notice. However, small issues are important in design. While an everyday person will not notice the details themselves, they will certainly like or dislike the logo design based on these and other small elements. This is why a professional logo design is so important; they notice the little things and make them add up into a beautiful design.