Logo ideas for Bristol RISC OS user group

Updated 31/1/2010 with a fourth idea and altered to use a vector based acorn.

Updated 1/2/2010 with a new version of idea 4, but with better colours, and a few others.

Following the initial comments made earlier this week about the possibility of starting a new Bristol based RISC OS user group if there is enough interest, Trevor was able to find a copy of the old BARUG (Bristol Area RISC OS User Group) logo:

Bristol Area RISC OS User Group Logo
Bristol Area RISC OS User Group Logo

To my mind, there are a small number of issues with this. First and foremost, it’s a bitmap which means it can’t be easily re-sized (upwards) without a loss of quality. Somebody, somewhere probably does have it in a vector based format – but it matters not, because of the remaining issues. The second is that it uses the word “RISC” instead of “RISC OS” – the former term encompasses a great deal more than just RISC OS (although the flaw with both is their apparent exclusion of, say, 8bit users of old Acorn kit). And the third most obvious issue is the use of the acorns to represent the towers of the Clifton Suspension Bridge; representing the bridge encompasses a well known Bristol landmark in the design – which is great, given that it’s a Bristol based group – but the acorn is somewhat out of date in that it associates the group (and RISC OS) with Acorn Computers Ltd, who are long gone. There may also be trademark issues with the use of the acorn.

With all of that in mind, I’ve used ArtWorks2 to try to come up with a new logo – bearing in mind that my skills in this area aren’t great, and this is actually my first attempt at using ArtWorks2 (I’m more accustomed to Xara Xtreme). My attempts are based on the old BARUG logo in order to make it familiar to old members, but the chief difference is that I’ve used the RISC OS cogwheel for the towers in place of the acorns, thus aligning it with the modern RISC OS image. I’ve also deliberately not used the term “user group” in the text, instead sticking with just “users” – this is because, if it turns out that there isn’t enough interest to form a new user group, but the mailing list does continue to be used, then the logo can be used to support the mailing list if I decide to create a supporting web page or site.

There are three different versions:

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 1
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 1

Version 1 is the simplest and cleanest design, simply dropping the cogwheels in place of the acorns, with the bridge connecting with sprockets on the cogs. After producing it, I felt it could be improved because, at that point, I didn’t like the bridge joining in that way, so I considered two alternative approaches.

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 2
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 2

My idea for the second version involved splitting the cogwheel, for two reasons. Firstly, I felt that by doing that and creating a bolder vertical line at either end, aligning with the cog, this made the bridge a little more like the Clifton Suspension Bridge; more distinctly representing the towers. The second reason was that it could be seen as a metaphor – the split cogwheel representing the end of the original Bristol user group back in 2006, and the (possible) formation of a new one in 2010.

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 3
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 3

The third version involved reducing the amount taken out of the cogwheels to a quarter, thus allowing them to act as bridge supports.

Although I originally thought I could improve on it, I actually favour the first version. However, the subject of which logo to use is open for discussion, either in the comments below (until they automatically close after a month or so) or via the ‘BRU’ mailing list.

As per a suggestion in the comments below (and a confirmation that there wouldn’t be a trademark issue – thanks Andy) I’ve quickly produced a version with an acorn as the left tower, and a cogwheel as the right. I don’t have a suitable vector image of an acorn, so I’ve simply grabbed one of the acorns from the original BARUG logo and dropped it in place. The result looks like this:

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 4
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 4

Personally, I’m not sure. As another possible metaphor for the old group ending and a new one starting, it works – but I think it looks too unbalanced. It might work with a more suitable image of an acorn (ie a vector based one, rather than a bitmap) – and a short while later, I’ve managed to produce my own acorn using ArtWorks2, so I present idea 4b:

Bristol RISC OS Users - Idea 4b (home drawn, vector acorn)
Bristol RISC OS Users - Idea 4b (home drawn, vector acorn)

As per some comments, the colours for the acorn in 4b should be close to those in the cog, so I’ve now fixed this for 4c, below.

Bristol RISC OS Users logo idea 4c
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 4c

I’ve also changed the text to match the suggestions – ie so that the two lines each start with one of the two key terms; Bristol and RISC OS – and I’ve cunningly nudged the acorn to the right slightly; the lower part now contacts the vertical line in the same way the sprocket does in the cogwheel on the right.

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5a
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5a

5a is the half and half approach revisited but, as suggested, this time it’s half an acorn on the left and half a cogwheel on the right. To my eye, this doesn’t work in any of the variations I’ve tried. 5a uses two thick verticles running the full height of the image so that the bridge has something solid to end with, particularly on the right. Otherwise the horizontal must either end in space, or continue through the middle of the cog, which makes it look uneven.

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5b
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5b

5b is one of two attempts to address that (this version still has the thick verticals, the other lacked them) by extending the bridge at both ends, and 5c (below) is the version lacking the thick vertical bars.

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5c
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 5c

While doing the latest round of modifying and experimenting, I also came up with another idea to throw into the mix – so here is idea 6:

Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 6
Bristol RISC OS Users Logo - Idea 6

My current favourites are the original (two cogs) and (darker) acorn and cog (4c) – and this new one!

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12 Thoughts to “Logo ideas for Bristol RISC OS user group”

  1. Mike Perigo

    Like #3 best, hate #2. Unfortunately number 1 is probably the most appropriate. Actually I think you have missed another option which appeal to me much more if the colours can be made to work. What about the Acorn nut on the left of the bridge and the RISC OS cog on the right?

  2. VinceH

    Yeah, you’re right about the colours – but I can fiddle with those easily enough.

    The balance issue isn’t actually to do with the height, which is easy to adjust with the vector version (in fact I’ve made it too tall looking at it now), but that the width is less than the height; if the acorn is the same height as the cogwheel, it’s noticeably more narrow, and to get it the same width it’s much taller (if its aspect ratio remains correct). What this means (keeping the height right) is that the bridge and text are no longer centred – they’re to the left of centre.

    Other than that, I now prefer the version using an acorn at one end and a cogwheel at the other. It was a good idea, so thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Mike Perigo

    Thanks for the update. As you say the 4th image looks unbalanced but that is easily solved by making the nut the same height as the cog. i.e. 10% larger than you’ve used. However I still worry that it is the colour difference that needs to be dealt with in order to make the 4th image look right and. as you say. for that you will need vector images to make life easier.

  4. Mike Perigo

    Hey. No fair adding more images while I am in mid comment 🙂 Nice try with 4b but my colour comment still stands. I think both towers need to be the same base colours. I look forward to the opinions of others. There must be some out there…

  5. Mike Perigo

    I agree that having the text off center doesn’t look right but then I had another idea. Combine image 4 with image 2. Have slightly more than half on the left and slightly less than half on the right. See http://twitpic.com/10qgos for some variant ideas.

  6. Gavin

    Whilst I’m far too far away from Bristol to be in the user group, I still think you want to have the Acorn nut somewhere in your logo! It’s instantly recognisable to a lot more people than just the current number of RISC OS users, which is what the cog would appeal to. It’s still an asset to the community and should be embraced and used where possible IMO.

  7. Gavin

    The half Acorn, half RISC OS cog idea is very nice looking in the page of variants at the link in Mike’s last post. IMO it should say Bristol Area on one line and RISC OS Users on a seperate line, like the two on right middle, and right bottom. This draws attention to both the words Bristol and RISC.

  8. VinceH

    You’re both right about aligning the text like that – I simply followed the lead of the original logo. I’ll play with the colours in ‘my’ acorn tonight, and create a half acorn/half cog version tonight, so watch this space.

  9. Gavin has a good point (January 31, 2010*,* at 7:55 pm) that the Acorn nut is much better known than the RO cog. (And certainly “Acorn” or “Archimedes” were much easier to say (and look at, typographically) than “RISC OS”, and there were never any precious arguments about how to say it, spell it or capitalize it.) –jim

  10. Mike Perigo

    Oooh yes. I like idea #6. Combines nut and cog. Nice and central. Colours nicely balanced. Avoids half cog awkwardness. It gets my vote! – Plus 6 is one of my fave numbers 🙂

  11. Trevor Johnson

    I think the new acorn colours match great and we’re certainly spoilt for choice for new logos now! The latest one (#6) has grabbed me and I’d be more than happy if it’s adopted in the end – although could the acorn on the right be a mirror image to retain symmetry? (I realise this would make it the same orientation as the ‘official’ trademarked logo, but as it’s not actually identical it hopefully wouldn’t be a problem.)

  12. VinceH

    As a follow-up to this, the logo used in the end was version 6 – cogwheels containing acorns (with the stem of the one on the right flipped).

    The flyer: Trevor sent me a couple of initial ideas in Drawfile format. I then recreated it in EasiWriter and fleshed out the text. This was then sent on to Jim Nagel, who did some final editing, for printing and display at the SW Show.

    The resulting flyer, in PDF form, can be found at http://files.riscository.com/100207bruflyer.pdf for those who didn’t attend the show but who might want to see it.

    Note, however, there might be a small difference between this PDF and the actual one used at the show, because a font substitution had to be made when I opened the file in EasiWriter (One or more of Jim’s final edits used a font I don’t have) but it should be close enough for the purposes of seeing what it looked like!

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