The Murky History of the SalaryShark Logo

The logo for SalaryShark isn’t particularly bad. Neither is it great.*
But the way SalaryShark obtained its logo is bad business. Actually, referring to the transaction that provided their logo as business is incorrect. The SalaryShark logo was created by a MaidenBrands as a submission to a logo contest “project” posted on the site According to Freelancer, 80 different so-called freelancers submitted a total of 142 entries.
The accent in is certainly on “free.” 79 of the 80 entrants received nothing for their designs. The winner, Phillippines-based MaidenBrands submitted 9 designs for the SalaryShark logo contest. MaidenBrands received $290 for their winning entry. MaidenBrands appears to be Maiden Soliven, a “self taught graphic designer” from Manila. One of Maiden’s comps is above the title of this post. The typo is hers.

22 Jul 2014

The Airbnb Logo’s Vaginal Birth

Overheard at Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters:
“Um, guys? Do you think that we’ll be accused of adopting a vagina as our symbol?”
“HA! So you’ve never had sex with the lights on? Or was your last contact on your original birthday?”
“OK, it’s a stretch. But can you think of a more welcoming place to visit?”
“Maybe some puerile snarks with little understanding of female anatomy will claim that we’ve snatched our logo from our adolescent wet dreams.”
“So we can probably expect a brouhaha about our hooha?”
“I think we’ve fingered found our new logo.”

I really like this symbol and its role in the new Airbnb brand identity. I was surprised by the dust up about its resemblance to every bit of anatomy found at the human conjunction junction. This is a very primal response to this mark. And the reaction for Airbnb is certainly not a bad thing.
As human animals, our pattern recognition skills make us predisposed to see faces in any image even vaguely resembling a face. This is an imprinted survival instinct that allows us to recognize friend or foe. Likewise, our innate consciousness also prompts us to be stimulated by sexual imagery. We are wired for sex. We are predisposed to see sexual imagery even in the abstract. Our ability to be inspired by our primal instincts to creative and original endeavor is something profoundly human. Dwelling in the primal impulse is decidedly unevolved. Kind of like my humor above.
Respected designer Khoi Vinh commented that he sees all manor of naughty bits in Airbnb’s new logo. I’m not surprised by the observation. I am surprised that someone so bright would make such a pedestrian public admission.
Yes, I see it. But so what?

17 Jul 2014

Weird Al’s Word Crimes


Dear Language Manglers, Listen up. Al’s dropping knowledge with the help of Jarret Heather.
I love this more than I can put into words.

15 Jul 2014

A House United

The merger of publishing giants Penguin and Random House was made official on Monday July 1, 2013. Last month as the company approached its first birthday, Penguin Random House unveiled their new corporate identity – designed by the venerable design partnership Pentagram. The new logo lacked any symbolic reference to the individual brand names, now joined. No penguin. No house. No random penguin house. A light weight serif typeface displayed the new name as three stacked words, Penguin – Random – House. The type is bookended by vertical bars in the signature Penguin orange.

This video reveals the Penguin Random House identity created with Pentagram; it’s a beautiful, successful solution. But, I’ll get to that later…

07 Jul 2014

Google’s Material Design Flaw

I was very excited to see evidence of Google’s expanding view of brand identity and brand design. Google is adopting a visual language and aesthetic called Material Design. It is a wide-ranging plan to codify the way Google shares information and user experience across all devices. It includes not only layout and other graphic design precepts, but animation standards as well. On the whole, I am extremely impressed with their approach and their decisions. As a designer who works with Google, I’m looking forward to employing this new and pervasive aesthetic.
But, there is one giant flaw in the Material Design system. It’s name is Roboto.

26 Jun 2014

Google’s Material World Order

Speaking of totalitarian regimes and great design – *wink* – check out this great video illustrating Google’s Material Design approach. I’ll be spending some time with this soon enough. In the meantime, the video is a good glimpse at Google brand identity writ large.

25 Jun 2014

The Hunger Games Gorgeous Website

This Hunger Games site suggests that totalitarianism can yield some stunning graphic design.

It also seems to indicate that Klavika is the typeface of this dystopian future.

25 Jun 2014

Armin Vit, Evil Genius


“Mwah, ha, ha, ha, hah…”

Armin Vit seems nice enough. He has a winning smile, a casual demeanor, and a hot wife. He is a loving father who dotes on his young daughters. And he has a friendly way of presenting ideas and criticism that leave you wanting more.
But behind that charming facade lurks the mind of an evil genius.

17 Jun 2014
XK9 by XK9