With the upcoming release of the third issue of The Independent, I thought it might be nice to give everyone a look at how the logotype for The Independent came into being.
As we were developing the publication in its infancy, it became clear that we would need a unique logotype for the publication. We were a new organization on campus, trying to do something relatively unthinkable… a 44 page publication, in full color, on glossy paper… with no source of funding?! The visual system had to be eye catching, simple, and unlike anything else on campus if we were to succeed.
While researching for an article about the history of The Independent (you can read it here), we came across old issues of a publication called “The Independent” that was edited by a former President of Rollins College, Hamilton Holt. We chose the name for our publication before we realized it was actually incredible relevant and rooted in the history of our school. Naturally, it seemed important for me to take a good look at the masthead of the old Independent. What struck me the most was the diagonals on the stems of the lowercase d… It caused the words to appear to lean backwards, saved by the rigid verticals and spiky serifs.
Mimicking the old logo just wouldn’t do for our purposes, but I liked the leaning aspect. Instead of backwards, however, it needed to lean forwards, subconsciously hinting at our goal of becoming a forward thinking publication.
Then, while browsing MyFonts, I came across the font Millie by Kyle Wayne Benson. It was geometric, came in six weights, leaned forward, and had a round version. Perfect! We knew we would need a font for more than just the logo, so it was an ideal solution. At first, we used the original version of Millie for recruitment flyers and email correspondences, but I soon realized I needed to make some changes to it for the print publication. We had decided to use this font for the subsections of the magazine (The Arts, The Forum, Campus Correspondences, Food + Fitness, and International Affairs). Many similar capitol letters were repeated, and it was necessary to make sure they were more uniform than the ones in the original font. “The” was used often, so it went through a lot of changes.
Before and after of the logo.
Before and after of the section headers.
In the diagram below, you can see some of the basic changes I made to the letterforms. The “pe” ligature needed to be smoother, so I shortened the stem of the p and changed the base angle to give it a more streamlined appearance in the word “Independent.” I removed the counter in the “p” created by the looping of the connection to the “e.” The proportions of the “e” had to be changed to allow the stroke to remain straight, so the eye became a quadrilateral instead of a triangle. I also amputated the finial of the e and made it parallel to the stroke above it.
The “de” ligature went through similar changes, however due to the angle, the eye of the “e” did not have to change from a triangle when the connection stroke was changed.
The bar of the “t” became stronger and horizontal, necessary as it was the last letter of the word “Independent.”
“The” went through substantial changes. The “Th” ligature changed completely, so that there could be no misinterpretation when read at smaller sizes. The ‘h” became a bit narrower, and the connection stroke of the “e” went through the same changes as in the “de” ligature. I also rounded out the joining of the “T” to the “h” stroke so that it wasn’t as distinct… “The” is less important than “Independent”, so it doesn’t really need the emphasis.
The ff ligature appeared in “International Affairs.” Typically, I wouldn’t have bothered with it, but it presented the same problem as the “pe” ligature. I applied the same method as before, altering the counter inside the second “f” and increasing its height to make it visually balanced.
The o, F, C, s and r all changed in order to reflect the other changes made in connecting letters. I needed to optimize legibility and simplify the forms. Ultimately, this meant getting rid of some connections that made it more script-like and sadly removing some of the fun details Kyle had included.
Finally, I wrapped it all up by adding an inline, because who doesn’t love a good inline?