Ben Pieratt

I’ve been following Mr. Ben Pieratt on Twitter for a little bit now and secretly I’ve been obsessed with his logo designs since then. I’m not really sure if any of these are logos for real companies or not, but it really doesn’t matter, they’re all pretty damn amazing.

The three above were some of my favorites. The Farm League logo looks like it might have been done 50 years ago or last Wednesday, it’s got a timeless feel though the usage of red and black certainly gives it a very contemporary feeling. The other two logos look like they belong on the side of a sake bottle perhaps, or they should be the logo of a made-up corporation in a J.J. Abrams movie. The details in these are extraordinary and the color choices couldn’t be more perfect.


9 Comments Ben Pieratt

  1. yachris December 16, 2009 at 6:53 AM

    I think the “Farm League” one is astounding… here’s a flag for a semantically far-right-wing group, with semiotically USSR-style-communist colors, design and imagery. Genius.

  2. Why December 17, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    The Chinese characters for the bottom two logos look horrible. It’s worse than some of the atrocities Asians make fun of on Hanzi Smatter. Please, if you’re going to use foreign type, ask someone with experience in designing for that language to help out.

  3. Adasc December 20, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    The Japanese characters are appropriate to the design. I’m assuming you haven’t seen some of the design crimes that they commit, unaided by foreign designers. Also, we (asians) all need to remove the collective stick when concerned with who or who isn’t “allowed” to use scripts.

  4. Why December 21, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    I’m well aware of the “Engrish” and terrible Roman typography crimes that are committed in the Asian design world. Does that make the Asian typeface in the two logos above any less horrible? No.

    The characters for “thick” and “electricity” look more like approximations of the Japanese/Chinese characters. The proportions are way off. I’m sure even non-Asians familiar with Asian languages can see that.

    We (Asians) don’t care who uses Asian type if it’s appropriate, but we’ll call out terrible attempts at Asian typography when we see it, especially if it’s used as portfolio pieces and called “amazing.”

  5. Bobby December 21, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    Why can’t he create fake characters inspired by Japanese or Chinese characters? You’re all automatically assuming he meant some kind of harm or is trying to be offensive.

    I think what he did is awesome and the shapes of these characters are beautiful to me and I think they are rather amazing. What exactly would you do differently? If you can do better than show me.

  6. Why December 21, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    I can’t believe I’m defending the importance of typography to the owner of a website I respect for its design decisions.

    Okay, give me a couple of days and I’ll “translate” the two logos above so that people that are used to seeing the English language can see how bad the typography is. If you want to interpret the characters as “fake characters inspired by” Asian characters, you’ll see how ridiculous that sounds when I produce the English word equivalents.

    I can’t guarantee better, but if I have time, I can give the Asian type treatment a shot. All I would really do is use Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro or even Meiryo out of the box and have a better result. What is up there now is an Asian version of Comic Sans, with each letter tilted at a different angle.

  7. Why December 21, 2009 at 11:13 PM

    I really don’t know where I said Ben Pieratt is trying to offend or harm. I also never suggested that Asians should own Asian type.

    If you look at any Asian multinational corporation, they don’t have their English-illiterate designers approximate the English alphabet for their logos. They hire designers who have experience designing logotypes in English.

    So here goes. What the logos above look like to literate Asians:

    My quick take using fonts available by default on major OSes:

    I’m sorry, I just had to respond to the comments here praising the logos when the type was so off. The character for electric on the right is actually wrong by a couple of strokes. And I’m sure Ben was not creating fake characters inspired by kanji because on one them not posted here, it’s trying to say “Fat Electricity” or something, alongside lightning bolts.

  8. Pieratt January 11, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    WHY, Bobby – Thanks so much for all the thoughts on this. What a surprise to come across this thread and see an actual discussion going on.

    Allow me to respond (even though this conversation ended a few weeks ago):

    I never intended the characters to say anything, let alone make decent sense (re: fat lightning). A few years ago I grabbed a handful of kanji characters off of iStock that represented concepts that I enjoy, eg. Strong, Big, Fast, Electricity, etc. I’ve been distorting those same letters over and over again to the point where I just assumed that by this point they meant nothing.

    I use Japanese characters on these pieces in the same way that I use the ™ ® and © symbols. Bits of nonsense that evoke meaning to an otherwise unsuspecting viewer. I’m creating fake companies for the sake of manipulating our perception of what makes a brand, and how much information needs to be present to evoke that sense of size. Using fake English carries its own baggage, however (the name actually has to make sense, so the viewer isn’t as dependent on the visuals as I’d like them to be), so occasionally I abstract it a step further by using seemingly foreign characters.

    I do appreciate your thoughts, though. The English-interpretation is absolutely brutal and I have to admit I’m fairly embarrassed.

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